Ellen G. White Writings

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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

October - December 1896 - NO. 8

The Seventh-day Adventist General Conference

Price, FIFTY CENTS Biennially.

EDITOR ............................. L. T. NICOLA.

ASSISTANT EDITOR................... F. M. WILCOX.

Entered at the Post-office in Battle Creek, Michigan.

THE APPOINTED SEASON OF PRAYER

L. T. NICOLA

THE time appointed for a special season of prayer and of seeking God, has come; and I trust that all necessary preparations have been made so that we can lay aside our usual cares and work, and devote the time largely to meditation, self-examination, prayer, and reading the Scriptures. It would be well if we oftener retired thus for a short season. But, sad to say, many become so absorbed in the active duties of life that they neglect to pray and study the word of God and the testimonies of his Spirit. The result is that they become cold, and backslide. I would urge upon all to lay by their work as far as possible, and give these days of prayer to seeking the Lord. We know that we are sorely in need of God’s blessing; we know, too, that he stands ready to pour it out upon us in copious showers. O, shall we not seek him, then, with true contrition and deep humility of soul?

The present situation is one of thrilling interest. The evidences of the near completion of the work of the message and the coming of the Lord in glory, were never so many and so forcible as now. The very perils of the last time are here, and are rapidly increasing. As the Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth, destruction of life and property is becoming more general. At times it seems as if the whole world is filled with consternation. Yet how soon these things are forgotten! How little they are taken to heart! O how sad that Satan should succeed so well in blinding men’s eyes, and in hardening their hearts against the operation of God’s Spirit!

In these momentous times the Lord has great blessings in store for his people if they will but seek him with all the heart. He has said, “For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine off-spring.” Isaiah 44:3. “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1. “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:7, 8. O. A. O.

DUTY AND PRIVILEGE

L. T. NICOLA

[FIRST READING FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26.]

WHEN demands are made for means to support the work of the Lord, we often shrink, and question whether it is our duty to give. We, by our vote, place men in responsible places, who, to fulfill the obligations put upon them, ask us to make offerings to forward the plans we ask them to carry out. If these demands come more frequently than we expect, we are apt to excuse ourselves, by deciding that it is not our duty to give so much.

Duty is “the course of conduct, whether active or passive, that one is morally bound to follow; what one ought to do; that which is right; as, it is one’s duty to tell the truth, to love God, etc.” This definition is very flexible to a selfish mind. We may admit that it is our duty to tell the truth, and yet prevaricate when the occasion may seem to demand it. We know that we ought to “love God with all our hearts,” yet we acknowledge that we do not. We contend that it is right to do these things, but we confess we have not done right. We promise ourselves over and over again that we will do better, but how soon we find that we fail.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” In these words the Lord has set before us our duty. But as long as we look at it as a mere matter of obligation on our part, we will never perform what the Lord requires of us. Our performance of his requirements will lead us to realize the truthfulness of the Saviour’s words, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Until we can come to the place that we choose to do what God says it is our duty to do, we will never succeed in meeting the requirements of the Lord. An unconverted man or a backslider realizes that it is his duty to live a Christian; but as he sees nothing in it but duty, other contrary things stand in his way that hinder him from obeying.

It is one thing to go to duty and perform it perfunctorily, and another thing to enter into it with all the heart. The one is mere form, or ceremony, while the other is real service, done from deeply rooted principle and high sense of obligation. To attend to duty in the routine only, is neither acceptable to God nor profitable to ourselves. It is a task without pleasure, a work without wages. Were our duties the impositions of an arbitrary master, toward whom we felt neither respect nor love, we might go to them with reluctance, and perform them with coldness. but as the injunctions of a loving Father, supreme in goodness and wisdom, toward whom we profess to have pure affection and profound esteem, we ought to go toward them with willing feet, and enter them with all our hearts.

But when the whole heart is thrown into performing a duty, it no longer remains a duty, but becomes a privilege. It may be a tiresome duty for a nurse to sit up with a sick child during the entire night; but if it is her own child that is sick, she thinks no longer of the duty, although it may be just as taxing work as before. Her personal interest makes the duty a privilege.

It is said of Mr. Bradford, the martyr, that he would not leave a duty until his soul was brought into living sympathy with it, and found communion with Christ in it. In confessing sin unto God, he would not cease until his heart was touched and broken with a sense of it. In offering supplication for blessings, he would not give up until he apprehended the true nature of the things desired, and was carried out on the wings of faith to receive them. In offering thanksgiving, he would not refrain before his spirit was lifted up in holy praises for all divine mercies. It is also said of Bernard, that such was the entrance of his soul into duty, that he found God in every one, and held communion with him.

PRIVILEGES

“But as many as received him, to them gave he the privilege to become the sons of God; even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12. Marginal Reading.

The spiritual life is the highest that a human soul can attain in its probationary state. Its

origin, relations, associations, enjoyments, and prospects are all of the most exalted kind, - exquisitely pure, beautiful, sublime, and glorious. The power to become the sons of God is a wonderful privilege. Who would not choose to give all he possesses for that privilege? When Jesus comes to gather his sons to himself, there will not be a human being who will not esteem it a privilege to part with everything he possesses if he could only hear the words, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

The privileges of the spiritual life are of a corresponding character with its enjoyments and prospects. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4. This is a wonderful privilege, and if fully understood, will eclipse many duties. Then it is our blessed privilege to abide in Christ (John 15:4, 5), be members of the household of faith (Ephesians 2:19), have access to God through Jesus, in prayer and fellowship (Ephesians 3:12), and to have God for a Father, a King, a Benefactor, a Helper, a Deliverer, a Guide, a Light, a Tower, a Shield. We can have Christ for a Friend, a Shepherd, a Teacher, a Mediator, a Saviour. He has promised to be unto us, “wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” We are promised the Holy Spirit for a Comforter, a Witness, a Helper, in duties and conflicts, and a Revealer of the deep things of God.

Such are some of the privileges associated with the spiritual life. Are they not sufficient to call out from us words and acts of thanksgiving and praise? Can any other life except the heavenly, present an equal? Can there be any requirement from Him who gives us all these privileges, that would seem irksome if we appreciated all that the Lord has given us? Will it not be that everything which the Lord requires us to do, will be as much a privilege as to receive what he gives?

PRIVILEGE OF GIVING

“Freely ye have received, freely give.” Were you free to receive pardon and peace? Then be just as free to give whatever you possess, that others may receive what you prize so highly. “Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord.” Exodus 35:5. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7. No one can be a cheerful giver unless he is full of cheer while giving it. There must be a feeling in his heart that causes him delight when he can have an opportunity to give. He is not to give “of necessity,” as though some terrible judgment was hanging over his head if he did not give, but must make his offerings with a willing mind and a cheerful heart.

“If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12. To-day, as well as in the past, many poor widows who have given a few pennies, have received more blessings in giving, than many who have given of their thousands. The widow whom the Saviour commended had felt in her heart that she had received so much from the Lord, that she esteemed it a privilege to give all she had, even her living. Many men of wealth walked up to the same place and gave larger sums of money, yet she gave more than they all. They estimated God’s blessings to them of no greater value than a small part of their income, while she thought them of greater worth than all she possessed. Had her income been one hundred times greater, the same spirit would have caused her to consider it a privilege to give it all.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” There is no risk to run in giving to the Lord. His promises are adequate to meet all our wants. He is not dependent upon us for means to carry forward his work, for he has declared, “the gold and silver are mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” We are not doing him such a great favor in giving him a few thousand dollars, as we are doing ourselves. If we give, he has promised to give it back in double measure, therefore we are strengthening our own faith by giving him our money, and trusting his words for our future needs.

We may be in danger of saying too much about men’s duty in giving to sustain the Lord’s work. Give every man an opportunity of giving for his own sake, but not as if either God or the gospel were in anywise his debtor. Make it a privilege to give; and if it is other than that, be assured that God would not accept it, and the cause would be better off without it.

THANKSGIVING

The people of our nation, irrespective of religious belief, think it fit to have a day appointed each year to be observed as a day of thanksgiving to God for the bountiful harvest he has sent during the year. Other nations have similar days, as harvest festivals, etc. The original idea of such seasons was far different than it is at present. Time, with the changes wrought by a spirit of selfishness, has changed Thanksgiving day into a day of feasting and extravagance.

Instead of looking up the poor, and supplying their actual needs, men and women make large dinners at extravagant expenditures, to satisfy a perverted appetite. If there is any thankfulness expressed, it is for the privilege of gormandizing and indulging in intemperance to the heart’s content.

Such scenes must be very grievous to Him who sends all these bounties for man’s good. How must the angels look upon the scenes above mentioned, when, within less than ten blocks are the hungry, the naked shivering with cold, because they have not the wherewith to supply these necessities? Let us look at these things, and celebrate this day in a way that some one will have reason to thank God for the blessings he has sent to them through our humble hospitality.

Let us deny self, and give of our means to help the poor, and send the gospel to those in darkness. As we enter these special days of seeking God, let us go to him in secret, and ask him to show us how much we have received for which we should be thankful. If we do this, the day will indeed be a thanksgiving day.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s who shall give you that which is your own?” “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

J. H. DURLAND.

SPIRITUAL DEARTH AND WORLDLINESS A SPECIAL CONDITION OF THE LAST DAYS

L. T. NICOLA

[SECOND READING FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26.]

A MERE theory of what is truth, is no safeguard against worldliness. On the other hand, those who have the clearest ideas of the plan of salvation, are the most conspicuous marks for the shafts of Satan. By entangling these in the snares of the world, he prevents them from using even their theory to enlighten others. As probation draws nearer its close, fascinating schemes will be multiplied by which to induce people to compromise their faith and standing before God. The last days are emphatically predicted to be “perilous times,” that is, times that are full of danger. 2 Timothy 3:1. That which makes these days so full of danger, is the abandoned conduct of those who have a form of godliness, but deny its power. Verses 2-4.

This danger is not so much that of receiving bodily injury, as of drinking in the spirit of one’s surroundings, and so becoming callous to the promptings of the word of God. Such is the danger that abounds, even for those who profess the truth; and if we have faith in the prophecies which point to our time, we must admit that they do indeed chide for their misdoings those who profess to be the children of God.

Turning to the book of Revelation, we find in

the third chapter, a message to the Laodiceans. Verse 14. The name here given signifies “the judging of the people.” This identifies the people addressed, as those who live in the time of judgment. In verse 20, the speaker, who is the “Amen, the faithful and true witness,” says that, at the time when this prophecy applies, he is standing at the door, as though he were about to come in upon those he addresses. The last days are evidently under consideration, and the Saviour holds a serious charge against those then living who are making high pretensions. We are doubtless the people addressed, and called “lukewarm.” This is a temperature which provokes nausea and vomiting, and is therefore decidedly obnoxious to the stomach. We are lukewarm, and are threatened with being spewed out of the mouth of Christ.

The cause of this displeasing state is plainly told: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” We are looked upon as individually saying, I have enough, and am quite satisfied; I need nothing you can give. But this is not all. The statement of itself does not constitute the basis of the charge. He does not talk here to common sinners, who have no regard for the truth, but to those who have been counted his - who are represented as being already in his mouth, though about to be spewed out. Though we announce ourselves as rich and self-satisfied, the Saviour says that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and yet do not sense it. How terrible! Something in our surroundings has deadened our sensibilities, or they would not be so terribly benumbed; while drinking in the spirit of the world a formal round of service has been carried on, till gradually we have been denuded of our royal garments, and deprived of spiritual eye-sight. He has called to us for a long time, offering white raiment, and eye-salve, but the steady reply has been, We have enough; we do not need it. Now, he stands at the door, ready to come in, and must soon spew us from his mouth, - cast us from him as a nauseating potion, - unless we permit him to remedy our defects.

What can be done for a people in such condition? The situation is truly appalling, and yet this is the true condition of God’s professing children to-day. The times are indeed perilous, since Satan especially operates against those who hold the theory of the truth, to deaden their sensibilities to the real situation of things. This is his studied plan by which to entrap the unwary, as was clearly revealed many years ago:-

“As the people of God approach the perils of the last days, Satan holds earnest consultation with his angels as to the most successful plan of overthrowing their faith. He sees that the popular churches are already lulled to sleep by his deceptive power. By pleasing sophistry and lying wonders he can continue to hold them under his control. Therefore he directs his angels to lay their snares especially for those who are looking for the second advent of Christ, and endeavoring to keep all the commandments of God.

“Says the great deceiver: ‘We must watch those who are calling the attention of the people to the Sabbath of Jehovah; they will lead many to see the claims of the law of God; and the same light which reveals the true Sabbath, reveals also the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and shows that the last work for man’s salvation is now going forward. Hold the minds of the people in darkness till that work is ended, and we shall secure the world and the church also.

“‘The Sabbath is the great question which is to decide the destiny of souls. We must exalt the Sabbath of our creating. We have caused it to be accepted by both worldlings and church-members; now the church must be led to unite with the world in its support. We must work by sings and wonders to blind their eyes to the truth, and lead them to lay aside reason and the fear of God, and follow custom and tradition....

“‘But our principal concern is to silence this sect of Sabbath-keepers. We must excite popular indignation against them. We will enlist great men and worldly-wise men upon our side, and induce those in authority to carry out our purposes. Then the Sabbath which I have set up shall be enforced by laws the most severe and exacting. Those who disregard them shall be driven out from the cities and villages, and made to suffer hunger and privation. When once we have the power, we shall show what we can do with those who will not swerve from their allegiance to God.

“‘But before proceeding to extreme measures, we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth; but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination, will cause their fall.

“‘Go, make possessors of lands and money drunk with the cares of this life. Present the world before them in its most attractive light, that they lay up their treasures here, and fix their affections on earthly things. We must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God’s cause from obtaining means to use against us. Keep the money in our own ranks. The more means they obtain, the more they will injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make them care more for money than for the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom and the spread of the truths we hate, and we need not fear their influence; for we know that every selfish, covetous person will fall under our power, and will finally be separated from God’s people.

“‘Through those who have a form of godliness but know not the power, we can gain many who would otherwise do us great harm. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God will be our most effective helpers. Those of this class who are apt and intelligent will serve as decoys to draw others into our snares. Many will not fear their influence because they profess the same faith. We will thus lead them to conclude that the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed, and that by conformity to the world they would exert a greater influence with worldlings. Thus they will separate from Christ; then they will have no strength to resist our power, and ere long they will be ready to ridicule their former zeal and devotion.

“‘Until the great, decisive blow shall be struck, our efforts against commandment-keepers must be untiring. We must be present at all their gatherings. In their large meetings especially our cause will suffer much, and we must exercise great vigilance, and employ all our seductive arts to prevent souls from hearing the truth and becoming impressed by it.

“‘I will have upon the ground, as my agents, men holding false doctrines mingled with just enough truth to deceive souls. I will also have unbelieving ones present, who will express doubts in regard to the Lord’s message of warning to his church. Should they read and believe these admonitions, we could have little hope of overcoming them. But if we can divert their attention from these warnings, they will remain ignorant of our power and cunning, and we shall secure them into our ranks at last. God will not permit his word to be slighted with impunity. If we can keep souls deceived for a time, God’s mercy will be withdrawn, and he will give them up to our full control.

“‘We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticize, and judge, and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these sins, God banished us from his presence, and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate.’” - “Great Controversy,” Vol. IV. (Old Ed.), pp.337-340.

The foregoing extracts were published fifteen years ago, and any who will carefully study the history of our work since that time cannot fail to see a complete fulfillment of the words. A few quotations more from the later writings of Sister White may open our eyes more fully to the state of things:-

“There is a great need that our brethren overcome secret faults. The displeasure of God, like a cloud, hangs over many of them. The churches are weak. Selfishness, uncharitableness, covetousness, envy, evil-surmising, falsehood, theft, robbery, sensuality, licentiousness, and adultery, stand registered against some who claim to believe the solemn, sacred truth for this time. How can these accursed things be cleansed out from the camp, when men who claim to be Christians are practising them constantly? They are somewhat careful of their ways before men, but they are an offense to God. His pure eyes see, a witness records all their sins, both open and secret; and unless they repent, and confess their sins before God, unless they fall on the Rock and are broken, their sins will remain charged against them in the books of record. O, fearful histories will be opened to the world at the judgment - histories of sins never confessed, of sins not blotted out. O that these poor souls might see that they are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. Then the thoughts of the heart, as well as the actions, will be revealed. I tell you, my brethren

and sisters, there is need of humbling your souls before God. Cease to do evil; but do not stop here. Learn to do well. You can glorify God only by bearing fruits to his glory.”

What a sad state of things is here portrayed. But think; every individual sin thus set forth is on record above. We may hide these in some measure from our fellow men, but they appear in their full measure in the books of heaven. Are any present upon whom any of these terrible things rest? If so, in Heaven’s name put them away. Get the spiritual eye-salve, that you may see the thing clearly, and then with the help of the Lord divorce yourselves from them, now and forever.

Satan will try to have you procrastinate; but do not heed his suggestions. It is but a subtle effort to get you completely in his power. You must be free from sin soon, or be forever lost. Make the decision now, in this very meeting.

The voice from heaven cries: “O, why do they delay? Why are they not seized by a terrific fear that it will be too late, too late? No oil in their vessels with their lamps! The end is near. We are on the very borders of the eternal world; and, O, how tardy, how dilatory to secure the oil of grace to replenish the lamps that are going out! God help the sinners in Zion!”

Can any rest under such an appeal as this? If so, it only shows more fully the consummation of the words of the True Witness, that just before the Lord comes, some will say that they are rich and have no need, because they do not know their true condition. In the year 1892, just at the time when our people were enjoying a heavenly refreshing, and the cause was prospering everywhere, the Lord saw that some would still cling to their sins, and what the result would be. The question was then asked by his servant: “Will the presidents of conferences and the ministers of the people seek the Lord earnestly, put away their sins, empty their souls of their idols? Or will they continue to go on half-hearted, neglecting solemn duties, while Satan triumphs, whispering to his evil angels, and to his human confederacy in evil, ‘HOPELESS, IRREDEEMABLE BANKRUPTCY’?”

Have these whisperings sounded in your midst? If so, may you know now the source from which they come, and dispel any such influence from your midst. Do you not know that God’s cause is made up of the rank and file of believers? Then, so long as the believers themselves are not bankrupt, the cause of God cannot be. Jesus lives and reigns, and as long as he has true followers, his cause must move onward to victory. Things are sometimes permitted to move slowly for some time, that it may be shown who have faith in God, and who have been walking by sight.

Let every one now buckle on the armor anew, to press on in the work of saving souls. Let each have such a flame of love for the truth that others may be warmed to action. There is great need of this. “The heavenly Merchantman counsels you, ‘Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, ... and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’” Who will heed the admonition now? J. O. CORLISS.

THE GOSPEL IN THE REGIONS BEYOND

L. T. NICOLA

[FIRST READING FOR FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27.]

THE gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” It knows no country boundaries, no race prejudices, no social distinctions. It is designed alike for Jew and Gentile, for Greek and barbarian, working effectually in him that believeth, regardless of race, color, or previous social environment. God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” For every individual, gracious provision has been made in the redemptive scheme. Christ died for all, and all are alike precious in his sight.

The gospel was to be preached not only to all nations, as nations, but to “every creature.” And this is the purpose of God concerning his gospel, not alone in a general sense, but in a specific sense as well. The special phases of the gospel are to go to all men. Great emphasis is placed

upon this fact in its bearing upon the closing gospel work - the proclamation of the coming of the Lord, and the setting up of his kingdom. Says our Saviour: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The messenger who bears to the world the significant proclamation of the near approach of the judgment of the great day, has for his burden the “everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”

This, then, is the field of our operations, and the scope and magnitude of the gospel message for to-day. Very naturally, we are led to consider from time to time the progress it is making, and to determine, if possible, our future relations to its promulgation. These questions it will be the purpose of the following paragraphs to discuss.

THE PROGRESS OF THE WORK

Since our last week of prayer many bright pages of victory and triumph have been recorded in the history of our missionary operations. As never in the past, the Lord’s presence has attended his work and workers, impressing hearts, and demonstrating that the power promised in the great commission is as potent and effective to-day as ever before in the history of the church. True, all has not been sunshine and apparent blessing. In some instances the seed has been sown in weakness and weariness, and in many cases watered with tears. Threatening clouds have presaged darkness and defeat, and yet, in the darkness and trial not once has perplexity given place to doubt and despair. The work is not of man but of God, and this our missionaries have realized during the past year. That which to man may appear the greatest failure, in God’s providence may become the grandest success. Hence, in the face of adversity and trial, it is for the laborer to sow the seed, leaving with God the final result.

During the last twelve months every mail has brought words of encouragement from our laborers. In our older mission fields, in South Africa, in Australasia, in Great Britain, in Scandinavia, in Central Europe, and in Germany and Russia, there have been many unmistakable signs showing that the message is gathering power, and coming to occupy in the closing history of the race the position appointed of God. In these mission fields the seed which has been sown in the past is now germinating, and Sabbath-keepers are springing up in almost every city, to testify by their words and lives to the power of the truth for these times.

No less significant are the evidences of God’s leadings in the newer and pioneer missions. In every country entered, the Spirit of God has preceded our workers, and hearts have been made receptive to the influence of the message. In the islands of Polynesia and the West Indies larger gains than for any preceding year have been reported. In several groups where deep prejudice has existed, unusual interest is manifested, and leading government officials have embraced the truth for these times.

Before the gospel light in Mexico and Central America, darkness and ignorance are, in a measure, being dispelled; and Catholicism is losing its hold, to give place to a purer worship, and a more enlightened Christianity. Our medical mission in Guadalajara is proving a power for good in its double capacity of ministering both to the souls and bodies of men. It is now sowing the seed, patiently waiting for the future to bring the full fruition of its hopes. But already some of the first-fruits are beginning to appear - a token of the rich harvest to be gleaned in the fulness of coming days.

In the South American states unusual opposition has been manifested against the message by the religious press, thus showing the prominence our work is gaining. But the Lord, as in the days of the apostles, is causing even the wrath of man to praise him, and in consequence believers are the more being added to our ranks. Two native ministers in Chile, one of them an especially earnest and devoted Christian, have espoused the cause, and are publicly advocating the same before their churches. This agitation is quite unaccountable, since it has not been caused by our efforts. It indicates that God is working even outside of the human agent, in carrying forward the message. Of this our missionaries in Brazil and Argentina have been forcibly impressed as they have found from time to time whole families practising the principles of the message with no

knowledge of others who held the same or similar views.

God’s special leadings have been seen in the work in the great Orient. While but a comparatively small beginning has been made, let us trust that the work in Calcutta may prove a beacon light, penetrating the surrounding darkness, and that sparks from this kindling may become independent fires in other places, lighting the benighted wayfarer to God. When the school for Hindu children was established, it was thought that a government instructor would have to be secured to teach Bengali. But in this God had anticipated our needs, and an estimable young lady, a teacher of both Bengali and Hindustani, was led to accept the truth, and to volunteer her services for the school work. The medical missionary work, already begun on a small scale, is removing Hindu prejudice and breaking down social distinctions and caste barriers.

In the interior of benighted Africa, laboring for the save and barbarous natives, we have five missionaries. After months of industrious effort, they had succeeded in building them comfortable but rude dwellings, and a little chapel building for school and religious purposes. The rebellion of the Matabeles ruthlessly swept away the labor of their industry, destroying their crops, mutilating their buildings, confiscating their cattle, and causing them to flee for their lives to Buluwayo, the capital of the territory. After months of anxiety spent in that place, besieged the larger part of the time by the blood-thirsty Matabeles, peace has been patched up, and our missionaries have again returned to the scene of their former operations; not to meet smiling, cheerful faces of loved friends, not to enter pleasant homes and beautiful dwelling-houses, but to view in part a scene of desolation, and the destruction of that which they so long and earnestly sought to upbuild. But they have returned with glad and joyful hearts, willing to labor for the master under such difficulties, and rejoicing that they are accounted worthy to suffer for his name. How greatly they need the sympathy and prayers of our people, that the God of all comfort may cheer their hearts in this hour of trial, and strengthen them for what he has for them to do. It would be too early to report any visible results from their labor; and yet we are glad to say that the natives surrounding the mission farm have the utmost confidence in our missionaries, and on their return manifested a deep interest to learn further the ways of right.

But if our laborers in Matabeleland have been subjected to great danger, those on the Gold Coast are placed in a still more perilous position. True, they have had nothing to fear from man-made weapons, but they have had to meet and combat the deadly influences of the climate on that coast. When it is stated that last year in Cape Coast Castle, the scene of our operations, out of an average of forty white people in the town, thirty-eight succumbed to the deadly diseases incident to that climate, it will be seen under what danger our missionaries are laboring. Two of their number, the little children of Brother and Sister Kerr, have fallen victims to disease; Brother Riggs, to save his life, has been compelled to retire from the field. The others, while suffering at times most seriously, have in mercy been spared. Under the many clouds overshadowing their work, they are pressing on with courage and hope, believing that in God’s providence their suffering of body and travail of soul will result in salvation to some honest hearts from among Africa’s great multitude.

Thus in every land and clime the work is onward. Our mission stations now nearly encircle the globe. In thirty-one different languages and dialects is the printed page going to earth’s remotest bounds, freighted with the message of God for to-day. The pillar of God’s presence moves before his people. He has “set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

The gathering call is sounding. Over hill and mountain, through valley and glen, and across plain and prairie, its notes are echoing to-day; and in every nation, and from every walk of life, honest hearts are responding to the invitation. No great demonstration is accompanying the proclamation; but silently and without ostentation

the Spirit is gaining an entrance into the hearts of men. Here and there lights are established, the rays of which are penetrating the surrounding gloom. For all that is being accomplished, the glory belongs to God. The instrumentalities he has employed have been weak and worthless, that the praise should be to the glory of his grace and not to the genius or might of man. How great is the privilege to-day of being co-workers in his service. And in his service all may have a part. To every soul he has given talents of intellect, of strength, or of money, to use for him. If the talent is small, so much greater the need to improve it. The work will soon close, and if we would have a part in carrying it forward, we must soon begin. If we sow in tears, we shall reap in joy; and if we partake of Christ’s sufferings and labors in this world, we shall share with him the glory and the joy that come as the reward of right doing. As Christ gave his life for us, so may we in return give our lives and labors of love for the salvation of those who are without his saving grace to-day. F. M. WILCOX.

WHAT THE PRESENT DEVELOPMENTS OF THE MESSAGE INDICATE

L. T. NICOLA

[SECOND READING FOR FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27.]

IN harmony with prophetic utterances, Seventh-day Adventists have felt justified in looking for some well-defined developments in the affairs of nations, which would distinctly mark the closing record of the world’s history. In determining just what these ought to be, however, great caution is necessary in order that our minds may not be controlled by false impressions, so that we would be led to adopt wrong conclusions, and worldly cares and associations would hold our attention so closely that we would lose sight of the evident tokens of the final scenes.

A brief study of the situation cannot fail to reveal startling developments in the last few years. For considerable time very little took place in the Eastern nations calculated to call attention to any prophetic fulfillment in what is known as the Eastern Question. But how suddenly the aspect changed. Once it was thought that Russia’s desire alone to annex Turkish territory would drive the Turk from Europe. But now we see another element coming in to hasten the final result. The late Turkish atrocities, by which thousands of Armenians were murdered in and around Constantinople have so enlisted the sympathies of other nations in behalf of the oppressed, that the question has been seriously discussed in national councils how best to deprive the sultan of his despotic power. More recent developments of Moslem cruelty toward the inhabitants of Crete, not of the Mohammedan faith, have stirred all countries to the verge of avenging the wrongs of a defenseless people.

The situation in that quarter is now much like a victim being watched by beasts of prey, bent on the destruction of the one under surveillance. Growing more certain of securing their prey, they crouch lower, and glide along under the cover of this and that, stopping occasionally to listen, or cautiously to peer about, as if to be assured that their movements are unobserved, when suddenly, in a body, they pounce upon their victim, which vainly struggles to its death.

This illustrates the attitude of several of the nations toward Turkey. The horrors of the past two years are forcing them into concert of action of some sort, to protect the victims of Moslem ferocity. The initial dose, soon to be administered, may not complete the cause of the hated foe; it may only stay for a time the final issue, by temporarily turning the tide of sentiment which calls for the partition of the Turkish Empire; it cannot restore health and vigor to that system. The end of the “sick man” has been hastening apace; and when the nations become assured that the thing can safely be done, we may depend that the career of that power will be cut short.

But why do the nations hesitate? There is nothing in the prophecy to forbid the immediate removal of the Turk from Europe, so that he may “plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas,” and there come to his end, with none to “help him.” In fact, so far as one can see, the condition is just right for it to happen. Only one thing prevents it. God’s people are not yet

sealed, and he himself in mercy holds the winds of strife, that his work may be carried forward without hindrance. Pleas read Revelation 7:1-3. The work of warning the world which ought to have been already accomplished, lingers; not because the truth is powerless, but because those to whom the work has been entrusted, have not appreciated their responsibility enough vigorously to engage in the work assigned them of God. Had the people in general been ready to co-operate with God, as he has asked for years, the prophecy relating to the Turkish power would doubtless ere this have been fulfilled, and the people of God eternally blessed.

Turning our eyes toward our own country, we see little else but unrest and uncertainty. The great question of labor and capital has rent into factions nearly every community. The frequent labor strikes have paralyzed industries, and snatched employment from the needy. Political combinations have begotten distrust in manufacturing and commercial circles, compelling capitalists to hoard their money, through fear of losing it if invested. In short, man has lost faith in his fellow man, and each seeks to advantage himself at the expense of others, until fraud and oppression stalk on every hand, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth.”

But all these signs are to indicate that the world is entering the throes of dissolution. Let us read what the infallible word has said on this point: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” James 5:1-4.

This is the question of capital and labor as settled by the decree of God. All the stipulations there set forth are met in the condition of society as it is to-day. When this condition of things appears, the word exhorts the brethren to be patient; to stablish the heart, “for the coming of the Lord draweth night.” This, then, is a description of the state society will be in when the Lord is about to appear; and since that which answers to the description already abounds, is it not time that every believer’s heart be established in the expectation of the soon-coming Saviour?

Let no one be deceived in the matter. The Saviour has plainly told us that “when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:25-28. The question may again be raised: What hinders the immediate breaking up of society and the dissolution of all things earthly? - Nothing but the merciful waiting of an ever-merciful Father toward his wandering children. Think of these things, brethren and sisters, decide now that you will from this time forth be wholly the Lord’s, to be used by him and for him in his work.

Another thing should be spoken of in this connection, not only as a caution in our future service, but as an additional evidence that we are now on the very verge of the eternal world. The nearer one approaches to any desired haven, difficulties are likely to increase, rendering it necessary constantly to be on the alert. So when the heavenly goal appears in sight, Satan makes greater efforts to divert our attention from it, that he may more successfully ensnare our feet. After the children of Israel had passed the Jordan, and had, in fact, entered the very borders of the promised land, they encountered some of their fiercest conflicts.

But lest discouragement should seize the people at the very time when victory was within their grasp, the Lord spoke to them through Joshua, charging them to “be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9. So long as the people would permit him, the Lord made this promise good. When the overthrow of Jericho was determined, the Lord’s power was signally shown in the leveling of the walls of the city, so that this their first victory after entering the land, cost the people no effort but for every one to do exactly as the Lord instructed him.

Their next effort, however, was destined to be a most humiliating defeat. But they had only themselves to blame. They did not give God

the glory for the wondrous victory at jericho, but were lifted up in self-sufficiency instead. Covetousness and pride controlled some, so that they counted the possession of a little paltry gold and silver more than to possess the blessing of God. They were more pleased with a stylish “mantle of Shinar,” than with the glory of the garment of righteousness.

Coming to Ai, a place of much less importance, seemingly, than Jericho, the people were not inclined to believe its conquest a matter of any great moment. Had not Jericho submitted easily to them! What need of all the people’s going against such a place? A few valiant warriors can easily take it. Send up two or three thousand only, while the others rest on their laurels. Joshua 7:3. In the overweening self-confidence of that people, God was left out of their plans. Not that they really intended this; for, without doubt, they still remembered his promise to be with them wherever they went. But this is ever the nature and outcome of self-confidence in every age. When self feels strong, it plans without God; then he withdraws to let self work alone. In the extreme weakness of humanity, defeat and humiliation are always to be found. It is only by letting man work by himself, that he can be led to understand and deplore his weakness. With this revealed, he returns to God, who in turn takes hold of man and makes him strong, despite his inherent weakness. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12. “When I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10.

This was destined to be the experience of Israel. When three thousand men went up before Ai, the people of that city drove them in terror back to their encampment, dealing destruction to their number all along the way. The humiliation of this defeat, and the fear of the enemy that seized upon the people because of it, caused Joshua to fall on his face and plead with God not to leave his people to the wrath of their enemies. The Lord replied by saying that there was something to be done before he could render them any help. He told Joshua to get up, for Israel had sinned and had violated his covenant with them; that the people had taken of the “accursed thing,” and his prayers availed nothing so long as such wickedness was among the people. The Lord told him, in a word, to put away the “accursed thing.” or Israel would never be able to stand before its enemies. Verses 10-13.

Then came searching of heart and camp, and the revelation of that search was such that repentance, deep and strong, took hold of the camp as of one man. Then the “accursed thing” was removed. Not only were the gold and silver and the Babylonish garment taken away, but their self-sufficiency, so satisfying before, but now so detestable, was for the time banished from the camp.

Then the Lord said to Joshua: “Take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land.” Joshua 8:1. When this divine direction was carried out, Ai was easily taken. God was as well able to have conquered Ai without human co-operation, as he was to cause the walls of Jericho to fall at the blast of the priests’ trumpets. But the lessons for that people to learn, as well as those of to-day, was, that no matter how great the number of the people, or how small the work to be accomplished, God wanted them to understand that he could not sanction one’s excusing himself from doing his part.

We are told by the apostle that all the things which happened to Israel in their journeying to the promised land, were for ensamples or types, and “are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11. Let us briefly follow the type to its antitype: Theirs was an entrance into a temporal CAnaan, an earthly rest; ours is to be an eternal inheritance, a heavenly rest. Through unbelief, that people wandered forty years in the wilderness, when they might have taken possession in a few days. During their sojourn in the wilderness, all the murmurers and complainers died, and their places were filled by others. May it not be possible that the close of this work is delayed for a similar purpose? Think of it. Surely, many things years ago pointed to a speedy deliverance of God’s people by the coming of the Lord.

It may be profitable at this point to take a look backward. Some of us remember how rapidly the final message spread among the nations five years ago, giving promise of the work being “cut short in righteousness.” At that time, too, our

own people shared in an outpouring of grace, and rejoiced greatly in their enlarged views of the power of God’s word; the camp-meetings everywhere were marked with most wonderful demonstrations of God’s willingness to lift up and to strengthen his people. Especially was this the case in 1892. At the large gatherings of that season, the most surprising conversions were witnessed; the sick, and lame, and feeble were made to feel the thrill of life-giving impulses, and declared themselves restored to vigor by the power of God; and great rejoicings were felt throughout the wide harvest-field.

Another thing was noticeable at that time. In the height of their joy, the people contributed more funds toward spreading the truth, than had ever been given in a single year. More offered themselves for the work of the ministry than ever before. In short, the work prospered everywhere, and everything connected with the cause seemed to indicate the time at hand for which so many had ardently looked - the final outpouring of the Spirit of God in his work. There is still no question in the minds of some, that our people then entered the borders of that glorious state. That was a foretaste of what the Lord would have continued in a larger measure had the people been willing to accept it. Some, indeed, did hail the gift with joy, but many stood aloof, branding these as fanatics; and like the children of Israel when the spies reported themselves on the border of a most goodly land, and produced its wonderful fruit in evidence, they were ready to stone them.

The people were not united in the faith that God had begun his last mighty work on earth, and a general relapse followed. Some grew self-confident; many have looked more toward the gold and silver of this world than to the glory of God and of the world to come; others have been more charmed with brilliant garments of earthly texture than with the robe of righteousness. And, sad to say, many have united to criticize and condemn others for what they consider insincerity and inefficiency. The effect of all this is, that when an advance in the work is to be attempted, the people, like their early prototypes, have no interest to personally engage in the effort, and so stand back, seemingly willing that a few shall bear the burdens of the campaign. The outcome of such a course is always the same - the work of God is retarded, and his cause is humiliated in the sight of the people.

In this condition of things it is not enough to pass through the formal rounds of singing hymns, and talking about the truth. As in the days of old, wherever the “accursed thing” has come in, it will be necessary to put it away by repentance and contrition of heart. Otherwise, when we ask God for help, we ask him to lend his power to iniquitous work, a thing which he can never do. Until we do this, we cannot expect God to co-operate with us. But think of the responsibility we incur by standing where we delay the Lord’s coming!

We may rest assured of one thing, that the very keenness of the trials we meet by the way is a token of the enemy’s hatred, and that he is trying to block our way to the kingdom. The nearer we come to the time of deliverance, it follows that he will work the harder against us, and we may conclude that instead of seeing a place where we can rest by the way, we will be obliged to “push the battle to the gates.” Then let every one of us arise and “go up” to the work, that God may again manifest himself among us as in days past; and the victory we shall gain will be swift and certain. J. O. CORLISS.

OUR DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY [ARTICLE E G WHITE]

L. T. NICOLA

[FIRST READING FOR SABBATH, NOVEMBER 28.]

A WORLD-WIDE WORK. [ARTICLE E. G. WHITE]

L. T. NICOLA

[SECOND READING (PART I) FOR SABBATH, NOVEMBER 28.]

DUTY IN THE PAYMENT OF TITHES

L. T. NICOLA

[SECOND READING (PART II) FOR SABBATH, NOVEMBER 28.]

THE FUTURE OF THE WORK, AND OUR RELATIONS TO THE SAME

L. T. NICOLA

[FIRST READING FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29.]

WHILE much has been accomplished in pushing our work into new fields, much remains to be done. To this fact we should not be insensible, any more than we should ignore God’s past dealings with his people. For, to see only the past, and to fail to recognize present and future responsibilities, is to cease to grow, and to lose even the gains already made. There are still demands which must be met. There are still conquests for the cross of Christ. There are still regions beyond, to which the herald of the gospel has not penetrated. Our missionary operations embrace many countries, but not all; and even among those nations where we have workers, the opportunities for enlargement are well-nigh limitless. It is cause for gratitude that in our sister republic, Mexico, we have one mission; but for the twelve million people in that country, we should have a hundred workers where we now have one. In the South American continent we have less than one worker for each million of the population. But if Mexico and South America are destitute of laborers, what shall we say of India, with but seven workers for a population of two hundred and eighty-seven million people? or of Japan, with its forty million, and but one Sabbath-keeper within the country? or of China, with not one Sabbath-keeping missionary laboring in the native tongue for its four hundred million inhabitants. Add to this Korea, Persia, Siam, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Rhotan, Nepan, Oman, and Arabia, which, so far as we know, have never in any form heard the message for to-day, and it will be seen that the work is not yet done, but that the blessed privilege of labor is still left us. Certainly here are fields sufficient in value and population to call forth our deepest emotions and most earnest efforts.

And the way is prepared. The doors of the nations are open. To every country we have free entrance. What hinders us from filling the openings? What holds us back from entering in? What doth indeed hinder unless it be our dearth of love for souls, our want of faith in the message, our lack of the living fire of missionary love and zeal? The fingers of God’s providences point us forward. His Spirit whispers, Go; hungering souls say to us, Come. God is ready to send us. The Angel of his presence stands ready to go before us, the Spirit is impressing hearts to receive us - will we go? Will we devote our lives and property to God to-day, when the demands are so great and the opportunities for the accomplishment of good so vast and unnumbered?

And this is the time for labor. We are in the judgment hour. Soon probation’s period will be over. The day is well-nigh spent, and the night, when no man can work, draws on apace. Signs thickening on every hand indicate that this is so. The power of evil is increasing. The political, the social, the religious state of men prove that we are in the closing days.

“A terrible condition of things is soon to exist in our world. The angel of mercy is folding her wings ready to depart. Already the Lord’s restraining power is being withdrawn from the earth, and the power of Satan is working in the world to stir up the religious elements under the training of the great deceiver, to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in the children of disobedience. Already the inhabitants of earth are marshaling under the leader of the prince of darkness; and this is only the beginning of the end. The law of God is made void. We see and hear of confusion, perplexity, want, and famine, earthquakes and floods; terrible outrages will be committed by men; passion, not reason, bears sway. The wrath of God is upon the inhabitants of a world that is fast becoming as corrupt as were Sodom and Gomorrah. Already fires and floods are destroying thousands of human beings, and the property that has been selfishly hoarded by the oppression of the poor. The Lord is soon to cut short his work and put an end to sin. As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of Man shall be revealed. The Lord is removing his restrictions from the earth, and there will be death and destruction, and increasing crime and evil, cruel working against the rich who have exalted themselves above the poor. Those

who have not God’s protection will find no safety in any place or position. Human agents are being trained, and are using their inventive power to put in operation all the most wonderful machinery to wound and kill.” Sunday agitation is growing deeper and more wide-spread. In every land, even in Western and Interior Africa and in the islands of the sea, there is a clamoring for religious legislation. In our own country, our brethren are obliged to languish in prison-cells for their allegiance to the right. It will not be long before only he who has the mark of the beast can buy or sell or enjoy in peace the privileges of free citizenship and religious worship. As wise and discerning men and women, it behooves us to act now, while God’s restraining power is still manifested in the earth over the hearts’ of men.

Yes, now is the time to work; now is the time to step into the openings, created by God’s special providence to be filled at this present hour. If the opportunities offered were not now to be improved, then in God’s purpose they would not now be presented. The angels are holding the winds of war. The world is at peace. All Europe is at rest, at least outwardly; but it can not be determined just when the feverish, pent-up feelings of the nations will find vent in war. Quiet now reigns in the Orient, and never before were China and Japan so open to gospel work; but the near future may witness another struggle for the ascendancy in the East. In the Western Hemisphere, aside from the local war in Cuba, harmony and good feeling prevail among the nations; but any day may bring forth new complications and open rupture.

This is the critical moment. The golden opportunity, if let pass, may never come again. It is this year, not next; to-day, not to-morrow. The demands to meet the emergency are for devoted laborers and consecrated means. Both of these demands it is in our power to supply. Is God now working on hearts? Then yield to his drawing power. Is he asking the service of your lives? Respond, Here am I; send me where thou wilt. Is he asking for the goods he has entrusted to your stewardship! Is he demanding that you do for others what he has done for you - to give your life, your wealth, your all, for their salvation? Then hold not back, lest there go forth the divine fiat, “He is joined to his idols; let him alone,” - lest the work go on in triumph, and you be left behind in darkness. God has entrusted to us talents. We should not bury them, or hoard them in a miserly way, but should yield them back at his call, with double increase.

“Thy wealth he needs. ‘Tis his, though lent to thee
A little while to use for him. From thee
He asks his own. As steward of his gold,
‘Tis thine with willing hand to open wide
The doors, that from his stores, lent thee, may pour
His silver and his gold, the hire of those
Who reap where thou dost not - the rightful hire
Now asked of thee, since thou, thyself, at home
In rest and ease and peace dost stay, and they
Thy place must fill; as ‘neath the burning heat
Of Afric’s torrid sun and India’s plain,
Or from the harvests dense of China’s fields
They seek to reap for Christ the precious grain;
Or from the sea-girt isles the flowers sweet,
For him who died thy soul to save, they cull.”

Soon will the time of labor be ended. Soon will the harvest be overpast. Clouds may arise, but the truth is destined to triumph because in it are the life and vitality of God. Darkness may enshroud; men may prove faithless to their trust; enemies may oppose; but God will lead his people. His hand is on the helm. Above the storm his voice is hear in tones of comfort and assurance: “It is I, be not afraid.” With him as our Guide and Captain we have naught to fear. The armies of Pharaoh may threaten; the Red Sea may roar tumultuously; the desert of Sinai may stretch before in arid wastes; the mountains of Moab may obscure the fair land of promise; and the hosts of Og and the giants of Bashan challenge the passage of the armies of Israel; but God still leads, - in the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. His power will silence the hosts of Pharaoh, open the waters of the Red Sea, cause streams to burst forth in the desert, reduce to the level the mountains of Moab, disperse the hosts of Og, and make of the giants of Bashan servants to do his bidding. The curses of Baalam will be turned to blessings, and the plottings of Ahab and Jezebel, as in the days of Elijah, will advance, rather than retard the work of God in the earth.

Already the hilltops are glimmering with the light of dawning day. Already the earth is trembling with the tread of the coming Conqueror.

Let none look back now. Let the faith of none grow weak nor wavering. Courage in the Lord. Victory is just before; and that victory every soul may claim in the strength of Israel’s God. But to triumph with the truth will require a giving up of all for God, a renunciation of self, and a laying of all upon the altar. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” “He who will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” “When the Lord sees his people binding about their imaginary wants, practising self-denial, not in a mournful spirit, as Lot’s wife left Sodom, but joyfully, for Christ’s sake, and because it is the right thing to do, then the work will go forward with power. Let nothing, however dear, however loved, absorb your mind and affections, diverting you from the searchings of the Scriptures or from most earnest prayer. Watch unto prayer, live your own requests, co-operate with God by working in harmony with him, expel everything from the soul-temple which assumes the form of an idol. Now is God’s time, and his time is your time. Fight the good fight of faith. Refuse to think unbelief or to talk unbelief. There is a world to hear the last message of mercy.” “Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” Our all is what God asks of us at this time.

“Thy hand, thy heart, thy brain, thy wealth, he needs
To-day. Thy hand to reap, thy heart to love,
Thy brain to plan, thy wealth to cleave the way
Through forests dark and jungles deep, and o’er
His reapers, on to fields as yet unreaped -
Where harvests rich lie waiting for their toil.

The day is now, the day in which for Christ
All labor must be done. Too soon the night
Comes on when toil must cease, and what is then
Ungleaned, for e’er must lie ungleaned and lost.”
F. M. WILCOX.

EVERY MAN TO HIS WORK

L. T. NICOLA

[SECOND READING FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29.]

FOR the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work.” Mark 13:34.

“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” Matthew 20:6, 7.

We have come to the last meeting of this special season. During the past few days much relating to the importance of this time, the dangers that are threatening, and the unprepared condition of our people, has been presented to us, and these things have made a deep impression on our minds. The magnitude of the work given God’s people to do at this time, has also been placed before us; and it has become evident that we have not made the advancement that God would have been pleased to see us make. The Laodicean message has been applied to us, as describing our true condition, and this we have acknowledged to be true. These things have made our hearts sad, and we have sought God with fasting and prayer, humbling our hearts, confessing our sins and our backslidings, and God has mercifully heard our prayers. He has come graciously near to each one of us, and poured his blessing upon us in copious showers.

Now it is fitting for us to consider the question, What shall we do? Shall we go back to our lukewarm, indifferent condition? God forbid! No; let us do just the opposite. Let us strike while the iron is hot. Our hearts have been made tender by the operation of the Holy Spirit; we have been led to see our lack of consecration, - our spiritual blindness, apathy, and slothfulness. Influenced by these considerations, and a sense of the wrong course we have pursued in the past, we have formed good resolutions for the future. Now it remains for us to put these resolutions into definite shape, and proceed immediately to carry them out.

The Holy Spirit is at work in our midst. Let us give it free play to mold and fashion our minds. Let us open our purses and contribute liberally

toward the foreign missionary work. The wants of the cause were never greater than they are to-day; but God does not permit such wants to arise without providing some means of supplying them. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that he has money enough in the hands of his stewards abundantly to meet all the wants of his cause. Will we let him have it, or will we withhold it? This question must be answered by each steward for hismelf. Remember, God does not look on the amount, but at what it costs us. Therefore let every individual give according to his ability, and in so doing count it a privilege, and not a cross; for “God loveth a cheerful giver.”

Meantime let us not think that our responsibility ends here. O no! We have missionary work to do ourselves, and we must go at it without a moment’s delay. We must ourselves take the sickle, and go into the harvest-field to reap. Our adversary will spare no pains to keep us from doing this work. He cares nothing for the good resolutions we form, so long as he can prevent us from carrying them out. He delights in a revival which does not set the people to work, for he well knows that the church which does not at once proceed to follow up a spiritual awakening with active work for others, will fall back into a worse condition that it was before the revival.

Brethren and sisters, we cannot afford to let this be the case with us. The Lord wants us to take decided advance moves. Our souls have been refreshed and strengthened by the heavenly showers of God’s grace that have fallen upon us during this season of fasting and prayer. Then shall we not arise and act? We have put on the helmet of hope,a nd taken in our left hand the shield of faith, and in our right the sword of the Spirit. Then shall we not go forth with courage, and fight the battles of the Lord? Let us not trifle with Jehovah. If he has called us to give the last warning message to the world, ought not such a sacred responsibility to mean something to us? How can we expect men to believe that the Lord’s coming is at the door, when we are all the time denying it by our worldly lives, and showing so little zeal in its proclamation?

“Well,” you may say, “what shall we do, then?” - Awake, bestir yourselves, from the elder and deacon down to the youngest member of the church! Revive your missionary meetings, double your list of missionary papers, lay in a good stock of our tracts and small books. Has not the Lord told us that we ought to be doing twenty times as much work as we are? Get out among your neighbors and interest yourselves in their salvation. Live Christ, and talk Christ to the people.

“Can we who claim to love God pass on day after day, and week after week, indifferent to those who are out of Christ? If they should die in their sins, unwarned, their blood would be required at the unfaithful watchman’s hands. Why is it that personal efforts are not put forth, that they may be drawn to Christ by the strong cords of love? There is work for each and all to do, and will any one shrink from sacred responsibility? Shall souls be left to perish because of your unfaithfulness? Jesus has said, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ Let your light shine in clear, steady rays, that you may represent Him who has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” [These quoted passages are from the pen of Mrs. E. G. White.]

Remember, brethren, we have a definite message to give the world. “The Lord is coming soon” should be on our lips, and the same sentiment should be powerfully echoed in our lives. Instead of having our minds taken up with the things of this world, we should remember that we are pilgrims and strangers here. Instead of spending our money upon ourselves, we should live lives of strict self-denial, and seek to lay up treasure in heaven. We should make it our business to serve the Lord, to get ready ourselves, and warn our neighbors to get ready, for the coming of the Just One. If we would escape the terrible fate of having the Lord require the blood of souls at our hands, we must give them the light which we have. There is not a moment to lose. Soon it will be forever too late.

Our missionary paper, the Signs of the Times, the American Sentinel, and our books and tracts, are all efficient means of bringing the truth before the people. God has graciously provided them to help us in this work, but they cannot do any good while they lie on the shelves. We must use them. Our State tract societies must arouse to a sense of their responsibilities; our churches everywhere

must respond to the Lord’s call, and fall into line. Every man, woman, and child should press into the ranks without a moment’s delay; for God’s people are marching forward to glorious victory. He who now lags will be left behind. We must strain every nerve if we are to keep pace with the message.

O how earnestly we should plead with God for power to win souls for him! How many there are all around us who are famishing for the bread of life! Should not our hearts go out with an intense longing to feed them? Think you that this work belongs to the minister? Let us hear what the Lord has said to us:-

“The responsibility of representing Christ to the world does not rest alone upon those who are ordained as ministers of the gospel. Each member of the church should be a living epistle, known and read of all men. A working church will be a living church. Those who are elected as elders and deacons should ever be on the alert, that plans may be made and executed which will give every member of the church a share in active work for the salvation of souls. This is the only way in which the work can be preserved in a healthy, thriving condition.”

“What more can I say than I have said, to impress upon our churches ... the eternal loss they are liable to in not arousing and putting to use the executive ability that God has given them? If the members of the churches would but put to work the powers of mind that they have, in well-directed efforts, in well-matured plans, they might do a hundredfold more for Christ than they are now doing. If they went forth with earnest prayer, with meekness and lowliness of heart, seeking personally to impart to others the knowledge of salvation, the message might reach the inhabitants of the earth. How many more messages of reproof and warning must the Lord send to his chosen people before they will obey? I tell you in the name of the Lord Jesus, who gave his life for the life of the world, that as a people we are behind our privileges and opportunities.”

Do any excuse themselves on the ground of lack of preparation? Let us consider what the Lord has said on this point:-

“Some excuse themselves, saying that they do not know how to do the kind of work that is called for in the missionary. You ought to have known how to do the work from the very beginning of your religious life. Will you be content to rest in ignorance and indifference? Will you venture to be a slothful servant to the end of the chapter? or will you now seek most earnestly after God, and know what it is to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, and become laborers together with God? ...

“Never was there a time in the history of the world when there was a more urgent demand for workers than at present. The seeds of truth are to be sown, and the reapers are to follow after to gather in the sheaves. If the members of all our churches did but have the love of Christ, and the love for souls which his indwelling presence would impart, they would be aggressive workers, and would lay aside their busy activities upon unimportant things, and would put their talents out to interest, and invest in that which would bring treasure throughout eternal ages. In the service of the Master, they would have increased strength and life. O, then, why not study as to how you may reach souls who are out of the ark of safety? Let your work be proportionate to your advantages and privileges, and trade on the talents you have at your command, and you will have a living experience int he things of God.”

“The world needs missionaries, consecrated home missionaries; and no one will be registered in the books of heaven as a Christian, who has not a missionary spirit. But we can do nothing without sanctified energy. Just as soon as the missionary spirit is lost from the heart, and zeal for the cause of God begins to wane, the burden of our testimonies and plans is a cry for prudence and economy; and real backsliding begins in the missionary work. Instead of diminishing the work, let all the councils be conducted in such a manner that increased purpose may be manifested to carry forward the great work of warning the world, though it may cost self-denial and sacrifice. If every member of the church was constantly impressed with the thought, I am not my own, but have been bought with a price, each would feel that he is under the most sacred obligation to improve every ability given of God, to double his usefulness year by year, and have no excuse for spiritual negligence. Then there would be no lack of sympathy with the Master in the great work of saving souls. Who are there among us

that with spiritual perception can discern the stern conflict that is going on in the world between the forces of good and evil? ...

“Brethren and sisters, God calls upon you to enter the new fields opening before you and calling for laborers. Will you hear? Beneath the cross of Calvary will you consecrate yourselves, and take up the work with vigor and enthusiasm?

In the work of saving souls the zeal of Christ consumed him; and it is only be recognizing our responsibilities as laborers together with God, that we become followers of Christ. Shall we give up self and lift the cross, that we may be endued with the Spirit of Christ, and enjoy the triumph of victorious overcomers?” O. A. OLSEN.

“THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES.”

L. T. NICOLA

WE wish to appeal to our brethren and sisters in behalf of our pioneer missionary journal, the Signs of the Times. It will be remembered that a little over a year ago the General Conference became financially interested in the publication of the Signs of the Times. With a view to giving this paper a wide circulation, the subscription price was reduced to one dollar a year, and very low club rates were adopted. This was done with the expectation that the circulation would be increased to at least one hundred thousand copies. But we are sorry to say that at no time has the list exceeded twenty-six thousand copies, and it is somewhat less than that at the present time.

It will also be remembered that at the time these special rates were adopted, it was stated that, unless the subscription list should be increased very materially, these very low rates could not be continued.

Special efforts have ben made to make the Signs interesting and attractive, and to present the message for this time in the most forcible manner. From the many letters and reports received, we believe that our efforts in this direction have been appreciated. But, better than all this, we have the evidence that many have been brought to accept the truth through the reading of the Signs. We feel confident that we have no other one medium that is accomplishing so much good at the present time in giving the light to the world, as the Signs of the Times.

During the past year the publishers have lost over four thousand dollars on the Signs, on account of the very low rates adopted one year ago. Now the question arises, What shall be done? Shall the subscription price and club rates be increased, or will our people put forth a more earnest effort to increase the circulation? This question was very carefully considered at the late meeting of the General Conference Association. The brethren seemed to feel that the plan adopted one year ago had not yet been given a fair trial, and that before increasing the rate, a further effort should be made. We have, therefore, decided not to make any change at present in the special rates adopted at the last General Conference.

We now appeal to our tract societies, our ministers, our canvassers, and our people generally, to make a special effort during the next four months to secure subscribers for the Signs of the Times. Special terms are offered to all those who will give a part or all of their time to this work. Full information may be obtained by addressing the publishers or any of the tract societies. Now is the time to work. The long winter evenings are upon us when the people give more time to reading and study. Let there be a general rally all along the line, and thus place the Signs where it will not be necessary to raise the subscription price.

C. H. JONES.
Manager Signs of the Times.

HOW SHALL WE DO IT?

L. T. NICOLA

IN another connection Brother C. H. Jones, manager of the Signs of the Times, makes an appeal in regard to the circulation of that important pioneer paper. By statistics that we have carefully gathered, we find that the Signs of the Times is bringing more people into the truth than any other publication that we are circulating; and in view of this important fact, it is incumbent upon each one to do everything he can to increase the circulation of this paper. There are many ways by which this may be accomplished. In the first place, we would ask, Are you taking a club of the Signs of the Times in your missionary society, and mailing copies to individuals whom you hope to interest in the truth? This is one important thing that every society as well as every isolated Sabbath-keeper should be doing. Again, we would ask, Have you tried to secure subscriptions for the Signs among your friends and neighbors? Furthermore, Have you seriously considered whether God is calling you to go out and devote a part or all of your time to canvassing for this paper? If two individuals in each State would faithfully devote their entire time to canvassing for the Signs, we believe that a circulation of one hundred thousand copies might be secured and maintained. Then, Have you tried the plan of selling the Signs from house to house? In a great many localities this plan has been tried with success. Young people, and children especially, have engaged in this line of work.

Take this matter to heart, and ask God to give you the wisdom that he has promised in his word; and his wisdom bestowed upon us will enable each one in his sphere and locality to do what the Lord has for him to do in the matter of increasing the circulation of the Signs of the Times.

A. O. TAIT.
Sec. International Tract Society.

“THE AMERICAN SENTINEL.”

L. T. NICOLA

FOR the past eleven years the American Sentinel has been on duty, faithfully warning the people of coming events in this country. Hundreds of individuals have been led to a knowledge of the truth through reading its columns, and many others are now investigating. The spirit of prophecy has informed us very clearly that the American Sentinel has a distinctive field, and that our brethren should give it a full circulation in that field. While the common people will read it with interest and profit, yet it is especially adapted to lawyers, doctors, and leading educational and professional men.

Elder A. T. Jones, who has been connected with the Sentinel more or less from its beginning, and who has done such faithful work in the lines of religious liberty, is now to be connected with the Sentinel again, to devote much of his time to its editorial management and work; and with all the stirring issues that are now upon us in the country, we may expect to see the Sentinel become, more than ever, a faithful medium in bringing the truth home to the hearts of its readers. Now is the time to work for it. The plans suggested for working for the Signs of the Times, are quite applicable to working for the American Sentinel, and should be followed as fully as possible.

Orders for the Sentinel, together with any inquiries in regard to canvassing for it, club rates, etc. should be sent to your State tract society, or to the American Sentinel, 39 Bond St., New York, N. Y.

A. O. TAIT,
Sec. International Tract Society.

CONTENTS OF THIS NUMBER

L. T. NICOLA

Appointed Season of Prayer - O. A. O.751
Duty and Privilege. - J. H. DURLAND. Nov. 26752
Spiritual Dearth and Worldliness a Special Condition of the Last Days. - J. O. CORLISS. Nov. 26754
The Gospel in the Regions Beyond. - F. M. WILCOX. Nov. 27757
What the Present Developments of the Message Indicate. - J. O. CORLISS. Nov. 27760
Our Duty and Responsibility. - MRS. E. G. WHITE. Nov. 28764
A World-Wide Work. - MRS. E. G. WHITE. NOV. 28768
Duty in the Payment of Tithes. - MRS. E. G. WHITE Nov. 28770
The Future of the Work, and our Relations to the Same. - F. M. WILCOX. Nov. 29.772
Every Man to his Work. - O. A. OLSEN. Nov. 29774

SEVERAL thousand extra copies of this issue of the BULLETIN are printed, with the design that the benefits of the readings for the special season of prayer may be felt among all Seventh-day Adventists in this country. Those not receiving the readings, or having the privilege of hearing them read during this season, can be supplied, by request, directly from the publishers, or any of the State tract societies.

SOME GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

L. T. NICOLA

THIS year we have selected an earlier date than usual for the annual season of prayer, and have also made it shorter in time, - only four days. The reason for the change is, that the time selected is by many considered more favorable than a later date. By making the season shorter it was thought that all work could be laid aside, and our attention given wholly to seeking God.

Good readers should be selected, whether it be a brother or a sister. They should be appointed beforehand, so that they may have an opportunity to read over the article and become familiar with its contents; thus they will be prepared to read with intelligence and emphasis when they come before the meeting. Above all else, these readers should humble their hearts before God, and in earnest, persevering prayer seek that power which cometh from above. Self must be wholly lost sight of, and the one and only thought be to glorify God.

We have planned for two meetings daily. Others can be held where it is desirable, according to the arrangements of those who have these things in hand. The time of the meetings is also left for the brethren to arrange.

The readings have been made short, in order that there may be opportunity at each meeting for remarks from the minister, if one is present, or a prayer and social service. Do not for anything let the meeting drag. Brief, earnest prayers, testimonies short and right to the point, spirited singing from the heart, - this is pleasing to God.

Fasting. It is suggested that Sabbath and First-day be observed as fast days. This would not necessarily mean totally to abstain from food. Probably a light and simple meal toward the close of the day would be sufficient in most cases. But it is not for us to prescribe how each shall observe this fast. Those who are feeble cannot do as the strong and healthy. In any case, it should not be our idea that fasting is necessary in order to gain the favor of God. Rather this, that by abstaining from food wholly or in part, our minds may be clearer, and our spiritual discernment more keen, thus helping us to enter more fully into the spirit of the movement.

Preparatory work. Elders, deacons, and church-members generally should take a lively interest in those who, for some reason or other, labor under discouragement. Gather them all into the house of God, that the refreshing showers of the latter rain may fall on all alike. Let no one feel to ask, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Spirit of God will witness to our efforts in behalf of the backslidden. The Scriptural injunction is: “Comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”

Isolated Sabbath-keepers. We have taken pains to supply all such with readings so far as we have obtained their addresses. We trust that they will enter into the spirit of this effort with all their hearts. It seems as if it would be well for them to set apart a season for devotion every day, and take up the readings in their order. They need not feel that they are alone. Jesus has left his children the promise: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

The Foreign Mission Offerings should be taken up, preferably, at the last meeting. Pains should be taken to secure a good attendance. Individuals who are detained by sickness or other cause, should be visited by the church-elder or librarian, and have the privilege of making their offering. The cause is greatly in need of funds. We have the confidence that our brethren everywhere will realize this, and come up nobly to the support of the work.

The contributions of our churches and companies should be forwarded to the secretary of the State tract society as soon as gathered. Those not meeting in companies should also send their contributions to the secretary of their State tract society when they are living within the bounds of organized conferences; otherwise they should send directly to W. H. Edwards, care of Review and Herald, Battle Creek, Mich.

O. A. OLSEN.
President General Conference.

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