Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 11, 1888

The Inestimable Gift

We are nearing the close of another year. Christmas and New Year's will soon be here. Let us candidly and carefully review our life during the year that is about to pass, with its burden of history, into eternity, and consider the many tokens we have had of the favor of God in the blessings he has bestowed upon us. The most unspeakable gift which God could bestow upon the world was the gift of his beloved Son.

We do not half appreciate the grandeur of the plan of salvation. He who was one with the Father stepped down from the glorious throne in heaven, laid aside his royal robe and crown, and clothed his divinity with humanity, thus bringing himself to the level of man's feeble faculties. “For your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Infinite was the sacrifice on the part of the Father; infinite the sacrifice of the Son! The highest gift that Heaven could bestow was given to ransom fallen humanity. O, what divine benevolence! It would have been far easier to crush the world out of existence than to reform it. But Christ declares, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.” The Son of God understood the desperate situation, and himself came to our world, that man through him might have eternal life. Son of the Most High though he was, he submitted himself to insult, mockery, and a cruel death because he loved man, and would save him from ruin. But, as if determined to cut themselves off from all communication with Heaven, as if scorning God's mercy and defying Omnipotence, the world whom he came to save, crucified the Lord of glory. Can we, my dear brethren and sisters, behold such love, such infinite sacrifice, unmoved? O, what abundant resources divine power has provided for the fallen race!

Let us look to Jesus, and see the amazing love for fallen man of which the cross of Calvary gives evidence. The great sacrifice has been made, and Christ has purchased man at an infinite cost. “Ye are bought with a price,” even the precious blood of the Son of God. And now Jesus says, “I have claims upon the human heart; man is the purchase of my blood.” Thus he asserts his ownership of the consciences of men; and his Spirit, sent forth into all the world, convicts men of the claim God has to all there is of them, and writes his name upon the heart of every one who accepts that claim. He engages to renovate the soul through the medium of the truth. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” All other knowledge is worthless only as Christ dwells in the heart, and is interwoven with the affections. Our Lord designed that his church should reflect to the world the fullness and sufficiency that we find in him. His children derive their enjoyment from a Source higher than the world can comprehend; and as they are constantly receiving of God's bounty in spiritual and temporal gifts, they are to represent to the world the love and beneficence of Christ.

The church of Christ is the only object on the earth upon which he bestows his supreme regard; yet it has grown feeble and inefficient through selfishness. While all heaven is astir, dispatching messengers to bear the divine will to every part of the earth, they expect the church of the living God also to be co-laborers with Christ. He engages to come into the midst of his church, and to honor their prayers and decisions by the manifestation of his grace and power. They are members of his mystical body. Christ is their living head, controlling all the members of the body. Jesus himself, in his infinite mercy, is experimenting on human hearts, and by his efforts, effecting spiritual transformations so amazing that angels look on with astonishment and joy. The same unselfish love that characterizes the Master, is seen in human lives and characters, and is qualifying them to bear their part in the decisions of the judgment, and to share in the pleasures of heaven. Christ expects that man will be partaker of his divine nature while in the world, and thus convey a large amount of glory from earth to heaven. In full-souled piety, devotion, and ardor, man is to be one with Christ and one with God.

The church of Christ is the repository in which heaven's wealth is stored, to be imparted to others, in the providence of God, as the extension of his work and the upbuilding of his cause shall demand. The rich dowry of grace, the intrusted capital of money, and the possessions in houses and lands, he has intrusted to his stewards upon the earth; and nothing can be more offensive to God, who is constantly bestowing his gifts upon man, than to see him selfishly grasping these gifts, and not rendering back to God either interest or principal. God designs that his stewards shall work as Christ worked, exerting all their influence to win souls to him, denying self as he denied himself, and practicing strict economy, in order to have means to use in Christ's cause. I have seen that we do not answer the claims of God upon us as we should. We might invest larger treasures in the bank of heaven, to be employed in missionary work. Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world.” God is constantly clothing us with temporal and spiritual blessings as with a garment. Jesus is today in heaven, preparing mansions for those who love him; yea, more than mansions, a kingdom, which is to be ours. But all who shall inherit these blessings must be partakers of the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Christ in the salvation of souls.

If men and women and youth could only realize the part that it is their privilege to act in connection with Jesus Christ, they would make far greater effort than they are making now. God forbid that any who are made partakers of the mercy and the grace of Christ, should devote their thoughts and their energies to serving themselves in these precious golden hours of probation. What answer can you give to the Master when he shall call for an account of your stewardship, if you have not been the means of saving souls for Jesus Christ? If your tithes and offerings, and even yourselves, have been withheld from his service; if the precious talents intrusted to your stewardship, either in property, in physical strength, in mental ability, or in all united, are not wisely improved; if they are turned to selfish gratification, you imperil your soul, and dishonor God, your Creator.

There are today a large number who are not rendering to God the things that are God's. Opportunities, precious beyond price, of doing good to those around us, are being lost, because our eyes are not single to the glory of God. Satan has his devices to divert the mind to selfish purposes, so that the pressing needs of the cause, both for personal effort and means, shall be lost sight of. Not only your tithes, which belong to God by a special contract between him and his people, but your free-will offerings, are lost to his cause. One dollar now is of more value to the work than ten dollars will be at some future period. The Lord tests his people with prosperity, to see if they will consider souls of more value than money, or houses, or lands. If you cling to the means with which he intrusts you, and do not consider the wants of the cause in its various branches as more important than any temporal gain, you do not give evidence that you appreciate the gift of God's dear Son, whose life was the price of your redemption. Souls are perishing in the very shadow of your own doors, and many of you are too indolent and indifferent to make an effort to bring them to a knowledge of the truth.

My soul is stirred within me as the Macedonian cry comes from every direction, from the cities and villages of our own land, from across the Atlantic and the broad Pacific, and from the islands of the sea, “Come over and help us.” Brethren and sisters, will you answer the cry? saying: “We will do our best, both in sending you missionaries and money. We will deny ourselves in the embellishment of our houses, in the adornment of our persons, and in appetite. We will give the means intrusted to us into the cause of God, and we will devote ourselves also unreservedly to his work.” Your property, your time, your strength, your opportunities all belong to God, and for these talents you must render an account. The wants of the cause are laid before us; the empty treasuries appeal to us most pathetically for help.

Work, brethren, work while you have the opportunity; while the day lasts. Work, for “the night cometh, when no man can work.” How soon that night may come, it is impossible for you to tell. Now is your opportunity; improve it. Invest every dollar that you can spare, in the bank of heaven. Will you believe the words of Christ? and will you be doers of his word?

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

These are the words of Jesus, who loved you so much that he gave his own life, that you might have a home with him in his kingdom. Did he not know your great need? Did he not in these words present the only safe course for you to follow, if you would gain the crown of glory? Then do not dishonor your Lord by disregarding his positive commands. Do not disobey the injunctions of Him who loved you.

There are those who seem determined to invest their means in the world, or tie them up somewhere, lest they return to the Giver in the gifts and offerings which are his due. More than this, they rob God in tithes; and he will not bless them in their selfishly withholding from him his own. O, what an amount of means and time is wasted in the indulgence of pride! God will wait for a time still imparting his blessings; but if men continue to dishonor him by withholding that which is his due, reverses will surely come, in punishment for their base ingratitude. God sees that the more he places in the hands of these men who divorce themselves from him,—men for whom he has done so much,—the more their affections are placed on the earthly treasure, and the less thought and interest they have for the eternal reward.

God calls upon those who have possessions in lands and houses, to sell, and to invest the money where it will be supplying the great want in the missionary field. When once they have experienced the real satisfaction that comes from thus doing, they will keep the channel open, and the means the Lord intrusts to them will be constantly flowing into the treasury, that souls may be converted, and brought into the church. These souls will, in their turn, practice the same self-denial, economy, and simplicity, for Christ's sake that they, too, may bring their offerings to God. Through these talents, wisely invested, still other souls may be converted; and thus the work goes on, showing that the gifts of God are appreciated. The Giver is acknowledged, and glory redounds from earth to heaven in the salvation of souls, through the faithfulness of God's stewards. Although Jesus was the Prince of Life, he did not take his place with the rich and lordly ones of earth, but he honored the lowly, the oppressed, and the suffering, and bestowed upon them the blessings of his love.

Christ was the majesty of heaven, yet the world rejected him. Let not his professed followers be guilty of this neglect. Is not the sin of covetousness fearfully denounced in the Holy Scriptures? “For this ye know, that no ... covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” “The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come; that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

Brethren, are your lands and houses of more value than the precious souls for whom Christ has died? Every church-member should awake, and go to work in the Lord's vineyard. If there are some who cannot give personal effort in missionary work, let them live economically and give of their earnings. Thus they can contribute money to send papers and books to those who have not the light of truth; they can help pay the expenses of students who are fitting for missionary work. Open your hearts in gifts and offerings; bring them to Jesus; lay them at his feet, and he will bless you. The necessities of the cause of God demand a continual flow of liberality. Let those who have been selfishly withholding their means, now bring offerings to the Lord. Be prompt in rendering to God his own. One reason why there is so great a dearth of the Spirit of God, is because so many are robbing God of his just claims.

There are poor men and women who are writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes, and give the proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they want to do something for the Master who has done everything for them. I would say to such, “It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now; but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers for wisdom to understand your duty.” If there was more seeking God for heavenly wisdom, and less seeking wisdom from men, there would be far greater light from Heaven, and God would bless the humble seeker. But I can say to those to whom God has intrusted goods, who have lands and houses: “Commence your selling, and giving alms. Make no delay. God expects more of you than you have been willing to do.” We call upon you who have means, to inquire with earnest prayer: What is the extent of the divine claim upon me and my property? There is work to be done now to make ready a people to stand in the day of the Lord. Means must be invested in the work of saving souls, who, in turn, shall bring their offerings to the treasury, and win souls to the Lord.

When we make these earnest appeals in behalf of the cause of God, and present the financial wants of our missions, conscientious souls who believe the truth are deeply stirred. Like the poor widow, whom Christ commended, who gave her two mites into the treasury, they give, in their poverty, to the utmost of their ability. Such often deprive themselves even of the apparent necessities of life; while there are men and women who, possessing houses and lands, cling to their earthly treasure with selfish tenacity, and do not have faith enough in the message and in God to put their means into his work. To these last are especially applicable the words of Christ: “Sell that ye have and give alms.” Lay up treasure in heaven. Commit some of your earthly possessions to the bank of heaven.

Let us so manifest our faith and our love for God and the souls of men, that Jesus and his angels can look down from heaven upon us as a people, and bless us upon the coming Christmas and New Year's. How unworthy we are of all the priceless gifts and the continued mercies with which the Lord blesses us! How marvelous has been the goodness of God to the children of men! And how can we better testify our gratitude to God than by making thank-offerings to him at this Christmas time?

Our children have been educated to expect gifts from parents and friends upon Christmas. Christmas is celebrated to commemorate Christ's birth. If we celebrate it only in seeking to give pleasure to our children and one another, our offerings are diverted from the true object. We should bring our thank offerings to the Lord, laying our gifts at the feet of Him who has opened the treasures of heaven to us.

The enemy plans that human minds and hearts shall be diverted from God and his cause, to praise and honor one another. God has been left out of the question, and positively dishonored. Christmas has been made a day of feasting of gluttony, of selfish indulgence. Now let every family consider this matter in all its bearings. Let the parents place it in all its wonderful significance before their children and friends, and say: “This year we will not expend money in presents upon ourselves, but we will honor and glorify God. We will testify of our gratitude to him who gave his Son to die as our sacrifice, that we might have the gift of eternal life.” Let us show that we appreciate this gift, and respond as far as it is in our power, with thank-offerings. Let us celebrate Christmas by remembering God, instead of remembering our friends and relatives with gifts which they do not need.

Will not God acknowledge the offerings thus bestowed? Will he not bless the little ones who bring some offering of their own to the Master?—Indeed he will. Is not this a most precious opportunity to educate your children in the work of self-denial for Jesus's sake? Tell the children of the great missionary field, and talk to them of the love of Christ; of the great sacrifice made because he loved us, and wanted us to have a home with him in his kingdom. He came to our world to bless it with his divine presence, to bring peace, and light, and joy; but the world would not receive him, and put the Prince of Life to death. His death was to bring the treasures of heaven within the reach of all who should believe in Jesus. Make this glorious theme plain to your children; and as their young hearts expand with love to God, let them present their little offerings, that they may act their part in sending the precious light of truth to others. Thus the children may become little missionaries for the Master. Their little offerings coming into the treasury like many tiny rivulets, may swell the stream to a river that shall refresh many souls who are thirsting for the truth of God; and even these children may see some souls saved in the kingdom of God as the result of their self-denial.

December 11, 1888

David's Gifts to the Temple

“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” 1 Chronicles 29:14. The time when David was to be gathered to his fathers had almost come; but before his career closed, he turned his attention to the sanctuary to be erected for the Lord. David was not the one chosen of the Lord to build the temple; but he had no jealousy in his heart on this account, and manifested none the less zeal and earnestness in its behalf. He had prepared in abundance the most costly material,—gold, silver, onyx stones, and stones of divers colors, marble, and the most precious woods. And now all this valuable treasure that he had collected must be committed to others; for other hands must build the house for the ark, the symbol of God's presence.

David summons the princes of the congregation to receive his legacy in trust, but he has a special appeal to make to the people before he commits to them all this substance for the temple of the Lord. He says, “I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God,” and then goes on to enumerate the materials he had gathered. More than this, he says: “I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal.” “Who then,” he asks of the assembled multitude who had brought their liberal gifts, “who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?”

“Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king's work, offered willingly, and gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy. Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee: and give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.” 1 Chronicles 29:6-20.

With deepest interest the king had gathered the rich material for building and beautifying the temple. He had composed the glorious anthems that in after years should echo through its courts. Now his heart was made glad in God, as the chief of the fathers and the princes of Israel so nobly responded to his appeal, and offered themselves to the important work before them. And as they gave their service, they were disposed to do more. They swelled the gifts, giving of their own possessions into the treasury. David had felt deeply his own unworthiness in gathering the material for the house of God, and the expression of loyalty in the ready response of the nobles of his kingdom, as they came forward, with willing hearts dedicating their treasures to Jehovah, and devoting themselves to his service, filled him with joy. But it was God alone who had imparted this disposition to his people. He must be glorified, not man. God must receive the honor and praise due to his name. It was he who had provided the people with the riches of earth, and his Spirit had made them willing to bring their precious things for the temple. It was all of the Lord; if his divine power had not wrought with human effort, moving upon the hearts of the people, the king's efforts would have been in vain, and the temple would never have been erected.

All that man receives of God's bounty still belongs to God. Whatever God has bestowed in the valuable and beautiful things of earth, is placed in the hands of men to test them,—to sound the depths of their love for him and their appreciation of his favors. Whether it be the treasures of wealth or of intellect, they are to be laid, a willing offering, at the feet of Jesus; the giver acknowledging, meanwhile, with David, “For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”

It is an honor bestowed upon man that God should intrust to his keeping the riches of earth, and it is done that he may co-operate with God by using these precious gifts in advancing the Lord's work in the earth. None of us can do without the blessing of God, but God can do his work without the aid of man, if he so choose. But this is not his plan; he has given to every man his work, and he trusts men with treasures of wealth or of intellect, as his stewards. Whatever you render to God is, through his mercy and generosity, placed to your account as a faithful steward. But ever bear in mind, “Of thine own have we given thee.”

This is not a work of merit on man's part. However wonderful the powers and abilities of man, he possesses nothing which God did not give him, and which he cannot withdraw, if these precious tokens of his favor are not appreciated, and rightly applied. Angels of God, with clear, fine perceptions unclouded by sin, recognize the endowments of Heaven as bestowed with the intention that they be returned in such a way as to add to the glory of the great Giver. For one to use these God-given capabilities to procure his own happiness, or to promote his own glory, dishonors the Creator. Brethren and sisters in Christ, God calls for the consecration to his service of every faculty he has given you. He wants you to say, with David: “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”

E. G. White.

December 11, 1888

The Approaching Crisis

A great crisis awaits the people of God. Very soon our nation will attempt to enforce upon all, the observance of the first day of the week as a sacred day. In doing this, they will not scruple to compel men against the voice of their own conscience to observe the day the nation declares to be the Sabbath. In view of this, there must be, among God's commandment-keeping people, more spirituality and a deeper consecration to God, and a zeal in his work that has never yet been reached, to hold aloft the banner of God's truth. The law of God, the only standard of righteousness, must be prized in proportion as the professed Christian world manifest contempt for it.

The law of God should be loved and prized by God's true people now, more than ever before. There is the most urgent necessity of enforcing the words of Christ upon the mind and heart of every believer, both men and women, youth and children: “Search the Scriptures.” Examine your Bibles as you have never done before. Unless you arise to a higher, holier attitude in your religious life, you will not be ready for the appearing of our Lord. There are many who are not purifying their souls by obeying the truth. As great light has been given them, God expects proportionate zeal, devotion, and faithfulness upon the part of his people. But there will be proportionate darkness, unbelief, and blindness as the truth is not appreciated and acted upon.

The Lord will not remove from his people every occasion to doubt; but he will give sufficient light and evidence to encourage faith and confidence; and if they walk as Christ, the light of the world, leads the way, they will not step aside into the paths of doubt and unbelief. When declension and danger threaten the church, there will be more praying, more fasting, by the faithful few, and the Lord will answer the prayers offered to him in sincerity, and at the same time he will come forth as an avenger because of the guiltiness of the evil-workers. He will be a protector; for he will “avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them.”

It will appear as though Satan is triumphant, and that truth is overborne with falsehood and error; because the people over whom God has spread his shield, and the country which has been an asylum to the conscience-oppressed lovers of God and the defenders of his truth, are placed in desperate jeopardy through its oppressive legislation. Should our nation abjure the principles of Protestantism, to give countenance and sanction to the Sunday law, they will in this act join hands with popery; for it will be nothing else than giving life to the tyranny which has been eagerly waiting and watching its opportunity to spring into active despotism. And now, as this evil is on the point of realization, it is the business of all believers in the Bible to arouse.

For years many have sat in calm expectation of this event, and they will not be working out the purposes of God if they comfort themselves with the thought that what is to come will come, and anything that they may do will not prevent it. They should not settle down in an easy, comfortable indolence, thinking that God will shelter his own people in the day of this calamity. This is the time for action, not for indolence and spiritual stupor. Satan is preparing his forces with a power from beneath, and all heaven is in busy activity, ready to work in the interests of those who are awake to the condition of things, and, like faithful sentinels, are doing all they can to arouse the people to avert, if possible, the threatened evil.

If our people continue in the listless attitude in which they have been, God cannot pour upon them his Spirit. They are unprepared to co-operate with him. They do not realize the threatened danger, and are not awake to the situation. They should feel now as never before their need of vigilance and well-concerted action.

The following quotation from “Testimony, No. 32,” pages 208-210, which was published in 1885, shows that our people have not been left without warnings as to the duties and dangers of the times:

God has revealed what is to take place in the last days, that his people may be prepared to stand against the tempest of opposition and wrath. Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter his faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for their Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is no time now to allow our minds to be engrossed with things of minor importance. While men are sleeping, Satan is actively arranging matters so that the Lord's people may not have mercy or justice. The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the under-current is tending. Its professions are mild, and apparently Christian; but when it shall speak, it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger. We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people. We should bring before them the real question at issue, thus interposing the most effectual protest against measures to restrict liberty of conscience. We should search the Scriptures, and be able to give the reason for our faith. Says the prophet, “The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.”

Those who have access to God through Christ have important work before them. Now is the time to lay hold of the arm of our strength. The prayer of David should be the prayer of pastors and laymen: “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” Let the servants of the Lord weep between the porch and the altar, crying, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” God has always wrought for his people in their greatest extremity, when there seemed the least hope that ruin could be averted. The designs of wicked men, the enemies of the church, are subject to his power and overruling providence. He can move upon the hearts of statesmen; the wrath of the turbulent and disaffected, the haters of God, of his truth and his people, can be turned aside, even as the rivers of water are turned, if he orders it thus. Prayer moves the arm of Omnipotence. He who marshals the stars in order in the heavens, whose word controls the waves of the great deep,—the same infinite Creator will work in behalf of his people if they call upon him in faith. He will restrain the forces of darkness, until the warning is given to the world, and all who will heed it are prepared for the conflict. “The wrath of man shall praise Thee,” says the psalmist; “the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front, and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God's means of provoking inquiry, and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber.

Thus it has been in the past history of God's people. For refusing to worship the great golden image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the three Hebrews were cast into the fiery furnace. But God preserved his servants in the midst of the flames, and the attempt to enforce idolatry resulted in bringing the knowledge of the true God before the assembled princes and great men of the vast kingdom of Babylon. So it was when the decree went forth forbidding prayer to any god save the king. As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications three times a day to the God of heaven, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the true God, and to present the reason why he alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering him praise and homage. And the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions was another evidence that the Being whom he worshiped was the true and living God.

So the imprisonment of Paul brought the gospel before kings, princes, and rulers, who otherwise would not have had this light. The efforts made to retard the progress of truth will serve to extend it. The excellence of truth is more clearly seen from every successive point from which it may be viewed. Error requires disguise and concealment. It clothes itself in angel robes, and every manifestation of its real character lessens its chance of success.

The people whom God has made the depositaries of his law are not to permit their light to be hidden. The truth must be proclaimed in the dark places of the earth. Obstacles must be met and surmounted. A great work is to be done, and this work has been intrusted to those who know the truth. They should make mighty intercession with God for help now. The love of Christ must be diffused in their own hearts. The Spirit of Christ must be poured out upon them, and they must be making ready to stand in the judgment. While they are consecrating themselves to God, a convincing power will attend their efforts to present the truth to others, and its light will find access to many hearts. We must sleep no longer on Satan's enchanted ground, but call into requisition all our resources, and avail ourselves of every facility with which Providence has furnished us. The last warning is to be proclaimed “before many people, and nations, and tongues, and kings;” and the promise is given, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

Through fraud and falsehood Satan is now using those who claim to be Christians to divorce the world from God's mercy. They are working in blindness. They do not see that if a Protestant government sacrifices the principles that have made them a free, independent nation, and through legislation brings into the Constitution, principles that will propagate papal falsehood and papal delusion, they are plunging into the Roman horrors of the Dark Ages. But this need not be, just at this point of time, if the church is aroused to her duty and her work. A vast responsibility is devolving upon men and women of prayer throughout the land, to petition that God may sweep back this cloud of evil, and give a few more years of grace to work for the Master.

The peculiar work of the third angel has not been seen in its importance. God meant that his people should be far in advance of what they are today. But now, when the time has come for them to spring into action, they have the getting ready to do. When Satan made his advances, it was high time for the watchmen on the walls of Zion to arouse and counteract his efforts to obtain the advantage. It is not in the order of God that light has been kept from our people,—the very present truth which they needed for this time. Not all of our ministers who are giving the third angel's message, really understand what constitutes that message. The National Reform movement has been regarded by some as of so little importance that they have not thought it necessary to give much attention to it, and have even felt that in so doing, they would be giving time to questions distinct from the third angel's message. May the Lord forgive our brethren for thus interpreting the very message for this time. The third angel's message comprehends more than many suppose. What interpretation do they give to the passage which says an angel descended from heaven, and the earth was lightened with his glory? This is not a time when we can be excused for inactivity. If this work, which was so essential, had been taken up by our ministers, there would be today a far different state of things in all our churches.

Some in the church will prove to be false brethren; their faith, their love, their patience, their constancy will be tested and tried; and if they are not rooted and grounded in the truth, if they are not filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and the praise of God, they will become offended at reproofs and warnings, will not humble their souls before God, and will go back and walk no more with those who love the truth. The people need to be aroused in regard to the dangers of the present time. The watchmen are asleep. We are years behind. Let the chief watchmen feel the urgent necessity of taking heed to themselves, lest they lose the opportunities given to them to see the dangers. Let them blow the trumpet, not in a general way, but so that it may give a certain sound, that other watchmen upon the walls of Zion may hear, and in their turn send forth the warning note.

Perils now threaten the people of God; and what will they do? Can we not assist in lifting the standard, and in calling to the front those who have a regard for their religious rights and privileges? God calls us to awake; for the end is near. The prophecies that show us the closing scenes of earth's history, are fast fulfilling. The time is fast approaching when we shall be made to feel the hand of oppression, because we demand our religious rights. Shall we then dishonor God by keeping silent, when his holy commandments are being trampled under foot?

We have been looking many years for a Sunday law to be enacted in our land; and now that the movement is right upon us, we ask, What are our people going to do in the matter? Do you realize that the night will soon come, when no man can work? Have you that intensity of zeal, that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when opposition is brought upon you? If God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when we shall be brought before councils, and every position of truth which we hold will be severely criticised. The time that we are now allowing to go to waste should be devoted to the charge God has given us, of preparing for the approaching crisis. Much time should be spent in prayer, that our garments of character may be washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.

We should especially seek God for grace and power to be given his people now. God lives; and we do not believe that the time has fully come when he would have our liberties restricted. The prophet saw “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” Another angel ascending from the east, cried to them, saying, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” This points out the work we now have to do, which is to cry to God for the angels to hold the four winds until missionaries shall be sent to all parts of the world, and shall have proclaimed the warning against disobeying the law of Jehovah. But every conceivable thing that the enemy can bring against the people of God, to hinder them in their work, will be employed. The Lord, on the other hand, bids all to be awake and to watch; for it was while men slept, that the enemy sowed tares.

E. G. White.

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