Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

October 16, 1883

Notes of Travel

By Mrs. E. G. White

At the Sanitarium and the Office

Sunday evening, August 19, I spoke by invitation at the Sanitarium. It was estimated that about four hundred persons were assembled in the ample parlor and adjoining rooms, in the broad hall, and upon the verandas. Around me were gathered the Sanitarium patients, the most feeble reclining upon sofas and rolling chairs. It was a touching scene.

Father Stone opened the meeting by prayer. With a heart deeply stirred, I addressed the crowded congregation from the words, “He that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

Many persons complain of Providence because of the discomfort and inconvenience which they suffer, when this is the sure result of their own course. They seem to feel that they are ill-treated of God, when they themselves are alone responsible for the ills which they endure. Our kind and merciful heavenly Father has established laws, which, obeyed, would promote physical, mental, and moral health. A violation of these laws is a violation of the immutable law of God, and the penalty will surely follow.

God requires us to yield our own will to his; but he does not ask us to give up anything that it would be for our good to retain. No one can be happy while he devotes his life to selfish gratification. A course of obedience to God is the wisest course for us to pursue; for it brings peace, content, and happiness as the sure result.

If the lips were constantly guarded so that no guile could corrupt them, what an amount of suffering, degradation, and misery might be prevented. If we would say nothing to wound or grieve, except in necessary reproof of sin, that God might not be dishonored, how much misunderstanding, bitterness, and anguish would be prevented. If we would speak words of good cheer, words of hope and faith in God, how much light we might shed upon the pathway of others, to be reflected in still brighter beams upon our own souls. The path of obedience to God is the path of virtue, of health, and happiness. The plan of salvation, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, opens up a way whereby man may secure happiness and prolong his days upon the earth, as well as enjoy the favor of Heaven and secure that future life which measures with the life of God. The words of inspiration will never fail. Whenever we comply with the conditions, the Lord will surely fulfill his promises.

We cannot but wonder that beings endowed with reasoning powers will by their willful disregard of the word of God render their case so much worse than need be. If men would place themselves in right relation to God by heeding the counsel of his word, they would escape innumerable dangers, and experience a peace and content that would render life a joy rather than a burden. If they would resist the allurements of forbidden pleasure, and the temptations to excess in eating, dressing, and speaking, they might in many cases greatly prolong their life here, as well as secure eternal life hereafter.

The assurance of God's approval will promote physical health. It fortifies the soul against doubt, perplexity, and excessive grief, that so often sap the vital forces and induce nervous diseases of a most debilitating and distressing character. The Lord has pledged his unfailing word that his eye shall be over the righteous, and his ear open to their prayer, while he is against all them that do evil. We make very hard work for ourselves in this world when we take such a course that the Lord is against us.

Many fall into a sad error in the belief that they may violate the laws of nature to gratify pride in dress, to indulge depraved appetite, or to find enjoyment in sensual pleasure, in the days of their youth and prosperity, and then stop when they please. They will not find it an easy matter to change the current of their thoughts to divorce themselves from their frivolous pursuits, and become sensible, candid, and thoughtful. They have squandered precious time, and lost a valuable experience. Their character has been warped and deformed by years of crooked growth. In their own strength it is impossible for them to change this result.

It is just here that all should feel their need of the mighty Healer. When they have done all in their power to place themselves in right relation to life and health, then they may come in penitence and faith to the all- tender, compassionate, loving Saviour, and ask of him physical, mental, and moral strength to act their part in blessing their fellow-men. But the Lord will not hear and answer the prayers of those who are knowingly doing evil by unhealthful practices of any kind. God, in his wisdom, has established natural laws for the proper control of our dress, our appetites, and our passions, and he requires of us obedience in every particular. It is by disregard of these laws that so many render their lives burdensome.

If we make God our trust, and carry our troubles to the great burden-bearer, we shall find rest to our souls. When the poor paralytic was brought to the house where Jesus was teaching, a dense crowd surrounded the door, barring every way of access to the Saviour. But faith and hope had been kindled in the heart of the poor sufferer, and he proposed that his friends take him to the rear of the house, break up the roof, and let him down into the presence of Christ. The suggestion was acted upon; as the afflicted one lay at the feet of the mighty Healer, all that man could do for his restoration had been done. Jesus knew that the sufferer had been tortured with a sense of his sins, and that he must first find relief from this burden. With a look of tenderest compassion, the Saviour addressed him, not as a stranger, or even a friend, but as one who had even then been received into the family of God: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”

This was the assurance which he most desired. His weak soul had yielded to temptation. He had indulged sinful inclination at the expense of sacred responsibilities and holy trust, until he was tortured with the thought that he was indeed the devil's own, betrayed into his hands, and under his control. But one who could break the strong hands of Satan had spoken, and the sinner was pardoned, the captive set free; and as hope and peace sprang up in his soul, there came the earnest, anxious desire to tell every one the story of his deliverance. Oh for health that he might point others also to the Friend of sinners! The Pharisees standing by were filled with greater bitterness by the Saviour's words, and said within themselves, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” Jesus then gave them most striking evidence of his divine character by showing that he read the thoughts of their hearts as an open book. “Wherefore,” said he, “think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” The sufferer arose and departed to his house. “But when the multitude saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.”

The same compassionate, loving Saviour is ready to listen to our prayers and to pity our weakness. The same mighty Helper will impart strength unto us. He is still pleading in behalf of every convicted, repentant, sin- stricken soul. Our hearts should be filled with joy and gratitude and praise because of his loving-kindness and manifold mercy to the children of men.

Everything beautiful and useful in our world we owe to the mercy of Christ. What, then, is the position of those who accept every favor from their beneficent Saviour, but are too proud, too ungrateful, too heartless, to acknowledge their obligation, and render praise to the Giver. Such conduct toward their fellow-men would be pronounced not merely uncourteous but heathenish; yet when manifested toward God, it calls forth no rebuke; it is not condemned by the world's standard, and with this many are satisfied. Ungrateful souls, in their insensibility, resemble the beasts of the field, that eat and drink and return no thanks to the Giver of all blessings.

Look upon the beauty that still adorns the earth, its lofty trees, its carpet of living green, its endless variety of flowers of every tint and hue, colored by the skill of the great Master Artist. Is it rational, is it manly, is it honorable to accept the gifts, and not recognize and thank the Giver? The beauty that gladdens our earthly path should speak to our hearts of the love of God for his creatures. It is but a dim reflection of the brightness of the better land, yet unrevealed. By beholding this our minds are enabled to grasp the glories within, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man,” but which “God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Monday evening, August 20, I spoke again to those employed at the Review Office. I deeply felt the need of a reformation, a transformation of character, with all connected with the publishing house. Unless they would fight the battles of the Lord, and gain the victory over self and sin, they could not win the crown of life. They should act from principle, be firm and decided, and wholly on the side of right. Should they fail to do this, their defense would be removed, and they would be found on the enemy's side, scattering from Christ. Unbelief grows as naturally as thistle-seed, which, blown here and there, takes root, vegetates, and produces yearly an increased harvest.

I entreated all, for Christ's sake, to become established for themselves upon the sure word of prophecy. All should be able to give the reason of the hope that is within them. A vigilant foe is at work earnestly and untiringly, to weaken their confidence in God and the truth. The most extravagant, inconsistent reports in regard to my position, my work, and my writings, will be put in circulation. But those who have had an experience in this message, and have become acquainted with the character of my work, will not be affected by those things, unless they themselves backslide from God, and become corrupted by the spirit of the world. Some will be deceived because of their own unfaithfulness. They want to believe a lie. Some have betrayed sacred, important trusts, and this is why they wander in the mazes of doubt. Like partially blind men, they see men as trees walking. It is unsafe to trust to the judgment of men, even though they may occupy responsible positions. Every person must have a close connection with God for himself. Our only safety is to watch and pray, and depart from all iniquity. If we would stand in the day of the Lord, we must search carefully our own hearts, and know whether we are in the love of God. Says the apostle: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” This close self-examination must go forward day by day and hour by hour.

Influences have been at work to unsettle the faith, and weaken the confidence of the naturally doubting and skeptical. There are some, even connected with our institutions, who are in great danger of making shipwreck of faith. Satan will work in disguise, in his most deceptive manner, in these branches of God's work. He makes these important instrumentalities his special points of attack, and he will leave no means untried to cripple their usefulness. The same enemy that is ever on my track, will be on yours also. He will suggest, conjecture, fabricate all sorts of reports, and those who wish them true will believe them. But be assured that the attacks of Satan will not turn me from the path of duty. The work committed to me forty years ago I must carry forward as long as life shall last. I will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God. Unpleasant as it may be, I must warn, reprove, rebuke, as God bids me, whether the carnal heart will accept or reject the words of warning. For forty years, Satan has made the most determined efforts to cut off this testimony from the church; but it has continued from year to year to warn the erring, to unmask the deceiver, to encourage the desponding. My trust is in God. I have learned not to be surprised at opposition in any form or from almost any source. I expect to be betrayed, as was my Master, by professed friends.

It is my prayer that I may have strength and grace to pursue a straightforward course, and to do my work with fidelity. Every soul will be tried and tested. Let all be careful how they treat the warnings, reproofs, and entreaties of the Spirit of God. Those who reject light because it does not harmonize with their inclinations, will be left in darkness, to choose the things they love,—the things that separate them from the favor of God.

In these days of peril we should be exceedingly careful not to reject the rays of light which Heaven in mercy sends us; for it is by these that we are to discern the devices of the enemy. We need light from Heaven every hour, that we may distinguish between the sacred and the common, the eternal and the temporal. If left to ourselves, we shall blunder at every step; we shall incline to the world, we shall shun self-denial, and see no necessity for constant watchfulness and prayer, and we shall be taken captive by Satan at his will. Some are today in this position. Having refused the light which God has sent them, they know not at what they stumble.

All whose names shall at last be found written in the Lamb's book of life, will fight manfully the battles of the Lord. They will labor most earnestly to discern and put away temptations and every evil thing. They will feel that the eye of God is upon them, and that the strictest fidelity is required. As faithful sentinels they will keep the passage barred that Satan may not pass them disguised as an angel of light to work his work of death in their midst. God wants every one of his servants to have clear, sharp, spiritual eyesight. Instead of admitting to their confidence those who have not been proved, it is their duty to challenge them, to test their fidelity, that doubt and unbelief of the present truth may not work like leaven in the midst of us.

It is far easier to allow matters in our important institutions to go in a lax, loose way, than to weed out that which is offensive, which will corrupt and destroy confidence and faith. But it would be far better to have a smaller number of workers, to accomplish less, and as far as possible, to have these who are engaged in the work true-hearted, firm as rock in principle, loving the whole truth, obedient to all the commandments of God. The white-robed ones who surround the throne of God, are not composed of that company who were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, and who choose to drift with the current rather than to breast the waves of opposition. All who remain pure and uncorrupted from the spirit and influence prevailing at this time, will have stern conflicts. They will come through great tribulation; they will wash their robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. These will sing the song of triumph in the kingdom of glory. Those who suffer with Christ will be partakers of his glory.

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