Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

August 3, 1886

Known by Their Fruits

By Mrs. E. G. White

Impressions and feelings are no sure evidence that a person is being led by the Lord. Satan will, if he is unsuspected, give feelings and impressions. These are not correct and safe guides. All should acquaint themselves thoroughly with the evidences of our faith, and the great study should be, how they can adorn their profession and bear fruit to the glory of God. None should take a course to make themselves disgusting to unbelievers. They should be chaste, modest, and elevated in their conversation. Their lives should be blameless. A reckless, trifling, joking spirit should be rebuked. It is no fruit of the grace of God upon the heart for a person to talk and pray with talent in meeting, and when out of meeting give up to a rough, careless manner of talking and acting. Such are a reproach to the cause of God, and are miserable representatives of our faith.

The truth should be presented in a manner which will make it attractive to the intelligent mind. We as a people are not understood. We are looked upon as degraded, and are accounted as poor, weak-minded, and low. Then how important for all those who teach, and all who believe the truth, to be so affected by its sanctifying influence as to show unbelievers, by their consistent, elevated lives, that they have been deceived in this people! How important that the cause of truth be stripped of everything like a false and fanatical excitement, that the truth may stand upon its own merits, revealing its native purity and exalted character!

It is highly important for those who preach the truth to be refined in their manners. They should shun oddities and eccentricities, and present the truth in its purity and clearness. See Titus 1:9: “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” In verse 16 Paul speaks of class who profess that they know God, but in works deny him, and are “unto every good work reprobate.” He then exhorts Titus, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.” “Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” This instruction is written for the benefit of all whom God has called to preach the word, and also for the benefit of his people who hear the word.

The truth of God will never degrade, but will elevate the receiver. It will refine his taste, sanctify his judgment, and perfect him for the company of the pure and holy angels in the kingdom of God. There are those whom the truth finds coarse, rough, odd, boastful, who take advantage of their neighbors if they can, in order to benefit themselves. They err in many ways, yet when the truth is believed by them from the heart, it will work an entire change in their lives. They will immediately commence the work of reformation. The pure influence of truth will elevate the whole man. In his business deal with his fellow-men he will have the fear of God before him, will love his neighbor as himself, and will deal just as he would be dealt by. His conversation will be truthful, chaste, and of such an elevating character that unbelievers cannot take advantage, or say evil of him justly, neither be disgusted with his uncourteous ways and unbecoming speech. He will carry the sanctifying influence of the truth into his family, and let his light so shine before them that they by seeing his good works may glorify God. He will in all the walks of life exemplify the life of Christ.

The law of God will be satisfied with nothing short of perfection, of perfect and entire obedience to all its claims. To come half way to its requirements, and not render perfect and thorough submission and obedience, will avail nothing. The worldling and the infidel admire consistency, and have ever been powerfully convicted that of a truth God has been with his people when their works have corresponded with their faith. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Every tree is known by his own fruits. Our words, our actions, are the fruit we bear. There are those who hear the sayings of Christ, but do them not. They profess, but their fruits are such as to disgust unbelievers. They are boastful, and pray and talk in a self-righteous manner, exalting themselves, and virtually thanking God, like the Pharisee, that they are not as other men. They recount their good deeds, yet these very ones are crafty, and overreach in business deal. Their fruits are not good. Their words and acts are wrong, and yet they seem to be blinded to their destitute, wretched condition.

The following scripture is applicable to those who go along under such a deception: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Here is the greatest deception that can affect the human mind,—for persons to believe that they are right when they are wrong. They think that they are doing a great work in their religious life. Finally Jesus tears off their self-righteous covering, and vividly presents before them the true picture of themselves, in all their wrongs and deformity of religious character. They are found wanting when it is forever too late to have their wants supplied.

God has provided means to correct the erring; yet if those who err, choose to do as they think best, and follow their own judgment, and despise the means God has ordained to correct the erring and unite them upon the truth, they will be brought into the position described by the words of our Lord quoted above.

God is bringing out a people, and preparing them to stand as one, united, to speak the same things, and to carry out the prayer of Christ for his disciples: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

God has blessed his people who have moved forward, following his opening providence. He has brought out a people from every class upon the great platform of truth. Infidels have been convinced that of a truth God is with his people, and have humbled their hearts to obey him. The work of God progresses and moves steadily on. Notwithstanding all the evidences that God has been leading the body, yet there are, and will continue to be, those who profess the Sabbath, who will move independent of the body. They will believe and act as they choose. Their views are confused. Their scattered state is a standing testimony that God is not with them. By the world, the Sabbath and their errors are placed upon a level, and thrown away together. God is angry with those who pursue a course to make the world hate them. If a Christian is hated because of his good works, and for following Christ, he will have a reward. But if he is hated because he does not take a course to be loved, hated because of his uncultivated manners, and because he makes the truth a matter of quarrel with his neighbors, and because he has taken a course to make the Sabbath as annoying as possible to them, he is a stumbling-block to sinners, a reproach to the sacred truth; and unless he repents, it were better for him that a millstone were hung about his neck, and he cast into the sea.

No occasion should be given to unbelievers to reproach our faith. We are considered odd and singular, and should not take any course to lead unbelievers to think us more so than our faith requires us to be.

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