Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 18, 1888

David's Prayer

[Delivered at Battle Creek, Mich., December 8, 1888.]

By Mrs. E. G. White

Text: “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” Psalm 119:126, 127.

There was a time during David's reign over the kingdom of Israel, when he saw that special contempt was shown for the law of God. But what influence did this have upon him? Did it have the effect to sweep him into the current, so that he shared the same distrust in the law of Jehovah, and manifested the contempt that was revealed by those around him?—It had an entirely different influence. He saw that the disregard of the law of Jehovah brought moral desolation instead of increased piety, devotion, and love for God. God seemed to be put out of their minds; and the picture presented was not a pleasant one to the king and prophet of God. He beheld the influences that resulted from the transgression of the law of God, and it quickened his zeal, earnestness, and devotion, so that he felt urged to elevate the standard of righteousness, and hold it high amid the people, instead of uniting with them in transgression.

If David thus marked the depravity of his time, and attributed it to the neglect of keeping the law of God, may we not interpret the increasing depravity, and the prevalence of iniquity in our world today, to the universal scorn shown for God's law? From generation to generation, from age to age, there has been a growing disrespect and contempt for the law of Jehovah. And when we come to our time, as we near the close of this world's history, there is a depravity existing everywhere, which reveals the fact that the law of God is made void, and that there is not in the minds and hearts of the people a yearning desire that God should reveal himself. “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.”

What should be the attitude of the people of God at the present time? We see this growing contempt for the law of God revealed everywhere; and the outlook for the future is perilous for those who love that law, for they stand in marked contrast to those who are showing it such contempt. The secular and the Christian world seem to have joined hands in this matter, and all are trampling under foot the law of Jehovah. Why is it that today, as we look around us, we see so few youth whose moral sensibilities can be aroused? We are forced to admit that it is next to impossible to get them to appreciate the claims that high Heaven has upon them. How difficult it is for them to see the sinfulness of sin, and to realize that God has made an infinite sacrifice in giving his Son to come into our world, that man might have another trial, notwithstanding his transgression of the law. God was, in the beginning, dishonored by the holy pair in Eden, because they held the word of Satan above the word of God. This is the difficulty with the people today. If they would take God's word just as it reads, and have reverence for it, and receive the sacred oracles of God as his voice, there would be a growing regard for the law of Jehovah.

God has a law which governs the intellects of all the holy beings in his universe, and this law is designed to govern the inhabitants of this world. Christ died that the human family might be brought back to their allegiance to God. He was their only hope of redemption. He did not suffer and die on Calvary's cross to annul the law, because he would thus be the administrator of sin by perpetuating transgression. If the law of God could have been changed, or one precept of it altered to meet man's fallen condition, then the Son of God need not have come into our world and died. But because the law of God was changeless in its character; because not one principle of it, not even a jot or a tittle, could be dishonored and swept away, God consented to let his Son take upon himself the results of man's transgression of that law, thus making it possible for man to be pardoned, and to become obedient to all God's commandments. It is the righteousness and perfection of his Son, who takes upon himself our sins, our defects, our weaknesses, which God accepts; and through faith in the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour we are prisoners of hope. Christ's righteousness becomes our righteousness, if we sustain a living connection with him. Then we cease to transgress the holy law of God, and become partakers of the divine nature.

A time is coming when the law of God is, in a special sense, to be made void in our land. The rulers of our nation will, by legislative enactments, enforce the Sunday law, and thus God's people be brought into great peril. When our nation, in its legislative councils, shall enact laws to bind the consciences of men in regard to their religious privileges, enforcing Sunday observance, and bringing oppressive power to bear against those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath, the law of God will, to all intents and purposes, be made void in our land; and national apostasy will be followed by national ruin. We see that those who are now keeping the commandments of God need to bestir themselves, that they may obtain the special help which God alone can give them. They should work more earnestly to delay as long as possible the threatened calamity. If, in our land of boasted freedom, a Protestant government should sacrifice every principle which enters into its Constitution, and propagate papal falsehood and delusion, well may we plead, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law.” Some may think that because it has been revealed in prophecy that our nation shall restrict the consciences of men, it must surely come; and that if we make an effort to preserve our liberty, we shall be acting the part of unfaithful servants, and thus come under the condemnation of God.

This peril now threatens the people of God; and what are we going to 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 upon us to awake. We know the end is near. We know that the prophecies are fast fulfilling which show that we are living in the close of this world's history.

John was shown the last work for this time (Revelation 14:9-12), and he saw a people of whom he says, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” John tells us what was opened to him in vision: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” This vision represents a people whose attention was called to the sanctuary in heaven. There John saw the ark of God, containing the tables of stone whereon was engraven the law of God; and this people have been seeking to be in harmony with heaven by keeping all God's commandments. There has been great opposition because they have respected the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which by the secular and religious world has been ignored.

Now God speaks to us from Sinai's mount: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” It is the only commandment which is prefaced with a “remember,” as though God had said, “Do not forget it.” He has given to man the Sabbath as a memorial of creation. Man is to obey his command, and as he observes this memorial, the mind will be directed to the living God, who created the heavens and the earth. If man had always remembered to keep holy the Sabbath, there would never have been an atheist or an infidel in our world; but Satan has made an effort to keep God out of the mind, and has worked his plans so as to accomplish this; and having banished God from the memory of man, he puts himself, if possible, in the place of God, and even goes so far as to exalt himself above God, in compelling the consciences of men, which God has never done.

We are now keeping the seventh day,—the very day God has told us to keep,—and are here assembled on it for religious worship. The papacy has brought in another day, a common working day, and established it in opposition to the Sabbath of the Lord. This he has done so that men shall not see or understand what are the sacred claims of God resting upon them. Well, what are we to do about it? Are we going to let the enemy make us captives, so that we shall not pay respect and reverence to God's holy day? Notwithstanding the fact that nearly the whole Protestant world have taken this child of the papacy, and cradled and nursed it, and given it prominence, it is our privilege and duty to keep holy the Sabbath of Jehovah.

Prophecy tells us that the man of sin, the papacy, was to change times and laws; and because we are not, with the whole world, accepting a spurious Sabbath for the genuine, persecution will be poured out upon us. And it is fast coming to that point when we shall see the power of the oppressive hand brought against our religious liberty, and have our right disputed to keep the day that God has blessed, and given to the world as a memorial of his creative work. Shall we therefore honor a day which has no foundation in God's word, an institution of the papacy, and trample on the holy day that Jehovah has blessed, and set apart for man? John, looking down to the close of this world's history, saw a class who kept the commandments of God, and had the faith of Jesus. I want to be among that number; I want to be on God's side of the question.

We see that efforts are being made to restrict our religious liberties. The Sunday question is now assuming large proportions. An amendment to our Constitution is being urged in Congress, and when it is obtained, oppression must follow. I want to ask, Are you awake to this matter? and do you realize that the night cometh, when no man can work? Have you had that intensity of zeal, and that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when oppression is brought upon you? It does not seem possible to us now that any should have to stand alone; but if God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when we shall be brought before councils and before thousands for his name's sake, and each one will have to give the reason of his faith. Then will come the severest criticism upon every position that has been taken for the truth. We need, then, to study the word of God, that we may know why we believe the doctrines we advocate. We must critically search the living oracles of Jehovah.

The means we are devoting to our comfort here, the time that we allow to go to waste, ought to be devoted to the charge that God has given us: “Search the Scriptures;” and much time should be spent in prayer to God, that our garments, the robes of character, the inmost adornment, may be washed in the blood of the Lamb. But this cannot be, unless we keep the commandments of God in verity and truth; and unless we are awake to the times in which we are living, we shall be unfaithful servants. Obedience to the law of God will give protection from his wrath. We need now to pray for strength from heaven, to press back this movement that is being made in our country, and we should do everything on our part to preserve our liberties, and our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Has the Protestant world stopped to look back at the suffering caused by popery in attempting to bind men's reason, so that they should not worship God as seemed right to them? Can they not see how the Roman Church has exercised her revengeful and cruel power? Those who would not bow to her mandates had to endure the prison and the stake, torture and death. And when those were swept away who would not bow their conscience to any but the God of heaven, others would spring up to fill the ranks, and lift the standard of religious liberty and right. And now this nation,—the greatest nation of earth,—under whose government we are blessed with every religious and temporal advantage; which has been the recipient of unrivaled mercies; which Providence has watched over and shielded; by which the standard of liberty and religious freedom has been lifted,—will it follow the course of the papacy, and make void God's law? And shall we sit with folded hands, and do nothing in this crisis? Shall we let this Religious Amendment movement come in, and shut us away from our privileges and rights, because we keep the commandments of God? God help us to arouse from the stupor that has hung over us for years! There are more souls to be saved, and a far greater work to be done in warning our world, than has yet been accomplished. We should seek God, especially that his grace and his power may be revealed in behalf of his people. We believe that God lives. We do not think the time specified in prophecy, when our liberties should be restricted, has fully come.

Revelation 7:1, says: “And after these things I 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.” It seems that the breaking loose of the four winds is about to take place. Verses 2, 3: “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

Here was a work to be done before the angels should let go the four winds; and if we shall awake to what is transpiring right around us, we must admit that we are not ready for the contest and the perplexities which are to be brought upon us, after the decree shall go forth. We are to cry to the God of heaven in earnest, united prayer, for the angels to hold the four winds till missionaries shall be sent to all parts of the world, till we have proclaimed the warning against disobedience to the law of Jehovah, and against worshiping the beast and his image. The claims of God's law must be made known to the inhabitants of the earth. This is our work; but every conceivable thing that the enemy can do will be done to hinder the people of God from awaking.

The Lord bids us to watch; for we read that while men slept, the enemy sowed tares in the field. The work of these National Reformers has been done in a deceptive, underhanded way, to sweep in the whole Christian world, if possible; and if they shall carry this move to its result, and we are brought into straitened places, what are we to do? I beg of you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to awake out of sleep. God always co-operates with man in the carrying out of divine plans. Christ came to our world for the purpose of bringing to man moral power to combine with his human efforts, and that he might place divine strength within the reach of weak humanity. Every time that Jesus overcame the temptations of the enemy in behalf of man, he elevated man in the scale of moral value with God. But it is impossible to discern between the human and the divine without the enlightenment of the Spirit of God. It is next to impossible for human beings to separate the sacred from the common,—the divine from the human,—notwithstanding discerning power is in our midst.

God is working for his people, that they may not be left in darkness. He would have us anoint our eyes with eye-salve, that we may discern between the workings of the powers of darkness and the movings of the Spirit of God. We must not give our attention to unimportant things; we need to become acquainted with the Scriptures as we have never done before. They are the rock upon which we are to stand, for everything that is revealed is for us and for our children. We can study the Bible, and understand the fulfillment of prophecy, and everything that has to do with the law of God, and Christ's sacrifice in connection with the law of God; and we can, as did Paul, go from house to house, teaching repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Why repentance toward God?—Because the sinner has broken God's law, and he must repent and come back to obedience of it. He is to show to the world that there is a moral law which is the great standard of righteousness, and that Satan would break it down, if possible, and have man erect a standard of his own. God's word is sure standing fast forever; and as we look into that mirror, we see the defects of our characters. Will any stand before God's mirror, and because it shows them their defects, say that it is not true? We should not, as soon as our defects are pointed out, go away and forget what manner of persons we are; we must plead the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour by living faith, that pardon may be written opposite our names. We must wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.

When Christ went away, he gave to every man his work. This rests upon every one of us. If God should speak to you, he would say as he did to Elijah, “What doest thou here?” God did not tell you to leave your small churches, to come and settle down in this large church, where your gift is swallowed up. I ask, “Is there no missionary work for you to engage in?” May the God of heaven stir up your minds and hearts. This work does not rest alone with the ministers; but every man is to search the Scriptures for himself, that he may give a reason of the hope that is within him with meekness and fear. Even though you have no great breadth of intellect, you can tell the simple story of the cross. There is a field before you in the home, in the neighborhood, in the city, and in the church; and it is this very work that God wants you to do. The people of God should arise and put on the armor. When all do this, we shall not see such congregations as we see here today. There are scores of you who could take your Bibles, and, without inquiring if it will be easy, bear reproaches for his name, that you may obtain eternal life. When the Lord shall come and ask, “What improvement have you made of your talent? have you put it out to usury that it might increase more and more?” what will you answer the Master, if you have sat at ease, and done nothing to win souls to Christ?

We each have a duty to perform. The light of Heaven has revealed to us that every one who would take upon himself this work, would have the blessing of God, and thus the light of truth be reflected across the pathway of others. “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Who sent you here, that you might come into this large church, to be a burden instead of a shining light, as you should be? A living church is a working church. Here you sit under the light of Heaven, and give out no rays of light to those who are in darkness; and yet you seem to be content, and do not appreciate your blessings, because you are not awake.

We need not go to foreign lands to become missionaries. All around us are fields white already to the harvest. Do not be inactive now. God calls upon you in Battle Creek who are dying of spiritual sloth, to go out into the highways and hedges, and labor so earnestly and interestedly that you will compel men to come to the light of truth. Let there be a moving out of Battle Creek, even though it be at a sacrifice. Go where you may be a blessing to others. Go where you can be a help in some weak church. Shake off your spiritual lethargy. Work with all your powers to save perishing souls; and the heavenly benediction will fall upon you; and you will finally hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

You do not appreciate or practice the truth of God. When you go to work for the Master in earnest, we shall not hear so many complaining, “Oh, I wish I knew whether I were a Christian or not.” When you do the works of a Christian, you will have the witness that your ways please God. You must not be dependent upon a happy flight of feeling in your service to God. That is not the evidence that decides whether you are a Christian or not. The religion of Jesus Christ is a living principle within us, and every power and every faculty must be in subjection to the will of God. We are not our own; we are bought with a price. Christ says we are laborers together with God. But how many souls are you laboring to bring to the Master? There is a great and important work to be done to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord; and may God help us to do this work to his acceptance.

We read in Isaiah 8:12, 13: “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” What is the burden of the work required of the people of God at this time? Is there nothing for you to do? Has the Master given your no part to act in his vineyard?—Yes, all have a work to do. “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” This is the work to be done by the people of God. “And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me [converts to the truth] are for signs and for wonders in Israel, from the Lord of hosts which dwelleth in Mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter, should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

A correct understanding of “what saith the Scriptures” in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God's word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished. We must come to the sure word of prophecy for our authority. Unless we are intelligent in the Scriptures, may we not, when this mighty miracle-working power of Satan is manifested in our world, be deceived and call it the workings of God; for the word of God declares that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan's delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth. Our feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel, and the truth of God should be our shield and buckler. We must know for ourselves that we have the truth of God. Therefore let no one entertain the question whether this or that portion of the word of God is inspired. Go to work; gird on the armor of Christ's righteousness.

Satan came as an angel of light in the wilderness of temptation to deceive Christ; and he does not come to man in a hideous form, as he is sometimes represented, but as an angel of light. He will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?—Tell them that Christ has warned us against just such a foe, who is man's worst enemy, yet who claims to be God; and that when Christ shall make his appearance, it will be with power and great glory, accompanied by ten thousand times ten thousand angels and thousands of thousands; and that when he shall come, we shall know his voice.

If you are walking humbly with God, you will understand the truth, and the preparation necessary to be made for this time. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” If you believe this, and walk out by faith, you will be saved in the kingdom of glory. We should not try to know the “whys” and “wherefores” of everything, but be content to know the simplicity of godliness. Jesus Christ has laid the plan of salvation, and opened the way before us, clear and distinct, that even the simplest who desire the truth, may find it. Special forces of darkness are at work to encircle us, and to take away our liberty of conscience. The mouths of those who have not kept pace with the work are closed, and they do not know what to say; but we who have been waiting and watching for the appearing of our Saviour, are not taken by surprise.

Are there not men and women in this congregation who have a work to do for the Master? Are there not those here who should go into new places and work as missionaries? We need missionaries at home; and we need missionaries who will go out into new fields, and see what they can do. Trade upon your one talent or two talents. Although your talents may be limited, God will accept them. Why bury them in the earth? Go to work, and do your best, and God will give you some fruit for your labor. O, I would rather come to the Master with garnered sheaves than to have treasures of gold and of silver. Give me souls as the fruit of my labor; and I will not ask for convenience or ease in this world. Are there not men and women here whom God will call to give an account for the ability he has lent them? There are souls for whom you are to work; there are youth with whom you are to plead. There is work to be done in the temperance line; and here you sit, from Sabbath to Sabbath, listening to the truth, while souls are perishing around you. Why not let the light which God has given you shine on the pathway of others? I beg you to consider this matter seriously.

Get ready for the week of prayer by humbling your hearts before God. Though you have yet no sheaves to bring to the Master, you can go to work even at the eleventh hour, and God will help you. Be in earnest; pray and work, and work and pray; and then act as though success depended upon your efforts. Do to the best of your ability, and God will co-operate with you. You ought to work with all the powers of your being. Awake! awake! I pray you. “Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Go out and do your little, and he will increase your capabilities, and you may keep growing in grace, and in the love of the truth. The more you use your talents, the more they will increase. We are drawing near the close of probation. We should put our talents out to the exchangers, that when the Master comes, he may receive our talents as his own; but he will return to us again both principal and interest. May the God of heaven place your feet upon the eternal Rock. I beg of you to be followers of Jesus Christ, and to bring many sheaves to the Master.

December 18, 1888

The “American Sentinel” and Its Mission

For three years now, warnings have been sounding forth to the world through the columns of the Sentinel and other publications, but these danger signals have not influenced our people as they should have done. God intends that his people shall heed whatever he sends them. Had those who claim to believe the truth, used the Sentinel as it was their privilege to do, and been united in recommending it, and in raising their voices to give the trumpet a certain sound in every Conference and in every church, as God would have them do; had the attention of our people been called to this work, which was so essential to be done for this time; had they appreciated the light which God permitted to shine upon them in warnings, in counsels, and in the delineation of facts transpiring in our world—we should not now, as a people, be so far behind in making preparations for the work. The rebuke of God is upon us because of our neglect of solemn responsibilities. The testimonies given by God have not been heeded by those who professed to believe them; and as the result, his blessings have been withdrawn. When Satan has gained control of the mind, words of warning have no effect.

Much might have been done with the Sentinel, if counter-influences had not been at work to hinder it. Even though nothing may be said against it, actions reveal the indifference that is felt in regard to it. When light is presented to the people of God, it is their duty, not only to receive it, but to pass it along, adding their influence in its favor, that its full force may be felt in the church and the world. The Sentinel is like a trumpet giving a certain sound; and all our people should read it carefully, and then send it to some relative or friend, thus putting to the best use the light that God has given them.

There have been surprising indifference and inactivity in this time of peril. Truth, present truth, is what the people need; and if the startling transactions taking place in our country today, in regard to the Religious Amendment, had been realized by our people in every church; had they seen the plain, decided fulfillment of prophecy, and aroused to the demands of the crisis, they would not now be under such stupor and deathlike slumber. But as long as the watchmen do not give the trumpet a certain sound, the people are not alarmed, and are not on the lookout for danger.

God employs various agencies in preparing his people to stand in the great crisis. He speaks by his word and by his ministers. He arouses the watchmen, and sends them forth with messages of warning, of reproof, and of instruction, that the people may be enlightened. The Sentinel has been, in God's order, one of the voices sounding the alarm, that the people might hear, and realize their danger, and do the work required at the present time. O for a religious awakening! The angels of God are going from church to church, doing their duty; and Jesus Christ is knocking at the doors of your hearts for entrance. But the means that God has devised to awaken the church to a sense of their spiritual destitution, have not been regarded. The voice of the True Witness has been heard in reproof, but has not been obeyed. Men have chosen to follow their own way, instead of God's way, because self was not crucified in them. Thus the light has had but little effect upon hearts and minds. “Be zealous, and repent.”

Will the people of God now arouse from their carnal lethargy? Will they make the most of present blessings and warnings, and let nothing come between their souls and the light God would have shine upon them? Let every worker for God comprehend the situation, and place the Sentinel before our churches, explaining its contents, and urging home the warnings and facts it contains. May the Lord help all to redeem the time. Let not unsanctified feelings lead any one to resist the appeals of the Spirit of God.

The word of God is not silent in regard to this momentous time, and it will be understood by all who do not resist his Spirit by determining not to hear, not to receive, not to obey. The Lord's messages of light have been before us for years, but there have been influences working indirectly to make of none effect the warnings coming through the Sentinel and the “Testimonies,” and through other instrumentalities which the Lord sends to his people. Stand not in the way of this light; let it not be disregarded or set aside as unworthy of attention or credence.

If you wait for light to come in a way that will please every one, you will wait in vain. If you wait for louder calls or better opportunities, the light will be withdrawn, and you will be left in darkness. Grasp every ray of light that God sends. Men who neglect to heed the calls of the Spirit and word of God, because obedience involves a cross, will lose their souls. They will see when the books are opened, and every man's work, and the motives that prompted him, are scrutinized by the Judge of all the earth, what losses they have sustained. We should ever cherish the fear of the Lord, and realize that, individually, we are standing before the Lord of hosts, and no thought, no word, no act in connection with the work of God should savor of selfishness, or of indifference.

E. G. White.

December 18, 1888

Our Duties and Obligations

A great work is to be done in a short time. There is power in the present truth; but Satan is working in every conceivable way to keep the light away from the people. The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. The latter is constantly seeking to establish his own power and authority. If he can entangle minds, he will do it. If he can lead them to depend on human beings instead of upon the living God, he is well pleased. The deceptions of Satan are manifold, but the Lord will be our helper if we seek him earnestly.

The perils of the last days are upon us. We have been asleep, and our lamps are going out. We now need a thorough consecration, a deeper devotion, to the work. The Lord has shown me the corruption existing even among Seventh day Adventists. Satan, the originator of every evil, is Christ's personal enemy. If our eyes could be opened, we should see him working with his specious devices upon the minds of men whom we think are secure from his temptations, and who feel themselves secure. Are we prepared for the trials that await us? When the lying wonders of Satan shall be manifested, will not many souls be ensnared? Let us arouse and do our duty. We must individually draw near to God, repent of our sins, our lukewarmness, our selfishness, and give back into the Lord's treasury the goods he has lent us in trust. Faith in God and in the teachings of Christ our Saviour will be revealed, if it is in the heart.

The Laodicean message is applicable to the people of God at this time. They are saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;” and they know not that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Christ, the True Witness declares, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” How is it, brethren? Have you not been giving up to self-indulgence, rather than growing into greater self denial? Have you not backslidden upon health reform? Has the light which God has been pleased to give his people been cherished? Have not life and health been sacrificed through the indulgence of appetite and carnal lusts? Will my brethren consider this matter carefully, and see if they have closely followed the self-denying Saviour?

There has been a great departure from God in this matter. There has been a loss of zeal for the truth, and the light contained in the “Testimonies” has been disregarded. May the Lord help you, my brethren, to come into a position where the animal powers will not predominate over the moral and the spiritual. May your eyes not be blinded by self-indulgence, so that you cannot discern between the sacred and the common. God forbid that the precious truth should be held in unrighteousness, and that you should dishonor God and the truth by a corrupt and unconsecrated life. Study your true position before God. At this time, when the prayers of faith should be going up to God, you are not ready to lift up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. Have you not a work to do, to seek the Lord with humiliation of soul, with fasting and prayer? Is it not time, high time, for you to awake out of sleep, and shake off this carnal security? “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” This privilege will not always be granted us, therefore we should make diligent use of our present opportunities. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Then make no delay. The gracious promise is yours today. Set your heart and house in order. God sees the defects in your character, and he desires that you should see them, and feel your great need of the help which he alone can give.

O backsliding Israel, return unto the Lord with full purpose of heart, confess your sins, and make humble supplications to God. It will not be possible for you to stand in the day of trial that is just before us, with your present sins resting upon you. You may understand the truth theoretically, but this will not save you. It must be impressed upon your heart by the power and Spirit of God. Unless truth is enthroned in the soul, unless the thoughts and the purposes, the aims, and the whole object of life, are brought into the service of Jesus Christ, under the control of his Spirit, there cannot be a transformation from darkness to light. Even ministers who proclaim the truth are only blind leaders of the blind,—clouds without water, carried about with every wind,—unless they have the principles of the truth deep down in the soul; trees are they “whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.”

Eternity demands of you individually a solid experience, such as will stand the test; and it is in this probationary period that you must obtain thorough transformation of character. Pure and undefiled religion is to be brought into the sanctuary of the soul. Each has a work to do, and no friend or minister can do it for him; each must repent for himself, and confess his sins to God. Make thorough work of it. Believe for yourself; have the grace of God in your heart for yourself. God will have his true, faithful witnesses in every walk of life, testifying to the power of his grace. They may be humble, but they will be living in the sunshine of God's countenance, with the Bible as their guide.

See, O see, where your duties have been neglected, and where you have given an example to both believers and unbelievers which would lead them away from God, away from righteousness and the spirit of the truth. Jesus would have men come to him, trust in him, rely upon him, and have their experience founded upon him alone. Light and counsel have been sought of human beings who were as much in the dark and as far from living in the favor of God as were those who looked to them for aid, and therefore could not give the help sought. The result has been just what might have been expected,—counsel tainted with human weakness and defects. God has been dishonored, and souls have been robbed of that grace and light which Jesus is ever ready to impart to all who would seek his face. We have been interweaving with our experiences more and more of human appliances and human aids, and have sought less and less divine counsel, until our work is marked with grave defects, and is destitute of divine power.

Another grievous sin existing in our midst, is self-sufficiency,—Pharisaism,—feeling that we are righteous, and all our acts are meritorious, when we are far from cherishing the right spirit toward God or toward our brethren. It is a spirit of wanting to be first. Self-esteem has been cherished, and you have had a spirit of criticism toward others because you were not first. Envy, jealousy, suspicion, fault-finding, and false witnessing have existed. There are unconsecrated hearts among you, who turn everything said or done, even under the special direction of God, in a wrong way. The power of Satan's temptations is strong upon these, and they view things in a perverted light. They please the enemy by their criticisms, and by making a man an offender for a word. In many of these cases that are criticised there is no actual sin; the suspicion is the result of the condition of the mind that entertains it. If one crosses their path, they have no unity or fellowship with him. They feel disgusted with all he may say or do. Those who have confidence in them share their feelings and sentiments. A spirit of retaliation is secretly at work; yet those who are thus creating disaffection and disunion, and planting the seeds of jealousy, all the while claim to be firm believers in the truth. Such do not practice the spirit of the truth. The leaven of their evil surmisings permeates the company where it exists, and God is dishonored, the principles of truth are degraded, and the Christian experience is marred and dwarfed.

Now, is it not high time to change this order of things, and seek true repentance. This unsanctified element has weakened the church, and given a large place to the Devil. Is not this something to repent of, something to bring us to the foot of the cross in deepest humiliation, until Jesus shall be found of us, and be chosen as our guide, our counselor, our Alpha and Omega? He is the Rock that is higher than we. He is our sun and our shield. He is our life, our wisdom. It is through his righteousness that we are saved, and his truth, as an abiding principle in the soul, sanctifies the man. But there is hope for the erring; it is not too late for wrongs to be righted.

The psalmist inquires, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.” Then should we not fear to be found sowing seeds of distrust, of jealousy, and of envy? Shall we not be afraid to transgress the word of God?

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” What an appeal is this! and we should heed it if we expect the forgiveness of God for our sins. We must have the mind of Christ, and forgive just as freely the sins of others.

The gospel of Christ is to be wrought into our every-day experience. The mind must be in a state to appreciate the divine claims of the gospel. It must be girded about, and disciplined to habits of self-control and obedience. If we open our Bibles with a spirit out of harmony with its sacred principles, we shall not be likely to bring from our research the spirit which it should impart. The true Bible reader finds that the teachings of the living oracles cast “down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” Satan has great power over the soul, to drag it down to a low level. Those who really want to learn of Christ will have to empty the soul of all its proud imaginings, that there may be room to enthrone him there. Clothed in the robes of humility, we must take our places as children at his feet, to learn of his meekness and lowliness.

Will you not, my brethren, examine yourselves, to see if there are not humble confessions to be made of evil surmising,—watching for evil, thinking evil, and talking evil,—for if these things are cherished, God cannot bless you. All this must be put out of the heart. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.” “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out a good conversation his works, with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envyings and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish; for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” Let our people humble themselves with deep heart-searching, putting away from their families, and away from the churches, those things which have grieved the Spirit of God away from their hearts.

Then, again, let us consider prayerfully the subject of our possessions. How many are withholding from God his due? And how many, on the other hand, are letting the means which the Lord has lent them in trust, flow into the various channels of Christian liberality? Are not many moneyed men saying today. “By my wisdom have I gotten me this wealth?” Who gave you the intellect and ability to get wealth? You should consider that you are the Lord's property that you are dependent upon him for all your wisdom, and your ability to gain wealth. Then when the wants of home and foreign missions are presented, you will respond liberally, saying, “it is only of thine own that we have given thee.” All the riches, even of the most wealthy, are not sufficient to hide the smallest sin from God. Neither riches or intellect will be accepted as a ransom for the transgressor. Repentance, true humility, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, alone will be acceptable to God.

There are many in our churches who should bring large offerings, and not content themselves with presenting a feeble pittance to Him who has done so much for them. Immeasurable blessings are falling upon them, but how little they return to the Giver! Let those who are indeed pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, now send their treasures before them to the heavenly country, in the much needed gifts to the Lord's treasury. Let the grace of Christ open your hearts to give valuable offerings to God on this Christmas and New Year's. Has not the Lord made you channels of light to the world? Our missionary efforts must not be limited by lack of means. The calls for help in new fields should arouse us to do something, and to do it now. Shall we let home and foreign missions suffer through selfishness and covetousness? It is possible to confess Christ with our lips, while in works we deny him.

There are brethren who have little of this world's goods, yet are ever ready with their donations. These poor men, believing the truth, and acting out their faith, may be looked upon by the more wealthy as deficient in worldly wisdom, and of no special worth; yet God calls them rich, because as fast as money comes into their hands, they send it before them to the bank of heaven, where it is placed to their account. Such are precious in the sight of the Lord. Although they are not increasing in earthly possessions, they are laying up an incorruptible treasure in heaven. They show a wisdom as far superior to that manifested by the worldly-wise, acquisitive ones, as the divine and God like is superior to the earthly. It is moral worth that God values. A God fearing, Christian man, free from selfishness and avarice, possessing meekness and humility, is more precious in the sight of God than the gold of Ophir. Wealthy men will be tested more closely than they have ever yet been tested. If they endure the test, overcoming the blemishes of their characters, and as faithful stewards, obey the injunctions of Christ to render to the Lord his own, then they show that they have a sense of the high claims of God upon them. But if they fail to do this, and invest the heaven lent treasures in earthly things, they are robbing God.

There are missionaries to be sent out to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. God calls for men and women to come to the front, and enlist in the various branches of the work. Awake, and see what can be done right around you for the Master. Error and sin are prevailing to an alarming extent close by you. Lay aside all romantic imaginings and castlebuilding. The Master calls you to meet the stern realities of the time in which we live. Christ says, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” Begin in your own neighborhood, and strive judiciously to inculcate ideas of the truth, so that the contrast between truth and error may be seen. Sow gospel truth all around you, for each truth practiced and taught is a power which will live and accomplish a work as far-reaching as eternity. Be yourself a thorough Bible Christian. The great need of the time is an intelligent acquaintance with the Bible.

Will my brethren now arouse to do their work? The signs reveal to us that “the night cometh, in which no man can work.” The time is coming in which you can neither buy nor sell. That will be a serious time for the people of God. Now you can sell and give alms. Now you can send your treasure before you into heaven, and God calls for your means to advance his cause. Let this Christmas-time and the entering in of a new year testify to the zeal of God's people. There has been a withholding from God of tithes and offerings. The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” And the answer comes, “Ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?—In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” Wonderful statement, and how true! Shall we humble our souls before God, and confess our sin in robbing him? Shall we be zealous and repent? Shall we redeem the failures of the past? “Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Shall we obey God, and bring in all our tithes and offerings, that there may be meat to supply the demands of souls hungering for the bread of life? God invites you to prove him now, as the old year draws to its close, and let the new year find us with God's treasuries replenished. Let us literally prove the Lord, by bringing all the tithes and offerings into his store house, and let us repent of our robbery toward him. He tells us that he will open the windows of heaven, and pour us out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. He pledges his word, “I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field saith the Lord of hosts” Thus his word is our assurance that he will so bless us that we shall have still larger tithes and offerings to bestow. “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Brethren, will you comply with the conditions? Will you offer willingly, gladly, and abundantly? The foreign missions call for means from America. Shall they call in vain? Home missions are in great need of money; they have been established in faith, in different parts of the field. Shall they be left to languish and die? Shall we not arouse? God help his people to do their very best.

O, what gracious, full, complete assurances are given us, if we will only do what God requires us to do! Take hold of this matter as though you believed the Lord would do just as he has promised. Let us venture something upon God's word. In their zeal to be rich, many run great risks; eternal considerations are overlooked, and noble principles are sacrificed; yet they may lose all in the game. But in complying with the heavenly invitations we have no such risk to run. We must take God at his word, and in simplicity of faith walk out upon the promise, and give the Lord his own. It is perilous for you to rob God; for he says that all who do this are cursed with a curse. God designs that humanity shall cooperate with divinity in saving souls for Jesus Christ. What a privilege! Jesus denied himself for our sakes. The salvation of man cost a great price, even the life of the Lord of glory, which he freely gave to lift man from degradation, and to exalt him to be joint heir with himself to the eternal inheritance.

May the Lord impress upon each heart the importance of the work we are engaged in. Let us return to the Lord. Let us heed the advice of the true Merchant-man, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Ellen G. White.

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