Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 10, 1888

Closing Labors at Fresno

By Mrs. E. G. White

The people of God, who have been blessed with great light in regard to the truth for this time, should not forget that they are to be waiting and watching for the coming of their Lord in the clouds of heaven. Let them not forget that they are to put off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let no man set up his idols of gold, or silver, or lands, and give the service of his heart to this world, and to its interests. There is a mania for speculating in the land pervading both city and country. The old, safe, healthful paths to competence are losing their popularity. The idea of accumulating substantial means by the moderate gains of industry and frugality, is an idea that is scorned by many, as no longer suited to this progressive age.

The desire to engage in speculation, in buying up country and city lots, or anything that promises sudden and exorbitant gains, has reached a fever heat; and mind, and thought, and labor are all directed toward securing all that is possible of the treasures of earth in the shortest possible time. Some of our youth bid fair to be hastened on to ruin, because of this feverish grasping for riches. This desire for gain, opens the door of the heart to the temptations of the enemy. And the temptations that come, are of such an alluring nature, that there are some who cannot resist them. Young men who have held licenses to labor in the cause of God, who have, in times past, been privileged to open the Scriptures to the darkened minds of men, have become engaged in land speculation, and have lost their interest in the work. They are receiving a mold that will not be easily effaced, that the divine impress may be stamped upon their souls. Their actions make it evident that the burden for the salvation of souls has rested very lightly upon them; and unless something shall take hold upon their consciences to arouse them to change their course, I tremble for the future of these young men.

The spirit of gain-getting, of making haste to be rich, of this all-absorbing worldliness, is painfully contradictory to our faith and doctrines. Should the Lord most high be pleased to impart his Holy Spirit, and seek to revive his work, how many would be hungering for the heavenly manna, and thirsting for the waters of life? The church is fast falling into the current of the world, and many will be swept on to death, unless some barrier is erected to stay them in their awful descent. I see there is danger of some of our brethren saying, as did the foolish rich man, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” Many are forgetting that they are God's servants, and are saying, “Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” God is looking on your every business transaction. Be on your guard. It is time that deep, earnest thought should be given to laying up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal.

Another danger that threatens the church, is individual independence. There is a manifest disregard of the prayer of Christ, that his brethren should be one, as he and the Father were one. Let the church, to a man, feel its responsibility to preserve harmony of thought and action. Let every member seek to be in accord with the truth, and with the brethren. Let our prayers go forth from unfeigned lips that the union for which our Lord prayed, may be found among his people. All who are united in church capacity, may be of one mind, of one heart, of one judgment, that Satan may not take any fresh advantage of the followers of Christ. We have one faith, one Lord, one God and Father, who is above all, and in you all; then let there be a glorifying of God with one mouth, and one spirit. Where there is union there is strength. United we stand, divided we fall. It is the special, declared plan of the enemy of Christ and man, to break up the church into independent factions. He will seek to lead one after another to arise, filled with his own selfish purposes and plans, and each will strive to carry out the suggestions of the adversary, but the hopes of such will certainly be met with disappointment.

Satan is no indifferent spectator. He exults to see his temptations successful. He loves to see discord and want of harmonious action in the church. We forget so quickly that we are Christ's ambassadors to bear his message to the world. We forget that we are his soldiers, fighting his battles in our enemy's country, and unless we are upon guard, as faithful sentinels, we shall be entrapped by the enemy's stratagems. We must not be ignorant of his devices while we are obeying the orders of our captain, Jesus Christ. We are individually intrusted with the charge of the Lord's household. He has left the hour and moment of his return uncertain and indefinite, but he expects us to be always ready for his return, and has enjoined upon us to watch lest, coming suddenly, he find us sleeping.

Sunday afternoon I spoke in the opera house at Fresno, on the subject of temperance. I presented before the people the necessity of proper home-training in order to keep our children and youth from frequenting the saloon, and places of vice. They are frequently made drunkards because of the lack on the part of the parents of proper discipline, which would educate them in habits of self-control and temperance. My work has been to try to arouse the moral powers of the mother, that she might realize the greatness of her God-given work. She should carefully educate and train her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” With God's word for our guide, and God himself for our teacher, we ought to be awake and vigilant in our homes in disciplining our children for usefulness in life. We should study their characters and temperaments, learning perfectly their weaknesses, and strengthening the opposite traits of character. Parents are too fond of ease and pleasure to do the work appointed them of God in their home life. We should not see the terrible state of evil that exists among the youth of today, if they had been properly trained at home. If parents would take up their God-given work, and would teach self-restraint, self denial, and self control to their children, both by precept and example, they would find that while they were seeking to do their duty, so as to meet the approval of God, they would be learning precious lessons in the school of Christ. They would be learning patience, forbearance, love, and meekness; and these are the very lessons that they must teach to their children.

After the moral sensibilities of the parents are aroused, and they take up their neglected work with renewed energy, they should not become discouraged, or allow themselves to be hindered in the work. Too many become weary in well-doing. When they find that it requires taxing effort, and constant self control, and increased grace, as well as knowledge, to meet the unexpected emergencies that arise, they become disheartened, and give up the struggle, and let the enemy of souls have his own way. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the work is to go on, till the character of your child is formed, and the habits established in the right way. You should not give up, and leave your families to drift along in a loose, ungoverned manner. When you take up your duties as a parent, in the strength of God, with a firm determination never to relax your efforts, nor to leave your post of duty, in striving to make your children what God would have them, then God looks down upon you with approbation. He knows that you are doing the best you can, and he will increase your power. He will himself do the part of the work that the mother or father cannot do; he will work with the wise, patient, well-directed efforts of the God-fearing mother. Parents, God does not propose to do the work that he has left for you to do in your home. You must not give up to indolence and be slothful servants, if you would have your children saved from the perils that surround them in the world.

The giant evil of intemperance is doing its baleful work in our land. Satan has his agents everywhere, who are instruments in his hands, to allure and ruin our youth. Shall not the voice of warning be heard at our own firesides? Shall we not, by precept and example, lead our youth to desire to reach high attainments, to have noble aims and holy purposes? This work is not a light, or a small work; but it is a work that will pay. One youth who has been instructed by right home-training, will bring solid timbers into his character-building, and by his example and life, if his powers are rightly employed, he will become a power in our world to lead others upward and onward in the path of righteousness. The salvation of one soul is the salvation of many souls.

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