Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 29, 1890

“I Will Keep Thee From the Hour of Temptation”

[Conclusion of sermon in last two issues.]

By Mrs. E. G. White

God has the same power to bestow upon us as he gave to his people anciently, and he will give it to his people now, if we do not choose our own ways but God's ways. Let God take care of his people, and teach and direct them, and let man keep his plans out of the way. We would not lessen the courage of God's people, and be in a position where we shall dishonor the God of heaven, instead of glorifying him. There are many things brought to view in the Scriptures that will help us. James was killed, and because the enemies of the gospel saw that it pleased the Jews, they were going to take Peter, but they did not, because the Lord took charge of him. They killed Stephen, but the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors for Peter, for “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.” There is your work. Pray as you have never prayed before; and if you spend nights in prayer, and learn to trust God, you will have an intelligent experience. It was by praying without ceasing that Peter gained the victory, and when the angel went to bring him out, Peter was bound with two chains, and, behold, the angel of the Lord came forth, and smote Peter on the side, and said, “Rise up quickly.”

All the ruler's expectations failed because the same mighty agent that Joshua summoned when he was to bring down the walls of Jericho, was with the men who were bound with chains. When Peter returned to his brethren, a free man, he found them praying, and this is the key to his deliverance,—they were praying. He knocked at the gate, but the maid who came to open it, ran back to the house in great astonishment without letting him in. They did not think that Peter was to be released from the prison. They had expected a deliverance of a different order, but God worked in his own way and after his own counsel, and brought him to the very door of those who were praying for him.

We should seek to understand how God works. He wrought for his servants and released them from prison. They did not say, “If I can only get out of this place, I will never speak of Christ again,” no, for Jesus was in their hearts, and they were happy. God is always by the side of his people, and he never leaves them,—he never gives a trial to his children but he will be there to help; he knows just what they can bear, and he does not give them any more than they can bear. If they fail, it is because they do not in faith bring their difficulties to God as to one who will help them. God does not forsake. No one fails because God leaves him to perish. When men fail, it is because they do not avail themselves of the provisions which God has made; they do not trust in the Lord.

When Paul and Silas were left with bleeding backs and with their feet in the stocks, they did not lament over their situation, but sang glory to God. A different note sounded in the prison from any ever heard there before. The keeper had heard cursing and swearing and blasphemy, but he had never heard the praises of God resounding through the halls; for he himself was an unconverted man. The suffering servants of God continued to send up their notes of thanksgiving, and they echoed in heaven; and the angels of God, as they caught the strain, came to their aid with a mighty tread, and the prison was shaken, and the apostles were loosed from their bands, and the light of the glory of God shone in the prison, and every man's bands were loosed, and the jailers found the doors open. The record says that the jailer drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had fled; but Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do thyself no harm; for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

How do we know but that this persecution came upon the servants of God in order that souls might be saved in that prison? God worked for his people in the past, he manifested his power in their behalf when they were in emergencies. If we let human counsel prevail, and arrange our plans so that God cannot work for us, we may expect to get into difficulties. May God help us to come to our senses. We have had little enough faith in the past, and we do not want to crush out the least particle of the faith that still lives.

Let us inspire our people with faith that they may stand firm for the right in whatever situation they may be placed. There is no necessity for thinking that we cannot endure persecution; we shall have to go through terrible times. I am going to stand at my post of duty, brethren, and I hope that you will give your brethren a chance to stand at their post of duty till the Master shall come.

When Stephen was called upon to suffer for Christ's sake, he did not waver. He read his fate in the cruel faces of his persecutors, and he did not hesitate to give to them the last message which he was to bear to men. He looked up and said, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” All heaven was interested in this case. Jesus, rising from the throne of his Father, was leaning over, looking upon the face of his servant, and imparting to his countenance the beams of his own glory, and men were astonished as they saw Stephen's face lighted up as if it had been the face of an angel. The glory of God shone upon him, and while he was beholding the face of his Lord, the enemies of Christ stoned him to death. Would we not think that a hard death to die? But the fear of death was gone, and his last breath was spent in petitioning the Lord to forgive his persecutors.

Jesus has made it as easy as he possibly can for his children, and he wants us to follow in his footsteps; for if we do, we shall be partakers of Christ and his glory.

No law has ever been made to exalt the idol sabbath but that Satan has taken a leading part in its enactment and its enforcement. Every law for the elevation of Sunday has a direct reference to the fourth commandment. Every move that has been made to enforce its observance, is for the purpose of exalting the man of sin above God and above all that is worshiped. Satan would have us exalt the idol sabbath, but we cannot do it, for it would be disloyalty to God. In the face of Nebuchadnezzar's decree of death, the three Hebrew children refused to bend the knee, preferring to be cast into the fiery furnace rather than bow to the golden image. They declared they were not careful to answer the king, and said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O King, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

They were thrown into the burning fiery furnace, but the Lord was with them. The king looked into the furnace, and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Angels of the Lord were watching by the side of the faithful three. God wished to show to the nations of the world who was the great I AM, the God of the heavens, the ruler of the universe, who alone was to be worshiped. Did not the Hebrews break the law of the king?—Yes, but the law of God was first to be obeyed.

Now, brethren, we are coming to the crisis. Let us stand the test manfully, grasping the hand of Infinite Power. God will work for us. We have only to live one day at a time, and if we get acquainted with God, he will give us strength for what is coming tomorrow, grace sufficient for each day, and every day will find its own victories, just as it finds it trials. We shall have the power of the Highest with us; for we shall be clad with the armor of Christ's righteousness. We have the same God that has worked for his people in ages past. Jesus stands by our side, and shall we falter?—No, as the trials come, the power of God will come with them. God will help us to stand in faith on his word, and when we are united, he will work with special power in our behalf.

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