Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

November 15, 1892

Imperative Necessity of Searching for Truth

By Mrs. E. G. White


Now we have the precious opportunity of making our calling and election sure. Every soul is to proclaim the truth because it is the truth. There must not be with any of us a betrayal of sacred trusts. Although Satan lifts up himself, although he numbers the world as his subjects, and exalts himself above God, we must be faithful and loyal sons and daughters of God, our eyes not blinded by the enemy, our hearts not corrupted by the delusive deception that has covered the people. Let us raise high the standard of victory, proclaiming in the strength of Jehovah, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, while believing with all the heart that “the Lord our righteousness” will be our defense in that day.

We are living in a time of world-wide apostasy; but the more wide-spread unbelief and infidelity are, the more does the word of God shine forth as the truth to the believing soul; for in the Bible the believer recognizes the voice of the Almighty. With what awe and reverence, with what humiliation of soul, should we attempt the searching of the Scriptures, the word of the living God. At this time the Lord has precious truth to open unto us. It is not new truth, but old, old truth, although to the receiver it is new, grand, inspiring, and glorious truth. It has been rescued from the companionship of error, and has been placed in the framework of truth. Long enough have the Lord's precious words of truth been perverted to serve the purpose of the enemy.

Christ was the great Teacher of truth, and to him we must come to learn of the great doctrine of justice, grace, and mercy. His words are as seeds that germinate and take root, and are again to be sown and cultivated by his delegated embassadors. The disciples were put in close connection with eternal, essential truth; for it was laid open to their understanding; but they failed to comprehend it in its fullness, and although the living oracles are in our hands, although we have some understanding of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments, there is much that even in our day we do not see and comprehend. In order to understand the truth of God, there is need of deep research, that we may discover in the teachings of Christ new aspects of truth, and behold the exceeding breadth and compass of grand old truth, of which we have only a superficial knowledge. The searching of the Scriptures would reveal the harmony existing between the various parts of the Bible, and the bearing of one passage upon another. We do not perceive the meaning of the word of God without much study; but the reward of the study of the Bible is exceedingly precious to him who fears God and earnestly searches for truth as for hidden treasure. At the present day there are a large number in our churches who are not sufficiently interested in Bible study to seek to understand the mysteries of the truth. They do not go below the surface. Those who are living in these last days, who acknowledge the binding claims of the law of God, have no ordinary responsibility. They are not to be satisfied with the surface truths. That which lies plainly revealed, which costs us no effort, will not be esteemed as highly as the treasure that costs us diligent, prayerful research and investigation. Celestial truth is represented as treasure hid in a field, “which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field,” that he may work every part of it to discover the golden ore or precious gems. The earth itself cannot reveal treasures of as great value as can the Bible. No toil can so repay the diligent worker, as can the search for truth. Let the mines of revelation be properly worked, and the unsearchable riches of Christ will be revealed.

How can we stand in the day of test if we do not understand the words of Christ? He said: “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It is the holy Spirit that is to bring to our remembrance the words of Christ. The theme Christ chose to dwell upon in his last discourse to his disciples was that of the office of the holy Spirit. He opened before them a wide tract of truth. They were to receive his words by faith, and the Comforter, the holy Spirit, was to bring all things to their remembrance. The consolation given by Christ in this promise was found in the fact that the divine influence was to be with his followers to the end. But this promise is not accepted and believed by the people today, and therefore is not cherished by them, nor is its fulfillment seen in the experience of the church. The promise of the gift of the Spirit of God, is left as a matter to be little considered by the church. It is not impressed upon the people, and the result is only that which might be expected,—spiritual drouth, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the mind and soul, but divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, which would, if possessed, bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, although it is offered to us in infinite plentitude. Just as long as the church are satisfied with small things, they are disqualified to receive the great things of God. But why do we not hunger and thirst after the gift of the holy Spirit, since it is the means whereby the heart may be kept pure? The Lord designs that divine power shall co-operate with human effort. It is all-essential for the Christian to understand the meaning of the promise of the holy Spirit just prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus the second time. Talk of it, pray of it, preach concerning it; for the Lord is more willing to give the holy Spirit than parents are to give good gifts to their children. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

We are living in the last days, when error of a most deceptive character is accepted and believed, while truth is discarded. The Lord will hold both ministers and people responsible for the light which shines in our day. God calls upon all who claim to believe present truth, to work diligently in gathering up the precious jewels of truth, and placing them in their position in the framework of the gospel. Let them shine in all their divine beauty and loveliness, that the light may flash forth amid the moral darkness. This cannot be accomplished without the aid of the holy Spirit, but with the aid of the Spirit we can do all things. When we are endowed with the holy Spirit, we by faith take hold of infinite power. There is nothing to be lost of that which comes from God. The Saviour of the world sends his divine messenger to the soul, that men may dig for the truth, that by its revelation they may dispel the multitude of errors. This is the Christian's work.

November 15, 1892

Obligation of Children to Parents

The best way to educate children to respect their father and mother, is to give them the opportunity of seeing the father offering kindly attentions to the mother, and the mother rendering respect and reverence to the father. It is by beholding love in their parents, that children are led to obey the fifth commandment and to heed the injunction, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth.”

When children have unbelieving parents, and their commands contradict the requirements of Christ, then, painful though it may be, they must obey God and trust the consequences with him. The Lord has expressly enjoined the duty upon children of honoring their father and their mother. As they have opportunity and ability, they are kindly to care for their parents. This commandment to children stands at the head of the last six precepts which show the duty of man to his fellow-man. But while children are commanded to obey their parents, parents are also instructed to exercise their authority with wisdom. Paul writes, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Great care should be exercised by parents lest they treat their children in such a way as to provoke obstinacy, disobedience, and rebellion. Parents often stir up the worst passions of the human heart, because of their lack of self-control. They correct them in a spirit of anger, and rather confirm them in their evil ways and defiant spirit, than influence them in the way of right. By their own arbitrary spirit they thrust their children under Satanic influences, instead of rescuing them from the snares of Satan by gentleness and love. How sad it is that many parents who profess to be Christians, are not converted! Christ does not abide in their hearts by faith. While professing to be followers of Jesus, they disgust their children, and, by their violent, unforgiving temper, make them averse to all religion. It is little wonder that the children become cold and rebellious toward their parents. And yet children are not excused for disobedience because of their parents’ unsanctified ways.

O that every family professing to be devoted to God, were so in deed and in truth! Then would Christ be represented in the home-life, and parents and children would represent him in the church, and what happiness would exist! But instead of this, the books of heaven record the cruelty of parents to children, and the neglect of parents by their children. After children grow to years of maturity, some of them think their duty is done in providing an abode for their parents. While giving them food and shelter, they give them no love or sympathy. In their parents’ old age, when they long for expression of affection and sympathy, children heartlessly deprive them of their attention. There is no time when children should withhold respect and love from their father and mother. While the parents live, it should be the children's joy to honor and respect them. They should bring all the cheerfulness and sunshine into the life of the aged parents, that they possibly can. They should smooth their pathway to the grave. There is no better recommendation in this world than that a child has honored his parents, no better record in the books of heaven than that he has loved and honored father and mother.

Let children carefully remember that at the best the aged parents have but little joy and comfort. What can bring greater sorrow to their hearts than manifest neglect on the part of their children? What sin can be worse in children than to bring grief to an aged, helpless father or mother? Those who grieve their aged parents are written in the books of heaven as commandment breakers, as those who do not reverence the God of heaven, and unless they repent and forsake their evil ways, they will not be found worthy of a place in the saints’ inheritance.

Is it possible that children can become so dead to the claims of father and mother, that they will not willingly remove all causes of sorrow in their power, watching over them with unwearying care and devotion? Can it be possible that they will not regard it a pleasure to make the last days of their parents their best days? How can a son or daughter be willing to leave father or mother on the hands of strangers, for them to care for! Even were the mother an unbeliever, and disagreeable, it would not release the child from the obligation that God has placed upon him to care for his parent. Would that there were but few who would utterly ignore the duty that is due from a child to his mother. Alas! that there are so many who never bestow a thought upon their parents, except it be that they may gain some advantage from them. Many care not whether their parents are comfortable or uncomfortable. Their conduct reveals them to be thankless children, and their ingratitude is “sharper than a serpent's tooth.” Their indifference to their parents imbitters the life of father and mother, and brings down their gray hairs in sorrow to the grave. Through selfishness, self-love, unkindness, they have created an unwholesome atmosphere about their souls, and steeled their hearts to all good, until they are utterly loveless and unfeeling. Avarice has eaten out the good from their heart, and they even deny their parents the good which, without putting themselves to trouble, they could bestow upon them. The Satanic element predominates in their characters. But how bitter will be the close of the life of such children! They can have no happy reflection in their old age; for they will reap as they have sown.

The thought that children have ministered to the comfort of their parents is a thought of satisfaction all through the life, and will especially bring them joy when they themselves are in need of sympathy and love. Those whose hearts are filled with love will regard the privilege of smoothing the passage to the grave for their parents an inestimable privilege. They will rejoice that they had a part in bringing comfort and peace to the last days of their loved parents. To do otherwise than this, to deny to the helpless aged ones the kindly ministrations of sons and daughters, would fill the soul with remorse, the days with regret, if our hearts were not hardened and cold as a stone.

Our obligation to our parents never ceases. Our love for them, and theirs for us is not measured by years or distance, and our responsibility can never be set aside. When the nations are gathered before the judgment-seat of Christ, but two classes will be represented,—those who have identified their interest with Christ and suffering humanity, those who have ignored their God-given obligations, done injury to their fellow-men, and dishonor to God. Their eternal destiny will be decided on the ground of what they did, and what they did not do to Christ in the person of his saints. He will say to them, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Mrs. E. G. White

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