Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

August 1, 1899

The Pearl of Great Price

Mrs. E. G. White

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

Truth is represented as a pearl of great price. It is to be enthroned in the heart; for it alone can convince of, and reclaim from sin. By comparing the kingdom of heaven to a pearl, Christ desired to lead every soul to appreciate that pearl, above all else. The possession of the pearl, which means the possession of a personal Saviour, is the symbol of true riches. It is a treasure above every earthly treasure.

Christ is ready to receive all who come to him in sincerity. He is our only hope, our Alpha and Omega. He is our sun and shield, our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. Only by his power can our hearts be kept in the love of God. He longs to give us his peace and rest. But he will not tolerate one particle of pretense or hypocrisy. There are those who say and do not, who profess to know the truth, but whose lives are a denial of it. The Lord knows these.

On one occasion Christ warned his disciples to beware how they cast their pearls before those who had no discernment to appreciate their value. They were to be careful how they applied their time and taxed their strength. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,” he said, “neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

There are those who will be rescued from the very depths of pollution. Isaiah speaks of this class: “Wash you, make you clean,” he says; “put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

The evils are to be cut away from the life. Sins are to be repented of. Though they are as scarlet, they may be made as white as snow. Just as great a transformation as possible is to take place in the character. But if, after test and trial, after being brought into connection with those who work faithfully in their behalf, men and women do not give evidence that they have been purified from wrong habits and practises, they show that they do not appreciate the pearl of great price. If they are dishonest in any transaction, temporal or spiritual, if they are not straightforward, they show that they regard the rich mercies of God as a common thing. They can not see the value of the pearl of great price. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land,” God declares; “but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot.” How have those who have had every opportunity to know the truth become defiled with the corruptions of the ungodly. “It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver has become dross, thy wine mixed with water.”

Those represented in these words have mingled the sacred with the common. They profess to believe the truth, but they can not carry dishonest practises in the narrow road and through the strait gate. By their actions they show that they have chosen the road in which the world travels. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.”

We shall meet those who have so perverted the conscience that they are unable to discern the precious truth of God's word. Then let all be careful with whom they connect. When men show themselves unimpressionable, unable to appreciate the pearl of great price; when they deal dishonestly with God and with their fellow men; when they show that the fruit they bear is the fruit of the forbidden tree, beware lest, by connecting with them, you lose your connection with God. They give evidence that God is not working with them, and the knowledge gained by a connection with them is misleading. You can not be a savor of life unto them; for they will not appreciate the word of God. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.”

We shall see in the future, as we have seen in the past, all kinds of characters develop. We shall witness the apostasy of men in whom we have had confidence, in whom we trusted, who we supposed were as true as steel to principle. Something comes to test them, and they are overthrown. If such men fall, some say, Whom can we trust? This is a temptation Satan brings to destroy the faith of those who are striving to walk in the narrow road. Those who fall have evidently corrupted their way before the Lord. They are beacons of warning, teaching those who profess to believe the truth that the word of God alone can reclaim men from guilt, and keep them steadfast in the way of holiness.

The word of God is the pearl of great price. It is unchangeable, eternal. Truth as it is in Jesus sets men right, and keeps them so. The truth is an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast. But the truth is no truth to him who does not obey it. When men drift away from the principles of truth, they always betray sacred trust. Let every soul, whatever may be his sphere of action, make sure that the truth is implanted in the heart by the power of the Spirit of God. Unless this is made certain, those who preach the Word will betray holy trusts. Physicians will make shipwreck of the faith. Lawyers, judges, senators, will become corrupted, and yielding to bribery, will allow themselves to be bought and sold. Those who do not walk in the light as Christ is in the light, are blind leaders of the blind. “Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.”

August 1, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

The mother frequently sends her children from her presence because she thinks she can not endure the noise occasioned by their happy frolics. But with no mother's eye over them to approve, or disapprove, at the right time, unhappy differences often arise. A word from the mother would set all right again. They soon become weary, and desire change, and go into the street for amusement; and pure, innocent-minded children are driven into bad company, and evil communications breathed into their ears corrupt their good manners. The mother often seems to be asleep to the interest of her children, until she is painfully aroused by the exhibition of vice. The seeds of evil were sown in their young minds, promising an abundant harvest. And it is a marvel to her that her children are so prone to do wrong. Parents should begin in season to instil into infant minds good and correct principles. The mother should be with her children as much as possible, and should sow precious seed in their hearts.

The mother's time belongs in a special manner to her children. They have a right to her time as no others can have. In many cases mothers have neglected to discipline their children, because it would require too much of their time, which they think must be spent in the cooking department, or in preparing their own clothing, and that of their children, according to fashion, to foster pride in their young hearts. In order to keep their restless children still, they have given them cake or candies, almost any hour of the day, and their stomachs are crowded with hurtful things at irregular periods. Their pale faces testify to the fact that mothers are doing what they can to destroy the remaining life forces of their poor children. The digestive organs are constantly taxed, and are not allowed periods of rest. The liver becomes inactive, the blood impure, and the children are sickly and irritable, because they are real sufferers from intemperance; and it is impossible for them to exercise patience.

Parents wonder that children are so much more difficult to control than they used to be, when in most cases their own criminal management has made them so. The quality of food they bring upon their tables, and encourage their children to eat, is constantly exciting their animal passions, and weakening the moral and intellectual faculties. Very many children are made miserable dyspeptics in their youth by the wrong course their parents have pursued toward them in childhood. Parents will be called to render an account to God for thus dealing with their children.

Many parents do not give their children lessons in self-control. They indulge their appetite, and form the habits of their children, in childhood, to eat and drink according to their desires. So will they be in their general habits in their youth. Their desires have not been restrained; and as they grow older, they will not only indulge in the common habits of intemperance, but they will go still further in indulgences. They will choose their own associates, although corrupt. They can not endure restraint from their parents. They will give loose rein to their corrupt passions, and will have but little regard for purity or virtue. This is the reason there is so little purity and moral worth among the youth of the present day, and is the great cause why men and women feel under so little obligation to render obedience to the law of God. Some parents have not control over themselves. They do not control their own morbid appetites, or their passionate tempers; therefore they can not educate their children in regard to the denial of appetite, nor teach them self-control.

Many mothers feel that they have not time to instruct their children; and in order to get them out of the way, and get rid of their noise and trouble, they send them to school. The schoolroom is a hard place for children who have inherited enfeebled constitutions. Schoolrooms generally have not been constructed with reference to health, but with regard to cheapness. The rooms have not been arranged so that they can be ventilated, as they should be, without exposing the children to severe colds. And the seats have seldom been made so that the children can sit with ease, and keep their little, growing frames in a proper posture to insure healthy action of the lungs and heart. Young children can grow into almost any shape, and can, by habits of proper exercise and correct positions of the body, obtain healthy forms. It is destructive to the health and life of young children for them to sit in the schoolroom, upon hard, ill-formed benches, from three to five hours a day, inhaling the impure air caused by many breaths. The weak lungs become affected; and the brain, from which the nervous energy of the whole system is derived, becomes enfeebled by being called into active exercise before the strength of the mental organs is sufficiently matured to endure fatigue.

In the schoolroom the foundation has been surely laid for diseases of various kinds. But, more especially, the most delicate of all organs, the brain, has often been permanently injured by too great exercise. This has often caused inflammation, then dropsy of the head, and convulsions, with their dreaded results. And the lives of many have been thus sacrificed by ambitious mothers. Of those children who have apparently had sufficient force of constitution to survive this treatment, there are very many who carry the effects of it through life. The nervous energy of the brain becomes so weakened that after they come to maturity, it is impossible for them to endure much mental exercise. The force of some of the delicate organs of the brain seems to be expended.

And not only has the physical and mental health of children been endangered by their being sent to school at too early a period, but they have been the losers in a moral point of view. They have had opportunities to become acquainted with children who were uncultivated in their manners. They were thrown into the society of the coarse and rough, who lie, swear, steal, and deceive, and who delight to impart their knowledge of vice to those younger than themselves. Young children, if left to themselves, learn the bad more readily than the good. Bad habits agree best with the natural heart; and the things which the children see and hear in infancy and childhood are deeply imprinted upon their minds; and the bad seed sown in their young hearts will take root, and will become sharp thorns to wound the hearts of their parents.

During the first six or seven years of a child's life special attention should be given to its physical training, rather than the intellectual. After this period, if the physical constitution is good, the education of both should receive attention. Infancy extends to the age of six or seven years. Up to this period, children should be left, like lambs, to roam about the house, and in the yard, in the buoyancy of their spirits, skipping and jumping, free from care and trouble.

Parents, especially mothers, should be the only teachers of such infant minds. They should not educate from books. The children generally will be inquisitive to learn the things of nature. They will ask questions in regard to the things they see and hear, and parents should improve the opportunity to instruct, and patiently answer these little inquiries. They can, in this manner, get the advantage of the enemy, and fortify the minds of their children, by sowing good seed in their hearts, leaving no room for the bad to take root. The mother's loving instruction at a tender age is what is needed by children in the formation of character.

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