Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 11, 1899

The Christian's Duty

Mrs. E. G. White

Probationary time is our period of test and trial. It cost a price that can not be computed,—the life-blood of the Son of the infinite God. This time is an entrusted talent, a precious gift, to be improved in God's service. The Christian will not trifle one hour away. He will spend it in working the works of Christ.

The Lord calls for the whole heart, the entire affections. He will not accept any divided service. When we give all we have and are to him, our love for those for whom he died is strengthened. Finding its source in Christ, this pure, holy affection flows forth in a rich current to those who come within the sphere of our influence.

In doing Christ's will, we stand on a high and holy field of action. He is the foundation, the source of all power. All his workers are to be tributary to him. They are to realize that they are under obligation to use his gifts with grateful liberality. They are to be cheerful almoners of his treasures. Thus, one with Christ, they walk and work in harmony with him.

The lack of practical obedience will constitute the ground of the condemnation of those that are lost. Those who refuse his counsel, who will not co-operate with him, in probationary time, would not co-operate with him in heaven. They reject his offer of help when it is essential for them to represent his character, and it would not be safe to take them to heaven.

The Lord is displeased with many who claim to believe the truth. They act like unreasonable, passionate children. Christ can not accept their work. He does not need the service of those who are inspired by the enemy of all good. Many connected with the work of God give way to their temper. They fret and grumble when things do not move in a way that pleases them. The Lord is dishonored by this discontent and faultfinding. Those who give way to these traits of character can not inspire confidence as Christians.

Christ is always calm and dignified, and those who labor with him will use, in their work, the oil of grace. Their words and actions will be soothing. They will realize that the wrath of man is altogether unnecessary for the advancement of God's work.

“All ye are brethren.” When our ministers visit the churches, let them not think to help the people by finding fault with them. Let those who visit the churches cultivate a spirit of meekness and brotherly love. Let their words be Christlike. Let them show that they are hidden with Christ in God. Then their words will have a power that will impress the hearts of the people.

If those who fight for their own way would take time to think; if they would plead with God to give them self-control; if they would watch unto prayer, their words of complaint and faultfinding would be much fewer. They would not find pleasure in criticizing. Thankfulness would take possession of their poor, worrying, fretting hearts, and they would rest in God, trusting in him to steer the ship. God could manage if we had nothing to do or say, but he permits us, yes, he invites us, to co-operate with him.

What work are we doing for the Lord? Have we consecrated ourselves to him? When we join the church, we enter into solemn covenant to use our God-given powers in exerting a healthful influence. This God desires us to do at all times and in all places. In this age of the world, when iniquity abounds, discouragement will come to every soul. Let us take all our perplexities to God in prayer. He is our refuge in time of trouble. Do we desire to have our prayers answered? Then we must not be faint-hearted. We must not allow Satan to cast his hellish shadow between our souls and God. This he will strive every day to do. And many of the professed children of God wrap themselves about with this dark shadow. But this need not be. When Satan tempts us to doubt, faith must rise in unfaltering strength, refusing to yield to the darkness, saying, Lord, I cast my helpless soul on thee. I must have light. I must feel the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining into my soul. When we seek the Lord with full purpose of heart, our sincere prayers will cleave the darkness, and the light of Christ's glory will clothe the soul.

In the last great day every man will be rewarded according as his work has been. In unmistakable lines, Christ has laid down the terms of his settlement. So definite are they that no one can offer an excuse for not walking in the way of the Lord.

Diligence in worldly business is not enough. Busy activity in things that are as nothingness will not tell one jot or tittle in favor of any soul. The sum and substance of pure and undefiled religion is specified in God's word: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is the outgrowth of inward piety, tenderness, and love. The church whose members live this scripture will be a living power. Its members will not banish the love of God from their hearts by gossiping and recounting their grievances. The voice will not be used to weaken and destroy souls. Subjects will be dwelt upon that will bring rest to souls; words will be spoken that will comfort the feeble-minded and support the weak.

God calls upon us to be his agencies in dispensing his gifts to others. When men appropriate everything for their own advantage, he withdraws his gifts from them, and places them in the hands of those who will be faithful stewards. Christ gave himself for our salvation, and in turn we must without reserve give ourselves to him. This is God's plan for the discipline of his people. Those who love God sincerely watch for opportunities to prove to the world that they are new men and women in Christ. They do not live to amuse and glorify self. The Lord is their strength, and he enables them to perform holy, beneficent actions. Our outflow of charity is to be proportionate to Christ's liberality to us. Thus we live true religion. Rich and poor need to study what God's word teaches on this subject. They may find culture and education in learning how to give. Christ declared, “The poor always ye have with you.” He has plainly stated that the decisions of the last day will turn upon the question of practical benevolence. To have ministered to the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, are the credentials which will testify that we are Christ's disciples. “Thou hast been faithful over a few things,” he says, “I will make thee ruler over many things.”

How closely Christ has linked himself with suffering humanity! In reckoning with his heritage he places himself on the poor man's side, and registers any neglect to the poor as done to the One to whom man belongs by creation and by redemption; and every act of self-denial, performed to help the suffering, he acknowledges as done to himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The hearts of those who reveal the attributes of Christ glow with divine love. They are imbued with a spirit of gratitude. But the heart that is destitute of love is unthankful. Christ calls upon his disciples to cut away from their lives every defilement of soul and body. Clear foresight and discernment are required, that we may help those who need help.

Christ is our example. He gave his life as a sacrifice for us, and he asks us to give our lives as a sacrifice for others. Thus we may cast out the selfishness which Satan is constantly striving to implant in our hearts. This selfishness is death to all piety, and can be overcome only by manifesting love to God and to our fellow men. Christ will not permit one selfish person to enter the courts of heaven. No covetous person can pass through the pearly gates; for all covetousness is idolatry.

Satan will continue to play the game of life for our souls as long as time shall last. And the end of all things is at hand. “Ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Watch therefore, that when he cometh, ye may be found ready. Prepare to meet thy God. There are sins to be confessed, and wrongs to be righted. Time should now be devoted to earnest preparation for the Master. In this solemn day of atonement we must humble our hearts before God, and confess our sins. We must have faith corresponding to the important, solemn truths which we profess. This is the only evidence we can give to the world to show that our religion is genuine.

Of the virgins who went forth to meet the bridegroom, five were wise, and five were foolish. In which of these classes shall we be found? This question we must answer for ourselves. If we are fully consecrated to God, seeking earnestly to do his will, we shall stand at our post of duty, doing what we can to advance his work.

The churches are to be looked after and cared for, but they are not to demand continuous labor. The members are to receive help and instruction from the Great Teacher, and then, girded with the heavenly armor, they are to stand in the army of God. Do not educate our churches to expect constant ministerial help. If they do the work of God has given them to do, the truth will grow and flourish in their hearts. They will reveal the fact that they are determined to increase their abilities by exercise. In order to have God's approval, we must come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. Armed with the sword of the Spirit, we are to go to the battle, holding forth the word of life, seeking to save souls. If the churches desire to guard against becoming narrow and selfish, let them work for the souls for whom Christ gave his life.

Our Redeemer made the greatest possible sacrifice for the human race. Thus he has shown the estimate he places on us. Do you desire to work so as best to please him? Gird on the armor, and fight manfully the battles of the Lord. Christ will give grace to those who are hunters and fishers of men.

Lift up Jesus. Lift him up, the man of Calvary, with the voice of song and prayer. Seek earnestly to spread the gospel. Tell the precious story of God's love for man. In this work you will find a satisfaction that will last through the eternal ages. Christ has given us this work as our special charge, and he is the source of our wisdom and efficiency.

Talk the truth, pray it, sing it. Point sinners to Christ, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Co-operate with Christ and the heavenly intelligences in the work of reinstating the economy which Christ instituted. Declare with power and assurance that Christ came to live the law of Jehovah. God desires his people to be ready, with souls aglow with his love, to impart as fast as they receive. They are to show what the truth has done for them, that God may be glorified.

July 11, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

Children in this age are suffering, with their parents, more or less, the penalty of the violation of the laws of health. The course generally pursued with them, from their infancy, is in continual opposition to the laws of their being. They were compelled to receive a miserable inheritance of disease and debility, before their birth, occasioned by the wrong habits of their parents, which will affect them in a greater or less degree through life. This bad state of things is made every way worse by parents’ continuing to follow a wrong course in the physical training of their children during their childhood.

Parents manifest astonishing ignorance, indifference, and recklessness, in regard to the physical health of their children, which often results in destroying the little vitality left the abused infant, and consigns it to an early grave. You will frequently hear parents mourning over the providence of God, which has torn their children from their embrace. Our Heavenly Father is too wise to err, and too good to do us wrong. He has no delight in seeing his creatures suffer. Thousands have been ruined for life because parents have not acted in accordance with the laws of health. They have moved from impulse, instead of following the dictates of sound judgment, constantly having in view the future well-being of their children.

The first great object to be attained in the training of children is soundness of constitution, which will prepare the way in a great measure for mental and moral training. Physical and moral health are closely united. What an enormous weight of responsibility rests upon parents when we consider that the course pursued by them before the birth of their children has very much to do with the development of their character after their birth.

Many children are left to come up with less attention from their parents than a good farmer devotes to his dumb animals. Fathers, especially, are often guilty of manifesting less care for wife and children than that shown to their cattle. A merciful farmer will take time to devote especial thought as to the best manner of managing his stock, and will be particular that his valuable horses shall not be overworked, overfed, or fed when heated, lest they be ruined. He will take time to care for his stock, lest they be injured by neglect, exposure, or any improper treatment, and his increasing young stock depreciate in value. He will observe regular periods for their eating, and will know the amount of work they can perform without injuring them. In order to accomplish this, he will provide them only the most healthful food, in proper quantities, and at stated periods. By thus following the dictates of reason, farmers are successful in preserving the strength of their beasts. If the interest of every father, for his wife and children, corresponded to that care manifested for his cattle, in that degree that their lives are more valuable than the dumb animals, there would be an entire reformation in every family, and human misery be far less.

Great care should be manifested by parents in providing the most healthful articles of food for themselves and for their children. And in no case should they place before their children food which their reason teaches them is not conducive to health, but which would fever the system, and derange the digestive organs. Parents do not study from cause to effect in regard to their children, as in the case of their dumb animals, and do not reason that to overwork, to eat after violent exercise and when much exhausted and heated, will injure the health of human beings, as well as the health of dumb animals, and will lay the foundation for a broken constitution in man, as well as in the beasts.

If parents of children eat frequently, irregularly, and in too great quantities, even of the most healthful food, it will injure the constitution; but in addition to this, if the food is of an improper quality, and prepared with grease and indigestible spices, the result will be far more injurious. The digestive organs will be severely taxed, and exhausted nature will be left a poor chance to rest and recover strength, and the vital organs will soon become impaired, and break down. If care and regularity are considered needful for dumb animals, they are as much more essential for human beings, formed in the image of their Maker, as they are of more value than the dumb creation.

The father, in many cases, exercises less reason, and has less care, for his wife, and their offspring before its birth, than he manifests for his cattle with young. The mother, in many cases, previously to the birth of her children, is permitted to toil early and late, heating her blood, while preparing various unhealthful dishes of food to suit the perverted taste of the family and of visitors. Her strength should have been tenderly cherished. A preparation of healthful food would have required but about one half the expense and labor, and would have been far more nourishing.

The mother, before the birth of her children, is often permitted to labor beyond her strength. Her burdens and cares are seldom lessened, and that period, which should be to her, of all others, a time of rest, is one of fatigue, sadness, and gloom. By too great exertion on her part, she deprives her offspring of that nutrition which nature has provided for it, and by heating her blood, she imparts to it a bad quality of blood. The offspring is robbed of its vitality, robbed of physical and mental strength. The father should study how to make the mother happy. He should not allow himself to come to his home with a clouded brow. If he is perplexed in business, he should not, unless it is actually necessary to counsel with his wife, trouble her with such matters. She has cares and trials of her own to bear, and she should be tenderly spared every needless burden.

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