Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 25, 1899

The Sanctifying Power of Truth

Mrs. E. G. White

“Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

This parable illustrates the penetrating and assimilating power of the gospel, which is to fashion the church after the divine similitude by working on the hearts of the individual members. As the leaven operates on the meal, so the Holy Spirit operates on the human heart, absorbing all its capabilities and powers, bringing soul, body, and spirit into conformity to Christ.

In the parable the woman placed the leaven in the meal. It was necessary to supply a want. By this God would teach us that, of himself, man does not possess the properties of salvation. He can not transform himself by the exercise of his will. The truth must be received into the heart. Thus the divine leaven does its work. By its transforming, vitalizing power it produces a change in the heart. New thoughts, new feelings, new purposes are awakened. The mind is changed, the faculties are set to work. Man is not supplied with new faculties, but the faculties he has are sanctified. The conscience hitherto dead is aroused. But man can not make this change himself. It can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.

This truth is presented in Christ's words to Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of God.... That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

When our minds are controlled by the Spirit of God, we shall understand the lesson taught by the parable of the leaven. Those who open their hearts to receive the truth will realize that the word of God is the great instrumentality in the transformation of character. “The entrance of thy words giveth light,” the psalmist declares; “it giveth understanding unto the simple.” And Christ prayed for his disciples, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Christ came to this world to declare the truth, that we might be sanctified by it. Speaking of him, John says: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.... And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.”

In his prayer for us, Christ said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” These words embody everything; and we can not, therefore, place too much importance on them. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Then shall we not awaken to our holy responsibilities, and strive to meet God's standard of character? If we are one with Christ by faith, we are sons and daughters of God.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” The Holy Spirit presents the law to the sinner as God's only standard of character. “For I was alive without the law once,” Paul continues; “but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.... I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”

“For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” By the grace of Christ we are saved. But grace does not abolish the law of God. The law is the transcript of God's character. It presents his righteousness in contrast with unrighteousness. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law makes sin appear exceeding sinful. It condemns the transgressor, but it has no power to save and restore him. Its province is not to pardon. Pardon comes through Christ, who lived the law in humanity. Man's only hope is in the substitute provided by God, who gave his Son, that he might reconcile the world to himself. “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.... For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.... Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”

Are you standing on the foundation laid by Christ? Have you faith in him, who is made unto us “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”? His word is true, and it requires those who believe in him to be sanctified, soul, body, and spirit. Sanctification is the measure of our completeness. The moment we surrender ourselves to God, believing in him, we have his righteousness. We realize that we have been redeemed from sin, and we appreciate the sacrifice made to purchase our freedom.

Our salvation is complete, because it is founded on the accomplishment of a plan laid before the foundation of the world. Before Christ came, a ceremonial holiness could be obtained by offering the blood of bulls and of goats; but these sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience. They were but a representation of Christ, the great sacrifice. The substance of all the sacrifices and offerings, he came to this world to do God's will by offering himself. He came as the world's Redeemer, to stand at the head of humanity. The Holy Spirit comes to man through Christ. We are given a decided testimony regarding the value of Christ's offering. God's word declares, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It was a whole and entire sacrifice that was made for us.

The last great crisis is upon us. The working of the man of sin is revealed. “The mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.... Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

This sanctification we must all experience, else we can never gain eternal life. It is obtained by a union with Christ, a union which no power of Satan can break.

Christ demands undivided heart-service,—the entire use of mind, soul, heart, and strength. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” When we make this surrender, Christ sets our minds at rest, and consecrates our hearts and hands to his service. His wisdom gives us spiritual life, and enables us to manifest love to God and to one another. We reveal his grace in our characters; for we have his life. He presents us spotless before his Father; for we are sanctified through his blood. We are purged from dead works; for Jesus takes possession of the sanctified soul, to renew, sustain, and guide all its impulses, and give vitality to its purposes. Thus we become temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

July 25, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

In past generations, if mothers had informed themselves in regard to the laws of their being, they would have understood that their constitutional strength, as well as the tone of their morals, and their mental faculties, would in a great measure be represented in their offspring. Their ignorance upon this subject, where so much is involved, is criminal. Many women should never have become mothers. Their blood was filled with scrofula, transmitted to them from their parents, and increased by their gross manner of living. The intellect has been brought down, and enslaved to serve the animal appetites. Children born of such parents have been great sufferers, and of but little use to society.

It has been one of the greatest causes of degeneracy in preceding generations, that wives and mothers, who otherwise would have had a beneficial influence upon society in raising the standard of morals, have been lost to society through the multiplicity of home cares, because of the fashionable, health-destroying manner of cooking, and also in consequence of too frequent child-bearing. The mother has been compelled to endure needless suffering, her constitution has failed, and her intellect has become weakened by so great a draft upon her vital resources. Her offspring suffer because of her debility; and through her inability to educate them, society has thrown upon it a class poorly fitted to be of any benefit.

If these mothers had given birth to but few children, and had been careful to live upon such food as would preserve physical health and mental strength, so that the moral and intellectual might predominate over the animal, they could have so educated their children for usefulness that they would have been bright ornaments to society.

If, in past generations, parents had, with firmness of purpose, kept the body servant to the mind, and had not allowed the intellectual to be enslaved by the animal passions, there would be in this age a different order of beings upon the earth. And if the mother, before the birth of her offspring, had always possessed self-control, realizing that she was giving the stamp of character to future generation, the present state of society would not be so depreciated in character.

Every woman about to become a mother, whatever may be her surroundings, should encourage constantly a happy, contended disposition, knowing that for all her efforts in this direction she will be repaid tenfold in the physical, as well as in the moral, character of her offspring. Nor is this all. By habit she can accustom herself to cheerful thinking, and thus encourage a happy state of mind, and cast a cheerful reflection of her own happiness of spirit upon her family, and those with whom she associates. And in a very great degree her physical health will be improved. A force will be imparted to the life springs; the blood will not move sluggishly, as would be the case if she were to yield to despondency and gloom. Her mental and moral health are invigorated by the buoyancy of her spirits. The power of the will can resist impressions of the mind, and will prove a grand soother of the nerves. Children who are robbed of that vitality which they should have inherited from their parents should have the utmost care. By close attention to the laws of their being, a much better condition may be established.

The period in which the infant receives its nourishment from its mother is critical. Many a mother, while nursing her infant, has been permitted to overwork, heating her blood over the cook-stove; and the nursling has been seriously affected, not only with fevered nourishment from the mother's breast, but its blood has been poisoned by the unhealthy diet of the mother, which has fevered her whole system, thereby affecting the food of the infant. The infant is also affected by the condition of the mother's mind. If she is unhappy, easily agitated, irritable, giving vent to outbursts of passion, the nourishment the infant receives from its mother will be inflamed, often producing colic, spasms, and, in some instances, causing convulsions, or fits.

The character also of the child is more or less affected by the nature of the nourishment received from the mother. How important, then, that the mother, while nursing her infant, should preserve a happy state of mind, having perfect control of her own spirit. By thus doing, the food of the child is not injured, and the calm, self-possessed course the mother pursues in the treatment of her child has much to do in molding the mind of the infant. If it is nervous, and easily agitated, the mother's careful, unhurried manner will have a soothing and correcting influence, and the health of the infant will be much improved.

Infants have been greatly abused by improper treatment. If fretful, they have generally been fed to keep them quiet, when, in most cases, receiving too much food, made injurious by the wrong habits of the mother, was the very cause of their fretfulness. More food only made the matter worse; for the stomach was already overloaded.

Children are generally brought up from the cradle to indulge the appetite, and are taught that they live to eat. The mother does much toward the formation of the character of her children in their childhood. She can teach them to control the appetite, or she can teach them to indulge the appetite, and become gluttons. The mother often plans to accomplish a certain amount of work during the day; and when the children trouble her, instead of taking time to soothe their little sorrows, and divert them, something is given them to eat, to keep them still. This accomplishes the purpose for a short time, but eventually makes things worse. The children's stomachs are pressed with food when they have not the least want of food. All that is required is a little of mother's time and attention. But she regards her time altogether too precious to devote to the amusement of her children. Perhaps to arrange her house in a tasteful manner for visitors to praise, and to have her food cooked in fashionable style, are, with her, higher considerations than the happiness and health of her children.

Intemperance in eating and in labor debilitates the parents, often making them nervous, and disqualifying them rightly to discharge their duty to their children. Three times a day parents and children gather around the table, loaded with a variety of fashionable foods. The merits of each dish have to be tested. Perhaps the mother has toiled till she is heated and exhausted, and is not in a condition to take even the simplest food till she has first had a period of rest. The food she wearied herself in preparing is wholly unfit for her at any time, but especially taxes the digestive organs when the blood is heated and the system exhausted. Those who have thus persisted in violating the laws of their being have been compelled to pay the penalty at some period of their life.

There are ample reasons why there are so many nervous women in the world, complaining of dyspepsia, with its train of evils. The cause has been followed by the effect. It is impossible for intemperate persons to be patient. They must first reform bad habits, and learn to live healthfully; then it will not be difficult for them to be patient. Many do not seem to understand the relation the mind sustains to the body. If the system is deranged by improper food, the brain and nerves are affected, and slight things annoy those who are thus afflicted. Little difficulties are to them troubles mountain high. Persons thus situated are unfitted properly to train their children. Their life will be marked with extremes; sometimes they will be very indulgent, at other times severe, censuring for trifles that deserve no notice.

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