Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 9, 1899

An Example of Faithfulness—No. 2

Mrs. E. G. White

There are two great principles, one of loyalty, the other of disloyalty. We all need greater Christian courage, that we may uplift the standard on which is inscribed the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. We are to make no compromise with the leaders of rebellion. The line of demarcation between the obedient and the disobedient must be plain and distinct. We must have a firm determination to do the Lord's will at all times and in all places.

Speaking of Satan, Christ said, “He ... abode not in the truth.” There are in every age souls of whom these words might be spoken. Before his fall, Satan was highly exalted. His position was next to that of Christ, and he was radiant with holiness. But he swerved from his allegiance to the blessed and only Potentate, and lost his high position. From this time he became an avowed antagonist of God, and influenced others to unite with him against God. Planting the standard of rebellion, he rallied the supporters of his disaffection, that evil might become a power against good.

Today men are following Satan's lead. All who break the law of God, and teach others to do so are Satan's agents. Satan is the root, and those who teach others to break the least of God's commandments are the branches. They are warring against the law of Jehovah, and in the books of heaven their names are recorded as associate rebels with the first great apostate.

Christian strength is obtained by serving the Lord faithfully. Young men and young women should realize that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. By the strictest fidelity they should strive for moral independence, and this independence they should maintain against every influence that may try to turn them from righteous principles. Stronger minds may, yes, they will, make assertions that have no foundation in truth. Let the heavenly eye-salve be applied to the eyes of your understanding, that you may distinguish between truth and error. Search the Word; and when you find a “Thus saith the Lord,” take your stand.

God is looking with interest upon the youth. He would have every Christian manifest the same interest in children and youth; for the time of temptation has come to our world, and the young must be labored for, hunted for, and brought into the fold. Awaken the consciences of young men and women by holding forth in clear, simple language the word of the living God. Present it to them as the young man's counselor, urging them to follow its teachings. When they see professed Christians neglecting their words and deportment, and doing things that are contrary to a “Thus saith the Lord,” they are to turn from them, that they may say, as did Nehemiah, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.”

In “Pilgrim's Progress” there is a character called Pliable. Youth, shun this character. Those represented by it are very accommodating, but they are as a reed shaken by the wind. They possess no will-power. Every youth needs to cultivate decision. A divided state of the will is a snare, and will be the ruin of many youth. Be firm, else you will be left with your house, or character, built upon a sandy foundation. There are many who are on the wrong side, when the Lord desires them to be faithful men, who can distinguish good from evil.

Manifest decision at any cost. Do not yield to the influence brought to bear upon you by men who show that they act without spiritual guidance. The power by which they are guided is a power from beneath. Yet they are so talkative that their misstatements have great force with men who ought to know better than to be swayed by superficial religious characters, whose conscience may be represented by an India-rubber ball.

Turn away from such men. Be as little as possible in their society. They have talents; and if they were converted, they could lead others in safe paths; but they are unconverted, and therefore they are not to be trusted. Those who would walk in the path cast up for the chosen of the Lord, must not be swayed in matters of conscience by men who have often been zealous for the wrong. They must show moral independence, and must not be afraid to be singular.

The wrong customs, practises, and theories of the world are to find no recognition in the life of the one who has chosen to be on the Lord's side. Consecrate all that there is of you—soul, body, and spirit—to the Lord. Yield every power you have to the control of the Holy Spirit.

False shepherds are many, and the Lord has warned us in regard to them. “Enter ye in at the strait gate,” he says; “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. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree can not bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Many are changed by every current. They wait to hear what some one else thinks, and his opinion is accepted as altogether true. If they would lean wholly upon God, they would grow strong in his strength; but they do not say to the Lord, I can not make any decision until I know thy will. Their natural inclination is to allow another to be conscience for them; and they speak after he has spoken, saying what he says, and acting as he acts. When these persons are placed in circumstances where they must think and act for themselves, they dare not express any decided opinion. Yet often, like Aaron, they have much ability. God pity such weaklings.

When men connected with the work of God allow themselves to be bought and sold, when they violate truth in order to gain the favor and approval of men, God records them as betrayers of sacred trust. Let every man stand in moral independence, resolved that his mind shall be molded only by the Holy Spirit. God calls for minute-men, who are not ready to echo the words of unconverted men. In an emergency such men are sure to lead into false paths. The Lord desires us to follow on step by step to know him.

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We must free ourselves from the customs and bondage of society, that when the principles of our faith are at stake, we shall not hesitate to show our colors, even though we are called singular for so doing. Keep the conscience tender, that you may hear the faintest whisper of the voice that spoke as never man spoke. Let all who would wear the yoke of Christ show an inflexible purpose to do right because it is right. Keep the eye fixed on Jesus, inquiring at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? The Lord will not leave any one who does this, to become the sport of Satan's temptation.

When perplexities arise, as they are sure to do, draw near to God, and he will draw near to you; and then when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for you. Decide that there is a great work to be done, and that no man's influence or opposition shall divert you from the plain path of duty. Then you can say, with Nehemiah, “Remember me, O my God, for good.”

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Do not imitate men. Study your Bibles, and imitate Christ. Do not lend yourselves to any selfish confederacy. Do not bind yourselves to stand by one another in any questionable matter. Scheming, underhand working, and untruthful practises, which much talk has made apparently justifiable, have been and are still carried on. Church-members have engaged in lines of work that have corrupted their sense of honor. They can never be saved unless the Lord, by his Spirit, shall touch their hearts, leading them to see that their entire system of working is condemned by the Bible.

We are not to fashion ourselves after the world's type. God's people will hear conversations regarding the carrying out of wrong methods and plans. Words of irreverence will be spoken. Religion will be jested about. Hear the voice of God: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Those who are controlled by the Spirit of God are to keep their perceptive faculties awake; for the time has come when their integrity and loyalty to God and to one another will be tested. Do not commit the least injustice in order to gain an advantage for yourselves. Do unto others, in small matters as well as in great, as you would that others should do unto you. God says, “Ye are my witnesses.” You are to act in my place. Could the curtain be rolled back, you would see the heavenly universe looking with intense interest upon the one who is tempted. If you do not yield to the enemy, there is joy in heaven. When the first suggestion of wrong is heard, dart a prayer to heaven, and then firmly resist the temptation to tamper with the principles condemned in God's word. The first time the temptation comes, meet it in such a decided manner that it will never be repeated. Turn from the one who has ventured to present wrong practises to you. Resolutely turn from the tempter, saying, I must separate from your influence; for I know you are not walking in the footsteps of our Saviour.

Even though you may not feel able to speak a word to those who are working on wrong principles, leave them. Your withdrawal and silence may do more than words. Nehemiah refused to associate with those who were untrue to principle, and he would not permit his workmen to associate with them. The love and fear of God were his safeguard. He lived and worked as in view of the unseen world. And David said, “I have set the Lord always before me.”

Dare to be a Daniel. Dare to stand alone. Thus, as did Moses, you will endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. But a cowardly and silent reserve before evil associates, while you listen to their devices, makes you one with them. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

Have courage to do right. The Lord's promise is more valuable than gold and silver to all who are doers of his word. Let all regard it as a great honor to be acknowledged by God as his children. If children, then we are heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, to the heavenly inheritance. Then should not all believers be witnesses? Should not the language of their hearts be, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” To the soul who loves God the law is not a burden. He delights in the law of God after the inner man, and his prayer is, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” The word of God is the voice of the Father to the heart of the child, and the child expresses his love by saying, “I delight to do thy will, O my God.”

May 9, 1899

The Excellency of the Soul

[In place of the usual study, this week I give to my sisters a portion of a letter just received from Sister White. It is so full of good things that I feel I must share it with you, knowing that it will be a means of strength and encouragement to you, as it has been to me.]

S. M. I. H.

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, N. S. W.,

March 25,1899.

Dear Sister Henry,

I awoke at two o'clock, and know there is no more sleep for me. Your letter was read with interest, and I am grateful to my Heavenly Father, that although we can not meet face to face, we can have the advantages of pen and ink for communicating with each other.

There is a large work to be done, and we are seeking to do all we can in Newcastle and suburbs. The ministers are now aroused to opposition. We feel sorry for these shepherds, and sorry for the poor sheep who are starving for the precious words of life, which we, as God's servants, would be glad to give them, and which they long to receive, but of which they are afraid. God help them, is my prayer. If we could only impress them with the value of the human soul! If they could by proofs be made to understand that they must each act for himself, that each has a soul to save or to lose, then they would each act individually and independently of any human influence. If we can make these souls, who are waiting in the balance, to see, once to have a clear conviction of, the excellency of the human soul, which Christ has so valued as to give his life to save, we would be able to win them. What an account the ministers must meet who are making of none effect the plain, distinct “Thus saith the Lord.”

The work you are doing to help our sisters feel their individual accountability to God is a good and necessary work. Long has it been neglected; but when this work has been laid out in clear lines, simple and definite, we may expect that the essential duties of the home, instead of being neglected, will be done much more intelligently. The Lord would ever have us urge upon those who do not understand, the worth of the human soul.

If we can arrange, as you are now working, to have regularly organized companies intelligently instructed in regard to the part they should act as servants of the Master, our churches will have life and vitality such as have been so long needed.

Christ our Saviour appreciated the excellency of the soul. Our sisters have generally a very hard time, with their increasing families and their unappreciated trials. I have so longed for women who could be educators to help them to arise from their discouragement, and to feel that they could do a work for the Lord. And this effort is bringing rays of sunshine into their lives, and is being reflected upon the hearts of others. God will bless you, and all who shall unite with you, in this grand work.

Many youth as well as our older sisters manifest themselves shy of religious conversation. They do not take in the matter as it is. The word of God must be their assurance, their hope, their peace. They close the windows that should open heavenward, and open the windows wide earthward. But when they shall see the excellency of the human soul, they will close the windows earthward, cease depending on earthly amusements and associations, break away from folly and sin, and will open the windows heavenward, that they may behold spiritual things. Then can they say, I will receive the light of the Sun of Righteousness, that I may shine forth to others.

The most successful toilers are those who will cheerfully work to serve God in small things. Every human being is to work with his own individual thread, weave it into the fabric that composes the web, and complete the pattern.

The work of Christ was largely composed of personal interviews. He had a faithful regard for the one-soul audience; and that one soul has carried to thousands the intelligence received.

Educate the youth to help the youth; and in seeking to do this work each will gain experience that will qualify him to become a consecrated worker in a larger sphere. Thousands of hearts can be reached in the most simple way. The most intellectual, those who are looked upon and praised as the world's great and gifted men and women, are often refreshed by the most humble, simple words spoken by one who loves God, who can speak of that love as naturally as worldlings can speak of those things which their minds contemplate and feed upon. Words, even if well prepared and studied, have little influence; but the true, honest work of a son or a daughter of God in words, or in a service of little things, done in natural simplicity, will unbolt the door, which has long been locked, to many souls.

But let every worker, whether a child, a youth, or a person of mature age, put on Christ; that is, seek him in prayer, and believe that his prayers are accepted of God, because he has charged all to watch and to pray without ceasing. Some pray during the week of prayer, and then suppose their praying may cease; and as they do not continue to pray, they do not continue to receive. They must continue to ask, that they may receive. Ask, and you shall receive. Seek me, and you shall find me close beside you, ready to shield, to help, to bless you. I will lead the current of your thoughts away from cheap and frivolous things. I will open for you subjects to contemplate that will give you my peace, my joy, and consolation, that will take away your worries. Our powers are not to be employed and worn out with responsibilities that belong to God, and not to any human being. Then let us educate the soul not to chafe and irritate and weaken its powers unnecessarily, but keep itself in calmness and in peace.

The wails of a world's sorrows are all around us; its shadow is pressing in upon us, and our minds must be ready for every good word and work because we know we have the presence of Jesus. The sweet influence of his Holy Spirit is teaching and guiding our thoughts, to speak the words that will refresh and cheer and brighten the path of others.

If we can, my sister, we should speak often to our sisters, and lead them in the place of saying “Go.” Lead them to do as we should do: to feel as we should feel, a strong and abiding perception of the value of the human soul. We are learners that we may be teachers. This idea must be imprinted in the mind of every church-member.

We believe fully in church organization, but in nothing that is to prescribe the precise way in which we must work; for all minds are not reached by the same methods. Nothing is to be allowed to keep the working servant of God from his fellow man. The individual believer is to labor for the individual sinner. Each person has his own lamp to keep burning; and if the heavenly oil is emptied into these lamps through the golden pipes, if they empty the golden oil out of themselves, and if it is received into the vessels which have been emptied of self, and so prepared to receive the holy oil, that lamp, well supplied with the holy oil, can to some purpose throw its light on the sinner's path. Very much more light shines from one such lamp onto the path of the wanderer, than would be given by a whole torchlight procession got up for parade and show. O, what a work may be done if we will not stretch ourselves beyond our measure!

Teach this, my sister. You have many ways opened before you. Address the crowd whenever you can; hold every jot of influence you can by any association that can be made the means of introducing the leaven to the meal. Every man and every woman has a work to do for the Master. Personal consecration and sanctification to God will accomplish, through the most simple methods, more than the most imposing display.

Personal work must be done; personal sanctification makes each one a partner with the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is invincible. Those who follow in the footsteps of Christ will not be seeking for show and parade. Christ is not there. He that will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Without me, ye can do nothing to my name's glory. All this world's lusts, pleasures, and human power will pass away. Not one jot or tittle of all the world's pleasures and its supposed valuable treasures will be taken into the eternal world with any soul. One kind of life is spent in doing the will of God, and that life and labor shall abide forever; for the labor spent in advancing the kingdom of God in this world will carry its results into the future eternal kingdom of God.

Teach our sisters that every day the question is to be, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do this day? Each vessel consecrated to God will daily have the holy oil emptied into it, that it may be emptied out into other vessels. Every day we may be advancing in the Christian character, waiting and watching for opportunities to do the will and work of God. Every word uttered, every work performed in Christ's lines, will have an enduring pre-eminence. Speak the words that are given you of God, and the Lord will certainly work with you. Do not fail nor be discouraged, although you may see many things which you do not approve. I hope and pray that you may be clothed with the righteousness of Christ daily.

In much love,

(Signed) Ellen G. White.

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