Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

February 6, 1900

Loyalty or Disloyalty?

Mrs. E. G. White

In the past the Lord God of ages revealed his secrets to his prophets. The Omniscient looked down the centuries, and predicted through his prophets the rise and fall of kingdoms, hundreds of years before the events foretold took place. The present and the future are equally clear to God, and he shows his servants what shall be. His voice echoes down the ages, telling man what is to take place. Kings and princes take their position at the appointed time. They think they are carrying out their own purposes, but in reality they are fulfilling the word God has given through his prophets. They act their part in carrying out God's great plan. Events fall into line, fulfilling the word the Almighty has spoken.

The unbelieving and godless do not discern the signs of the time. In ignorance they may refuse to accept the inspired record. But when professed Christians speak sneeringly of the means employed by the great I AM to make his purposes known, they show themselves to be ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. The Creator knows just what elements he has to deal with in human nature. He knows what means to employ to obtain the desired end. The Christian who accepts the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, will look at Bible history in its true bearing. The history of the Jewish economy from beginning to end, though spoken of contemptuously and sneered at as “the dark ages,” will reveal light, and still more light, as it is studied.

Man's word fails; and he who takes the assertions of man as his dependence may well tremble; for he will one day be a shipwrecked vessel. But God's word is infallible, and endures forever. Christ declares, “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” God's word will endure through the ceaseless ages of eternity. God lives and reigns. His glory is not confined to the temple made with hands. He has not closed heaven against his people. As in the past, so in this age, God reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets.

The image shown to Nebuchadnezzar in the visions of the night represents the kingdoms of the world. The metals in the image, symbolizing the different kingdoms, became less and less pure and valuable, from the head down. The head of the image was of gold, the breast and arms of silver, the sides of brass, and the feet and toes iron mingled with clay. So the kingdoms represented by them deteriorated in value.

The result of making void the law of God may be seen in the increasing immorality of these several kingdoms. If the inhabitants had kept the fear of God ever before them, they would have been given wisdom and power, which would have bound them together, and kept them strong. But the rulers of these kingdoms made God their strength only when harassed and perplexed. Failing to get help from their great men, they sought it from men like Daniel, who they knew honored the living God, and were honored by him. To these men they appeal to unravel the mysteries of providence; for they had so far separated themselves from God by transgression that they could not understand his warning. They were forced to appeal for explanation to those illuminated by heavenly light.

When the empire of Babylon was so strong and its influence so far-reaching that seemingly the most powerful foe could not take its scepter, Daniel, a man inspired by God, prophesied that it would pass away, notwithstanding its apparent magnificence, and that a second would succeed it. He prophesied also that the second empire would be succeeded by the third, and that a fourth empire should arise, more fierce, more determined, and more powerful than any kingdom that had preceded it. As strong as iron, this kingdom would subdue and break in pieces all the nations of the world.

In spite of the warning he received, Nebuchadnezzar went on in his own strength, till God took from him the talent of wisdom, that he might be led to see and acknowledge that the God of Israel was able to create and to destroy. The kings who succeeded him failed to profit by his experience, and the kingdom of Babylon passed away because, in their prosperity, her rulers forgot God, and ascribed her honor and glory to human achievement. So today, when men forget God and refuse to obey his law, they are humiliated. God tests them, and if they do not humble their hearts and confess their sins, they receive the penalty of transgression.

The Medo-Persian kingdom was visited by the wrath of God because in it his law was trampled underfoot. The fear of God possessed no power among the people. Wickedness, blasphemy, and corruption were the prevailing influences in this kingdom; and the kingdoms that followed were even more base and corrupt. They deteriorated because they cast off God. Forgetting him, they sank lower and lower in the scale. The vast empire of Rome crumbled into pieces. The church of Rome boasts of her infallibility, and of the power of her hereditary religion. But this religion is a horror to all who are acquainted with the secrets of the mystery of iniquity. The priests of this church maintain their ascendency by keeping the people in ignorance of the will of God.

While representing the kingdoms of this earth, the image that was revealed to Nebuchadnezzar also fitly represented deterioration of religion. We grow weak morally and spiritually, just in proportion as we forget God. Those who claim to be Protestants are not today what Luther was. They have left the old landmarks, and have depended on forms, ceremonies, and outward display to make up for the lack of purity and piety, meekness and lowliness, found in obedience to God. Sin is ruining nations today just as it has done in time past. Even leaders in the religious world have not a good conscience toward God.

Men need an intelligent knowledge of God's law. There is no true standard of righteousness apart from this law. By obedience to it the intellect is cultivated, the conscience enlightened and made sensitive. Righteousness exalts a nation. The words of the Bible, and the Bible alone, should be echoed from the pulpits of our land. This book is God's great director. It is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. It flashes its light ahead, that we may see the path by which we are traveling; and its rays are thrown back on past history, showing the most perfect harmony in that which, to the mind in darkness, appears like error and discord. In that which seems to the worldling an inexplicable mystery, God's children see light and beauty.

God speaks in his word, and fulfills this word in the world. We need now to seek to understand the movements of God's providence. Said Paul, “Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness.” God's people are not left to depend on man's wisdom. With prophetic guideposts God has marked out the way he wishes them to take. These great waymarks show us that the path of obedience is the only path we can follow with certainty. Men break their word, and prove themselves untrustworthy, but God changes not. His word will abide the same forever. Those who love and obey the law of Jehovah will meet with trial and temptation; but these are only what Jesus met, and he declares: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” If we hope and pray, and by faith trust his word, we shall be able to say, with Paul, “I am persuaded, that neither death nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Have we given ourselves up to do God's will? Are we transformed by the grace of Christ? Some claim to be in Christ, while their special work is to make void the law of Jehovah. Shall we take their word for it? Shall we accept their assertions? How shall we distinguish God's true servants from the false prophets who Christ said should arise to deceive many?—There is only one test of character,—the law of Jehovah.

The Israelites placed over their doors a signature of blood, to show that they were God's property. So the children of God in this age will bear the signature God has appointed. They will place themselves in harmony with God's holy law. A mark is placed upon every one of God's people just as verily as a mark was placed over the doors of the Hebrew dwellings, to preserve the people from the general ruin. God declares, “I gave them my Sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them.” When men say that the law of God is abrogated by the testimony of the Fathers, they are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Their word is not founded upon the teaching of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ is not the chief cornerstone of their structure. John says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Those who permit themselves to be deceived will, with the deceiver, feel the wrath of the Lamb.

With God's word before us, with the lesson of instruction we may there learn, there is no need for us to be deceived. We are living in a momentous period of this earth's history. The great conflict is just before us. We see the world corrupted under the inhabitants thereof. The man of sin has worked with a marvelous perseverance to exalt the spurious sabbath, and the disloyal Protestant world has wondered after the beast, and has called obedience to the Sabbath instituted by Jehovah disloyalty to the laws of the nations. Kingdoms have confederated to sustain a false sabbath institution, which has not a word of authority in the oracles of God.

In the record of the vision given to John we read, “The dragon was wroth with the woman [the church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Satanic agencies have made the earth a stage for horrors, which no language can describe. War and bloodshed are carried on by nations claiming to be Christian. A disregard for the law of God has brought its sure result.

The great conflict now being waged is not merely a strife of man against man. On one side stands the Prince of Life, acting as man's substitute and surety; on the other, the prince of darkness, with the fallen angels under his command. “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.” “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.”

There will be a sharp conflict between those who are loyal to God and those who cast scorn upon his law. The church has joined hands with the world. Reverence to God's law has been subverted. The religious leaders are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is in this age of the world. But shall the prevalence of disloyalty and transgression cause those who have reverenced the law of God to have less respect for it, to unite with the powers of earth to make it void?—The truly loyal will not be carried away by the current of evil. They will not throw scorn and contempt on that which God has set apart as holy. The test comes to every one. There are only two sides. On which side are you?

February 6, 1900

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

Women should clothe their limbs with regard to health and comfort. They need to have their limbs and feet clad as warmly as do men. The length of the fashionable dress is objectionable for several reasons:

1. It is extravagant and unnecessary to have the dress of such a length that it will sweep the sidewalks and streets.

2. A dress thus long gathers dew from the grass, and mud from the streets, which makes it uncleanly.

3. In its bedrabbled condition it comes in contact with the sensitive ankles, which are not sufficiently protected, quickly chilling them, and is one of the greatest causes of catarrh and of scrofulous swellings, and endangers health and life.

4. The unnecessary length is an additional weight upon the hips and bowels.

5. It hinders the walking, and is also often in other people's way.

There is still another style of dress that will be adopted by a class of so-called dress reformers. They will imitate the opposite sex as nearly as possible. They will wear the cap, pants, vest, coat, and boots, the last of which is the most sensible part of the costume. Those who adopt and advocate this style of dress, are carrying the so-called dress reform to very objectionable lengths. Confusion will be the result. Some who adopt this costume may be correct in their views in general upon the health question, but they could be instrumental in accomplishing vastly more good if they did not carry the matter of dress to such extremes.

In this style of dress God's order has been reversed, and his special direction disregarded. “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 22:5. This style of dress God would not have his people adopt. It is not modest apparel, and is not at all fitting for modest, humble females who profess to be Christ's followers. God's prohibitions are lightly regarded by all who would advocate the doing away of the distinction of dress between males and females. The extreme positions taken by some dress reformers upon this subject cripple their influence.

God designed there should be a plain distinction between male and female dress, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion, and great increase of crime. The apostle Paul would utter a rebuke, were he alive, should he behold females professing godliness with this style of dress. “In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” The mass of professed Christians utterly disregard the teachings of the apostles, and wear gold, pearls, and costly array.

God's loyal people are the light of the world and the salt of the earth; and they should ever remember that their influence is of value. Were they to exchange the extreme long, for the extreme short, dress, they would, to a great extent, destroy their influence. Unbelievers, whom it is their duty to benefit, and seek to bring to the Lamb of God, would be disgusted. Many improvements can be made in the dress of women in reference to health, without making so great a change as to disgust the beholder.

The female form should not be compressed in the least with corsets and whalebones. The dress should be perfectly easy, that the lungs and heart may have healthy action. The dress should reach somewhat below the top of the boot, but should be short enough to clear the filth of the sidewalk and street, without being raised by the hand. A still shorter dress than this would be proper, convenient, and healthful for women when doing their housework, and especially for those women who are obliged to perform more or less outdoor labor. With this style of dress, one light skirt, or at most two, is all that is necessary, and that should be buttoned to a waist, or suspended with straps. The hips were not formed to bear heavy weights. The heavy skirts worn by females, their weight dragging down upon the hips, have been the cause of various diseases, which are not easily cured, because the sufferers seem to be ignorant of the cause that produced them, and continue to violate the laws of their being by girding the waist and wearing heavy skirts, until they are made life-long invalids.

Many will immediately exclaim, “Why, such a style of dress will be old-fashioned!” What if it is? I wish we could be old-fashioned in many respects. If we could have the old-fashioned strength that characterized the old-fashioned women of past generations, it would be very desirable. I do not speak unadvisedly when I say that the way in which women clothe themselves, together with their indulgence of appetite, is the greatest cause of their present feeble, diseased condition. There is but one woman in a thousand who clothes her limbs as she should. Whatever may be the length of the dress, women should clothe their limbs as thoroughly as do men. If the limbs and feet are kept comfortable with warm clothing, the circulation will be equalized, and the blood will remain healthy and pure, because it is not chilled nor hindered in its natural passage through the system.

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