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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898) - Contents
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    Ms 121, 1898

    An Example of Faithfulness


    October 2, 1898

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MCP 688-689; TDG 284; CTr 180;12MR 255; 1NL 100; RH 05/02/1899, 05/09/1899. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    The case of Nehemiah has been presented to me. He was not a man set apart for a priest or a prophet, but the Lord used him to do a special work. He was a leader of the people, but his fidelity to God did not rest upon his position.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 1

    The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God, and no longer felt that it was their duty to maintain principles unadulterated by the sentiments of the nations around them. Because of their separation from God, the Lord humbled them. He could not work for their prosperity, He could not fulfil His covenant with them while they were untrue to the principles He had given them to zealously maintain, that they might be kept from the methods and practices of the heathen nations who dishonored God. By their spirit and their works the children of Israel misrepresented the righteousness of God’s character, and the Lord permitted them to be taken captive. He left them to their own ways, and the innocent suffered with the sinners in Zion.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 2

    But among the children of Israel there were Christian patriots, who were as true as steel to principle, and upon these loyal and true men the Lord looked with great pleasure. These were men who would not be corrupted by selfishness or mar the work of God by following erroneous methods and practices, men who would honor God at the loss of all things. They had to suffer with the guilty, but in the providence of God this captivity was the means of bringing them to the front; and their example of untarnished integrity, while captives at Babylon, shines with heaven’s lustre.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 3

    Many of the Lord’s chosen people had proved themselves untrustworthy. They separated from God, and became selfish, scheming, and dishonorable. The part acted by Daniel and his fellows, and by Ezra and Nehemiah, was in marked contrast to this, and the Lord specially blessed these men for standing up firmly for the right.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 4

    Nehemiah and Ezra were men of opportunity. The Lord had a special work for them to do. They were to call upon the people to consider their ways and see where they had made their mistake, for the Lord had not suffered His people to become powerless and confused, and to be taken into captivity, without a cause.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 5

    The Lord’s work will not be hindered, even though the workmen may prove unworthy. God has men in reserve, prepared to meet the demand, that His work may be preserved from all contaminating influences. God will be honored and glorified. When the divine Spirit impresses the mind of the man appointed by God as fit for the work, he responds, saying, “Here am I; send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 6

    Nehemiah found the book of the law, and the eighth chapter of Nehemiah gives the particulars of the influence that the reading of God’s requirements had upon the people. In the ninth chapter the works of the Lord in behalf of His people are repeated. The sins of the people in turning from God are pointed out. These sins had separated them from God, and He had permitted them to be brought under the control of heathen nations.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 7

    God demonstrated to the people for whom He had done so much that He would not serve with their sins. The true condition of things is stated in the first chapter of Nehemiah. The Lord indeed wrought, not through those who refused to serve Him with singleness of purpose, who had corrupted their ways before Him, but through Nehemiah; for he was registered in the books of heaven as a man. God has said, “Them that honor me, I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] Nehemiah showed himself to be a man whom God could use to put down false principles, and to restore heaven-born principles, which had been supplanted; and God honored him. The Lord will use in His work men who are as true as steep to principle, who will not be swayed by the sophistries of backsliders who have lost their spiritual eyesight.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 8

    In his work Nehemiah kept the honor and glory of God ever in view. The governors that had been before him had dealt unjustly with the people, “and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people:” “But so did not I,” Nehemiah declares, “because of the fear of God.” [Nehemiah 5:15.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 9

    Nehemiah was chosen by God because he was willing to co-operate with God as a restorer. Falsehood and intrigue were used to pervert his integrity, but he would not be bribed. He would not be led and corrupted by the devices of unprincipled men who had been hired to do an evil work. He would not allow them to intimidate him into following a cowardly course. When he saw wrong principles being acted upon, he did not stand by as an onlooker, and by his silence give consent. He did not leave the people to conclude that he would stand on the wrong side. He took a firm, unyielding stand for the right. He would not lend one jot of influence to the perversion of the principles that God had established. Whatever the course other men might pursue, he could say, “So did not I, because of the fear of God.” [Verse 15.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 10

    This history has been recorded for our benefit. What has been, will be, and we need to look to God for counsel. We must not trust to the counsel of men. We need increased discernment, that we may distinguish between truth and error.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 11

    The history of the children of Israel, as recorded in Nehemiah, shows the sure result of turning from Bible principles to the customs and practices of men. The Lord will not serve with any devising to gratify the selfishness of men and blight His work. He will not give prosperity to plans that lead away from fidelity to His commandments. He demands that the talents lent to man shall be used in keeping the way of the Lord, in doing justice and judgment, whether it be to break down or to restore and build up. God would not have us follow the wisdom of men who have disregarded the Word of God, and made themselves a reproach by their practices and counsels. They have laid themselves as manacled victims on the altar of mammon, and the plainest, simplest principles of Christianity are disregarded by them. Satan triumphs, for the light of the Sun of Righteousness does not shine into their hearts.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 12

    We are to bring in no false theories in regard to dealing with our brethren. The Lord needs men who are as firm as a rock to principle. We must have more than a pretense of righteousness. We shall meet motives and theories that cannot bear the light of close inspection. These are unsupported by a “Thus saith the Lord,” and should find no place in our work; for we are to represent God in character.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 13

    All who learn of Christ to be meek and lowly will be His witnesses. They have a living connection with Christ, and they will reveal the Christlikeness in the very smallest things of life. Truth and righteousness will also be revealed in their most important actions, for “he that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.] The knowledge that there is to be a transition from time to eternity should be a continual reminder to us that the church on earth is the sum and substance of the greatest interest in the heavenly courts. I call upon all who claim to be Christians to bear constantly a living testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus. From Christ, who is a source of living power, we shall receive our message.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 14

    Speaking of Satan Christ said, “He abode not in the truth.” [John 8:44.] 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. He lost his high position. 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 if his disaffection, that evil might become a power against God.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 15

    Today men are following in 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 their names are recorded in the books of heaven as associate rebels with the first great apostate.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 16

    There are two great principles, one of loyalty and the other if disloyalty. Christian strength is obtained by serving the Lord faithfully. 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.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 17

    Young men and young women should learn the lesson that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. By the strictest fidelity they should strive for a moral independence and this independence they should maintain against every influence that tries to turn the soul from righteous principles. Stronger minds may, yes, they will, make assertions which have no foundation in truth. Let the heavenly eyesalve 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.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 18

    The wrong customs, practices, 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 Saviour. Yield every power that you have to the control of the Holy Spirit.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 19

    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 cannot 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.” [Matthew 7:13-20.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 20

    God is looking with interest upon the youth. He would have every Christian manifest this same interest in children and youth, for the time of temptation had 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 young women by holding forth in clear, simple language the Word of the living God. Present it to them as the young man’s counsellor, 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.” [Nehemiah 5:15.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 21

    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 those who have the misfortune to be always on the wrong side, when the Lord would have them faithful men who can distinguish good from evil.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 22

    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.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 23

    Men, women, and youth must remember that there are times when they must manifest decision at any cost. Do not yield to the influence brought to bear upon you by men who have shown that they act without spiritual guidance. Some power has often guided them, but it 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 consciences may be represented by an Indiarubber ball.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 24

    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 keep 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 decision, and must not be afraid to be singular.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 25

    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 cannot make any decision until I know Thy will.” Their natural inclination is to allow another to be conscience for them and think 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 settled opinion. God pity such weaklings, and yet often, like Aaron, they have much ability.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 26

    “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.” [1 Peter 2:9.] 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 if we are called singular for so doing. Keep the conscience tender, that you may hear the faintest whisper of the voice that spake as never man spake. 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.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 27

    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, “The hand of my God is good upon me.” [Nehemiah 2:18.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 28

    When men connected with the work of God allow themselves to be bought and sold, when they violate truth to gain the favor and approval of men, God records them in His book 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 voice the words of men who if converted could exert a good influence, but unconverted, are not to be depended upon. In an emergency they are sure to lead into false paths. The Lord would not have us imitate any man, but follow on step by step to know Him.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 29

    “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.” [Ephesians 6:10-13.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 30

    Do not become imitators of men, but study your Bibles, and imitate Christ. Do not lend yourselves to any scheming or confederating. Do not bind yourselves to stand by each other in any questionable matter. Scheming, underhand working, and untruthful practices, which much talk has made apparently justifiable, have been and are still carried on. Church members have engaged in lines of work, such as the real estate business and the brokers trade, that have corrupted their sense of honorable dealing. They can never be saved unless by His Spirit the Lord shall touch their hearts, leading them to see that the entire system of their work is condemned by the Bible.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 31

    We are not to fashion ourselves by the world’s criterion or 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.” [Proverbs 1:10.] Those who are controlled by the Spirit of God need to keep their perceptive faculties awake, for the time has come when their integrity and loyalty to God and to each other will be tested. Do not commit the least injustice against any one of God’s children in order to gain the least injustice against any one of God’s children in order to gain an advantage for yourself. Do unto others in small matters as well as great, as you would they should do unto you. God says, “Ye are my witnesses. You are to act in my place.” [See Isaiah 43:10.] Could the curtain be rolled back, you would see the heavenly universe looking with intense interest upon the one who is tempted.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 32

    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 practices to you. Resolutely turn from the tempter, saying, Sir, I must separate from your influence, for I know that you are not walking in the footsteps of our Saviour.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 33

    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 was his safeguard. He lived and worked as in view of the unseen world. And David said, “I have set the Lord ever before me.” [Psalm 16:8.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 34

    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 God Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.]13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 35

    Have courage to do the 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.” [Psalm 119:97.] To the soul who love 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.” [Verse 18.] The Word of God is the voice of the Father to the heart of His child, and the child expresses his love by saying, I delight to do Thy will, O my God.13LtMs, Ms 121, 1898, par. 36

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