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    Ms 14, 1903

    Talk/Lessons From Josiah’s Reign


    March 30, 1903

    This manuscript is published in entirety in GCB 04/01/1903. +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.

    March 30, 1903, 3 p.m.

    Talk by Mrs. E. G. White at General Conference

    The night before last, the experiences and the work of Josiah, the king of Israel, as recorded in the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters of Second Chronicles, and the twenty-second and twenty-third chapters of Second Kings, were presented to me as a lesson that I should bring to the attention of this Conference.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 1

    “Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. ... And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left. And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the Lord sent Shaphan, ... the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people; and let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work which is in the house of the Lord, to repair the breaches of the house, unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber and hewn stones to repair the house. Howbeit there was no reckoning made with them of the money that was delivered into their hand, because they dealt faithfully.” [2 Kings 22:1-7.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 2

    This record contains precious instruction for us. Born of a wicked father, surrounded with temptations to follow in his father’s steps, with few counselors to encourage him in the right way, Josiah was true to the God of Israel. He did not repeat his father’s sin in walking in the way of unrighteousness. Although he had not the advantage of the Christian parental influences that many of us have had, he determined to climb upward, instead of descending to the low level of sin and degradation to which his father and grandfather had descended. Warned by their errors, he chose to walk in the right way, and though surrounded by wickedness, he pressed on in the upward path. His course of obedience made it possible for God to graft him from a wild olive tree into a good olive tree, giving him grace to do that which was right in the Lord’s sight. Thus he became a chosen vessel.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 3

    Josiah “turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” [Verse 2.] As one who was to occupy a position of trust, he resolved ever to honor God, to obey the instruction that He had given. The only safety for every one in attendance at this Conference is to determine that he will walk uprightly before God.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 4

    In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, God chose him to superintend the repairing of the temple. It was as this work was being done, that the book of the law was found. Through some mismanagement it had been lost, and the people had been deprived of its instruction. Brethren, have any of you lost the book of the law? Have not many of us lost sight of the precepts that are in this holy book?18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 5

    Upon finding this book, “Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. ... And Shaphan the scribe showed the king saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” [Verses 8, 10, 11.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 6

    The reading of the book of the law, so long forgotten, made a deep impression upon the king’s mind. He realized that something must be done to bring this law to the attention of the people and to lead them to conform their lives to its teachings. By his own course of action, he desired to show his respect for the law. He humbled himself before God, rending his clothes.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 7

    In his position as king, it was the work of Josiah to carry out in the Jewish nation the principles taught in the book of the law. This he endeavored to do faithfully. In the book of the law itself, he found a treasure of knowledge, a powerful ally in the work of reform. He did not lay this book aside as something too precious to be handled. Realizing that the highest honor that could be placed on God’s law was to become a student of its precepts, he diligently studied the ancient writing and resolved to walk in the light that it shed upon his pathway.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 8

    When the law was first read to him, Josiah had rent his clothes to signify to the people that he was much troubled because he had not known of this book before and that he was ashamed and painfully distressed because of the works and ways of the people who had transgressed God’s law. As he had in the past seen the idolatry and the impiety existing among them, he had been much troubled. Now as he read in the book of the law of the punishment that would surely follow such practices, great sorrow filled his heart. Never before had he so fully realized God’s abhorrence for sin.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 9

    Josiah’s sorrow did not end with the expression of words of repentance, with outward demonstrations of grief. He bowed his heart in great humiliation before God, because he knew that the anger of the Lord must be kindled against the people. He rent his heart as well as his garments for the dishonor shown to the Lord God of heaven and earth. He realized what the outcome would be—that God’s displeasure would come upon the people.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 10

    The king did not pass the matter by as of little consequence. To the priests and the other men in holy office, he gave the command, “Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that is written concerning us.” [Verse 13.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 11

    Josiah did not say, “I knew nothing about this book. These are ancient precepts, and times have changed.” He appointed men to investigate the matter, and these men went to Huldah, the prophetess. “And she said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell the men that sent you unto Me, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read; because they have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah, which sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, As touching the word which thou hast heard, because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before Me; I also have heard thee, saith the Lord. Behold, therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered unto thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.” [Verses 15-20.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 12

    In Josiah’s day the Word of the Lord was as binding and should have been as strictly enforced as at the time it was spoken. And today it is as binding as it was then. God is always true to His Word. What should we do—we who have had great light? The law has been kept constantly before us. Time and again we have heard it preached. The Lord’s anger is kindled against His people because of their disregard of His Word. Conviction of soul should send us in penitence to the foot of the cross, there to pray with the whole heart, saying, “What shall we do to be saved? Wherewithal shall we come before the Lord?” [See Acts 16:30; Micah 6:6.] My brethren, inquire quickly, before it is too late.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 13

    Josiah sent as messengers to the prophetess the highest and most honored of the people. He sent the first men of his kingdom—men who occupied high positions of trust in the nation. Thus he conferred honor upon the oracles of God.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 14

    God sent Josiah word that Jerusalem’s ruin could not be averted. Even if the people should humble themselves before God, they could not escape their punishment. So long had their senses been deadened by sinning against God, that if the judgments had not come upon them, they would soon have swung into the same sinful course. But because the king humbled his heart before God, he received from Huldah the prophetess the word that the Lord would acknowledge his quickness in seeking God for forgiveness and mercy. Still, the king must leave with God the events of the future; for he could not change them. The provocation had been too great for the punishment to be averted.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 15

    The king, on his part, left undone nothing that might bring about a reformation. With the hope that something might be done to turn aside the judgment that was to be sent because of the leaven of evil permeating the principles and morals of the whole nation, he summoned a general assembly of the elders of the people, the magistrates, the representatives of Judah and Jerusalem, to meet him in the house of the Lord, with the priests and the prophets, and others engaged in various parts of the Lord’s service. All joined in the deliberations of the assembly. In the place of making a speech to the people, Josiah ordered that the book of the law be read to them. So earnest did he feel that he himself read the law aloud. He was deeply affected, and he read with the pathos of a broken heart. His hearers were greatly affected by the intensity of feeling expressed in his countenance. They were impressed by the fact that the king, notwithstanding his high official position, cast himself wholly on the Lord, trusting in the strength and wisdom of the King of kings, rather than in his own human wisdom.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 16

    To be a reader of the book of law containing a “Thus saith the Lord” Josiah regarded as the highest position that he could occupy. His congregation was made up of the men of Judah and Jerusalem, and to these men he read the instruction that God had given for the instruction of His people. The highest work of princes in Israel—of physicians, of teachers in our schools, as well as of ministers and those who are in positions of trust in the Lord’s institutions—is to fulfil the responsibility resting upon them, to fasten the Scriptures in the minds of the people as a nail in a sure place, to use their God-given talent of influence to impress the truth that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” [Psalm 111:10.] For the leaders in Israel to extend a knowledge of the Scriptures in all their borders is to promote spiritual health; for God’s Word is a leaf from the tree of life.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 17

    We fall far short of appreciating the value of God’s Word. To be one with the Lord, to eat of His flesh and drink His blood, is life eternal. When the Saviour made this statement, His disciples did not understand His meaning, whereupon He declared, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 18

    When we bring God’s Word into the soul temple, it is eternal life to us. Every day we may have the life of the Son of God. As the physical system is strengthened or weakened by the kind of food we eat, so our spirituality is of the same character as the food we give the mind. If we would appropriate the truth we have, bringing it into the life-service, do you think that there would be so little good done in our world?—No, indeed.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 19

    If those occupying positions of responsibility were as fully resolved to obey God’s law as they are to make laws for governing those in their service, our institutions would be managed along right lines. Those who occupy positions of trust are to make it their highest aim to know God as revealed in His Word; for to know Him aright is life eternal.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 20

    Josiah proposed that those highest in authority unite in solemnly covenanting before the Lord to co-operate with one another in bringing about a reformation. “The king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all their heart and with all their soul, which affirmed the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels that were made for Baal and for the grove and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them without Jerusalem, in the fields of Kedron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.” [2 Kings 23:3, 4.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 21

    Like unto Josiah “was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. Notwithstanding the Lord turned not from the fierceness of His great wrath, because of the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him withal.” [Verses 25, 26.] It was not long before Jerusalem was utterly destroyed.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 22

    Lessons for Us to Learn

    Today God is watching His people. We should seek to find out what He means when He sweeps away our sanitarium and our publishing house. Let us not move along as if there were nothing wrong. King Josiah rent his robe and rent his heart. He wept and mourned because he had not had the book of the law, and knew not of the punishments that it threatened. God wants us to come to our senses. He wants us to seek for the meaning of the calamities that have overtaken us, that we may not tread in the footsteps of Israel, and say, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we, when we are not at all. When we reach the mark of our high calling in Christ, the protecting arm of the Lord will be with us. We shall have a covert from the storm.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 23

    We have many lessons to learn. May God help us to learn them. Let us ask ourselves, Am I keeping the law of the Lord? Do I bring its principles into my home? Do I reverence God’s Word?18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 24

    I felt so thankful when the college in Battle Creek was moved from there to Berrien Springs. This was a right move. If there had been a further carrying out of the principles that God has laid down—the instruction that He has given to make centers in many places—His salvation would have been revealed. A wrong policy has been followed in centering so much in Battle Creek. The Lord has told us that His work is to be established all over America. In every city a memorial for Him is to be established. Are we ready for this work? “Lo,” said Christ, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, speaking the things that I have commanded you.” [Matthew 28:20, 19.] We are to proclaim to all the world the truths by which every one is to be judged. When this gospel of the kingdom shall have been preached to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, the Saviour will come.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 25

    A Reformation Needed

    In every institution among us there needs to be a reformation. This is the message that at the last General Conference I bore as the word of the Lord. At that meeting I carried a very heavy burden, and I have carried it ever since. We did not gain the victory that we might have gained at that meeting. Why?—Because there were so few who followed the course of Josiah. There were those at that meeting who did not see the work that needed to be done. If they had confessed their sins, if they had made a break, if they had taken their stand on vantage ground, the power of God would have gone through the meeting, and we should have had a Pentecostal season.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 26

    The Lord has shown me what might have been had the work been done that ought to have been done. In the night season I was present in a meeting where brother was confessing to brother. Those present fell upon one another’s necks and made heart-broken confessions. The spirit and power of God were revealed. No one seemed too proud to bow before God in humility and contrition. Those who led in this work were the ones who had not before had the courage to confess their sins.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 27

    This might have been. All this the Lord was waiting to do for His people. All heaven was waiting to be gracious.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 28

    God is in earnest with us. If the heart is pure, there will be purity of action and nobility of purpose in all the work done. Every mind is to be cleansed, every heart purified. All are to understand that sin is not to be tolerated by the people who have received the most precious light ever given to mortals. Only a little while, and He who shall come will come, and will not tarry. Those who choose to cleave to their sins must perish. But God will have compassion on all who will make thorough work for eternity.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 29

    I wish to say that the work that is to be carried on by our people is becoming less and less appreciated by many—not by all. Many of us do not realize the covenant relation in which we stand before God as His people. We are under the most solemn obligations to represent God and Christ. We are to guard against dishonoring God by professing to be His people and then going directly contrary to His will. We are getting ready to move. Then let us act as if we were. Let us prepare for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. Let us stand where we can take hold of eternal realities and bring them into the every day life. We are to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn of Him.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 30

    A Great Work to be Done

    The Lord has a great work to be done. If this meeting is a success, the laborers will go from it to open the work in new places. The salvation of God will be revealed. I am so thankful that during the past year something has been done in Southern California. I praise God for what has been accomplished there. It is hard work to press the battle to the gates, but this must be done. God calls upon every one of us to take hold in earnest.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 31

    Here is the medical missionary work—a wonderful work. God gave us this work thirty-five years ago, and it has been a great blessing. It is to be to the third angel’s message as the right hand is to the body. The gospel and the medical missionary work are one. They cannot be divided. They are to be bound together. Medical missionary workers should be encouraged and sustained. And let them remember that they are working for the Master. Unless they do this, they cannot exert a strong influence for good in the world. And they must ever keep clear and distinct the line of demarcation between worldlings and those who are carrying the gospel of the kingdom to the world.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 32

    In the place of erecting large sanitariums, we should establish smaller sanitariums in many places. A few patients in a small institution can be helped and educated to much greater advantage than a large number gathered together in a large institution. God help us to let the light shine forth. It must shine forth, and God will make us channels of light, if we will let Him.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 33

    The Southern field needs our help. I have carried this field on my heart for many years. I have tried to make known its needs, and yet it has scarcely been touched. God has given me encouragement for the workers there, and I have followed them step by step in their work. There are those who say that mistakes have been made by the workers in the Southern field. Do you ever make mistakes? My husband and I used to grieve when we made mistakes. But often we found that in His providence God had permitted us to do as we had done, that we might understand what He wanted us to understand.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 34

    God does not cast us off because we make mistakes. Of Ephraim He says, “I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms. ... I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” [Hosea 11:3, 4.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 35

    The Spirit of Criticism to be Banished

    My brethren, if you stand before God as true Christians, you will do in the year before us a work different from that which has been done in years past. Your criticism is a sin in the sight of God. By it you are weakening the hands of God’s servants. This criticism is a root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 36

    Let us come to the Lord in penitence and ask Him to forgive us for not keeping His law, for not obeying the command to love one another as Christ has loved us. He says to us, You have left your first love, and unless you repent, I will remove your candlestick out of his place. “Be watchful,” He pleads, “and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” [Revelation 3:2.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 37

    Speech is a precious talent. It is the means by which we communicate with one another. The man who, though professing to be a Christian, allows himself to speak angrily because his will is crossed needs to go apart and rest awhile. Let him go to God and tell Him that he is sorry for what he said and that he is ashamed of himself. Let him not try to vindicate himself.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 38

    Those who criticize and condemn one another are breaking God’s commandments and are an offense to Him. They neither love God nor their fellow beings. Brethren and sisters, let us clear away the rubbish of criticism and suspicion and complaint, and do not wear your nerves on the outside. Some are so sensitive that they cannot be reasoned with. Be very sensitive in regard to what it means to keep the law of God, in regard to whether you are keeping or breaking the law. It is this that God wants us to be sensitive about.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 39

    If it were not for the burdens that rest so heavily upon my soul, I could do tenfold more than I do. But night after night I am unable to sleep, because so many of the people of God act like quarrelsome children. My brother, my sister, when trouble arises between you and another member of God’s family, do you follow the Bible directions?18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 40

    Before presenting to God your offering of prayer, do you go to your brother and in the Spirit of Christ talk with him? Christ says, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.] Then you can offer it with a clear conscience; for you have cast out the root of bitterness.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 41

    There is much to be done at this meeting. But I do not feel depressed by the outlook. At times I do feel depressed, but I struggle against the feeling. I know that God wants His joy to be in us, that our joy may be full. He has a heaven full of blessings, and these blessings He will give to us, if we will take them. Our Father has an abundant treasure, but you do not want it. If you did, you would have it. You let so many things come between you and God. Your individuality is spotted and stained. It needs to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 42

    The judgment is right upon us. We cannot afford to spend our time quarreling over little things. There is a great work before us. My brethren, we must wake up to the issues which face us, and that before this meeting closes. Heart must be cemented to heart. Pray for this; labor for it. Do not, I beg of you, allow differences to come in. May God help you to gather up the divine rays of light, and flash them across the pathway of others. May He help you to love one another as Christ has loved you. “By this,” He says, “shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:35.] There is power with Christ to heal; there is power with Him to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. But we must be willing to be saved. We must put aside all self-sufficiency. We must be in spirit as little children, or we shall never see the kingdom of heaven. Our measurement of ourselves is too large. We are but little children. We have not attained to the full stature of men and women in Christ. There is much matured intelligence for us yet to gain. We must overcome the pride that leads us to prefer to work by ourselves, rather than with a fellow laborer, lest he rob us of glory. God wants us to press close together, that we may help one another. In Australia a minister was asked by a brother minister to leave the pulpit. “I want the people to see no one but me,” he said. And they did indeed see no one but him.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 43

    God calls for volunteers who will say, “I will do the very best I can.” God pities us as He sees the wickedness all around us. But He declares that we are not to be wicked. Though we are in the world, we are not to be of the world. The Lord desires His institutions to stand as educational powers in the world. Everything connected with them is to bear the seal of God. Every worker is to be sanctified—body, soul, and spirit. No coarse, rough words are to be spoken, no action that shows a grasping spirit is to be performed. In thought and word and act the workers are to represent Christ.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 44

    The Advent Message to be Given

    Those who stand as teachers and leaders in our institutions are to be sound in the faith and in the principles of the third angel’s message. God wants His people to know that we have the message as He gave it to us in 1843 and 1844. We knew then what the message meant, and we call upon our people today to obey the Word, “Bind up the law among My disciples.” [Isaiah 8:16.] In this world there are but two classes—the obedient and the disobedient. To which class do we belong? God wants to make us a peculiar people, a holy nation. He has separated us from the world, and He calls upon us to stand on vantage ground, where He can bestow on us His Holy Spirit.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 45

    Soon will come the time of which John writes: “I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heave fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which where in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.” [Revelation 20:11-13.]18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 46

    How prone we are to look to human beings for help, to listen to their opinions, to rely on them for sympathy, succor, and counsel. When in trouble we should shut ourselves up with God. How many there are who realize no refreshing because they have forsaken the living waters and have hewn out for themselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water. When men do this, what can we expect but barrenness of soul?18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 47

    “Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” [Jeremiah 17:5-8.] Let us rely on God. He never fails a trusting soul.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 48

    From the moment of our conversion till the close of our earthly history, our lives are to be characterized by a spirit of true, intelligent service. Only thus can we be true to our covenant with God. He who is daily converted has crossed the boundary line that separates the children of light from the children of darkness. But he who professes to believe the truth, and acts as a sinner, will be treated by God as a sinner, and, unless he repents, will be punished as a sinner, only with many stripes, because he was given great light.18LtMs, Ms 14, 1903, par. 49

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