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March 24, 1891
VOL. 4. - BATTLE CREEK, MICH., TUESDAY, - NO. 16
GENERAL CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
The consideration of the report of the Committee on Home Missions and Bible Work (see BULLETIN, p.193), which was under discussion when the last meeting adjourned, was taken up, and after some further discussion, was adopted.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.2
The two reports of the Committee on Finances (see BULLETIN, pp.133,134) was next taken up, and after striking out the third section of the report in reference to the memorial from the church at Washington, D. C., referred to this committee, the two reports were adopted without further change.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.3
The report of the Committee on Resolutions (see BULLETIN, page 161) was next considered. Brother A. R. Henry spoke at some length to Resolution 3 of the report. He said that the matter of deciding who are entitled to clerical rates over the railroads, is very difficult. A large number in the denomination are engaged in some sort of missionary work either the whole or a part of their time, who, from our standpoint, it might seem, are entitled to permits, for we regard all of our work in that way, and labor with that motive; but in the eyes of the law it would not be so regarded, and we cannot expect to get the railroad officials to regard it in that light either.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.4
We should be careful, in making our demands, never to ask for anything we are not entitled to. In pursuing this course we shall be able to secure and maintain the confidence of the railroad officials. Heretofore our credit in this respect has been good. We have been able to secure permits without difficulty whenever we have applied for them. But since the Bible work and canvassing work have arisen, there has been a tendency to overstep the bounds and ask for too much.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.5
Where a person devotes his whole time to Bible work, makes that his whole business, such a person is no doubt entitled to special rates, as much so as a regular minister. But where the work is mixed, or only a part of the time is engaged in this way, the case is different. The line should be drawn somewhere. The railroads are willing to grant everything that is just; but when we go too far, and ask more than is proper, it reacts on us, and others who are entitled to the benefits of the special rates have to suffer.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.6
That portion of the report referring to railroad matters (sections 2, 3, and 4) was referred back to the Committee with instructions to consult with Brother Henry on this point.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.7
GENERAL CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS
AFTER the short intermission, the Conference convened again at 10:30 A. M. Elder R. A. Underwood offered prayer. The reading of the minutes of the previous meeting was waived.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.9
The first matter of business attended to was the formal election and obligating of the General Conference Association Executive Board, consisting of twenty-one members (see BULLETIN, page 163), in the presence of the General Conference Association attorney, S. S. Hulbert, which action, under the laws of the State of Michigan, the attorney deemed necessary. As it was required that all the members of the Board elected should be present, N. C. McClure was elected to take the place of Wm. Saunders, who was absent.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 217.10
For President. - O. A. Olsen.
For Corresponding Secretary. - W. A. Colcord.
For Recording Secretary. - W. H. Edwards.
For Foreign Mission Secretary. - W. C. White.
For Educational Secretary. - W. W. Prescott.
For Treasurer. - Harmon Lindsay.
Executive Committee. - O. A. Olsen, S. N. Haskell, W. C. White, R. M. Kilgore, W. W. Prescott, A. T. Robinson, Dan. T. Jones, J. N. Loughborough, A. J. Breed.
Committee on Foreign Missions. - U. Smith, W. A. Colcord, E. B. Miller, W. H. Wakeham, W. H. Edwards, L. McCoy.
Book Committee. - O. A. Olsen, W. W. Prescott, W. C. White, U. Smith, E. J. Waggoner, A. T. Jones, M. C. Wilcox, C. Eldridge, C. H. Jones, F. E. Belden, W. N. Glenn, W. A. Colcord, L. C. Chadwick.
Board of Trustees James White Memorial Home. - J. H. Kellogg, A. R. Henry, J. Fargo, L. McCoy, H. Lindsay, C. Eldridge, M. J. Cornell.
Board of Managers Union College. - W. W. Prescott, A. R. Henry, W. C. Sisley, J. P. Gardiner, J. H. Morrison, Z. Nicola, A. J. Breed.
Board of Managers Northwestern School. - H. W. Decker, Aaron Miller, J. E. Graham, T. H. Starbuck, T. L. Ragsdale, Greenville Holbrook, Dan. T. Tones.
Board of Managers Central Bible School. - W. W. Prescott, W. C. White, J. N. Loughborough, Allen Moon, Geo. B. Starr.
Committee on Transportation. - A. T. Robinson, T. A. Kilgore, A. R. Henry, Allen Moon, C. H. Jones, H. W. Decker.
Labor Bureau. - C. Eldridge, A. R. Henry, W. H. Edwards.
The report of the Committee on Resolutions as printed on page 193 of the BULLETIN, relating to the licensing of men to the ministry, was taken up. Remarks on the character and work of the ministry and plans for developing our ministers, were made by W. W. Prescott, S. N. Haskell, and O. A. Olsen.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.3
Elder Haskell referred to the importance of the minister having a personal Christian experience. Some men are selected because they can speak quite well on some doctrinal subjects; but that is not enough. We should take a broader view of the subject. We are coming back to the apostolic plan. The gospel will close in the same way that it began, by the labors of men endued with power from on high.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.4
The report of the Committee on Education found on page 175 of the BULLETIN, relating to a course of instruction for the benefit of those preparing for Bible reading work, was next considered. The recommendations were spoken to by Elder Olsen, Prof. Prescott, N. C. McClure, C. Eldridge, W. M. Healy, D. T. Jones, and W. C. White. The report was amended by striking out in Section 2 of the second recommendation, the words, “at the Sanitarium.” As amended, the report was adopted.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.6
1. Recommend, That the General Conference Association appoint a Financial Committee, whose duties it shall be to take cognizance of all questions of finance pertaining to the General Conference and the General Conference Association, and report all matters of importance to the trustees of the General Conference Association for their consideration and approval.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.12
2. Recommend, That it be expressed as the sense of this body that no such enterprises be started without the sanction of the body assembled, or the approval of the district superintendent and the Finance Committee of the General Conference Association.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.13
Whereas, There is a large amount of means in the hands of persons in the denomination, many of whom are aged, which they desire should come into the Lord’s treasury to help forward the third angel’s message; we therefore, -GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.15
3. We recommend, That the leading men in the several Conferences bring the matter of wills, legacies, endowments, and trusts, before our people at the general meetings in order that at least a portion of such means may be secured for the benefit of God’s cause.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.16
4. Recommend, That, when practicable, instead of devising real estate by wills to our corporations, there be given deeds in escrow: and that, instead of leaving personal property by will for the uses before mentioned, we recommend that it be placed in the hands of a trustee for the purposes specified.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.18
Whereas, We believe the plan for increasing the first-day offerings reported by the Committee on Finances last year, is a good one, and should be carried out; therefore, -GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.19
“Resolved, That for the purpose of bringing this matter to the attention of all our people each first day of the week the coming year, and thus leading them to form the habit of systematic giving, a series of fifty-two brief Scripture readings, interspersed with items of interest relating to our foreign missions, be prepared by a committee of five, who shall be appointed by the Chair; and that a small pamphlet containing these readings be furnished free to all families who adopt the plan of first-day offerings, with suggestions that these readings be made the topic at the hour of family devotion on each first-day morning.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.21
6. We recommend, That the Mission Board publish a summary statement quarterly of its receipts and expenditures, and the standing of its funds, also once a year a statement of its appropriations and an apportionment by Conferences, of the amount which according to its judgment each Conference should be expected to raise, to make up the amount necessary to carry forward the work of the missions for the year.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 218.22
Your Committee on Foreign Missions, find that the field is great, and the laborers are few. Laborers are greatly needed in many places. But as the selection and sending out of missionaries, has been committed to the Board of Foreign Missions, we have made no recommendations, regarding this part of the work.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.3
We find that the receipts of the Mission Board for the year ending June 30, 1890, were nearly $12,000 less than the expenditures of the Board for the same period; and that the appropriations of the current year are $68,800 thus calling for the raising of about $80,000 during the current year.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.4
1. Resolved, That we heartily second the plans of the Board of Foreign Missions to advance our foreign work, and especially their action in appropriating $68,800 for carrying forward our various missionary enterprises the current year, and hereby pledge our best efforts to arouse everywhere a missionary spirit, and encourage liberal donations through the adopted methods.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.6
2. Resolved, That the librarians in all our churches be requested to keep a list of those having boxes, and in case they do not report, solicit them in person or by letter to remit their weekly offerings.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.9
Whereas, There are many openings both in home and foreign fields where certain kinds of business might be successfully carried forward, while exerting an influence in behalf of true Christianity; therefore, -GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.12
Resolved, That we recommend devoted, successful business men to seriously consider the propriety of moving to such fields at their own expense, thus forming a nucleus for missionary work.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.13
Resolved, That we recommend to all a prayerful and systematic study of this missionary literature, thus becoming acquainted with the opening providences of the Lord, and gaining a preparation for active service in his vineyard.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.16
5. Resolved, That we approve of the organization of Mission Bands in our schools and other institutions, and of other plans adapted to impart instruction in this branch of the work; and that we recommend the better improvement of these opportunities and privileges.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.17
THE DELEGATES’ VISIT TO THE SANITARIUM
IMMEDIATELY upon the adjournment of the Conference yesterday noon, the delegates, by invitation of Dr. Kellogg, repaired to the Sanitarium for dinner. The regular dinner hour is two o’clock P. M., but the delegates were accorded the privilege of dining by themselves an hour earlier.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.19
As the more than 100 delegates were filing in to dinner, the expression was made by many, “Where will they find room for this crowd to dine?” But they were readily seated in the capacious dining-room, and still it was not full.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.20
The dinner was purely vegetarian, not a particle of meat or grease of any kind being used in its preparation. Judging from the many expressions of commendation that were heard on every hand, no one could doubt but that the bounteous repast was highly enjoyed by all present.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.21
After dinner, the Doctor took much pains in showing the company through the buildings. The commodious parlors, where the patients gather for a social chat or a lecture on some of the various topics relating to health, were first visited, after which the offices of the physicians, the Swedish movement room, the gymnasium, the laboratory, and the surgical ward were in their turn visited.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.22
The guests seemed especially delighted with their visit to the gymnasium. The Doctor had ten of his family of adopted children go through their gymnastic exercises, and showed what can be done for the little folks by giving proper attention to their physical training. The Doctor said that many of the most serious diseases are due to a lack of properly developing the body.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.23
Many of the visitors gave particular attention to the explanation of some of the difficult cases of surgery performed in the institution. The record of surgery performed in the Sanitarium ranks among the best in the world.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.24
The Doctor gave it as his strong conviction that the speedy recovery of his surgical patients was due to the fact that they were not allowed any meat for some time before, nor until after their recovery from the operation. The nutritious but unstimulating diet prescribed, diminishes the tendency to fever, and the patients usually recover very rapidly.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 219.25
PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL SABBATH-SCHOOL ASSOCIATION
Discussion on Resolution 1 (see BULLETIN, page 155), pending at the close of the last meeting, was resumed. Elder Underwood moved that the resolution be amended so as to read as follows:-GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.2
Resolved, That we recommend that all our Sabbath-schools make these missions their study, and give their offerings each quarter to the mission field recommended by the Executive Board.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.3
Resolved, That we request the Executive Committee of the Association to take into consideration the matter of furnishing the Sabbath-school Worker in clubs at reduced rates. Carried.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.5
Elder A. T. Robinson spoke to Resolution 3. He said the use of the books recommended, had worked well in his family, as it had led to the formation of reading classes, or circles, among his children and their associates.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.6
Elder H. E. Robinson asked if it would be proper to purchase these books with the regular school contributions. Elder Durland gave it as his opinion that it would be proper to do so, but that it was a question each school should decide for itself.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.7
Dr. E. J. Waggoner strongly urged the carrying out of Resolution 4, believing it would work to the benefit of the schools to have officers and teachers attend the Bible schools proposed.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.8
The resolution introduced by Elder M. C. Wilcox, as found on page 155 of the BULLETIN was brought up for consideration. The mover of the motion said he thought it was always best to be in harmony with other denominations and Sunday-schools, so long as we violated no principle of right in so doing. He read a list of the subjects to be taken up by the International Sunday-school lessons for 1892, and strongly urged that the same subjects be adopted by us for that year.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.10
Dr. E. J. Waggoner and others thought that the subject should be given more consideration than the association had time now to devote to it. The following amendment was offered, and, after some remarks, carried:-GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.11
Resolved, That we request the Executive Board to take into consideration the advisability of adopting the same subjects for our lessons for 1892, that are to be used by the International Sunday-schools for the same year.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.12
Resolution found on page 205 of the BULLETIN was next taken up. Dr. E. J. Waggoner moved to strike out the first and second preambles to the resolution. He thought we should not give color to the idea that the work of instructing the children in Bible truth belongs to the Sabbath-school and not to the parents. This duty belongs first of all to the parents. There should be co-operation between them and the officers of the Sabbath-school. This amendment was carried.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.13
Elder Lane said that while he was not opposed to the resolution, he was not much in favor of increasing specialists. He thought that every minister, Bible worker, and director should be prepared to give such instruction.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.14
Elder Durland said the duty of the workers provided for by the resolution, was not to theorize, but to do practical work, in enlisting the efforts of each member of the school, and in laboring for the conversion and consecration of the young. The resolution as amended was adopted.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.16
Your Committee on Nomination of Officers for the International Sabbath-school Association would respectfully submit the following substitution for the original report:-GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.18
For President. - C. H. Jones.
For Vice-President. - J. H. Durland.
For Recording Secretary. - F. M. Wilcox.
For Corresponding Secretary. - Mrs. Vesta J. Olsen.
For Field Secretaries. - C. L. Taylor and J. M. Willoughby.
For Treasurer. - Pacific Press.
Executive Committee. - C. H. Jones, J. H. Durland, E. J. Waggoner, W. C. White, M. C. Wilcox, E. B. Miller, Roderick S. Owen, A. E. Place, W. H. Wakeham.
Elder A. T. Robinson stated that in justice to the chairman of the committee, he would say that the placing of the chairman’s name on the Executive Committee, was a minority action of the committee.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.19
THE CALLING AND WORK OF THE MINISTRY
IN speaking a few words this evening on the calling and work of the ministry, I desire to say this: that while in some sense there may be a special application of these things to those who are distinctively called ministers, yet I believe that much the same principles apply to all of us; and I do not propose to speak especially to a single class. I believe that God has given to every man his work. He has not given to every man the work of the ministry; but he has given to every man his work; and the same principles underlie the work which God has given every one of us to do.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 220.22
In thinking of this subject it seemed to me that it would be profitable to make the subject concrete, by taking up for our special consideration the work of the apostle Paul. In studying his writings, and in studying about his work, I have been greatly impressed with that work, and thought I would call your attention to it as an illustration of the calling and work of a servant of God. And so the very first question which I ask is this: Did Paul have any particular call to his work? and I would like to read some of his own words in answer to this. I turn to : “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” That is his own language as to whether there was any particular calling in the matter. There was laid upon him that necessity that he should do that work - preaching the gospel; a necessity to that extent that he felt there was a woe upon him if he did not preach the gospel.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.1
Christ Jesus put him into the ministry; he received all his instruction from him. So in we read: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament.” God had given him that work, - made him an able minister of the new testament. It is evident that he had a call to his work. The way that he received this is found in his own words ( ) where in making his defense before king Agrippa, he there goes right back to his experience, and says:-GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.2
“At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” That was how the apostle Paul received his call.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.3
Again: I read in the twenty-second chapter of Acts, a further statement by himself concerning this, which shows what instrument was used. I read : “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldst know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldst hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.4
Then it is very plain that the apostle Paul had a call to his work. How did he receive it? The Saviour met him on the way to Damascus, and converted him; as we learn from the record in the ninth chapter of Acts. He then said, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And he told him to rise, go into the city, and it would be shown him what he should do. I learn from this that after he was converted and wanted to know what his work should be, the Saviour turned him over to his servants, that they should direct him. Then what did he do? The same spirit impressed Ananias, and directed him to go to Saul and tell him what his work was. I understand the principle of that to be this: that God converts the heart, God puts into the heart the desire to do for him; and the same spirit which converts a man, and gives him a willingness to labor, directs the servants of God to tell him what to do. I do not think that the Spirit of God will lead two of his servants to opposite conclusions concerning the same thing; so if God has a work for a man to do, I believe he will direct his mind toward that work, and I believe he will direct the minds of other servants of his so that they will see light in that same direction. So it will not be a matter of disagreement among his servants, for the Spirit of God leads his servants to see eye to eye.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.5
This thought might arise, Will there be any special call to the work of the ministry, and do we expect to have such an experience as this which Paul had? Perhaps we will not have such an experience as Paul had, but God does not deal with every one of his servants in exactly the same way. But I do think this, that when God has any work for one to do, whether in the capacity of a minister, a Bible worker, or in any branch of his work, he is able to lead him into the work, if he gives God a chance to lead him; if he refuses any direction of the Spirit of God, he may get into the wrong work. But I do believe this, that God has a care for his work, and ordains the work that each one can do. So I believe those who are connected with God, will be led of God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 221.6
Now I wish to dwell upon what the work of the ministry is. I think it is plain that God can call his servants, and direct them to his work, by impressing their minds and by impressing the minds of his servants in counsel and advice. If God has placed some in positions of responsibility, they ought to give counsel that would be in harmony with the Spirit of God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.1
What was the work to which the apostle Paul was called, and to which every one is called who has a part in the work of God? Let him state it himself. It is in his second letter to the Corinthians, fifth chapter, : “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us unto himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.2
I understand that to cover the principles of the work of the ministry. Here was a reconciliation to be made. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. There would be no need of a reconciliation if there had not been an enmity. Now he has committed to us that work of reconciliation. What is that work of reconciliation? - God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. That is the work of reconciliation. Now if there is a reconciliation to be made, there is some enmity with God. What is this enmity with God? : “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The carnal mind, the sinful heart, is enmity against God. Now this work of reconciliation was that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.3
Then let us read from : “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were afar off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself; and Christ is our peace, and it is by Christ that he brings the reconciliation. Then we can read in , and understand it clearly: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” So we are reconciled by the death of Christ. Then we are saved by his life.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.4
: “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness; but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” Now he says we are to preach the gospel. But he did not preach the gospel in the wisdom of his own words; that would make the cross of Christ of none effect; but he was to preach simply the cross of Christ. And so he says, in : “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Does that narrow down the work of the gospel minister? If he is to preach the cross of Christ, is he not to know anything else save Jesus, and him crucified? What else is there to know? He is the “fullness of him that filleth all in all;” “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead bodily;” in him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” What else is there to know? Does it narrow down the work of the gospel minister, to preach nothing else but Christ and him crucified? - It gives him a message of power to the people; it gives him a saving message, and it gives him a message as broad as the world, equal to the saving of the world.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.5
Then, what is he to do? Not to cover it up with many words. I believe there is great power in going out and simply telling the story of the cross of Christ. If we speak in words of our own wisdom, we feel the necessity of it; why? because in our own souls we do not feel a working of the power of that simple story, and we think it will not work on anybody else’s heart, and we must have something else. So we begin to bring in our own wisdom. That makes the cross of Christ of none effect. When we have done that, can God use us to his glory? That would be putting a premium on such work. Now I am convinced of this more and more, that what we want to do is to return to the simplicity of the gospel of Christ, the simplicity of it; the simple story of the love of Christ. I love to tell that story when it has done much for me; but when it has done little for me, I do not feel that particular desire to tell it, or that confidence in it that it will have power with others. But if the story of the cross of Christ has had a power in my heart, that same story will have power in others’ hearts. I love to tell the story, then; I love to tell it because it has done so much for me.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.6
Take the words of the apostles, and you read the discourses they preached, and it is the simple story that Christ came into the world, and died, and was raised again, and if they will believe on him, they can be saved. Just the simple story of Christ, his love, his cross, and the saving power through faith in his name. They said plainly, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” They told that story everywhere; it was Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and raised from the dead. And that word - did it not have power? - Certainly it did; great power attended their word, and thousands were saved by it.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 222.7
There is nothing that will save people except the gospel of Christ; and if we preach the gospel of Christ, it will be the power of God unto salvation. Then if there is no power of God manifested to salvation, I conclude that the gospel is not being preached. If the gospel of Christ is preached, it is the power of God unto salvation; not that it will save every single one that hears it, but to every one that believeth, it is the power of God unto salvation.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.1
Where do we find the story? - It is recorded in God’s word. Here is the story, that Christ came into the world, lived, was crucified, and was raised from the dead. Then we are to preach the word. There is power in the word. We are to recognize it as powerful, and give it a chance to work, - use it that it may work to the saving of souls.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.2
The apostle also says in : “Now, then, we are embassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” What is an embassador? It is one who is sent out to represent a government. He goes to a foreign country, perhaps, and he stands for the government. When they treat with him, they treat with the government. It is considered a great honor to represent a country like this in a foreign land. Men will make great efforts to gain such a position as that. We do not appreciate what it is to be embassadors for the King of Heaven. His throne is in heaven; his kingdom ruleth over all. He doeth his will among the nations of the earth; he ruleth everywhere. And we stand as embassadors for him.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.3
Now, when embassadors are sent out to represent a country, they have some credentials to show that they are embassadors. What credentials do the messengers of Christ have? You say the Conference gives them credentials. Yes; that shows that the Conference has given their consent to their going out: but what credentials do they have from the King? I believe that the credentials which every embassador for Christ ought to be able to show in his work is the power of God attending his work. This should be the true credentials of every embassador for Christ. The power of God should witness to his work. Was not that the case with the apostles? We read in Luke, tenth chapter, that the Saviour selected seventy, and sent them out two and two, and he gave them power when he sent them out. He said to his disciples before he left them, “Tarry ye here at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.4
When he sent them out to all the world to teach every one what he had commanded them, he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth: lo I am with you alway even unto the end.” That is to-day. The disciples did stay at Jerusalem until they were endued with power, and as they went out, the power of God was with them. We read of this in the beginning of their work. We read in : “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Every embassador for Christ should have these credentials. If he has not them, he ought to tarry somewhere until he receives them. I believe that when we have received these credentials, we can go out in the name of him whose embassador we are, and He will give witness to the work, and great grace will be upon us.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.5
By the power which the apostles had, they went out and worked miracles, they healed the sick, and did many wonderful things. Do you think the embassadors for Christ should do those things now? You tell me when that power was to be taken away. I would also like to ask this: What is it, if the work is done, that converts a soul? - It is the power of God. We have no power to convert souls. What is it that brings the power of God to work with us? - Faith in God. Every time a soul is healed, that is a miracle. It is a miracle of God’s grace and power every time a soul is converted to God. It is also a miracle of his grace and power every time the sick are healed, just the same as when a soul is converted.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.6
The same faith that will bring God’s power with us in the conversion of souls, will bring God’s power with us in healing the sick, in casting out devils, in just the work that the Scripture speaks of. It is our privilege to believe it and prove it. I can see no difference between faith in God’s word, which brings his power to convert a soul, and the faith that brings the power of God in accordance with his word to heal the body. I believe that we are going to see that work more and more as we have faith in God for it. I want to see these things come back into the church: I want to see God working in these ways. It may be a little out of the usual course. When the power of God commences to work with his people, there will be several things out of the usual course. I want to see them too.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.7
The great commission that was given is good now. . “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Why do we not see more manifestations of his power, when he has promised to be with us to the end of the world? Because we do not have faith to believe for it. I do not believe in being fanatical; but I do believe in living up to our privileges in God. I am deeply impressed with this, that one of the principal reasons why we do not see more of the working of the power of God with us, is because we are too afraid of it. I believe there is such a thing as being over cautious about the work of God. You ask, Would you run into extremes? Never; and the Spirit and the word of God never lead us into extremes. It is safe to follow God’s word, and the leading of God’s Spirit; and it is when we go away from them that we get into extremes.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 223.8
This commission is also given in the gospel by Mark. It was to go and preach the gospel, and this power would attend them in their work. That gospel is just the same as is spoken of in , where Christ’s work is prophesied of. : “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.1
You may say that this is figurative language. I think it is quite literal. This being in prison is quite a literal thing; and this opening of the prison to them that are bound, is literal language, too. Every single soul on the earth, has sinned, and come short of the glory of God; and the sentence of death was passed upon every single one. Then you and I live here under the sentence of death; that is, we are legally dead; death, the penalty for sin, staring us right in the face. We live all our lifetime in bondage through fear of death. We are simply shut up; sentence has been pronounced, and we are locked up, waiting the day of execution. Now somebody comes to us who are shut up in prison under sentence of death, and brings to us news of pardon in our case, and we are released from that sentence of death, and we become free men in Christ Jesus. Is not that literal? I tell you there are many of us here that can say we know that is a literal experience. Whereas we were in bondage, we are now free men.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.2
It is the sacred privilege of the one who carries the gospel of Christ, to carry just as literally the word of pardon, of release from sentence of death, as though you or I were commissioned by the Governor to take the pardon and carry it to the man sentenced to be executed on the gallows. When we understand that that is the work God has committed to us, will it be hard work to stir up in anybody the missionary spirit? I have news of pardon to those who are in prison; I have good tidings of great joy to those who are in the deepest trouble; I must go and carry it to them. I do not wonder that the apostle Paul said: “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; to the wise and the unwise:” “woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” God had given him a message to those who sat in darkness, that he should carry the light to them; he must go. That sounds first-rate, and yet there are hundreds of us that sit right here and do not do it.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.3
The main thing is not the theory, but the fact; not to talk about it, but to do it. I say to every one, God has given to you the privilege of carrying light to those who sit in darkness; to those who are in prison, words of pardon and release: go and carry them; that work is for every one. When I feel that God has given me that privilege, I do not want to sit down and rock myself away to everlasting bliss, if it was possible to do it. There is work to do: there is a chance to carry this gospel of good news, the tidings of great joy, to all the world. Go and carry it; go; don’t sit here; go and carry it. Every one can do that; it is not necessary that we should have credentials from the Conference to do that. Everywhere we go, “living epistles known and read of all men.” And everywhere we go we carry the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.4
Hear what Christ says: “The truth shall make you free;” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” I am thankful for the power that releases from the bondage of sin. That is a real experience, for we have been bound against our will. “For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That is a literal experience; it is not a theory. That ought to be a literal experience to every one of us, and when it has been a literal experience to us, we can tell it, and there will be a power in it. That is why we have felt continually that the benefit we receive from Bible study is the good it does us personally. And when we have that personal experience in our own souls we have something to say, and we can speak of what the Lord has done for our souls, and what he will do for any one who believes in him. He is no respecter of persons. So it is to preach Christ all in all, everything in him, he in us the hope of glory.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.5
So Christ is the door; so he is the way; so he is the light; so he is the bread; he is the shepherd; he is the life; he is the resurrection. That is, Christ is the entrance: “I am the door.” Christ is the road: “I am the way.” Christ is the light to walk by: “I am the light of the world.” Christ is the strength to walk with: “I am the bread of life.” He is our companion by the way: “I am the good Shepherd.” He is the power for the way: “I am the life.” He is the end of the way: “I am the resurrection.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 224.6
It is not a narrow gospel to preach Christ and him crucified. We are not to preach ourselves. “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’s sake.” That is what the apostle said.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.1
But there is a vast difference between talking about Christ and preaching Christ. I turn to the experience of the apostle Paul, and we read it in : “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” We may study about Christ in the word of God; we may be able to use the language of scripture which tells about Christ; but if we are to preach Christ, it must be because Christ is revealed in us. It is not to preach a theory, but it is to preach the power of God. So if we are going to tell the story about Christ effectively, we must know that story as an experience. That is the reason why we cannot preach justification by faith and have it take hold of people, unless we have experienced justification by faith. How can we help any one into that experience if we never have had it ourselves? We cannot do it. You cannot tell a man so that he will know all about it; it must be revealed in him; it must be an experience in him.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.2
Then what is the first essential thing in order for successful labor for God in any capacity? It is a personal experience in the things of God. That is the only basis for successful labor. It is not to say, “There is the way, you go and walk in it;” but it is, “Here is the way, come and walk with me in it.” And it is a great deal easier, and there is a great deal more power in the invitation, “Come and walk with me this way,” than to say, “There is the way, you go and walk in it.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.3
Now just a word or two about the responsibility which rests upon those who are embassadors for Christ. There is a scripture in , that has had a new meaning to me of late. “Obey them that have the rule over you, for they watch for your souls as they that must give account.” I have connected with that ; and from this we learn that Jacob must give an account for every one of Laban’s flock, whether they were stolen by day or night, or torn by beasts. So he watched; sleep went from him; drought consumed him by day, the frost by night. There is a responsibility that rests upon the embassadors for Christ. It is their duty to feed the flock of God. They must watch for them in that way, day and night, with loss of sleep, loss of strength, watching, for they must give an account of their flock. Is one being stolen? no matter whether by day or night, the good shepherd must watch. There are great privileges attending the work of the gospel minister; there are great responsibilities, as measured by the opportunities which God gives.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.4
I read in : “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman; if when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning, shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take away any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked from his way, to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.5
I believe that has a very practical application at this time. From whom was the word to be received? - From God. Then the warning was to be given. And it is to be given just as God gives it too. It is to be given whether the people will hear, or whether they will forbear. The message comes from God; it must be given. You see the danger is coming. Who is giving the warning of the danger? There are hundreds, thousands on thousands, that know not the danger; they do not know the sword is coming. But there are watchmen who have received this from God; the sword is coming upon the land. Watchman, give the warning, give the warning, whether they will hear or whether they will forbear. Receive the message from God, and give the message of God everywhere. If we do this faithfully, we have delivered our souls. Then give the warning everywhere.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.6
I refer to the apostle Paul and his example. Was he faithful in this respect? The words that he spoke to the elders of the church at Miletus, when he called them down to Ephesus, recorded in are the answer. “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” : “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Then he was clear in the sight of God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 225.7
These are proofs of the ministry. Paul’s work and his example of the power of God working through him to the salvation of souls, is recorded in . “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” : “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” : “And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following, Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.” He had something to tell them. He had some fruit of his work.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.1
We read in connection with this, a very precious scripture which is a promise to us. : “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth with weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” It is his privilege to have fruit of his labor; it is the proof of discipleship. “That ye bring forth much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.2
I find on studying the life of Paul and his work, that all through the varied experiences through which he passed after his conversion and call, he never lost confidence in his conversion, and in his call to the work. He told king Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Why, might it not be possible that he was mistaken about that being a heavenly vision? Let us follow him through his experiences. What was the first experience with which he met? He was let down by the wall through a window, that he might get away from Damascus.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.3
Paul, are you sure that God converted you and called you to his work, and they have to let you down by a basket to get you out of the city? “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” He went to Jerusalem, where he was obliged to flee for his life. On his missionary journey he was stoned at Lystra. Are you sure, Paul, that you are fully converted, and that that was a call of God? “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” In the jail at Philippi, his feet in the stocks, at midnight singing praises to God. How is it, are you sure that you were converted and called to this work? “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.4
He went to Athens to preach the simple gospel, and they mocked at him. He could appreciate all those things that he saw there in Athens; he could appreciate art and culture. He went there to preach to them the simple gospel, and they mocked at him. Why, Paul, are you sure that you are converted, that this is a call of God? “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Brought before the judgment-seat of Corinth; bonds and afflictions awaited him in every city; a prisoner at Rome, bound with a chain. How was his confidence? Still stronger. “I know whom I have believed,” he writes to Timothy, from that very prison, “and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.5
He never lost that experience out of his soul; never failed to believe that God converted him. And he went right on, - “Not that our sufficiency is of ourselves, ... but our sufficiency is of God;” “not in the wisdom of man’s word, lest the cross of Christ be made of none effect.” He went right on doing the work which God gave him. He had only one aim: “This one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, I press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.6
Let us hear his last words. Paul an aged man, the second time a prisoner at Rome, under Nero now, with no hope that he would be delivered; a short respite had been granted him, he had been out, and had an opportunity to preach the gospel once more. Now he is back at Rome. He has had one hearing; every one left him at that. He thanks God that he stood by him. Now he writes his last letter to his son Timothy. These are his last words:GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.7
“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” God gave him a message; he gave it to others just as God had given it to him. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 226.8
What better can be said? “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word.” And if we are faithful in preaching God’s word, it will be ours soon to say as the apostle Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.1
BIBLE STUDY LETTER TO THE ROMANS. - NO. 15
IT will be necessary to skip from the eighth to the thirteenth chapter; not but that there are some of the most important truths in the Bible contained in the intervening chapters, but the time allotted for this series of Bible study is too limited to admit of their perusal. So to-night we will take up the study of the 13th chapter, as it treats upon questions which are of vital importance to all believers in the third angel’s message. This chapter is frequently used and quoted to prove that civil government has something to do with religion; and the reason why this mistake is made, is that the chapter is regarded as a treatise setting forth the duties of civil rulers, and showing the limits to which their power may extend. But this is a mistake.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.2
In this chapter the apostle Paul is speaking to professed Christians. As we have already stated, this is proved in the early part of the epistle where in the second chapter the apostle addresses those who rest in the law and make their boast of God. From that point forward the epistle is addressed to those that profess to know God. In the seventh chapter the apostle says, “For I speak to them that know the law.” So instead of the thirteenth chapter being simply a treatise on civil government, showing its duties and limits, it is addressed to the church, showing how they should relate themselves to God, so as not to be in conflict with the powers that be. If this is borne in mind, it will be a great help in the solution of the many important questions which are considered in the chapter.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.3
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive unto themselves damnation.” . These verses are not to be construed as teaching that Christians must obey every command that civil governments may impose upon them. We may recall the time in which this was written, and the people to whom it was addressed. It was written at a time when the Roman Empire held sway over all the known world, and it was especially addressed to the church at Rome, the capital of this universal Empire. The emperor reigning at that time was Nero, and he was doubtless the wickedest, the most blood-thirsty, and abominable licentious monarch that ever sat upon the throne of any kingdom. I suppose there never was another man in the world that combined so much evil in himself as Nero the emperor of the Romans. He was a heathen, and a heathen of the heathens.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.4
The laws which were enacted in Rome recognized the heathen religion, and were opposed to Christianity. In the reign of Nero occurred the most cruel persecution to the Christians that ever has been since the world began; and it was during this persecution that the apostle Paul lost his head. Therefore it is manifest that the apostle, when he says that we are to be subject to the powers that be, does not mean to convey the idea that we should do everything that the powers that be tell us to do. If the apostle Paul had done that, he never would have lost his head: but he suffered because the truth which he preached was opposed to the principles of the Roman government; and we cannot suppose that the apostle Paul would preach one thing and do another. Then the question arises, What does he mean by exhorting us to be “subject unto the higher powers”?GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.5
Take the case negatively. We are not to resist the powers that be. Why? Because we are children of the Highest, - children of the heavenly kingdom, and the rule of that kingdom is peace. The ruler of the kingdom is the Prince of peace. Therefore since we have been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his Son, we are to allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts. . For this reason we are to “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” .GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.6
In the 12th chapter of Romans we are instructed, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” That does not mean that we are to live peaceably with all men just as long as we can endure their provocation, and when that gets unendurable, that we are at liberty to have it out with them in a regular quarrel. But, it does mean that “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you,” you are to live at peace with all men. How far now, is it possible for the Christian to live at peace with all men? It is possible for him to be at peace with all men, as far as he himself is concerned, all the time. For, he is dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto Christ. Christ dwells in his heart by faith, and Christ is the Prince of peace. Then there are no circumstances under which the Christian is justified in losing his temper and declaring war either against an individual or a government.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 227.7
In , we are told that, “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The works of the flesh are the works which are done by those who are under the law, and in the enumeration of these works we find the word “strife.” Therefore a Christian cannot enter into strife, because he is not in the flesh. Strife can have no place in us: therefore so far as we are concerned it will be peace all the time. But if those men with whom we have to do, steel their hearts against the truth of God, and will not be affected by the truth, they will make trouble, but the trouble will be on their part; with us there will be peace all the time.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.1
In and onward, we are told that Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps. He, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. The case of Christ before the Sanhedrim, before Pilate, is an instance of perfect peace. Therefore, if we follow the example of Christ, and the exhortation of Paul, which being inspired must be in harmony with it, we shall not arrive at that point where so many say that, “forbearance ceases to be a virtue.” If we are Christians, we have the love of Christ abiding in our hearts. That love is charity, and charity endureth all things.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.2
Christ, in his sermon on the mount, commanded us “that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Now does he mean what he says or not? Does that mean that if a wicked man come up to us and offer personal violence, we are to defend ourselves, or not? We leave this question open for you to decide for yourselves.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.3
No matter under what government a Christian is living, he is in duty bound not to resist its ordinances. All governments, good, bad, or indifferent, are ordained of God; so that the wickedness or evils existing in the government give no excuse to the Christian for resisting. Governments are all ordained of God, and they are all better than anarchy; but they are not ordained to take charge of and promote or carry out religion, because God has not delegated his authority in matters of religion to any earthly power, although they are ordained of God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.4
Now how about being subject to the powers, yet not always obeying them? Take a familiar example. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, and his was certainly a government ordained of God, for God had given all the lands over which he ruled into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and all nations were to serve him, and his son and his son’s son. Nebuchadnezzar make an image of gold and commanded that when the music sounded, all the people were to bow down to it. It was told to the king that the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego had not fallen down and worshiped the golden image. The king called them to him, and told them that although they had disobeyed him, he would overlook that offense, if when the music sounded again, they would worship the image. “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy god, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.5
They did not resist the king. He gave them an alternative. They could do one of two things, - bow down to the image, or be cast into the furnace. They disobeyed the order to bow down to the image; but they did not resist the alternative to go into the furnace. And moreover they told the king that their God was able to deliver them out of his hand; but they did not know whether he would or not. That would not matter any way. If he did not choose to deliver them, they were to be burned. That was all right; they would yield up their lives, triumph in death, and in that way be delivered out of his hand, if in no other.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.6
What is the relation of Christians to civil government? Christ is the anointed one. For what was he anointed? “To preach good tidings [the gospel] unto the meek; ... to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Now there will be a time when the kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, as is stated by the prophet.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.7
In the second Psalm, we read, “Ask of me and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” But what is he going to do with them? Dash them in pieces. That time has not come yet; therefore Christ, the Mediator, has nothing whatever to do with the governments of earth; his rule is a spiritual rule in the hearts of his people. His kingdom, for he sits upon a throne and rules, is a rule over the hearts of his people. He rules in the hearts of men, where it is impossible for the kings of the earth to rule. Strife may rule there all the time; but they cannot prevent it; or peace may have dominion, and they cannot disturb it. He sits upon a throne of grace, and there he dispenses grace without interfering with the governments of earth and in a way which they cannot hinder.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 228.8
The great men of this earth exercise lordship over others; but Christ has commanded that it be not so among his people, but he that would be greatest among them, should be the servant of all.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.1
Take Daniel as an example of how men should be subject to the powers that be, and still be subject to God. There was a decree established that whosoever should ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days after the passing of that decree, save of the great king Darius should be cast into the den of lions. Daniel occupied a high position in the government, and he was a peaceable citizen, as every Christian must be. It would have been very easy for him to say, “I do not need to ask anything of any man for thirty days, and I can shut myself up in my house where no one can see me, and there I can worship God quietly, and so I will carry on my religion and worship the God of heaven, and still not stir up the anger of the king against me.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.2
This is a question of vital importance to us. When persecution is liable to come upon us, shall we cease to work openly in our fields on the first day of the week, as we have been doing, and do something quietly in our houses, so that no one will see us, or should we do as Daniel did? He opened his windows and did exactly what they told him not to do, - make petitions to the God of heaven. He did it openly where his enemies could see him do it, although the decree had been passed that for following such a course he should be cast into the den of lions. Are we not, when for fear of persecution, we work quietly in our houses where no man can see us, - are we not hiding our light under a bushel? Some say that there is no need of being foolhardy. That is very true; but shall we be foolhardy if we do as Daniel did? shall we say that he made a mistake?GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.3
In , we are told, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing, you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” This is parallel with the statement in the 13th of Romans, as is seen by verse 7.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.4
Peter carries this same principle into the minor things of life, and immediately after speaking of the duty of obedience to the king, he speaks of the duty of servants to their masters. If we find ourselves subject to a master, and there is no difference whether he rules over one or over millions, we must all be subject to him. But supposing that the master be a bad man, and he commands those who are under him to do something that is wrong, then what? “For this is thankworthy if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” .GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.5
If a man finds himself the subject of a bad master, and he does everything that that bad master tells him, how can he suffer for it? He is a willing tool in the hands of his master; but the suffering is brought by the fact that he will not do the wicked things commanded; and this is what is acceptable in the sight of God. He has disobeyed the power, and because he has disobeyed it, he suffers; but he suffers for well doing. If he obeys that wicked master, he must disobey God. This we know would be wrong. But it is perfectly right to disobey the wicked decree of a master or government, provided always that when the punishment comes, we take it patiently. This is acceptable with God. The very fact that a man suffers for well doing, shows that he is the servant of God, and accepted of him. Then how is it that we can be subject to the powers that be, and yet go directly contrary to what they say? - By submitting to the punishment, but not doing the evil thing they commanded us to do. As Christians, we owe allegiance to God, the highest power, and to him alone.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.6
“Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?” “Do that which is good,” and we shall have praise of the same. The same truth is brought out by the prophet Isaiah when he says, “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” . Christians must sanctify the Lord in their hearts; then he will be their fear, and they will not fear what men shall do unto them.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.7
Peter brings out the same truth when he says, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” . Don’t be afraid of the terror. Why? because we have sanctified the Lord God in our hearts, and he is our fear. God is with us, Christ is with us, and when men cast reproaches upon us, they cast them upon our Saviour. He is the one that suffers, not we.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 229.8
We are to sanctify the Lord in our hearts and to be ready always to give a reason of the hope that is in us. It has seemed to me from the connections of these words, and the scripture that is quoted, that the special time when we are to give this answer of the hope that is in us, is the time when we are brought before magistrates for well doing. What help have we? We have sanctified the Lord God in our hearts by taking his word into our hearts so we need not make any great provision for what we will say. For God will give “a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to gainsay or resist.” .GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.1
It seems to me that the most important thing for all of us who have this special truth which is bound to bring us into trouble with the powers that be, is to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts by the Spirit of God and his word. We must become students of the word of God, and followers of Christ and his gospel. I believe there are farmers and mechanics among us, who, although they have never been able to put texts together so as to preach a sermon, have nevertheless sanctified the Lord in their hearts by faithful study of his word. These men will be brought before courts for their faith, and they will preach the gospel there by way of their defense, because God in that day will give them a mouth and wisdom, that their adversaries can neither gainsay nor resist.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.2
Sometimes people say that there is no use to make our faith prominent and thus to court persecution. But if we follow such a policy as this, brethren, what are we doing but hiding our light beneath the bushel? If you do not allow any one to see the shining of your light, what good does it do?GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.3
Sometimes we are in danger of working so diligently to stay persecution, so that we may be able to carry forward the work in peace, that we neglect the work. We are told that if we disobey the laws and are put in prison, our wives and families will suffer, and that the first duty we have is to provide for them. Now, brethren, how far can we carry this? Shall we show our loyalty to God, or shall we hide it? O, says one, “We can keep our religion; but we can keep it quietly; we must not leave our families to suffer!” Brethren, what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and yet lose his own soul? The Master says, “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.4
Go back to Daniel’s case. He did not keep quiet: he prayed openly. “Yes; it was all right for Daniel to do that, but it is different now in the nineteenth century.” No; it is not. It is just the same. The people might have said to him, “Daniel, you can do your people good in the position of influence you hold; you can keep them from being persecuted. Now don’t go and get shut up in that den of lions, and lose your life, and bring great calamity upon your people!” But Daniel did go to the den of lions, and he went there for living out his faith openly, and in a way that all men could see it, and did it bring calamity upon his people? No; indeed. In consequence of his obedience, the name of the God of heaven was more highly honored and revered in that nation than it ever had been before.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.5
It is our duty to preach the gospel; to arise and let our light shine, and if we do that, God will hold the winds as long as they ought to be held. Brethren, the third angel’s message is the greatest thing in all the earth. Men don’t regard it as such; but the time will come in our lifetime when the third angel’s message will be the theme and topic of conversation in every mouth. But it will never be brought to that position by people who keep quiet about it, but by those who have their trust in God, and are not afraid to speak the words which he has given them.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.6
In doing this, we will not take our lives in our hands, and I thank God for it. Our lives will be hid with Christ in God, and he will care for them. The truth will be brought to this high place simply by men and women going forth and preaching the gospel and obeying that which they preach. Let people know the truth. If we have a peaceful time in which to spread it, we will be thankful for that. And if men make laws that would seem to cut off the channels through which it can go, we can be thankful that we worship a God who makes even the wrath of men to praise him; and he will do it, - he will spread his gospel by means of those very laws which wicked men have enacted to crush out its life. God holds the winds, brethren, and he commands us to carry the message. He will hold them as long as it is best for them to be held, and when they begin to blow, and we feel the first puffs in the beginning of persecution, they will do just what the Lord wants them to do.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 230.7
We often sing that, brethren, when we don’t believe it. For when we see the storm coming, we think it is not best for us to let it come so we hide from it or try to prevent it. But everything works the counsel of God’s will. The storm will hasten the calm, and rest will not delay to come.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.2
“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” . If you do this, you live peaceably with all men, as far as lieth in you. If you love your neighbor as yourself, that is the fulfilling of the whole law; because a man, to love his neighbor, must love God, because there is no love but of God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.3
If I love my neighbor as myself, it is simply because the love of God is abiding in my heart. It is because God has taken up his abode in my heart, and there is no man on earth who can take him away from me. It is for this reason that the apostle refers to the last table of the law, because if we do our duty toward our neighbor, it naturally follows that we love God.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.4
Sometimes we are told that the first table points out our duty to God, and constitutes religion, and that the last table defines our duty to our neighbor, and constitutes morality. But the last table contains duties to God just as much as the first one. David, after he had broken two of the commandments contained in the last table when making his confession, said: “Against thee, and thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.” God must be first and last and all the time. And if the requirements of God demand that we go contrary to the requirements of man, we must obey God and trust our all to him.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.5
It matters not whether wicked men hedge up the way; we should “go forward” with our work. When Israel was going out of Egypt, they came to a place where the Red Sea was before them and the mountains and the hosts of the Egyptians behind; but the command of God to Moses was, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” But how could they with the sea before them and their enemies behind? That did not matter. God said, “Go forward.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.6
These things are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. The Israelites were to go forward on the word of God. It mattered not if the sea was before them. God opened it so that they passed through dryshod. But if he had not, they could have gone through on top of the water just as well. They could have gone over on the word of God. That was the way that Peter walked on the Sea of Galilee.GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.7
We must ever remember that we are the children of God; and being children of God, we have overcome the world. All these lessons that we have had are to prepare us for the time of trouble. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God (which is the Lord Jesus Christ), that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”GCDB March 24, 1891, page 231.8