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    Chapter 9—The Brethren Warned

    Sanitarium, Cal.,

    June 15, 1911.

    To the Leading Men in Our California Conferences:

    Instruction has been given, warning our people against uniting in the least degree with those who advocate false theories. He who allows his sympathies and interests to be enlisted in a work that is opposed to the teachings of the word of God, is on dangerous ground, where he is surrounded by the agencies of evil. Satan is working with great determination to introduce among God's peculiar people strange and forbidden things. Commercialism threatens to absorb energies and means that should be given to the work of God for this time. Of those who are advocating these enterprises, God declares, “I have not sent them.” Shall the people who have had great light, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little, yield to the temptations of the enemy on this point, and refuse to heed the warnings of God to them?SpTB17a 29.2

    So vast is the field, and so subtle and untiring are the efforts of the enemy of souls, that God's people need to be very watchful, and to labor earnestly and unceasingly to counterwork evil in the church and in the world. Satan and his agencies are laying out special lines of labor for men who can be controlled by his power. Deceptions of every degree and kind are arising, so that if it were possible, Satan would deceive the very elect. There will be lords many, and gods many. The message will be heard, Lo, here is Christ, and lo there! With the same subtle power with which he plotted for the rebellion of holy beings in heaven before the fall, Satan is working today to operate through human beings for the fulfilment of his purposes of evil.SpTB17a 30.1

    I ask our people to study the 28th chapter of Ezekiel. The representation here made, while it refers primarily to Lucifer, the fallen angel, has a yet broader significance. Not one being, but a general movement, is described, and one that we shall witness. A faithful study of this chapter should lead those who are seeking for truth to walk in all the light that God has given to His people, lest they be deceived by the deceptions of these last days.SpTB17a 30.2

    The prophet Ezekiel writes: “The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: by thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.SpTB17a 30.3

    “Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.SpTB17a 31.1

    “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”SpTB17a 31.2

    Lucifer was created perfect, but there came a time when iniquity was found in him. The prophet declares: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.SpTB17a 32.1

    “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”SpTB17a 32.2

    God is sending warnings to His people that they may be kept from strange and forbidden things. Commercial plans are often laid and presented that will, if accepted, lead to the deception and confusion of the church. They are presented as something which will prove a great blessing to the work. This effort to press commercialism into the work, as something that will be of great service, an instrument of divine provision for the rapid advancement of the work, is a deception which threatens to ensnare many souls. Even now many are in danger. There are few who realize the evil that is working; yet these plans are surely the temptations of the enemy, and will prove ruinous to the spiritual experience of those who accept and follow them. Their purpose is to divert the minds of men and women from present and essential duties.SpTB17a 33.1

    I warn our people to seek the Lord in earnest, humble prayer, that Satan may not triumph in this evil design. Let all who desire to honor God refuse to accept presentations that are so evidently opposed to the ways of the Lord. By such methods as Brother Harris has presented, the truth we hold so sacred is misrepresented before the world. It is as if they say, Believers could not find a “Thus saith the Lord” that would satisfactorily explain their duty, and they are compelled to accept the chance methods adopted in gambling to direct their course of action.SpTB17a 33.2

    I was shown that I must warn our people against the evil that would result to those who allowed their interests to be caught by the spirit of commercialism and chance. They are elements by which Satan will if possible deceive the very elect; and by giving place to them believers open the door to great temptations. As a people we are to be wide-awake to the devices of the enemy, and take a sensible course. We are not to allow ourselves to be caught by the spirit of the world, where every scheme is being laid for the making of money, and where life is counted of little value. Let our people at this time consecrate themselves wholly to the Lord, and walk humbly with Him. They are to unite with heavenly beings for the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ in the earth. Every sanctified agency is to be pressed into the service as a peculiar providence of God, to counterwork the work of those who, while claiming to be helping the cause of truth, are placing their powers under tribute to the plans of the enemy.SpTB17a 33.3

    The Lord is working by His divine power to keep His people from being overcome by the powers of evil. He desires that they shall recognize His intervention in their behalf, and accept His ways instead of the ways of the enemy. Those who follow Him in meekness and in singleness of heart, seeking daily for the sanctification of His Spirit, will not be led, through Satan's devisings, to dishonor Him.SpTB17a 34.1

    To Brother Harris I would say: I have been instructed that the ideas you are presenting do not bear the divine credentials; and I must warn our people not to accept and endorse your work. It is not the Spirit of the Lord that has placed this burden upon you, but another spirit; and therefore your work can not be accepted as a God-appointed one.SpTB17a 34.2

    God has not given you instruction to secure means in the way you propose; nor does He direct you by the tossing up of a piece of silver. He could not do this and honor the sacred truths of His word. By the course you adopt, the precious truth regarding God's guidance of His people is cheapened, and the spiritual experience lowered to the level of common things. Those who follow manmade tests to decide their duty, will bring into their experience that which will destroy their pure faith in the Word, a practical knowledge of the teachings of which every soul must have who would perfect his Christian character.SpTB17a 35.1

    The Lord has shown me that your religious experience is becoming a matter of chance. It savors of gambling. I beseech you that you let this experience go no farther. You are educating church-members to think it a virtue to obtain money in a way that should not be admitted among us. The methods you are advocating for the raising of means should never come into our ranks at all, much less be carried to the lengths to which you and your associates have taken them.SpTB17a 35.2

    I have been instructed that the ideas you are advocating have in them the seeds of the sinful thing that destroyed Lucifer. The spirit that worked in Lucifer when he allowed ambition and selfish desire to rule, has been working to control you. If you continue to present these ideas before believers, you will be instructing them in the same way that led to the loss and ruin of heavenly beings.SpTB17a 35.3

    In all our churches there are souls of little experience who are ready to receive new ideas from those who come in among them. Many times there have arisen among us those who have presented human devisings which have belittled the sacred truth we hold and worked harm to the experience of many souls. Should the fallacies that you are following be accepted as coming from the Lord, many honest souls would be deceived and drawn into temptation, because they are led away from trusting in the Lord's plan for the assurance of eternal life. By continuing in your present course, you will not only endanger your own soul, but will sow seeds in other lives that will spoil their hope of everlasting life.SpTB17a 36.1

    My brother, I earnestly appeal to you to study the word of God, and let His light come into your mind. I am intensely anxious that our people shall not be corrupted by your commercial spirit and by your representations regarding the Lord's methods of guidance. God condemns the spirit of chance that is revealed in your work. He forbids that we give such a lesson, by precept or example, to any souls, believers or unbelievers; for it is an evil that will spoil the experience of all who allow its principles to rule.SpTB17a 36.2

    It is dishonoring to God for men to make such radical movements as you have made without any higher direction than you have had. You rejoice at the outlook as if you knew that the Lord stood by your side to guide your hand as you make your test. But this is not the method by which matters of eternal interest are to be decided. Rather it is one of Satan's schemes for binding about the work of God. Let not the idea be entertained that any form of chance work is the dictation of the Holy Spirit; I know it is not. I can speak decidedly regarding this, for I know whereof I speak. The act of tossing up a piece of silver to gain a knowledge of duty, shows the judgment of a man who needs to come to God in confession, and in simplicity and faith to seek the Lord for true guidance....SpTB17a 36.3

    A right acceptance of the principles of truth will always result in transformation of character. Christians need to study well the character of Christ, that their lives may be cleansed from sin, and fashioned after the perfect life of Christ. In the home and in the church the converting power of God is needed. The Lord requires that every professing Christian shall be self-denying and self-sacrificing. It is not possible to receive and obey the words of Christ without having the character conformed to the likeness of Christ. If we are wearing Christ's yoke, we shall be meek and lowly as Christ was. The grace of Christ will refine the soul, establish faith, and give clear judgment, that the life of the believer may be brought into harmony with the divine.SpTB17a 37.1

    Men and women have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ. Those who accept Christ are to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, remembering that it is God that worketh in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. Thus they are laborers together with God.SpTB17a 37.2

    Think of the position we occupy in the sight of heaven. How does it appear, think you, to Christ and heavenly beings, for those who have divine power at their command to resort for guidance to the chance result of the tossing up of a piece of silver? Satan works to control such actions to carry out his purposes, and he rejoices when he is given opportunity of doing so. Let us as a people break every yoke. The Spirit of the Lord must work decidedly to refine and cleanse and sanctify, that every human obstruction may be removed. Human judgment must be brought into perfect accord with a “Thus saith the Lord.”SpTB17a 38.1

    There is no chance work with God in the directing of His people. Let us never forget that His providences guide in every circumstance of life, and that in the determination of important questions regarding His work and people there is no uncertainty. Remembering this, God's people will estimate at their true value such movements as this in which Brother Harris is now engaged. Let our people reason from cause to effect, and place their true value upon human devisings for which there is not a “Thus saith the Lord.”SpTB17a 38.2

    Our faith in Christ is not to be exchanged for any human device or plan. Those who have faith in Him who came to the world to give men a perfect example, will never resort to a game of chance for an understanding of their duty. God is not glorified by such experiments. His perfect way is to be studied and understood by a prayerful searching of the word of God.SpTB17a 38.3

    Christ came to the world to be our example. He lived and suffered and died that we might be perfect in every condition of life and under every circumstance. It is to be our first consideration, how we may express the character of Christ in our lives. It is because of sin that men can not offer to God the sacrifice of a holy life; but in Christ we have a perfect pattern as well as a sin-pardoning Saviour.SpTB17a 39.1

    Let the men and women who are entrusted with sacred responsibilities show forth the meekness and wisdom of Christ. In the study of the Word will be found that which will bring blessing and hope to old and young, teaching them how to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Let none question or underestimate the precious privileges which the children of God possess as members of the body of Christ.SpTB17a 39.2

    Ellen G. White

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