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    Chapter 54—Issues at the Gen. Conf. of 1889


    Battle Creek, Mich. Nov. 4, 1889

    There have arisen in our Conference questions that need to have careful attention, whether the Sabbath-keepers in the Southern States where they are liable to feel the oppressive power of their State laws if they labor on Sunday shall rest on Sunday to avoid the persecution which must come if they do any labor. Some of our brethren seem anxious that a resolution shall be passed by the General Conference advising our Sabbathkeeping brethren liable to imprisonment and fines, to refrain from labor on that day. Such resolutions should not be placed before this Conference, requiring their action.1888 471.1

    There are questions about which it is far better to have as little notoriety given as possible, in either case,—for, or against. And our brethren would be wise in not bringing questions of this character to the front, to obtain decisions from the Conference in regard to them. They can be understood and adjusted in a more private way. There are many things that should be conducted in a silent, unobserved way, which would have altogether a better influence upon all minds.1888 471.2

    Some minds are so constituted that they can not treat these questions wisely. When the Sunday question is legislated to become a law, there will not be so great a danger of taking steps that are not of a character to receive the sanction of Heaven, though they may receive the sanction of the General Conference,—for the reason that the Lord gives light and knowledge just when it is most needed.1888 471.3

    I am afraid of these many resolutions. One year ago resolutions were brought into the Conference for adoption that, had they all been accepted, would have bound about the work of God. Some resolutions were urged by young, inexperienced ones, that never should have received the consent of the Conference. Human traditions and permits and non-permits have been of a character that would have bound them about with restrictions that were wholly unnecessary, out of God's order, and that would have created a condition of things that would have been detrimental to the progress of the work. If some resolutions that were accepted had not been proposed, it would have been better for those who presented them were in darkness and not in the light. Had they been laid upon the table, it would have been far more in accordance with the will of God because all these many resolutions, voting what shall be, and what shall not be, are not after God's order. What this man shall do, and shall not do, making laws that God has never made, has created principles which should not prevail among us. As reformers, if we had less talk and more of Christ, there would be far greater modesty and humility and we would do far more good.1888 472.1

    There are many things that require the wisest and most careful counsel, and should be done without making any noise about it; but there is want of wisdom in throwing every action open to all. Many things are kept reserved through the year for the General Conference to act upon which should be faithfully carried by the State Conferences, a mass of matter that need not be brought before the Conference at all.1888 472.2

    Many things had better never see the light of day. They are originated by minds that are not under the light of the Sun of righteousness. It increases the work of the Conference and it might just as well be acted upon in their several churches and councils and take off the Conference a large amount of perplexing questions with which they should not be burdened. *Written in 1889, 12 years before the 1901 General Conference which made provision for Union Conferences.—A. L. White. Let them be faithful stewards, to pray much, to work diligently, and act discreetly.1888 472.3

    In General Conference, many things are rushed through without being duly canvassed. All have not had opportunity to think and pray over these things and those who do have the opportunity do not improve it and use their brain power. They devise and execute without God's counsel. There are councils that should be held of less importance and less expense with less weariness to our leading, responsible men. All minor matters should be settled in the State Conference, thus dealing with many questions that will save time and care and burdens that have greatly taxed the General Conference.1888 473.1

    The question of the great need of the soul deserves in these meetings of the Conference far more attention, and many questions that are tossed into the Conference should never appear, but be worked out in your State Conferences. It has become habit to pass laws that do not always bear the signature of heaven. The question of the color line should not have been made a business for the Conference to settle. It is a question which involves principles needing much careful, prayerful thought.1888 473.2

    The question that has been before the Conference, whether the brethren where oppressive laws exist should be advised not to work on Sunday, is not a question to be brought before an open Conference. It could not be voted upon without misunderstanding and mismoves and bad results.1888 473.3

    I am led to inquire with pain of soul what do our brethren mean by presenting questions of this order before an open conference. If the disciples of Christ needed to assemble together in one place after the ascension of Christ and pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit, there would be greater need of their doing so now when solemn and far-reaching principles are involved. Ten days were devoted to earnest seeking of God and ten days would need to extend to twenty before men should venture to put their pens to write out a decision for the people on this point. Much earnest prayer and nothing less than the descent of the Holy Ghost would settle these questions. Then to toss these questions into the Conference without the prayerful consideration of the subject would be the greatest folly.1888 474.1

    This is the third angel's message to our world and men had better keep their hands off the ark. There has been revealed the disposition to cavil over some questions that are plainly revealed in the word of God. Let not any move in their blindness to make decisions on so momentous subjects. Do we receive the Bible as the oracles of God? In every State there should be wise instructions given on this point, and can be better given in these States more silently, giving as little notoriety to these points as possible, but advising, counseling in the fear of God after much prayer and fasting and seeking counsel from the unerring Counselor.1888 474.2

    No haphazard advice should come from the lips of any ambassador of Christ. He should fear the Lord and have his words in accordance with the will and ways of God. This is a time for much praying and less talking. This subject is not a matter to which to give an off-hand assent or dissent. It is wonderful, sacred, solemn ground on which we stand and we cannot move recklessly without dishonoring God and ruining souls. All the universe of heaven is astir, looking to us to see what course we will pursue in this matter. While all Sabbathkeepers are anxious and troubled, seeking to penetrate the mysteries of the future, and to learn all they can in regard to the correct position they shall take, be careful that they are advised correctly in regard to Sunday observance. Action cannot be taken in regard to this matter here, and our people of all classes of minds and of varied temperaments should treat it wisely. There will ever be danger of going to extremes. Christ says, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14). Then to your knees in prayer, have far less of self and depend wholly on the counsel of God. Then, if all would be under the control of the Spirit of God there would be nothing to fear, for all would adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour.1888 475.1

    He who has Christ abiding in his heart will so order his conversation as to bring no dishonor or reproach on the sacred truth of God. He will give no occasion to its enemies to blaspheme, will not be filled with self-confidence, but his confidence will be in God. He will not be revealing inconsistencies that are not in harmony with the precious truth of sacred origin. He will not be found going to extremes and furnishing scandal to be circulated far and near in the most exaggerated form. He must be a man that holds communion with God; a man that prays and does not pray in vain: “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalm 17:5).1888 475.2

    If the decision is made that our people shall not labor on Sunday and that our brethren in the Southern States shall appear to harmonize with the Sunday law, because of oppression, how long before all over the world [our people] shall be in like circumstances as they are in the South? The decision is to be a universal one. If it comes to the light of day as it will in degrees and there will be concessions and servile bowing to an idol God by those who claim to be Sabbathkeepers, there will be a yielding of principles until all is lost to them.1888 476.1

    If we counsel them not to respect the idol Sabbath exalted to take the place of the Sabbath of the Lord our God, then instruct them in this matter in a quiet way and encourage no defying of the law powers in words or actions unless called to do this for the honor of God to vindicate His downtrodden law. Let there be no unnecessary act of arousing the combative spirit or passions of opponents. There is a self-deluded enthusiasm in this, bringing in an elevation of Sunday that it will be difficult to handle because “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.1888 476.2

    The counsel to be given is “Finally, my brethren, be strong, in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand”—in harmony in outward appearance with? No, but “against the wiles of the devil.”1888 476.3

    There are some trying testimonies to be manfully borne by Sabbathkeepers and some bitter persecution finally endured, for, says Christ, “Ye are my witnesses.” Yes, witnesses for God, standing in defense of His holy law. We are a light to reveal the moral darkness, and the reward will be given to the overcomer.1888 477.1

    Let no resolutions be passed here which will encourage half-hearted service or cowardly hiding our light under a bushel or under a bed for we will certainly be tried and tested. The Bible heroes of faith are to be our example and the Bible readers and Bible workers, if truly on the Lord's side, will be earnest, whole-souled, humble, meek, and lowly of heart, and God will teach them. We need not make any special rules for those who are not dyspeptic Christians; on the other hand, should resolutions be passed that because of the trials and inconveniences that arise because of our faith such ones should cease their labor on Sunday, bowing to the idol Sabbath, will it give those who do this vigorous, spiritual sinew and muscle or will they grow into cowards and be swept away with the delusions of these last days? Leave these precious souls to God's dictation. Be sure the Sabbath is a test question, and how you treat this question, places you either on God's side or Satan's side. The mark of the beast is to be presented in some shape to every institution and every individual.1888 477.2

    The position taken by some is, that this evil enactment has no relation to the present observance of the Sabbath. Here again great blindness is shown to be upon them. In this they are not correct, for every move from the first made by Satan was the beginning of his work to continue to the end to exalt the false, to take the place of the genuine Sabbath of Jehovah. He is just as intent now and more determined to do this than ever before. He has come down with great power to deceive them who dwell on the earth with his Satanic delusions. His work has a direct reference to the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and should the resolution be passed that because of inconveniences and loss of property, imprisonment and fines, the enactment of laws of the State shall compel Sunday observance, all must obey these laws God would certainly be dishonored; and the lesson given to those who need better advice shall be of a character to open the way and make it easy for souls to be carried away with the bold, swift current of evil. They will be tempted strongly because of the universal scorn which they see thrown upon the law of God to think slightly of it and to place the laws of men on an equality with the laws of God and give less and less reverence to the laws of Jehovah. Shall the overseers of the flock work with the great deceiver to make apostasy from God easy?1888 477.3

    We have all the way along known that this battle must come and the two great powers, the Prince of Darkness and the Prince of Light, will be in close battle, and not one of God's people who understand the truth, if in the light where God would have them to stand, will teach by precept or example any soul to shirk now. Give them strengthening Bible diet and Bible duty to strengthen and brace the soul for the coming conflict. But there will be need at this time of men who have been leaders in this work of keeping step where Jesus leads the way. If they do not walk in the light as Christ leads the way and advance with the increasing light of the third angel's message, they will surely become blind leaders of the blind. (Exodus 31:12-17).1888 478.1

    It is a time now when God calls for brave men having on the whole armor of God, presenting a united front to the foe. And as we meet the emergency the law of God become more precious, more sacred, and as it is more manifestly made void and set aside, in proportion should arise our respect and reverence for that law. David said, “They have made void Thy law; therefore I love Thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” (Psalm 119:126, 127).1888 478.2

    The Lord will be constantly leading and guiding His people to meet this emergency if they ask the help of God. It is a high point of spiritual advancement they have reached that the love of God's commandments grows with the contempt which is manifest to that law by those around them. There are great principles in the reformation which must not be overlooked or disregarded. God forbid we should be self-made invalids in this great crisis. Paul prayed for the removal of the aggravating thorn but God sees this is not the best and sends the blessed promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The Lord does not remove the trial, but gives him all that is needed that he can endure it.1888 479.1

    In the exercise of the long suffering of God, He gives to nations a certain period of probation, but there is a point which if they pass, there will be the visitation of God in His indignation; He will punish. The world has been advancing from one degree of contempt for God's law to another, and the prayer may be appropriate at this time, “It is time for Thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” (Psalm 119:126). In answer to this prayer ere long the wrath of an offended God will be poured out without mercy, then as we approach this time, be careful what advice and counsel we give to the people who need to be strengthened in Christian experience, lest you prove yourself to be like Aaron who consented to make the golden calf.1888 479.2

    This was a terrible thing for him to do because all Israel looked up to him as their leader, a good man. If he had given his voice against this in a certain, decided manner, this wicked worship of an idol would not have been to disgrace the people of God. We do not want to repeat Aaron's cowardice or Israel's sin. Let the Lord work for His people, and be careful that you give to the trumpet a certain sound now. We must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.1888 479.3

    Let all be careful what they say and what they do; be careful to move in God's order. Keep step with the Captain of the Lord's host. Let not anyone make any proud boast either by precept or example to show that he is defying the laws of the land. Make no resolutions as to what persons in different States may do, or may not do. Let nothing be done to lessen individual responsibility. To their God they must stand or fall. Let none feel it his duty to make speeches in the presence of our own people, or of our enemies, that will arouse their combativeness and they take your words and construe them in such a way that you are charged with being rebellious to the government, for this will close the door of access to the people.1888 480.1

    Let Christ be seen in all that you do. Let all see that you are living epistles of Jesus Christ. Let the soft fillings in the life of character appear. Be lovable. Let your life win the hearts of all who are brought in contact with you. There is too little done at the present time to render the truth attractive to others. There have been some who have in speaking to the people, felt like making a raid on the churches. They sour minds by their censoriousness. We want our hearts mellowed by the love of Jesus. That is in God's order. If not presented in the most pleasant, acceptable form, truth will be unpalatable to many. While we must present the truth in contrast with error, let it be presented in a manner that shall create as little prejudice as possible.1888 480.2

    While we cannot bow to an arbitrary power to lift up the Sunday by bowing to it, while we will not violate the Sabbath, which a despotic power will seek to compel us to do, we will be wise in Christ—Christ's wisdom and not in our own spirit. A consistent, substantial, lovable Christian is a powerful argument for the truth. We must say no words that will do ourselves harm, for this would be bad enough, but when you speak words, and when you do presumptuous things that imperil the cause of God, you are doing a cruel work for you give Satan advantage. We are not to be rash and impetuous, but always learning of Jesus how to act in His Spirit, presenting the truth as it is in Jesus.1888 481.1

    Do not, in this critical time, be [marking] out ways for God's people, for how do you know what God designs to do with and for His people? He means to make exhibitions of His power before our enemies. The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord, and His wisdom and His strength are their present and sufficient help in every time of need. He can work for them whatsoever seemeth good in His sight, and nothing can be done for or against them, other than His providence shall permit to be done. The children of light are wise and powerful, according to their reliance upon God, and the wisdom and help of men may defeat the very purpose of God.1888 481.2

    The world is against the disciples of Christ but they will obtain help of God, and then, God working for them, they will enlighten and bless those who are not in the truth. In all ages, the righteous have obtained help from God, and the enemies of His people can never put down those whom God would lift up. How often has Satan sought to destroy those whom God is leading and guiding. The faithful disciples of Jesus need not be terrified by the rulers of darkness of this world, because the power of the enemy is limited and beyond his limits he cannot go.1888 481.3

    Great and precious promises are to be kept before God's people that they may have every confidence in God. Then let no decision be made by this Conference to get in the way of the work of the Lord, give Satan's agents a chance to be provoked and present the rash ones as the representatives of our people. They will have power to present these matters in an exaggerated light, that in the place of these persons removing prejudice and enlightening minds, the prejudice is strengthened and deepened, and the case of God's people made far worse, and our means of bringing the truth before the people who are in darkness is cut off.1888 482.1

    One indiscreet, high-tempered, stubborn-willed man will, in the great question introduced before us, do much harm. Yes, he will leave such an impression that all the force of Seventh-day Adventists could not counteract his acts of presumption because, Satan, the arch deceiver, the great rebel, is deluding minds to the true issue of the great question, and its eternal bearings. He is an accuser of the brethren. Then let everyone be careful and not step off from the ground where God is, on Satan's ground.1888 482.2

    Many did this in the ranks of the reformers of past ages. Luther had great trouble because of these elements. Rash persons stepped out of their place and rushed heedlessly forward when God did not send them to do a very objectionable, impulsive work. They ran ahead of Christ and provoked the devil's wrath. In their untimely, misguided zeal, they closed the door to great usefulness of many souls who might have done great good for the Master.1888 482.3

    We have all kinds of material to deal with. There are those who will, through hasty, unadvised moves, betray the cause of God into the enemy's power. There will be men who will seek to be revenged who will become apostates and betray Christ in the person of His saints. All need to learn discretion; then there is danger on the other hand of being conservative, of giving away to the enemy in concession. Our brethren should be very cautious in this matter for the honor of God. They should make God their fear and their dread. Should this Conference make resolutions and pass them, that it would be right and proper for Seventh-day Adventists to rest on the first day of the week in order to avoid arrests and what might probably arise if they did not obey the laws, would this be showing that we stand in right relation to God's holy law? Exodus 31:12-17.1888 483.1

    I have been shown that from the first rebellion Satan was working to this end, to exalt his own power in contradiction to God's law and God's power. He does this in exalting Sunday observance, and anything that shall by this people go forth as their voice, to respect the idol sabbath, would it not dishonor God and confuse minds and place them where they will be deceived by Satan's devices? Anything we may do that lifts up the spurious to take the place of the true and genuine Sabbath, is disloyal to God and we must move very carefully lest we exalt the decisions of the man of sin. We are not to be found in a neutral position on this matter of so great consequence. The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus must be from conviction of duty inscribed on our banners.1888 483.2

    If we shall do as some of our brethren in sympathy with our brethren of the South have urged, then where do God's people stand? Where will be the distinction from the Sunday observers? How will we be recognized as the Sabbathkeeping people of God? How shall we show that the Sabbath is a sign?1888 483.3

    The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God's commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ's sake in standing in defense of the truth. They will be brought before kings and rulers, and before councils to meet the false, absurd, and lying accusations brought against them, but they must stand firm as a rock to principle, and the promise is, “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” (Deuteronomy 33:25). You will not be tempted above what you are able to bear. Jesus bore all this and far more. The express command of God must be obeyed, for God has been working. Luke 21:8-19.1888 484.1

    An intelligent knowledge of His word has been given to prepare men and women to contend zealously for the law of Jehovah; to reestablish the holy law; make up the breech that has been made in the law of God and restore the tables of stone to their ancient, exalted, honorable position. And God's faithful servants when brought into straight places should not confer with flesh and blood.1888 484.2

    There will be, even among us, hirelings and wolves in sheep's clothing who will persuade some of the flock of God to sacrifice unto other gods before the Lord. We have reason to know how Paul would act in any emergency. “The love of Christ constraineth us.” (2 Corinthians 5:13). Youth who are not established, rooted and grounded in the truth, will be corrupted and drawn away by the blind leaders of the blind; and the ungodly, the despisers that wonder and perish, who despise the sovereignty of the Ancient of Days and place on the throne a false god, a being of their own defining, a being altogether such an one as themselves,—these will be agents in Satan's hands to corrupt the faith of the unwary.1888 484.3

    Those who have been self-indulgent and ready to yield to pride and fashion and display, will sneer at the conscientious, truth-loving, God-fearing people, and will, in this work sneer at the God of heaven Himself. The Bible is disregarded, the wisdom of men exalted, and Satan and the man of sin worshiped by the wisdom of this age, while the angel is flying through the midst of heaven crying “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth.” (Revelation 8:13).1888 485.1

    I have been shown that the hand of the Lord is stretched out already to punish those who will become monuments of divine displeasure and holy vengeance, for the day of recompense has come when men who exalted the man of sin in the place of Jehovah in worshiping an idol sabbath in the place of the Sabbath of the Lord Jehovah will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, for he is a consuming fire.1888 485.2

    We say to our brethren, Do not for Christ's sake, get in the place of God before the people. Enough of this kind of work has been done. Let God work human minds. Do not hinder the workings of God for His people in this important period of time, when tremendous interests are being enacted among God's people. Do not in your human wisdom fix up things too much bearing the human imprint. Leave God something to do. Let the hand of God appear in moulding and fashioning men's minds and character, and let man walk softly and humbly with God. Lift no burdens from God's people that He would have them to bear. Jesus bore the cruel cross to Calvary. Do not cast burdens upon any class that He would have them released from.1888 485.3

    Satan's work is constantly to perplex, to mix up things, to confuse, to get things into a tangle that is hard to straighten out. It is not a desirable job to be engaged in, to take the work out of God's hands into your own finite arms. It is best for all parties concerned to leave the people of God in God's hands for Him to impress and teach and guide their consciences. It is not safe for any one to attempt to be conscience for God's people. If the servants of God will patiently instruct them by precept and example, to patience, to faith, and to look to God for themselves, to understand their own duty as God would have them, then many, in trying circumstances would obtain a rich experience in the things of God. Teach man to ask wisdom of God. There should be precept and example in lessons given, that God is our only trust and wisdom, and we must pray to Him without ceasing for light and knowledge.1888 486.1

    Many have not had that religious experience that is essential for them, that they may stand without fault before the throne of God. The furnace fires of affliction He permits to be kindled upon them to consume the dross, to refine, to purify and cleanse them from the defilement of sin, of self love, and to bring them to know God and to become acquainted with Jesus Christ by walking with Him as did Enoch.1888 486.2

    Prayer, united with living faith, now sleeps among us. That which is called praying morning and evening, according to custom, is not always fervent, and effectual. It is with many sleepy, dull and heartless repetition of words, and does not reach the ear of the Lord. God does not need or require your ceremonial compliments, but He will respect the broken heart, the confession of sins, the contrition of the soul. The cry of the humble, broken heart He will not despise.1888 486.3

    I know that very much depends upon every action of ours now, and none of self and all of Jesus will bring us into unity of the faith. We must have [such] love for Jesus that we will consider it a privilege to suffer and even die for His sake. We may tell the Lord all our trials, tell Him all our weaknesses, tell Him all our dependence upon His might and His power. This is true prayer. If ever there was a time when the Spirit of grace and supplication was needed to be poured out upon us, God Himself indicting our prayers, it is now. And the promise is to be brought before every church and the simplicity of truth dwelt upon. “Ask and ye shall receive.” John 16:24. It is faith, living faith that we need, continuing instant in prayer.1888 487.1

    The Lord will lead His people and guide them. The commandment will go forth from God as to Daniel, to help those making earnest intercession to the throne of His grace in their time of need. Said Christ, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12, 13).1888 487.2

    In the name of the Lord I advise all His people to have trust in God and not begin now to prepare to find an easy position for any emergency in the future, but to let God prepare for the emergency. We have altogether too little faith.1888 487.3

    God wrought through Elijah when He destroyed the prophets of Baal which kindled the fires of hell in the heart of Jezebel to avenge the blood of the priests of Baal. Such a triumph had been gained to the God of Israel, that it stirred up the powers of darkness, and she resolves, yes swears by her gods that Elijah shall die, but she does not consider there is a God who is above her, who will only permit the agent of Satan to work out her own ruin.1888 488.1

    In her passion she sends word to Elijah saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” (1 Kings 19:2). Elijah is awakened roughly from his slumber by a messenger. He hears the startling message; his senses are confused. What does it mean? Is this to be the end of all this burden, the zeal he has had for God in his labors to restore the true worship of Jehovah; is it to end in his disappointment and death? Is this the conversion of apostate Israel? Never could man be more disappointed in his expectations. The reaction has come, but O, how bitter. The Lord suffers obstacles to arise, disappointments to follow on the heels of signal victory that His wisdom and power shall be revealed, and that His name shall be exalted above all rulers and kings. “When Elijah saw that, he fled for his life.”1888 488.2

    What did Elijah see? Did he see by faith the promises of God? Did he recount his faithfulness in every past emergency? No, the dark shadow of Satan in his agent Jezebel was athwart his pathway, threatening him with cruel death. He did not look through the shadow heavenward. Human terror amazed, and paralysed his mind, and he was so terribly disappointed on Israel's account that he arose and went for his life, in disappointment and sorrow bending his uncertain steps, he knew not whither.1888 488.3

    A little before, in the strength of the power of God, he was full of zeal and intensity of interest for apostate Israel, running before or at the side of the chariot of Ahab. He was to vindicate the glory of God. He was to challenge apostate Israel either to serve God fully or Baal fully. But now the man seems as weak as other men. There was no particular word he had heard from the Lord, directing him to take the course he had taken, and there was no purpose to his steps. Distracted by doubts and uncertain whither his way was tending, he pushed this way and that for his life, but God did not forget Elijah. He wrought for His servant, He inquired of him, “What doest thou here Elijah?”1888 489.1

    This history carefully and prayerfully studied will be a help to the people of God under difficulties. Let man be careful not to assume responsibilities that God does not require of him, and interpose himself between the Lord and His tempted and tried ones so that the purposes of God shall not be carried out in the experiences of these persons. Difficulties will arise before the people of God, but every soul must put his trust not in the wisdom of men but in the Lord God of Israel. He will be his defense. Only let each person keep in the way of duty and not let fear discourage him. In trusting implicitly in God, we shall see the wonderful display of His power, if we wait patiently and prayerfully for Him, and have confidence in God.1888 489.2

    God works in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform. But too often the wisdom of men is brought in to do something themselves which gives God no room to work for individuals, by others shouldering their burdens, that God means they shall bear. Conflicts and trials are the very means ordained or suffered of God to perfect the Christian character unto eternal life.1888 489.3

    Teach every soul to lean heavily on the arm of infinite power. There is an individuality that must be preserved in every human agent in Christian experience and the responsibility cannot be removed from any soul. Each one has his own battles to fight, his own Christian experience to gain, independent in some respects from any other soul; and God has lessons for each to gain for himself that no other one can gain for him.1888 490.1

    In Elijah we see the natural elements of his character revealed amid the spiritual life, commingling together in strange confusion; the grace of God and the impulses and passions of the natural man, each striving for the supremacy. The human is being tried in the furnace and the dross is revealed, impurity is brought to the surface, but the trial of Elijah is a scene that all Heaven was looking upon at that time with deep solicitude. The fine gold appears in his character, the dross is lost sight of and consumed. This must be our individual experience in God's own way.1888 490.2

    All are not tried in the same way. Some will meet more severe trials than others, but cling to God is the encouragement to give to each and all. The registered experiences of believers of former days is to be an encouragement to us living down near the close of time. We may gather up the hereditary trust of light and knowledge and individual dealings of God with His people for centuries. We have the benefit of their spiritual experiences which is of great value to us. We have no new, strange path to tread, in which others have not had a similar experience.1888 490.3

    The Lord's ways are unchangeable. He will do in our days as He has done in earlier days. They had less light in their day than we have in our day. With the Scriptures in our hand, and the example and blessing of those who were tempted and tried, we are nerved for the victory, expecting the same mercies from the same God as had the ancients. When the Christian is looking forward to duties and severe trials that he anticipates are to be brought upon him, because of his Christian profession of faith, it is human nature to contemplate the consequences, and shrink from the prospects, and this will be decidedly so as we near the close of this earth's history. We may be encouraged by the truthfulness of God's word that Christ never failed His children as their safe Leader in the hour of their trial; for we have the truthful record of those who have been under the oppressive powers of Satan, that His grace is according to their day. God is faithful who will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able.1888 490.4

    Our heavenly Father measures and weighs every trial before he permits it to come upon the believer. He considers the circumstances and the strength of the one who is to stand under the proving and test of God, and He never permits the temptations to be greater than the capacity of resistance. If the soul is overborne, the person overpowered, this can never be charged to God, as failing to give strength in grace, but the one tempted was not vigilant and prayerful and did not appropriate by faith the provisions God had abundantly in store for him. Christ never failed a believer in his hour of combat. The believer must claim the promise and meet the foe in the name of the Lord, and he will not know anything like failure.1888 491.1

    There may be large mountains of difficulties in regard to how to meet the claims of God and not stand in defiance of the laws of the land. He must not be making ample provisions for himself to shield himself from trial for he is only God's instrument and he is to go forward in singleness of purpose with his mind and soul garrisoned day by day, that he will not sacrifice one principle of his integrity, but he will make no boasts, issue no threats, or tell what he will or will not do. For he does not know what he will do until tested. He will just go forward in a contrite spirit with an eye single to the glory of God, depending on the word of God and the grace promised through Christ, and the mountains may become molehills.1888 491.2

    Supposed difficulties that seemed so large at a distance as to be unbearable, have proved to be the greatest blessings. When oppressed, light from heaven has come in clear rays, and the realities of the promise of the sufficiency of Christ is a continual strength and defense. God means that His people, many of whom are ready now to refer to the experience of others, can refer to their own individual experience. Like the Samaritans who received the words of the woman as she testified of the words of Christ, they can say we have heard him ourselves, we know that this is indeed the Christ the Saviour of the world. To every soul who meets difficulties in the strength of Jesus and is not overcome, who faces enemies and opposers, and in the strength of Christ stands firmly, who undertakes and discharges duties in the meekness of wisdom, not calculating the results, knowing that none of these things can be met in human strength, his experience becomes knowledge that Christ is faithful that hath promised. He is an all-sufficient helper. He will be convinced that he cannot in his own ability obey the law of God, but he has taken hold of the surety, Jesus Christ the mighty one and he reposes in the fulness and strength of Christ, and knows by experience that Christ is His righteousness, and that He can be touched with the feelings of His infirmities. Although he may be enclosed in prison walls he may believe it is for the truth's sake. Jesus is by his side. We are not to be rash, bold, presumptuous, defiant. In Jesus we may trust; having faith in His power to save, we may be conquerors.1888 492.1

    There should be a constant walking in all humility. There should be no just occasion to our enemies to charge us with being lawless and defying the laws through any imprudence of our own. We should not feel it enjoined upon us to irritate our neighbors who idolize Sunday by making determined efforts to bring labor on that day before them purposely to exhibit an independence. Our sisters need not select Sunday as the day to exhibit their washing. There should be no noisy demonstration. Let us consider how fearful and terribly sad is the delusion that has taken the world captive and by every means in our power seek to enlighten those who are our bitterest enemies. If there is the acceptance of the principles of the inworking of the Holy Ghost which he [the Christian] must have to fit him for heaven, he will do nothing rashly or presumptuously to create wrath and blasphemy against God. The process of sanctification is constantly going on in the heart, and his experience will be, “Christ....is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” He knows that Christ by His Spirit is dwelling in his heart by faith.1888 493.1

    Oh, there is a great work to be done for the people of God, ere they are prepared for translation to heaven! The heat of the furnace upon some must be severe to reveal the dross. Self will have to be crucified. When each believer is to the very extent of his knowledge, obeying the Lord, and yet seeking to give no just occasion to his fellowmen to oppress him, he should not fear the results, even though it be imprisonment and death.1888 493.2

    After Jesus rises up from the mediatorial throne, every case will be decided, and oppression and death coming to God's people will not then be a testimony in favor of the truth.1888 493.3

    Our whole attitude must be the saving of the souls of those surrounding us—souls for whom Christ has died. The largest class have never heard anything about the seventh day being the genuine Sabbath of Jehovah. They are uneducated in the Scriptures, and the position and work of the Seventh-day Adventists to cling to their faith brings resistance in the highest degree. The Christian world is ignorantly bowing down to an idol. Every soul, ministers and laymen, should consider the world their missionary field, that should be educated as to the reason of our faith, and these reasons should be presented in the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God. Through God alone can they reach the hearts of the people.1888 494.1

    We must lose no time in becoming thoroughly versed in the Scriptures, for we must come to the people not merely with flimsy arguments, neither alone with sound logic, to convince them that that which they have been taught as truth by their fathers and that which has been preached to them from the pulpits is untrue, for the opposition you create by this kind of labor will be like scattering seeds of darkness. You will be called apostates, for publishing that which causes distraction, but if you have the attractiveness of Christ, if you are balanced in all you do by the wisdom of Christ, your own heart imbued with the Spirit of Christ, you will accomplish a good work for Christ.1888 494.2

    We urge you to consider this danger: That which we have most to fear is nominal Christianity. We have many who profess the truth who will be overcome because they are not acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot distinguish his voice from that of a stranger.1888 494.3

    There is to be no dread of anyone being borne down even in a wide spread apostasy, who has a living experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. If Jesus be formed within, the hope of glory, the illiterate as well as the educated can bear the testimony of our faith, saying, “I know in whom I have believed.” Some will not, in argument, be able to show wherein their adversary is wrong, having never had any advantages that others have had, yet these are not overborne by the apostasy because they have the evidence in their own heart that they have the truth, and the most subtle reasoning and assaults of Satan cannot move them from their knowledge of the truth, and they have not a doubt or fear that they are themselves in error.1888 495.1

    Let every soul consider his responsibility to give an account before God for the influence he has exerted over the souls of those brought under the sphere of his influence. When this undying love to save souls takes possession of heart and mind, there will not be any rash move made.1888 495.2

    Faith, saving faith, is to be taught. The definition of this faith in Jesus Christ may be described in few words: It is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God, and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus. Our thoughts and our hopes are on the second advent of our Lord. That is the day when the Judge of all the earth will reward the trust of His people.1888 495.3

    Then let every soul not be afraid with any amazement. The tender compassion of God is toward his people. Faith, wondrous faith,—it leads the people of God in straight paths. Without this faith we shall certainly misunderstand His dealings with us, and distrust his love and faithfulness. Whatever may be the trials and sufferings caused by our fellowmen, we need more faith; let there be no faintheartedness, no peevish repining, no complaining thoughts respecting the providence of God and the hardships we are called to endure. Let faith lay hold upon the unseen, and the evidences we have of the forgiveness of God.1888 496.1

    A single ray of the evidences of the undeserved favor of God shining into our hearts will overbalance every trial of whatever character and however severe it may be. And how trustful is the soul. There is no disposition to murmur. The heart in contrition reposes in God. The carnal security is broken up and we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.1888 496.2

    While efforts are being made to educate the youth to occupy positions of trust, unless the same persons shall feel that above all they must learn in the school of Christ the lessons which He must teach them, God has no use for them to declare His word. Let not the uneducated in any way become discouraged and think that there is no use or room for them. There is abundance of work in this world of ours, and if men and women will unite themselves to Christ, the source of all wisdom and learn of Him they may become, Bible students, improving their talents to the very best account, and learning from the greatest teacher the world ever knew. They can bear a testimony to the faith. We have not followed cunningly devised fables. Christ will do everything for those who receive Him in their hearts.1888 496.3

    When profligacy and heresy and infidelity fill the land there will be many humble homes where prayer, sincere and contrite prayer will be offered from those who never heard the truth and there will be many hearts that will carry a weight of oppression for the dishonor done to God. We are too narrow in our ideas, we are poor judges, for many of these will be accepted of God because they cherished every ray of light that shone upon them. There are thousands who are praying as did Nathanael for the light of truth. Christ's lightbearers must not be unfaithful. There is work to do in our world for many souls and God calls us to labor for souls who are in the darkness of error, but praying for the light, for the revealings of God's holy spirit.1888 497.1

    Let not side issues take the mind and the affections. We want to make the most of our present opportunities. We want to work while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work. There are many men of influence who are to have a knowledge of the truth, and we must be sure not to hedge up the way. The knowledge of truth is ever increasing. It is not a new truth that opens to the mind; it is not a new principle but a new discovery or a forcible application or revival of that which existed before. The Lord is prepared to present His light to our minds as fast as we will receive it. Open the door and let Jesus in.1888 497.2

    Battle Creek, Michigan,
    November 4, 1889

    Edited Grammatically
    April 15, 1937 by D.E.R.
    Original on File (E)

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