Table of Contents
Chap. 7 – Co-Workers with Christ
Chap. 10 – Influence of Social Surroundings
Chapter 14 – Willing Obedience
Chap. 15 – The Twelve Spies
Chap. 16 – The Taking of Jericho
Chap. 17 – Jeremiah Reproves Israel
Chap. 18 – Faithful Reproofs Necessary
Chap. 21 – Opposition to Faithful Warnings
Chap. 29 – The Cause in Texas
Chap. 32 – Religion in the Daily Life
Chap. 36 – Christ’s Ambassadors
Chap. 38 – Our College
Chap. 41 – Sacredness of Vows
Chap. 42 – Wills and Legacies
Chap. 57 – Economy and Self-Denial
Chap. 61 – Love of the World
Chap. 62 – Simplicity in Dress

Chap. 7 – Co-Workers with Christ

     It was an important time for —– during and after the tent meeting in 1874. Had there been a pleasant and commodious house of worship there, more than double the number that were really gained would have taken their stand for the truth. God works with our efforts. We may close the way for sinners by our negligence and selfishness. There should have been great diligence in seeking to save those who were still in error, yet interested in the truth. Just as wise generalship is needed in the service of Christ as is needed over the battalions of an army that protects the life and liberty of the people. It is not everyone who can labor judiciously for the salvation of souls. There is much close thinking to be done. We must not enter into the Lord’s work haphazard and expect success. The Lord needs men of mind, men of thought. Jesus calls for co-workers, not blunderers. God wants right-thinking and intelligent men to do the great work necessary to the salvation of souls.  {4T 67.1}

     Mechanics, lawyers, merchants, men of all trades and professions, educate themselves that they may become masters of their business. Should the followers of Christ be less intelligent, and while professedly engaged in His service be ignorant of the ways and means to be employed? The enterprise of gaining everlasting life is above every earthly consideration. In order to lead souls to Jesus there must be a knowledge of human nature and a study of the human mind. Much careful thought and fervent prayer are required to know how to approach men and women upon the great subject of truth.  {4T 67.2}

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     Some rash, impulsive, yet honest souls, after a pointed discourse has been given, will accost those who are not with us in a very abrupt manner, and make the truth, which we desire them to receive, repulsive to them. “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” Business men and politicians study courtesy. It is their policy to make themselves as attractive as possible. They study to render their address and manners such that they may have the greatest influence over the minds of those about them. They use their knowledge and abilities as skillfully as possible in order to gain this object.  {4T 68.1}

     There is a vast amount of rubbish brought forward by professed believers in Christ, which blocks up the way to the cross. Notwithstanding all this, there are some who are so deeply convicted that they will come through every discouragement and will surmount every obstacle in order to gain the truth. But had the believers in the truth purified their minds by obeying it, had they felt the importance of knowledge and of refinement of manners in Christ’s work, where one soul has been saved there might have been twenty.  {4T 68.2}

     Again, after individuals have been converted to the truth, they need to be looked after. The zeal of many ministers seems to fail as soon as a measure of success attends their efforts. They do not realize that these newly converted ones need nursing–watchful attention, help, and encouragement. These should not be left alone, a prey to Satan’s most powerful temptations; they need to be educated in regard to their duties, to be kindly dealt with, to be led along, and to be visited and prayed with. These souls need the meat apportioned to every man in due season.  {4T 68.3}

     No wonder that some become discouraged, linger by the way, and are left for wolves to devour. Satan is upon the track of all. He sends his agents forth to gather back to his ranks the souls he has lost. There should be more fathers and mothers to take these babes in the truth to their hearts, and to encourage them and pray for them, that their faith be not confused.  {4T 68.4}

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     Preaching is a small part of the work to be done for the salvation of souls. God’s Spirit convicts sinners of the truth, and He places them in the arms of the church. The ministers may do their part, but they can never perform the work that the church should do. God requires His church to nurse those who are young in faith and experience, to go to them, not for the purpose of gossiping with them, but to pray, to speak unto them words that are “like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  {4T 69.1}

     We all need to study character and manner that we may know how to deal judiciously with different minds, that we may use our best endeavors to help them to a correct understanding of the word of God and to a true Christian life. We should read the Bible with them, and draw their minds away from temporal things to their eternal interests. It is the duty of God’s children to be missionaries for Him, to become acquainted with those who need help. If one is staggering under temptation, his case should be taken up carefully and managed wisely; for his eternal interest is at stake, and the words and acts of those laboring for him may be a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death.  {4T 69.2}

     Sometimes a case presents itself that should be made a prayerful study. The person must be shown his true character, understand his own peculiarities of disposition and temperament, and see his infirmities. He should be judiciously handled. If he can be reached, if his heart can be touched by this wise and patient labor, he can be bound with strong cords to Christ and led to trust in God. Oh, when a work like this is done, all the heavenly courts look and rejoice; for a precious soul has been rescued from Satan’s snare and saved from death! Oh, will it not pay to work intelligently for the salvation of souls? Christ paid the price of His own life for them, and shall His followers ask: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Shall we not work in unison with the Master? Shall we not appreciate the worth of souls for whom our Saviour died?  {4T 69.3}

     Some efforts have been made to interest children in the cause, but not enough. Our Sabbath schools should be made more interesting. The public schools have of late years greatly

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improved their methods of teaching. Object lessons, pictures, and blackboards are used to make difficult lessons clear to the youthful mind. Just so may present truth be simplified and made intensely interesting to the active minds of the children.  {4T 69.4}

     Parents who can be approached in no other way are frequently reached through their children. Sabbath school teachers can instruct the children in the truth, and they will, in turn, take it into the home circle. But few teachers seem to understand the importance of this branch of the work. The modes of teaching which have been adopted with such success in the public schools could be employed with similar results in the Sabbath schools and be the means of bringing children to Jesus and educating them in Bible truth. This will do far more good than religious excitement of an emotional character, that passes off as rapidly as it comes.  {4T 70.1}

     The love of Christ should be cherished. More faith is needed in the work which we believe is to be done before the coming of Christ. There should be more self-denying, self-sacrificing labor in the right direction. There should be thoughtful, prayerful study how to work to the best advantage. Careful plans should be matured. There are minds among us that can invent and carry out if they are only put to use. Great results would follow well-directed and intelligent efforts.  {4T 70.2}

     The prayer meetings should be the most interesting gatherings that are held, but these are frequently poorly managed. Many attend preaching, but neglect the prayer meeting. Here, again, thought is required. Wisdom should be sought of God, and plans should be laid to conduct the meetings so that they will be interesting and attractive. The people hunger for the bread of life. If they find it at the prayer meeting they will go there to receive it.  {4T 70.3}

     Long, prosy talks and prayers are out of place anywhere, and especially in the social meeting. Those who are forward and ever ready to speak are allowed to crowd out the testimony of the timid and retiring. Those who are most superficial

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generally have the most to say. Their prayers are long and mechanical. They weary the angels and the people who listen to them. Our prayers should be short and right to the point. Let the long, tiresome petitions be left for the closet, if any have such to offer. Let the Spirit of God into your hearts, and it will sweep away all dry formality.  {4T 70.4}

     Music can be a great power for good, yet we do not make the most of this branch of worship. The singing is generally done from impulse or to meet special cases, and at other times those who sing are left to blunder along, and the music loses its proper effect upon the minds of those present. Music should have beauty, pathos, and power. Let the voices be lifted in songs of praise and devotion. Call to your aid, if practicable, instrumental music, and let the glorious harmony ascend to God, an acceptable offering.  {4T 71.1}

     But it is sometimes more difficult to discipline the singers and keep them in working order than to improve the habits of praying and exhorting. Many want to do things after their own style; they object to consultation, and are impatient under leadership. Well-matured plans are needed in the service of God. Common sense is an excellent thing in the worship of the Lord. The thinking powers should be consecrated to Christ, and ways and means should be devised to serve Him best. The church of God who are trying to do good by living out the truth and seeking to save souls, can be a power in the world if they will be disciplined by the Spirit of the Lord. They must not feel that they can work carelessly for eternity.  {4T 71.2}

     As a people, we lose much by lack of sympathy and sociability with one another. He who talks of independence and shuts himself up to himself is not filling the position that God designed he should. We are children of God, mutually dependent upon one another for happiness. The claims of God and of humanity are upon us. We must all act our part in this life. It is the proper cultivation of the social elements of our nature that brings us into sympathy with our brethren and affords us happiness in our efforts to bless others. The

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happiness of heaven will consist in the pure communion of holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the redeemed who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. We cannot be happy while we are wrapped up in our interest for ourselves. We should live in this world to win souls to the Saviour. If we injure others, we injure ourselves also. If we bless others, we also bless ourselves; for the influence of every good deed is reflected upon our own hearts.  {4T 71.3}

     We are in duty bound to help one another. It is not always that we are brought in contact with social Christians, those who are amiable and mild. Many have not received a proper education; their characters are warped, they are hard and gnarled, and seem to be crooked in every way. While we help these to see and correct their defects, we must be careful not to become impatient and irritable over our neighbor’s faults. There are disagreeable ones who profess Christ; but the beauty of Christian grace will transform them if they will set diligently about the work of obtaining the meekness and gentleness of Him whom they follow, remembering that “none of us liveth to himself.” Co-workers with Christ! What an exalted position! Where are to be found the self-sacrificing missionaries in these large cities? The Lord needs workers in His vineyard. We should fear to rob Him of the time He claims from us; we should fear to spend it in idleness or in the adornment of the body, appropriating to foolish purposes the precious hours God has given us to be devoted to prayer, to becoming conversant with our Bibles, and to laboring for the good of our fellow beings, thus fitting ourselves and them for the great work devolving upon us.  {4T 72.1}

     Mothers spend unnecessary labor upon garments with which to beautify the persons of themselves and their children. It is our duty to dress ourselves plainly and to clothe our children neatly, without useless ornamentation, embroidery, or display, taking care not to foster in them a love of dress that will prove their ruin, but seeking rather to cultivate

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the Christian graces. None of us can be excused from our responsibilities, and in no case can we stand clear before the throne of God unless we do the work that the Master has left for us to do.  {4T 72.2}

     Missionaries for God are wanted, faithful men and women who will not shirk responsibility. Judicious labor will accomplish good results. There is real work to be done. The truth should be brought before people in a careful manner by those who unite meekness with wisdom. We should not hold ourselves aloof from our fellow men, but come close to them; for their souls are as precious as our own. We can carry the light into their homes, with a softened and subdued spirit plead with them to come up to the exalted privilege offered them, pray with them when it seems proper, and show them that there are higher attainments that they may reach, and then guardedly speak to them of the sacred truths for these last days.  {4T 73.1}

     There are more gatherings for singing than for prayer among our people; but even these gatherings can be conducted in so reverential yet cheerful a manner that they may exert a good influence. There is, however, too much jesting, idle conversation, and gossiping to make these seasons beneficial, to elevate the thoughts and refine the manners.  {4T 73.2}

                 Sensational Revivals

     There has been too much of a divided interest in—–. When a new excitement is raised, there are some who cast their influence on the wrong side. Every man and woman should be on guard when there are deceptions abroad calculated to lead away from the truth. There are those who are ever ready to see and hear some new and strange thing; and the enemy of souls has, in these large cities, plenty to inflame the curiosity and keep the mind diverted from the great and sanctifying truths for these last days.  {4T 73.3}

     If every fluctuating religious excitement leads some to neglect to fully sustain, by their presence and influence, the minority who believe unpopular truth, there will be much

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weakness in the church where there should be strength. Satan employs various means by which to accomplish his purposes; and if, under the guise of popular religion, he can lead off vacillating and unwary ones from the path of truth, he has accomplished much in dividing the strength of the people of God. This fluctuating revival enthusiasm, that comes and goes like the tide, carries a delusive exterior that deceives many honest persons into believing it to be the true Spirit of the Lord. It multiplies converts. Those of excitable temperaments, the weak and yielding, flock to its standard; but when the wave recedes, they are found stranded on the beach. Be not deceived by false teachers, nor led by vain words. The enemy of souls is sure to have enough dishes of pleasing fables to suit the appetites of all.  {4T 73.4}

     There will ever be flashing meteors to arise; but the trail of light they leave immediately goes out in darkness that seems denser than it was before. These sensational religious excitements that are created by the relation of anecdotes and the exhibition of eccentricities and oddities are all surface work, and those of our faith who are charmed and infatuated by these flashes of light will never build up the cause of God. They are ready to withdraw their influence upon the slightest occasion and to induce others to attend those gatherings where they hear that which weakens the soul and brings confusion to the mind. It is this withdrawal of the interest from the work that makes the cause of God languish. We must be steadfast in the faith; we must not be movable. We have our work before us, which is to cause the light of truth, as revealed in the law of God, to shine in upon other minds and lead them out of darkness. This work requires determined, persevering energy and a fixed purpose to succeed.  {4T 74.1}

     There are some in the church who need to cling to the pillars of our faith, to settle down and find rock bottom, instead of drifting on the surface of excitement and moving from impulse. There are spiritual dyspeptics in the church. They are self-made invalids; their spiritual debility is the result of their own wavering course. They are tossed about

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here and there by the changing winds of doctrine, and are often confused and thrown into uncertainty because they move entirely by feeling. They are sensational Christians, ever hungering for something new and diverse; strange doctrines confuse their faith, and they are worthless to the cause of truth.  {4T 74.2}

     God calls for men and women of stability, of firm purpose, who can be relied upon in seasons of danger and trial, who are as firmly rooted and grounded in the truth as the eternal hills, who cannot be swayed to the right or to the left, but who move straight onward and are always found on the right side. There are some, who, in time of religious peril, may almost always be looked for in the ranks of the enemy; if they have any influence, it is on the wrong side. They do not feel under moral obligation to give all their strength to the truth they profess. Such will be rewarded according to their works.  {4T 75.1}

     Those who do little for the Saviour in the salvation of souls and in keeping themselves right before God, will gain but little spiritual muscle. We need continually to use the strength we have that it may develop and increase. As disease is the result of the violation of natural laws, so is spiritual declension the result of a continued transgression of the law of God. And yet the very transgressors may profess to keep all of God’s commandments.  {4T 75.2}

     We must come nearer to God, place ourselves in closer connection with heaven, and carry out the principles of the law in the minutest actions of our everyday lives in order to be spiritually whole. God has given His servants ability, talents to be used for His glory, not to lie idle or be wasted. He has given them light and a knowledge of His will to be communicated to others, and in imparting to others we become living channels of light. If we do not exercise our spiritual strength we become feeble, as the limbs of the body become powerless when the invalid is compelled to remain long inactive. It is use that gives power.  {4T 75.3}

     Nothing will give greater spiritual strength and a greater increase of earnestness and depth of feeling than visiting and

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ministering to the sick and the desponding, helping them to see the light and to fasten their faith upon Jesus. There are disagreeable duties that somebody must do or souls will be left to perish. Christians will find a blessing in doing these duties, however unpleasant they may be. Christ took the disagreeable task upon Himself of coming from the abode of purity and unsurpassed glory, to dwell, a man among men, in a world seared and blackened by crime, violence, and iniquity. He did this to save souls; and shall the objects of such amazing love and unparalleled condescension excuse their lives of selfish ease? shall they choose their own pleasure, follow their own inclinations, and leave souls to perish in darkness because they will meet with disappointment and rebuffs if they labor to save them? Christ paid an infinite price for man’s redemption, and shall he say: My Lord, I will not labor in Thy vineyard; I pray Thee have me excused”?  {4T 75.4}

     God calls for those who are at ease in Zion to be up and doing. Will they not listen to the Master’s voice? He wants prayerful, faithful workers who will sow beside all waters. Those who labor thus will be surprised to find how trials, resolutely borne in the name and strength of Jesus, will give firmness to the faith and renew the courage. In the path of humble obedience is safety and power, comfort and hope; but the reward will finally be lost by those who do nothing for Jesus. Weak hands will be unable to cling to the Mighty One, feeble knees will fail to support in the day of adversity. Bible readers and Christian workers will receive the glorious prize, and hear the “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”  {4T 76.1}

                   Withholding Means

     The blessing of God will rest upon those in—–who have the cause of Christ at heart. The freewill offerings of our brethren and sisters, made in faith and love to the crucified Redeemer, will bring back blessings to them; for God marks and remembers every act of liberality on the part of His saints.

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In preparing a house of worship, there must be a great exercise of faith and trust in God. In business transactions those who venture nothing make but little advancement; why not have faith also in an enterprise for God and invest in His cause?  {4T 76.2}

     Some, when in poverty, are generous with their little; but as they acquire property, they become penurious. The reason they have so little faith is that they do not keep moving forward as they prosper, and give to the cause of God even at a sacrifice.  {4T 77.1}

     In the Jewish system it was required that beneficence should first be shown to the Lord. At the harvest and the vintage the first fruits of the field–the corn, the wine, and the oil–were to be consecrated as an offering to the Lord. The gleanings and the corners of the fields were reserved for the poor. Our gracious heavenly Father did not neglect the wants of the poor. The first fruits of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, were to be offered to the Lord; and it was commanded that the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the strangers, be invited to their feasts. At the close of every year all were required to make solemn oath whether or not they had done according to the command of God.  {4T 77.2}

     This arrangement was made by the Lord to impress upon the people that in every matter He must be first. By this system of benevolence they were to bear in mind that their gracious Master was the true proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that the God of heaven sent them sunshine and rain for their seedtime and harvest, and that everything they possessed was of His creation. All was the Lord’s, and He had made them stewards of His goods.  {4T 77.3}

     The liberality of the Jews in the construction of the tabernacle and the erection of the temple illustrates a spirit of benevolence which has not been equaled by Christians of any later date. They had just been freed from their long bondage in Egypt and were wanderers in the wilderness; yet scarcely were they delivered from the armies of the Egyptians who

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pursued them in their hasty journey, when the word of the Lord came to Moses. saying: “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering.”  {4T 77.4}

     His people had small possessions and no flattering prospect of adding to them; but an object was before them–to build a tabernacle for God. The Lord had spoken, and they must obey His voice. They withheld nothing. All gave with a willing hand, not a certain amount of their increase, but a large portion of their actual possessions. They devoted it gladly and heartily to the Lord, and pleased Him by so doing. Was it not all His? Had He not given them all they possessed? If He called for it, was it not their duty to give back to the Lender His own?  {4T 78.1}

     No urging was needed. The people brought even more than was required, and were told to desist, for there was already more than could be appropriated. Again, in building the temple, the call for means met with a hearty response. The people did not give reluctantly. They rejoiced in the prospect of a building being erected for the worship of God, and donated more than enough for the purpose. David blessed the Lord before all the congregation, and said: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” Again in his prayer David gave thanks in these words: “O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build Thee an house for Thine holy name cometh of Thine hand, and is all Thine own.”  {4T 78.2}

     David well understood from whom came all his bounties. Would that those of this day who rejoice in a Saviour’s love could realize that their silver and gold are the Lord’s and should be used to promote His glory, not grudgingly retained to enrich and gratify themselves. He has an indisputable right to all that He has lent His creatures. All that they possess is His.  {4T 78.3}

     There are high and holy objects that require means, and money thus invested will yield to the giver more elevated and

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permanent enjoyment than if it were expended in personal gratification or selfishly hoarded for greed of gain. When God calls for our treasure, whatever the amount may be, the willing response makes the gift a consecrated offering to Him and lays up for the giver a treasure in heaven that moth cannot corrupt, that fire cannot consume, nor thieves break in and steal. The investment is safe. The money is placed in bags that have no holes; it is secure.  {4T 78.4}

     Can Christians, who boast of a broader light than had the Hebrews, give less than they? Can Christians living near the close of time be satisfied with their offerings when not half so large as were those of the Jews? Their liberality was to benefit their own nation; the work in these last days extends to the entire world. The message of truth is to go to all nations, tongues, and people; its publications, printed in many different languages, are to be scattered abroad like the leaves of autumn.  {4T 79.1}

     It is written: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” And again: “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” Let us inquire: What would our Saviour have done in our circumstances? what would have been His efforts for the salvation of souls? This question is answered by the example of Christ. He left His royalty, laid aside His glory, sacrificed His riches, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might reach men where they were. His example shows that He laid down His life for sinners.  {4T 79.2}

     Satan told Eve that a high state of felicity could be gained through the gratification of unlicensed appetite, but the promise of God to man is through denial of self. When upon the shameful cross Christ was suffering in agony for man’s redemption, human nature was exalted. Only by the cross can the human family be elevated to connect with heaven. Self-denial and crosses meet us at every step on our heavenward journey.  {4T 79.3}

     The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven; the spirit of

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selfishness is the spirit of Satan. Christ’s self-sacrificing love is revealed upon the cross. He gave all He had, and then gave Himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Christ appeals to the benevolence of every follower of the blessed Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. This, carried out in actual benevolence and good works, is the true fruit of the Christian life. The principle of worldlings is to get, get, and thus they expect to secure happiness; but, carried out in all its bearings, the fruit is misery and death.  {4T 79.4}

     To carry the truth to the inhabitants of the earth, to rescue them from their guilt and indifference, is the mission of the followers of Christ. Men must have the truth in order to be sanctified through it, and we are the channels of God’s light. Our talents, our means, our knowledge, are not merely for our own benefit; they are to be used for the salvation of souls, to elevate man from his life of sin and bring him, through Christ, to the infinite God.  {4T 80.1}

     We should be zealous workers in this cause, seeking to lead sinners, repenting and believing, to a divine Redeemer, and to impress them with an exalted sense of God’s love to man. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What an incomparable love is this! A theme for the most profound meditation! The amazing love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. Men who are crazy for gain, and are disappointed and unhappy in their pursuit of the world, need the knowledge of this truth to quiet the restless hungering and thirsting of their souls.  {4T 80.2}

     Missionaries for God are wanted in your large city to carry light to those who sit in the shadow of death. Experienced hands are needed, in the meekness of wisdom and the strength of faith, to lift weary souls to the bosom of a compassionate Redeemer. Oh, selfishness! What a curse! It prevents us from engaging in the service of God. It prevents us from perceiving the claims of duty, which should set our hearts aglow

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with fervent zeal. All our energies should be turned to the obedience of Christ. To divide our interest with the leaders of error is aiding the wrong side and giving advantage to our foes. The truth of God knows no compromise with sin, no connection with artifice, no union with transgression. Soldiers are wanted who will always answer to the roll call and be ready for immediate action, not those who, when needed, are found aiding the enemy.  {4T 80.3}

     Ours is a great work. Yet there are many who profess to believe these sacred truths, who are paralyzed by the sophistry of Satan, and are doing nothing for, but rather hinder, God’s cause. When will they act like those who wait for the Lord? When will they show a zeal in accordance with their faith? Many people selfishly retain their means, and soothe their conscience with a plan for doing some great thing for the cause of God after their death. They make a will donating a large sum to the church and its various interests, and then settle down with a feeling that they have done all that is required of them. Wherein have they denied self by this act? They have, on the contrary, exhibited the true essence of selfishness. When they have no longer any use for their money they propose to give it to God. But they will retain it as long as they can, till they are compelled to relinquish it by a messenger that cannot be turned aside.  {4T 81.1}

     Such a will is often an evidence of real covetousness. God has made us all His stewards, and in no case has He authorized us to neglect our duty or leave it for others to do. The call for means to advance the cause of truth will never be more urgent than now. Our money will never do a greater amount of good than at the present time. Every day of delay in rightly appropriating it, is limiting the period in which it will do good in saving souls. If we leave others to accomplish that which God has left for us to do, we wrong ourselves and Him who gave us all we have. How can others do our work of benevolence any better than we can do it ourselves? God would have every man, during his lifetime, the executor of his own will in this matter. Adversity, accident, or intrigue

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may forever cut off meditated acts of benevolence, when he who has accumulated a fortune is no longer by to guard it. It is sad that so many neglect the present golden opportunity to do good, and wait to be cast out of their stewardship before giving back to the Lord the means which He has lent them to be used for His glory.  {4T 81.2}

     One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which He rebuked the sin of covetousness and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and inordinate love of gain. In the mansions of the rich, in the temple and in the streets, He warned those who inquired after salvation: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness.” “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  {4T 82.1}

     It is this increasing devotion to money getting, the selfishness which the desire for gain begets, that removes the favor of God from the church and deadens its spirituality. When the head and hands are constantly occupied with planning and toiling for the accumulation of riches, the claims of God and humanity are forgotten. If God has blessed us with prosperity, it is not that our time and attention should be diverted from Him and given to that which He has lent us. The giver is greater than the gift. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. Have we forgotten that infinite price paid for our redemption? Is gratitude dead in the heart? Does not the cross of Christ put to shame a life of selfish ease and indulgence?  {4T 82.2}

     What if Christ, becoming weary of the ingratitude and abuse that met Him on every side, had left His work! What if He had never reached that period when He said: “It is finished.” What if He had returned to heaven, discouraged by His reception! What if He had never passed through that soul agony in the garden of Gethsemane that forced from His pores great drops of blood!  {4T 82.3}

     Christ was influenced in His labor for the redemption of the race by a love that is without parallel, and a devotion to the Father’s will. He toiled for the good of man up to the

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very hour of His humiliation. He spent His life in poverty and self-denial for the degraded sinner. In a world that was His own He had no place to lay His weary head. We are reaping the fruits of this infinite self-sacrifice; and yet when labor is to be done, when our money is wanted to aid the work of the Redeemer in the salvation of souls, we shrink from duty and pray to be excused. Ignoble sloth, careless indifference, and wicked selfishness seal our senses to the claims of God.  {4T 82.4}

     Oh, must Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, bear the heavy cross, wear the thorny crown, and drink the bitter cup, while we recline at ease, glorifying ourselves and forgetting the souls He died to redeem by His precious blood? No; let us give while we have the power. Let us do while we have the strength. Let us work while it is day. Let us devote our time and means to the service of God, that we may have His approbation and receive His reward.   {4T 83.1}

                                         Chap. 10 – Influence of Social Surroundings

     I was shown, December 10, 1872, the state of Brother K’s family. He has been a true believer and lover of the truth, but has been drinking in the spirit of the world. Said Christ: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Brother K, your earthly treasure claims your interest and attention to such an extent that you do not afford time to serve God; yet your wife is dissatisfied that you give Him the meager pittance that you do. A worldly insanity has taken possession of her heart. Neither of you takes sufficient time for meditation and prayer. God is robbed of your daily service, and you yourselves are meeting with a greater loss than that of every earthly treasure.  {4T 104.3}

     Sister K, you are still farther from God than your husband is. Your conformity to the world has banished your Saviour from your heart; there is no room for Him in your affections. You have but little inclination for prayer and searching your

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heart. You are yielding yourself to obey the prince of the powers of darkness. “To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.”  {4T 104.4}

     Sister K, you know not what you are doing; you do not realize that you are warring against your Creator in drawing your husband away from the truth. Your attention is on the advantages that the world gives. You have not cultivated a love for devotion, but are better pleased with the stir and bustle of laboring to acquire wealth. You are absorbed in your desire to be like the world, that you may receive the happiness that the world gives. Your earthly ambitions and interests are greater than your desire for righteousness and for a part in the kingdom of God.  {4T 105.1}

     Your precious probationary time is spent in laboring for your temporal welfare, in dressing, and eating, and drinking after the manner of the world. Oh, how unsatisfying, how meager is the recompense obtained! In your worldly desires and pursuits you are carrying a heavier burden than your Saviour has ever proposed to lay upon you. Your Redeemer invites you: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” My sister, Christ would have you lay down your heavy weight at His feet and submit your stubborn neck to His easy yoke.  {4T 105.2}

     What if your probation should close at this time? How would you bear the investigation of the Master? How have you employed the talents of means and influence lent you of God for wise improvement to His glory? God has given you life and its blessings, not to be devoted to your own pleasure and selfish gratification merely, but that you may benefit others and do good. The Master has entrusted you with talents that you should put out to the exchangers, that when He requires them again He may receive His own with usury.  {4T 105.3}

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     Your influence and means have been given you to test you, to reveal what is in your heart; you should use them to win souls to Christ and thus advance the cause of your Redeemer. If you fail to do this you are making a terrible mistake. Every day that you devote to serving yourself, and to pleasing your friends by yielding to their influence in loving the world and neglecting your best Friend, who died to give you life, you are losing much.  {4T 106.1}

     Sister K, you have thought that it was not well for you to be different from those around you. You are in a community that has been tested on the truth and has rejected it, and you have linked your interests and affections with theirs until you are to all intents one of them. You love their society; yet you are not happy, though you flatter yourself that you are. You have said in your heart: “It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?”  {4T 106.2}

     It is no small matter for a family to stand as representatives of Jesus, keeping God’s law in an unbelieving community. We are required to be living epistles known and read of all men. This position involves fearful responsibilities. In order to live in the light, you must come where the light shines. Brother K, at any sacrifice, should feel under solemn obligation to attend, with his family, at least the yearly gatherings of those who love the truth. It would strengthen him and them, and fit them for trial and duty. It is not well for them to lose the privilege of associating with those of like faith; for the truth loses its importance in their minds, their hearts cease to be enlightened and vivified by its sanctifying influence, and they lose spirituality. They are not strengthened by the words of the living preacher. Worldly thoughts and worldly enterprises are continually exercising their minds to the exclusion of spiritual subjects.  {4T 106.3}

     The faith of most Christians will waver if they constantly neglect to meet together for conference and prayer. If it were impossible for them to enjoy such religious privileges, then God would send light direct from heaven by His angels, to

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animate, cheer, and bless His scattered people. But He does not propose to work a miracle to sustain the faith of His saints. They are required to love the truth enough to take some little pains to secure the privileges and blessings vouchsafed them of God. The least they can do is to devote a few days in the year to a united effort to advance the cause of Christ and to exchange friendly counsel and sympathy.  {4T 106.4}

     Many devote nearly all their time to their own temporal interests and pleasures, and grudge the few days spent and the expense involved in going a distance from their homes to meet with a company gathered together in the name of the Lord. The word of the Lord defines covetousness as idolatry; then how many idolaters are there, even among those who profess to be the followers of Christ!  {4T 107.1}

     It is required that we meet together and bear testimony to the truth. The angel of God said: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”  {4T 107.2}

     It will pay, then, to improve the privileges within our reach, and, even at some sacrifice, to assemble with those who fear God and speak for Him; for He is represented as hearkening to those testimonies, while angels write them in a book. God will remember those who have met together and thought upon His name, and He will spare them from the great conflagration. They will be as precious jewels in His sight, but His wrath will fall on the shelterless head of the sinner. It is not a vain thing to serve God. There is a priceless reward for those who devote their life to His service. Dear brother and sister, you have been gradually entering the darkness until almost imperceptibly it has grown to appear like the light to you. Occasionally a feeble glimmer penetrates the gloom and arouses the mind; but surrounding influences shut out the ray of light, and the darkness seems denser than before.  {4T 107.3}

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     It would have been better for your spiritual welfare had you changed your place of residence some years ago. The light of truth tested the community in which you live. A few received the message of mercy and warning, while it was rejected by many. Still another class did not accept it because there was a cross to lift. They took a neutral position and thought that if they did not war against the truth they would be doing quite well, but the light they neglected to receive and cherish went out in darkness. They endeavored to quiet conscience by saying to the Spirit of God: “Go Thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for Thee.” That convenient season has never come. They neglected the golden opportunity that has never again returned to them, for the world has shut out the light that they refused. The interests of this life and the charm of exciting pleasures absorb their minds and hearts, while their best Friend, the blessed Saviour, is rejected and forgotten.  {4T 108.1}

     Sister K, although possessing excellent natural qualities, is being drawn away from God by her unbelieving friends and relatives, who love not the truth and have no sympathy with the sacrifice and self-denial that must be made for the truth’s sake. Sister K has not felt the importance of separation from the world, as the command of God enjoins. The sight of her eyes and the hearing of her ears have perverted her heart.  {4T 108.2}

     John the Baptist was a man filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth, and if there was anyone who could remain unaffected by the corrupting influences of the age in which he lived, it was surely he. Yet he did not venture to trust his strength; he separated himself from his friends and relatives, that his natural affections might not prove a snare to him. He would not place himself unnecessarily in the way of temptation nor where the luxuries or even the conveniences of life would lead him to indulge in ease or to gratify his appetite, and thus lessen his physical and mental strength. By such a course the important mission upon which he came would have failed of its accomplishment.  {4T 108.3}

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     He subjected himself to privation and solitude in the wilderness, where he could preserve the sacred sense of the majesty of God by studying His great book of nature and there becoming acquainted with His character as revealed in His wonderful works. It was an atmosphere calculated to perfect moral culture and to keep the fear of the Lord continually before him. John, the forerunner of Christ, did not expose himself to evil conversation and the corrupting influences of the world. He feared the effect upon his conscience, that sin might not appear to him so exceedingly sinful. He chose rather to have his home in the wilderness, where his senses would not be perverted by his surroundings. Should we not learn something from this example of one whom Christ honored and of whom He said: “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”?  {4T 109.1}

     The first thirty years of Christ’s life were passed in retirement. Ministering angels waited upon the Lord of life as He walked side by side with the peasants and laborers among the hills of Nazareth, unrecognized and unhonored. These noble examples should teach us to avoid evil influences and to shun the society of those who do not live aright. We should not flatter ourselves that we are too strong for any such influences to affect us, but we should in humility guard ourselves from danger.  {4T 109.2}

     Ancient Israel were especially directed by God to be and remain a people separate from all nations. They were not to be subjected to witnessing the idolatry of those about them, lest their own hearts should be corrupted, lest familiarity with ungodly practices should make them appear less wicked in their eyes. Few realize their own weakness and that the natural sinfulness of the human heart too often paralyzes their noblest endeavors.  {4T 109.3}

     The baleful influence of sin poisons the life of the soul. Our only safety is in separation from those who live in its darkness. The Lord has enjoined upon us to come out from among them and be separate, and to touch not the unclean

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thing, and He will receive us and will be a Father unto us, and we shall be His sons and daughters. If we wish to be adopted into the family of God, to become children of the heavenly King, we must comply with His conditions; we must come out from the world and stand as a peculiar people before the Lord, obeying His precepts and serving Him.  {4T 109.4}

     Lot chose Sodom for his home because he saw that there were advantages to be gained there from a worldly point of view. But after he had established himself, and grown rich in earthly treasure, he was convinced that he had made a mistake in not taking into consideration the moral standing of the community in which he was to make his home.  {4T 110.1}

     The dwellers in Sodom were corrupt; vile conversation greeted his ears daily, and his righteous soul was vexed by the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. His children were becoming like these wicked people, for association with them had perverted their morals. Taking all these things into consideration, the worldly riches he had gained seemed small and not worth the price he had paid for them. His family connections were extensive, his children having married among the Sodomites.  {4T 110.2}

     The Lord’s anger was finally kindled against the wicked inhabitants of the city, and angels of God visited Sodom to bring forth Lot, that he should not perish in the overthrow of the city. They bade Lot bring his family, his wife, and the sons and daughters who married in wicked Sodom, and told him to flee from the place. “For,” said the angels, “we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.”  {4T 110.3}

     And Lot went out and entreated his children. He repeated the words of the angel: “Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.” But he seemed unto his sons-in-law as one who mocked; for they had lived so long in Sodom that they had become partakers of the sins of the people. And the daughters were influenced by their husbands to believe

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that their father was mad. They were well enough off where they were. They were rich and had great possessions; and they could not believe it possible that beautiful Sodom, a rich and fertile country, would be destroyed by the wrath of a sin-avenging God.  {4T 110.4}

     Lot returned sorrowfully to the angels and repeated the story of his failure. Then the angels commanded him to arise, and take his wife and the two daughters who were yet in his house, and leave the city. But Lot was sad; the thought of leaving his children and his wife, for she refused to go without them, almost broke his heart. They would all have perished in the terrible ruin of Sodom, had not the Lord, in His great mercy, sent His angels to the rescue.  {4T 111.1}

     Lot was paralyzed by the great calamity about to occur; he was stupefied with grief at the thought of leaving all he held dear on earth. But as he lingered, the angels of God laid hold upon his hand, and the hands of his wife and two daughters, and brought them out of the city, and charged them to flee for their lives, neither to look behind them nor to stay upon all the plain, but to escape to the mountains.  {4T 111.2}

     How reluctant was Lot to obey the angel and go as far as possible from corrupt Sodom, appointed to utter destruction! He distrusted God and pleaded to remain. Living in the wicked city had weakened his faith and confidence in the justice of the Lord. He pleaded that he could not do as he was required, lest some evil should overtake him, and he should die. Angels were sent on a special mission to save the lives of Lot and his family; but Lot had so long been surrounded by corrupting influences that his sensibilities were blunted, and he could not discern the works of God and His purposes; he could not trust himself in His hands to do His bidding. He was continually pleading for himself, and this unbelief cost him the life of his wife. She looked back to Sodom, and, murmuring against the dealings of God, she was changed to a pillar of salt, that she might stand as a warning to all those who disregard the special mercies and providences of Heaven.

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After this terrible retribution, Lot no longer dared to linger by the way, but fled into the mountains, according to the direction of the angels. The sinful conduct of his daughters after leaving Sodom was the result of wicked associations while there. The sense of right and wrong was confused in their minds, and sin did not appear as sin to them.  {4T 111.3}

     The case of Lot should be a warning to all those who wish to live godly lives, to separate themselves from all influences calculated to lead them away from God. Lot remained so long among the wicked that he was only able to save himself and two daughters, and even they were corrupted in morals by their sojourn in Sodom.  {4T 112.1}

     God means what He says, and He will not be trifled with. Oh! how many shortsighted, sinful mortals plead with God to induce Him to come to their terms, while if they would only yield themselves unreservedly into His hands He would compass their salvation and give them precious victories.  {4T 112.2}

     Sister K, you are in danger of making decisions that will be very injurious to you. God has a work for you to do which none can do for you, and without doing this your soul cannot be saved. God loves you and is unwilling that you should perish in the general ruin. He invites you to leave those things which hinder your spiritual advancement, and to find in Him that strength and consolation which you need. You have cares and burdens to bear in your family that often worry you; but if you do only those things necessary to your temporal comfort and happiness, you will find time to read your Bible with prayerful interest and to perfect a Christian character.  {4T 112.3}

     Brother K, you have had many discouragements; but you must be earnest, firm, and decided to do your duty in your family, and take them with you if possible. You should spare no effort to prevail upon them to accompany you on your heavenward journey. But if the mother and the children do not choose to accompany you, but rather seek to draw you away from your duties and religious privileges, you must go forward even if you go alone. You must live in the fear of God. You must improve your opportunities of attending the meetings

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and gaining all the spiritual strength you can, for you will need it in the days to come. Lot’s property was all consumed. If you should meet with loss you should not be discouraged; and if you can save only a part of your family, it is much better than to lose all.  {4T 112.4}

     Dear brother and sister, as parents you are in a great measure accountable for the souls of your children. You have brought them into existence; and you should, by precept and example, lead them to the Lord and the courts of heaven. You should impress them with the thought that their temporal interests are of little consequence when compared with their eternal welfare.  {4T 113.1}

     These dear children are living among worldly people, and they are imbibing a love for the vanities of life. Your son L is a kindhearted, fine-spirited boy; but he needs the watchful care of a mother whose daily experience in the Christian life will fit her to counsel and instruct him. He is at just that age when a tender, judicious mother can mold him by her influence; but I fear, Sister K, that you seek rather to mold your children after the fashion of this world, and neglect to teach them that the important work of life is to form characters that will ensure immortality.  {4T 113.2}

     If L neglects to become acquainted with religious subjects and practical Christianity, his life will be a mistake. He should see that he needs an education in spiritual things, that he may use his abilities wholly for God. The Lord calls for young men to work in His vineyard. Young men should not neglect the essential branches of education. But if they turn their entire attention to secular study, and neglect to become intelligent on the great subject of religion, and do not acquire a Christian experience, they are becoming disqualified for the work of God. However favorable the educational advantage may be, something besides the knowledge of books is necessary to save the soul and lead others to repentance. Devoting a period of years to the acquisition of scientific knowledge alone is not preparing to be an efficient laborer in the service of God.  {4T 113.3}

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     Young men should devote much time to study; but they should also unite physical labor with their mental efforts, and put in practice the knowledge they have gained, that by useful exercise all the faculties of the mind and powers of the body may be equally developed. They should not neglect the things necessary to salvation, nor consider them secondary to anything in this life.  {4T 114.1}

     Dear brother and sister, God loves your family, and desires to shower His special blessings upon you, that you may become instruments of righteousness in leading others toward heaven. If entirely consecrated to God, Brother K could do a great amount of good in a community where his advice and influence would be better received and appreciated. We have strong hopes that both of you will correct that which is wrong in your lives, and renew your faith and obedience to God, receiving new strength from Him who has promised to help those who call upon His name.  {4T 114.2}

     Young Brother L, you have made a mistake in your life. In closely pursuing your studies you have neglected the development of all your faculties. The moral growth should never be dwarfed in the effort to acquire an education, but should be cultivated in a far higher degree than is usually deemed necessary. My dear young brother, you have been ambitious to secure knowledge. This ambition is praiseworthy; but in order to gratify it, you have neglected your eternal interests and made them secondary to your studies. God and heaven have occupied a subordinate position in your affections. The claims of God’s holy law have not been sacredly observed in your daily life. You have desecrated the Sabbath by bringing your studies into that holy time which was not yours to occupy for your own purposes. God has said: “In it thou shalt not do any work.”  {4T 114.3}

     “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself

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in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” You have yielded to inclination rather than duty and made your studies paramount to the expressed command of the Most High.  {4T 114.4}

     Our camp meetings are arranged and held at great expense. God’s ministers who advocate unpopular truth, labor excessively at these large gatherings to bear the message of mercy from a crucified Redeemer to poor fallen sinners. To neglect or treat these messages with indifference is to slight the mercy of God and His voice of warning and entreaty. Your absence from these meetings has been very detrimental to your spiritual welfare. You have missed the strength that you might have gained there by listening to the preached word of God, and mingling with the believers of the truth. Your mind has been lulled into a fatal apathy in regard to the well-being of your soul. You have exalted your secular education above the knowledge to be gained in the school of Christ. Experience in a true religious life is necessary in order to form a character acceptable to God and to secure the pure virtues that will bear the light of heaven.  {4T 115.1}

     What anxiety you have manifested to discipline your mind by study, to become properly conversant with your textbooks, that you might pass a creditable examination before instructors, friends, and interested spectators! How ambitious you have been to prove that you have been a diligent student and have faithfully employed your time in storing your mind with useful knowledge! You have been as sincerely anxious to progress in your studies as you have been to secure the commendation of your friends and teachers. You have justly earned the honors you have received for scholarship. But how has your mind been disciplined in religion? Have you not unthinkingly placed the kingdom of God and His righteousness below your advancement in the sciences? True, some of the human faculties were given more especially for the purpose of engaging in temporal matters, but the higher powers of the mind should be wholly consecrated to God. These control the

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man, these form his life and character. And while you should not neglect your secular studies, you have no right to give them all your attention, but should devote yourself especially to the moral and spiritual requirements of your heavenly Father.  {4T 115.2}

     How little anxiety you have manifested to improve the religious advantages within your reach to gain a more thorough knowledge of the laws of God, and determination to abide by them! You have made little effort to become a loyal and intelligent Christian. How, then, will you be prepared to pass the grand review, where all your deeds and words, and the inmost thoughts of your heart, will be laid open before the great Judge and the assembled saints and angels? You have had little ambition to obtain a spiritual fitness to bear this close examination in the presence of that exalted throng. What, then, will be the final decision as to your moral and religious attainments, that decision from which there is no appeal? What will be the honors accredited to you because of your faithfulness in preserving the required harmony between religion and the pursuit of the sciences? Will you stand as one possessing unfaltering moral courage, in whom is shown excellence of human knowledge united with a holy zeal for God and the obedience of His law?  {4T 116.1}

     My brother, you should consider the wisdom of God as all in all. Religion must go hand in hand with science, in order to make your education a sanctified means of doing good and turning others to the truth. The more we learn in the school of Christ, the more eager we are to advance in that knowledge. All our acquirements are of little value unless the character is ennobled by religion. God has special duties for every individual to perform, and a decision will be passed upon every case as to the faithfulness with which these duties have been accomplished.  {4T 116.2}

     The Lord frequently places us in difficult positions to stimulate us to greater exertion. In His providence special annoyances sometimes occur to test our patience and faith. God gives us lessons of trust. He would teach us where to look for

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help and strength in time of need. Thus we obtain practical knowledge of His divine will, which we so much need in our life experience. Faith grows strong in earnest conflict with doubt and fear. Brother, you may be a conqueror if you take careful heed to your ways. You should devote your young life to the cause of God and pray for success. You should not close your eyes to your danger, but should resolutely prepare for every difficulty in your Christian advancement. Take time for reflection and for humble, earnest prayer. Your talents are marked, and you are hopeful in regard to your future success; but unless you comprehend the weakness of your natural heart you will be disappointed.  {4T 116.3}

     You are just starting out in life; you have arrived at an age to bear responsibilities for yourself. This is a critical period in your life. Now, in your youth, you are sowing in the field of life. That which you sow you will also reap; as was the seed, so will be the harvest. If you are neglectful and indifferent concerning eternal things you will sustain a great loss yourself and, through your influence, will prevent others from fulfilling their obligations to God.  {4T 117.1}

     Both worlds are before you. Which will you choose? Be wise and lay hold of eternal life. Swerve not from your integrity, however unpleasant your duties may appear in the present emergency. It may seem that you are about to make great sacrifices to preserve your purity of soul, but do not hesitate; press forward in the fear of God, and He will bless your efforts and recompense you a thousandfold. Do not yield your religious claims and privileges in order to gratify the wishes of your unconsecrated friends and relatives. You are called to take your position for the truth, even if it should be in direct opposition to those who are closely connected with you. God forbid that this last trial should ever come to you, to test and prove your integrity for the right.  {4T 117.2}

     Lay the foundation of your Christian character upon the eternal Rock of salvation, and let the structure be firm and sound.  {4T 117.3}

     We hope that your mother will aid you and your brothers

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and sisters in your efforts to perfect true characters after the pattern of Christ, that you may have a moral fitness for the society of holy angels in the kingdom of glory.

Chapter 14 – Willing Obedience

     Abraham was an old man when he received the startling command from God to offer up his son Isaac for a burnt offering. Abraham was considered an old man even in his generation. The ardor of his youth had faded away. It was no longer easy for him to endure hardships and brave dangers. In the vigor of youth man may breast the storm with a proud consciousness of strength and rise above discouragements that would cause his heart to fail later in life, when his steps are faltering toward the grave.  {4T 144.1}

     But in His providence God reserved His last most trying test for Abraham until the burden of years was heavy upon him and he longed for rest from anxiety and toil. The Lord spoke unto him, saying: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest,” “and offer him . . . for a burnt offering.” The heart of the old man stood still with horror. The loss of such a son by disease would have been most heart-rending to the fond father, it would have bowed his whitened head with sorrow; but now he is commanded to shed the precious blood of that son with his own hand. It seemed to him a fearful impossibility.  {4T 144.2}

     Yet God had spoken, and His word must be obeyed. Abraham was stricken in years, but this did not excuse him from duty. He grasped the staff of faith and in dumb agony took by the hand his child, beautiful in the rosy health of youth, and went out to obey the word of God. The grand old patriarch

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was human; his passions and attachments were like ours, and he loved his boy, who was the solace of his old age, and to whom the promise of the Lord had been given.  {4T 144.3}

     But Abraham did not stop to question how God’s promises could be fulfilled if Isaac were slain. He did not stay to reason with his aching heart, but carried out the divine command to the very letter, till, just as the knife was about to be plunged into the quivering flesh of the child, the word came: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad;” “for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.”  {4T 145.1}

     This great act of faith is penciled on the pages of sacred history to shine forth upon the world as an illustrious example to the end of time. Abraham did not plead that his old age should excuse him from obeying God. He did not say: “My hairs are gray, the vigor of my manhood is gone; who will comfort my waning life when Isaac is no more? How can an aged father spill the blood of an only son?” No; God had spoken, and man must obey without questioning, murmuring, or fainting by the way.  {4T 145.2}

     We need the faith of Abraham in our churches today, to lighten the darkness that gathers around them, shutting out the sweet sunlight of God’s love and dwarfing spiritual growth. Age will never excuse us from obeying God. Our faith should be prolific of good works, for faith without works is dead. Every duty performed, every sacrifice made in the name of Jesus, brings an exceeding great reward. In the very act of duty, God speaks and gives His blessing. But He requires of us an entire surrender of the faculties. The mind and heart, the whole being, must be given to Him, or we fall short of becoming true Christians.  {4T 145.3}

     God has withheld nothing from man that can secure to him eternal riches. He has clothed the earth with beauty and furnished it for his use and comfort during his temporal life. He has given His Son to die for the redemption of a world that had fallen through sin and folly. Such matchless love, such infinite sacrifice, claims our strictest obedience, our

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holiest love, our unbounded faith. Yet all these virtues, exercised to their fullest extent, can never be commensurate with the great sacrifice that has been offered for us.  {4T 145.4}

     God requires prompt and unquestioning obedience of His law; but men are asleep or paralyzed by the deceptions of Satan, who suggests excuses and subterfuges, and conquers their scruples, saying as he said to Eve in the garden: “Ye shall not surely die.” Disobedience not only hardens the heart and conscience of the guilty one, but it tends to corrupt the faith of others. That which looked very wrong to them at first, gradually loses this appearance by being constantly before them, till finally they question whether it is really sin and unconsciously fall into the same error.  {4T 146.1}

     Through Samuel, God commanded Saul to go and smite the Amalekites and utterly destroy all their possessions. But Saul only partially obeyed the command; he destroyed the inferior cattle, but reserved the best and spared the wicked king. The next day he met the prophet Samuel with flattering self-congratulations. Said he: “Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” But the prophet immediately answered: “What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”  {4T 146.2}

     Saul was confused and sought to shirk responsibility by answering: “They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” Samuel then reproved the king, reminding him of the explicit command of God directing him to destroy all things belonging to Amalek. He pointed out his transgression and declared that he had disobeyed the Lord. But Saul refused to acknowledge that he had done wrong; he again excused his sin by pleading that he had reserved the best cattle to sacrifice unto the Lord.  {4T 146.3}

     Samuel was grieved to the heart by the persistency with which the king refused to see and confess his sin. He sorrowfully asked: “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings

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and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”  {4T 146.4}

     We should not look in the face of duty and delay meeting its demands. Such delay gives time for doubts; unbelief creeps in, the judgment is perverted, the understanding darkened. At length the reproofs of God’s Spirit do not reach the heart of the deluded person, who has become so blinded as to think that they cannot possibly be intended for him or apply to his case.  {4T 147.1}

     The precious time of probation is passing, and few realize that it is given them for the purpose of preparing for eternity. The golden hours are squandered in worldly pursuits, in pleasure, in absolute sin. God’s law is slighted and forgotten, yet every statute is nonetheless binding. Every transgression will bring its punishment. Love of worldly gain leads to desecration of the Sabbath, yet the claims of that holy day are not abrogated or lessened. God’s command is clear and unquestionable on this point; He has peremptorily forbidden us to labor upon the seventh day. He has set it apart as a day sanctified to Himself.  {4T 147.2}

     Many are the hindrances that lie in the path of those who would walk in obedience to the commandments of God. There are strong and subtle influences that bind them to the ways of the world, but the power of the Lord can break these chains. He will remove every obstacle from before the feet of His faithful ones or give them strength and courage to conquer every difficulty, if they earnestly beseech His help. All hindrances will vanish before an earnest desire and persistent effort to do the will of God at any cost to self, even if life itself is sacrificed. Light from heaven will illuminate the darkness of those, who, in trial and perplexity, go forward, looking unto Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith.  {4T 147.3}

     In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of

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prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue. But will they profit by His teachings? will they receive His reproofs and heed His warnings? God will accept of no partial obedience; He will sanction no compromise with self.   {4T 147.4}

                                     Chap. 15 – The Twelve Spies

     The Lord commanded Moses to send men to search the land of Canaan, which He would give unto the children of Israel. A ruler from each tribe was to be selected for this purpose. They went; and after forty days they returned from their search, and came before Moses and Aaron, and all the congregation of Israel, and showed them the fruit of the land. All agreed that it was a good land, and they exhibited the rich fruit which they had brought as evidence. One cluster of grapes was so large that two men carried it between them on a staff. They also brought of the figs and pomegranates which grew there in abundance. After they had spoken of the fertility of the land, all but two spoke very discouragingly of their ability to possess it. They said that the people were very strong that dwelt in the land, and the cities were surrounded with great and high walls, and, more than all this, they saw the children of the giant Anak there. They then described how the people were situated around Canaan and expressed the fear that it would be impossible for them ever to possess this land.  {4T 148.1}

     As the people listened to this report, they gave vent to their disappointment in bitter reproaches and wailing. They did not wait to reflect and reason that God, who had brought them out thus far, would certainly give them the land. They left God out of the question. They acted as though in taking the

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city of Jericho, the key to the land of Canaan, they must depend solely on the power of arms. God had declared that He would give them the country, and they should have fully trusted Him to fulfill His word. But their unsubdued hearts were not in harmony with His plans. They did not reflect how wonderfully He had wrought in their behalf, bringing them out of their Egyptian bondage, cutting a path for them through the waters of the sea, and destroying the pursuing host of Pharaoh. In their unbelief they were limiting the work of God and distrusting the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. In this instance they repeated their former error of murmuring against Moses and Aaron. “This, then, is the end of all our high hopes,” said they. “This is the land we have traveled all the way from Egypt to possess.” They blamed their leaders for bringing trouble upon Israel and again charged them with deceiving the people and leading them astray.  {4T 148.2}

     Moses and Aaron lay prostrate before God, their faces in the dust. Caleb and Joshua, the two who, of all the twelve spies, trusted in the word of God, rent their clothes in distress when they perceived that these unfavorable reports had discouraged the whole camp. They endeavored to reason with them; but the congregation were filled with madness and disappointment, and refused to listen to these two men. Finally Caleb urged his way to the front, and his clear, ringing voice was heard above all the clamor of the multitude. He opposed the cowardly views of his fellow spies, which had weakened the faith and courage of all Israel. He commanded the attention of the people, and they hushed their complaints for a moment to listen to him. He spoke of the land he had visited. Said he: “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” But as he spoke, the unfaithful spies interrupted him, crying: “We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”  {4T 149.1}

     These men, starting upon a wrong course, set their hearts against God, against Moses and Aaron, and against Caleb

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and Joshua. Every step they advanced in this wrong direction made them firmer in their design to discourage every attempt to possess the land of Canaan. They distorted the truth in order to carry their baneful purpose. They represented the climate as being unhealthful and all the people of giant stature. Said they: “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”  {4T 149.2}

     This was not only an evil report, but a lying one also. It was contradictory; for if the land was unhealthy, and had eaten up the inhabitants, how was it that they had attained to such massive proportions? When men in responsible positions yield their hearts to unbelief, there are no bounds to the advance they will make in evil. Few realize, when they start upon this dangerous course, the length that Satan will lead them.  {4T 150.1}

     The evil report had a terrible effect upon the people. They reproached Moses and Aaron bitterly. Some groaned and wailed, saying: “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” Then their feelings rose against the Lord; and they wept and mourned, saying: “Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.”  {4T 150.2}

     Thus they manifested their disrespect for God and for the leaders He had appointed to conduct them. They did not ask the Lord what they should do, but said: “Let us make a captain.” They took matters into their own hands, feeling themselves competent to manage their affairs without divine aid. They not only accused Moses of deception, but God also, in promising them a land which they were not able to possess. They actually went so far as to appoint one of their number as a captain to lead them back to the land of their suffering and bondage, from which God had delivered them with His strong arm of omnipotence.  {4T 150.3}

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     Moses and Aaron still remained prostrate before God in the presence of all the assembly, silently imploring divine mercy for rebellious Israel. Their distress was too deep for words. Again Caleb and Joshua press to the front, and the voice of Caleb once more rises in sorrowful earnestness above the complaints of the congregation: “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.”  {4T 151.1}

     The Canaanites had filled up the measure of their iniquity, and the Lord would no longer bear with them. His defense being removed from them, they would fall an easy prey to the Hebrews. They were not prepared for battle, for they felt so strong that they deceived themselves with the idea that no army was formidable enough to prevail against them.  {4T 151.2}

     Caleb reminded the people that by the covenant of God the land was ensured to Israel; but their hearts were filled with madness, and they would hear no more. If only the two men had brought the evil report, and all the ten had encouraged them to possess the land in the name of the Lord, they would still have taken the advice of the two in preference to the ten, because of their wicked unbelief. But there were only two advocating the right, while ten were in open rebellion against their leaders and against God.  {4T 151.3}

     The greatest excitement now rages among the people; their worst passions are aroused, and they refuse to listen to reason. The ten unfaithful spies join them in their denunciations of Caleb and Joshua, and the cry is raised to stone them. The insane mob seize missiles with which to slay these faithful men. They rush forward with yells of madness, when, lo! the stones drop from their hands, a hush falls upon them, and they shake with terror. God has interposed to check their rash design. The glory of His presence, like a flame of light, illuminates the tabernacle, and all the congregation behold

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the signal of the Lord. One mightier than they has revealed Himself, and not one dares continue his resistance. Every murmurer is silenced, and the spies, who have brought the evil report, crouch terror-stricken, with bated breath.  {4T 151.4}

     Moses arises from his humiliating position and enters the tabernacle to commune with God. Then the Lord proposes to immediately destroy this rebellious people. He desires to make of Moses a greater nation than Israel; but the meek leader of His people will not consent to this proposition. “And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for Thou broughtest up this people in Thy might from among them;) and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that Thou Lord art among this people, that Thou Lord art seen face to face, and that Thy cloud standeth over them, and that Thou goest before them, by daytime in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if Thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of Thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which He sware unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness.”  {4T 152.1}

     Moses again refuses to have Israel destroyed and himself made a mightier nation than they. This favored servant of God manifests his love for Israel and shows his zeal for the glory of his Master and the honor of His people. Thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt even until now; Thou hast been long-suffering and merciful hitherto toward this ungrateful nation; and however unworthy they may be, Thy mercy is the same. He pleads: Wilt Thou not therefore spare them this one, and add this one more instance of divine patience to the many Thou hast already given?  {4T 152.2}

     Moses prevailed with God to spare the people, but because of their arrogance and unbelief the Lord could not go with them to work in a miraculous manner in their behalf. Therefore in His divine mercy He bade them adopt the safest course and turn back into the wilderness toward the Red Sea. He

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also decreed that, as a punishment for their rebellion, all the adults who left Egypt, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, should be forever excluded from Canaan. They had utterly failed to keep their promise of obedience to God, and this released Him from the covenant that they had so repeatedly violated. He promised that their children should possess the goodly land, but declared that their own bodies should be buried in the wilderness. And the ten unfaithful spies, whose evil report had caused Israel to murmur and rebel, were destroyed by the power of God before the eyes of the people.  {4T 152.3}

     When Moses made known to Israel the will of God concerning them, they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct. But the Lord knew that they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course, rather than from a deep sense of their ingratitude and disobedience. But their repentance came too late; the just anger of God was awakened, and their doom was pronounced, from which there was no reprieve. When they found that the Lord would not relent in His decree, their self-will again arose, and they declared that they would not return into the wilderness.  {4T 153.1}

     In commanding them to retire from the land of their enemies, God tested their apparent submission and found that it was not real. They knew that they had deeply sinned in allowing their rash feelings to control them and in seeking to slay the spies who had urged them to obey God; but they were only terrified to find that they had made a fearful mistake, the consequences of which would prove disastrous to themselves. Their hearts were unchanged, and they only needed an excuse to occasion a similar outbreak. This presented itself when Moses, by the authority of God, commanded them to go back into the wilderness.  {4T 153.2}

     They had rebelled against His commands when He bade them go up and take the land that He had promised them, and now, when He directed them to retreat from it, they were equally insubordinate, and declared that they would go to battle with their enemies. They arrayed themselves in

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warriors’ dress and armor, and presented themselves before Moses, in their own estimation prepared for conflict, but sadly deficient in the sight of God and His sorrowful servant. They refused to listen to the solemn warnings of their leaders that disaster and death would be the consequence of their audacity.  {4T 153.3}

     When God directed them to go up and take Jericho, He promised to go with them. The ark containing His law was to be a symbol of Himself. Moses and Aaron, God’s appointed leaders, were to conduct the expedition under His watchful direction. With such supervision no harm could have come to them. But now, contrary to the command of God and the solemn prohibition of their leaders, without the ark of God and without Moses, they marched out to meet the armies of the enemy.  {4T 154.1}

     During the time consumed by the Israelites in their wicked insubordination, the Amalekites and Canaanites had prepared for battle. The Israelites presumptuously challenged the foe that had not dared to attack them; but just as they had fairly entered the enemy’s territory, the Amalekites and Canaanites met them in force and fiercely repulsed them, driving them back with great loss. The field of carnage was red with their blood, and their dead bodies strewed the ground. They were utterly routed and defeated. Destruction and death were the result of their rebellious experiment. But the faith of Caleb and Joshua was richly rewarded. According to His word, God brought these faithful ones into the land that He had promised them. The cowards and rebels perished in the wilderness, but the righteous spies ate of the grapes of Eschol.  {4T 154.2}

     The history of the report of the twelve spies has an application to us as a people. The scenes of cowardly complaining and drawing back from action when there are risks to be encountered are re-enacted among us today. The same unwillingness is manifested to heed faithful reports and true counsel as in the days of Caleb and Joshua. The servants of God, who bear the burden of His cause, practicing strict self-denial and suffering privation for the sake of helping His

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people, are seldom better appreciated now than they were then.  {4T 154.3}

     Ancient Israel was repeatedly tested and found wanting. Few receive the faithful warnings given them of God. Darkness and unbelief do not decrease as we near the time of the second advent of Christ. Truth becomes less and less palatable to the carnally minded; their hearts are slow to believe and tardy to repent. The servants of God might well become discouraged, were it not for the continual evidences their Master gives them of His wisdom and assistance. Long has the Lord borne with His people. He has forgiven their wanderings and waited for them to give Him room in their hearts; but false ideas, jealousy, and distrust have crowded Him out.  {4T 155.1}

     Few who are professedly of Israel, and whose minds have been enlightened by the revelations of divine wisdom, dare to come boldly forward, as did Caleb, and stand firmly for God and the right. Because those whom the Lord has chosen to conduct His work will not be turned from the course of integrity to gratify the selfish and unconsecrated, they become the target for hatred and malicious falsehood. Satan is wide awake and working warily in these last days, and God calls for men of spiritual nerve and stamina to resist his artifices.  {4T 155.2}

     Thorough conversion is necessary among those who profess to believe the truth, in order for them to follow Jesus and obey the will of God — not a submission born of circumstances, as was that of the terrified Israelites when the power of the Infinite was revealed to them, but a deep and heartfelt repentance and renunciation of sin. Those who are but half converted are as a tree whose boughs hang upon the side of truth, but whose roots, firmly bedded in the earth, strike out into the barren soil of the world. Jesus looks in vain for fruit upon its branches; He finds nothing but leaves.  {4T 155.3}

     Thousands would accept the truth if they could do so without denying self, but this class would never build up the cause of God. These would never march out valiantly against the enemy,–the world, the love of self, and the lusts of the flesh,–trusting their divine Leader to give them the victory.

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The church needs faithful Calebs and Joshuas, who are ready to accept eternal life on God’s simple condition of obedience. Our churches are suffering for laborers. The world is our field. Missionaries are wanted in cities and villages that are more certainly bound by idolatry than are the pagans of the East, who have never seen the light of truth. The true missionary spirit has deserted the churches that make so exalted a profession; their hearts are no longer aglow with love for souls and a desire to lead them into the fold of Christ. We want earnest workers. Are there none to respond to the cry that goes up from every quarter: “Come over …and help us”?  {4T 155.4}

     Can those who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law, and who look for the soon coming of Jesus in the clouds of heaven, stand acquitted of the blood of souls if they turn a deaf ear to the crying needs of the people who walk in shadows? There are books to be prepared and distributed, there are lessons to be given, there are self-sacrificing duties to be performed! Who will come to the rescue! Who will, for Christ’s sake, deny self and extend the light to those who sit in darkness?   {4T 156.1}

Chap. 16 – The Taking of Jericho

     After the death of Moses, Joshua was appointed the leader of Israel to conduct them to the Promised Land. He was well qualified for this important office. He had been prime minister to Moses during the greater part of the time the Israelites had wandered in the wilderness. He had seen the wonderful works of God wrought by Moses and well understood the disposition of the people. He was one of the twelve spies who were sent out to search the Promised Land, and one of the two who gave a faithful account of its richness, and who encouraged the people to go up and possess it in the strength of God.  {4T 156.2}

     The Lord promised Joshua that He would be with him as He had been with Moses, and He would make Canaan an

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easy conquest to him, provided he would be faithful to observe all His commandments. Joshua had been anxious concerning the execution of his commission to lead the people into the land of Canaan; but this assurance removed his fears. He commanded the children of Israel to make ready for a three days’ journey and all the men of war to prepare for battle. “And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses. Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage.”  {4T 156.3}

     God willed that the passage of the Israelites over Jordan should be miraculous. Joshua commanded the people to sanctify themselves, for upon the morrow the Lord would do wonders among them. At the appointed time, he directed the priests to take up the ark containing the law of God and bear it before the people. “And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.”  {4T 157.1}

     The priests obeyed the commands of their leader and went before the people, carrying the ark of the covenant. The Hebrew hosts took up the line of march and followed this symbol of the divine presence. The wide column filed down the bank of Jordan, and, as the feet of the priests were dipped in the brim of the river, the water was cut off from above, and the volume below rolled on, leaving the bed of the stream dry. The priests passed on, bearing the ark of God, and Israel followed in the rear. Halfway over Jordan the priests were commanded to stand still in the channel of the river till all the Hebrew host had crossed over. This was to impress upon their minds more forcibly the fact that the power which stayed the waters of Jordan was the same that enabled their fathers to cross the Red Sea forty years before.  {4T 157.2}

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     Many who passed through the Red Sea when they were children, now, by a similar miracle, crossed over Jordan, men of war, equipped for battle. After the host of Israel had all passed over, Joshua commanded the priests to come up out of the river. When they, bearing the ark of the covenant, stood safe upon the farther shore, God removed His mighty hand, and the accumulated waters rushed down, a mighty cataract, in the natural channel of the stream. Jordan rolled on, a resistless flood, overflowing all its banks.  {4T 158.1}

     But before the priests had come up out of the river, that this wonderful miracle might never be forgotten, the Lord bade Joshua select men of note from each tribe to take up stones from the spot in the river bed where the priests had stood, and bear them upon their shoulders to Gilgal, and there erect a monument in remembrance of the fact that God had caused Israel to pass over Jordan upon dry land. This would be a continual reminder of the miracle that the Lord had wrought for them. As years passed on, their children would inquire concerning the monument, and again and again they would recount to them this wonderful history, till it would be indelibly impressed upon their minds to the latest generation.  {4T 158.2}

     When all the kings of the Amorites and the kings of the Canaanites heard that the Lord had stayed the waters of Jordan before the children of Israel, their hearts melted with fear. The Israelites had slain two of the kings of Moab, and their miraculous passage over the swollen and impetuous Jordan filled the people with great terror. Joshua then circumcised all the people that had been born in the wilderness. After this ceremony they kept the Passover in the plains of Jericho. “And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.”  {4T 158.3}

     Heathen nations had reproached the Lord and His people because the Hebrews had failed to possess the land of Canaan, which they expected to inherit soon after leaving Egypt. Their enemies had triumphed because Israel had wandered so long in the wilderness, and they proudly lifted themselves

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up against God, declaring that He was not able to lead them into the land of Canaan. The Lord had now signally manifested His power and favor by leading His people over Jordan on dry land, and their enemies could no longer reproach them. The manna, which had continued up to this time, now ceased; for as the Israelites were about to possess Canaan, and eat of the fruits of that goodly land, there was no more need of it.  {4T 158.4}

     As Joshua withdrew from the armies of Israel to meditate and pray for God’s special presence to attend him, he saw a Man of lofty stature, clad in warlike garments, with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua did not recognize Him as one of the warriors of Israel, and yet He had no appearance of being an enemy. In his zeal he accosted Him, saying: “Art Thou for us, or for our adversaries? And He said, Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the Captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”  {4T 159.1}

     The glory of God hallowed the sanctuary, and for this reason the priests never entered the place sanctified by God’s presence with shoes upon their feet. Particles of dust might cleave to them, which would desecrate the holy place; therefore the priests were required to leave their shoes in the court before entering the sanctuary. In the court, beside the door of the tabernacle, stood a brazen laver, wherein the priests washed their hands and their feet before entering the tabernacle, that all impurity might be removed. All who officiated in the sanctuary were required of God to make special preparation before entering the place where His glory was revealed.  {4T 159.2}

     It was the Son of God who stood as an armed warrior before the leader of Israel. It was the One who had conducted the Hebrews through the wilderness, enshrouded in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. In order to impress the mind of Joshua that He was no less than Christ,

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the Exalted One, He said: “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot.” He then instructed Joshua what course to pursue in order to take Jericho. All the men of war should be commanded to compass the city once each day for six days, and on the seventh day they should march around Jericho seven times.  {4T 159.3}

     Accordingly Joshua gave orders to the priests and the people as the Lord directed him. He marshaled the hosts of Israel in perfect order. First was a select body of armed men, clad in their warlike dress; not now to exercise their skill in arms, but only to believe and obey the directions given them. Next followed seven priests with trumpets. Then came the ark of God, glittering with gold, a halo of glory hovering over it, borne by priests in the rich and peculiar dress denoting their sacred office. The vast army of Israel followed in perfect order, each tribe under its respective standard. Thus they compassed the city with the ark of God. No sound was heard but the tread of that mighty host, and the solemn voice of the trumpets, echoing among the hills and resounding through the streets of Jericho.  {4T 160.1}

     With wonder and alarm the watchmen of the doomed city marked every move and reported to those in authority. They could not imagine what all this display meant. Jericho had defied the armies of Israel and the God of heaven; but when they beheld that mighty host marching around their city once each day in all the pomp and majesty of war, with the added grandeur of the sacred ark and the attendant priests, the impressive mystery of the scene struck terror to the hearts of princes and people. Then, again, they would inspect their strong defenses, feeling certain that they could successfully resist the most powerful attack. Many ridiculed the idea that any harm could come to them through these singular demonstrations on the part of their enemies; but others were awed as they beheld the majesty and splendor of the procession that each day wound grandly about the city. They remembered that forty years before, the Red Sea had parted before this people, and that a passage had just been opened for them through the river Jordan. They knew not what

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further wonders God might work for them; but they kept their gates carefully closed, and guarded them with mighty warriors.  {4T 160.2}

     For six days the host of Israel performed their circuit around the city. The seventh day came, and, with the first dawn of light, Joshua marshaled the armies of the Lord. Now they were directed to march seven times around Jericho, and, at a mighty note of the trumpets, to shout with a loud voice, for God had then given them the city. The imposing army marched solemnly around the devoted walls. The resplendent ark of God lighting the early dusk of morning, the priests with their glittering breastplates and jeweled badges, and the warriors with their flashing armor presented a magnificent pageant. They were silent as the dead, save the measured tread of many feet and the occasional blare of the trumpet, cutting the blank stillness of the early morning. The massive walls of solid stone frowned darkly down, defying the siege of men.  {4T 161.1}

     Suddenly the vast army halts. The trumpets break forth in a blast that shakes the very earth. The united voices of all Israel rend the air with a mighty shout. The walls of solid stone, with their massive towers and battlements, totter and heave from their foundations and, with a crash like a thousand thunders, fall in shapeless ruin to the earth. The inhabitants and the army of the enemy, paralyzed with terror and amazement, offer no resistance, and Israel marches in and takes captive the mighty city of Jericho.  {4T 161.2}

     How easily the armies of heaven brought down the walls that had seemed so formidable to the spies who brought the false report! The word of God was the only weapon used. The Mighty One of Israel had said: “I have given into thine hand Jericho.” If a single warrior had brought his strength to bear against the walls, the glory of God would have been lessened and His will frustrated. But the work was left to the Almighty; and had the foundation of the battlements been laid in the center of the earth, and their summits reached the arch of heaven, the result would have been the same when

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the Captain of the Lord’s host led His legions of angels to the attack.  {4T 161.3}

     Long had God designed to give the city of Jericho to His favored people and magnify His name among the nations of the earth. Forty years before, when He led Israel out of bondage, He had proposed to give them the land of Canaan. But by their wicked murmurings and jealousy they had provoked His wrath, and He had caused them to wander for weary years in the wilderness, till all those who had insulted Him with their unbelief were no more. In the capture of Jericho God declared to the Hebrews that their fathers might have possessed the city forty years before had they trusted in Him as did their children.  {4T 162.1}

     The history of ancient Israel is written for our benefit. Paul says: “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  {4T 162.2}

     Many who, like ancient Israel, profess to keep God’s commandments have hearts of unbelief while outwardly observing the statutes of God. Although favored with great light and precious privileges, they will nevertheless lose the heavenly Canaan, even as the rebellious Israelites failed to enter the earthly Canaan that God had promised them as the reward of their obedience.  {4T 162.3}

     As a people we lack faith. In these days few would follow the directions given through God’s chosen servant as obediently as did the armies of Israel at the taking of Jericho. The Captain of the Lord’s host did not reveal Himself to all the congregation. He communicated only with Joshua, who related the story of this interview to the Hebrews. It rested with them to believe or to doubt the words of Joshua, to follow the commands given by him in the name of the Captain of

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the Lord’s host, or to rebel against his directions and deny his authority. They could not see the host of angels, marshaled by the Son of God, who led their van; and they might have reasoned: “What unmeaning movements are these, and how ridiculous the performance of marching daily around the walls of the city, blowing trumpets of ram’s horns meanwhile! This can have no effect upon those strong towering fortifications.”  {4T 162.4}

     But the very plan of continuing this ceremony through so long a time prior to the final overthrow of the walls afforded opportunity for the increase of faith among the Israelites.  {4T 163.1}

     They were to become thoroughly impressed with the idea that their strength was not in the wisdom of man, nor in his might, but only in the God of their salvation. They were thus to become accustomed to putting themselves out of the question and relying wholly upon their divine Leader.  {4T 163.2}

     Would those who today profess to be God’s people conduct themselves thus under similar circumstances? Doubtless many would wish to follow out their own plans and would suggest other ways and means of accomplishing the desired end. They would be loath to submit to so simple an arrangement and one that reflected upon themselves no glory save the merit of obedience. They would also question the possibility of a mighty city being conquered in that manner. But the law of duty is supreme. It should hold sway over human reason. Faith is the living power that presses through every barrier, overrides all obstacles, and plants its banner in the heart of the enemy’s camp.  {4T 163.3}

     God will do marvelous things for those who trust in Him. It is because His professed people trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf, that they have no more strength. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him and implicitly obey Him.  {4T 163.4}

     There are deep mysteries in the word of God; there are unexplainable mysteries in His providences; there are mysteries

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in the plan of salvation that man cannot fathom. But the finite mind, strong in its desire to satisfy its curiosity and solve the problems of infinity, neglects to follow the plain course indicated by the revealed will of God and pries into the secrets hidden since the foundation of the world. Man builds his theories, loses the simplicity of true faith, becomes too self-important to believe the declarations of the Lord, and hedges himself in with his own conceits.  {4T 163.5}

     Many who profess our faith are in this position. They are weak and powerless because they trust in their own strength. God works mightily for a faithful people who obey His word without questioning or doubt. The Majesty of heaven, with His army of angels, leveled the walls of Jericho without human aid. The armed warriors of Israel had no cause to glory in their achievements. All was done through the power of God. Let the people give up self and the desire to work after their own plans, let them humbly submit to the divine will, and God will revive their strength and bring freedom and victory to His children.   {4T 164.1}

Chap. 17 – Jeremiah Reproves Israel

     The Lord gave Jeremiah a message of reproof to bear to his people, charging them with the continual rejection of God’s counsel: “I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto Me. I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers.”  {4T 164.2}

     God pleaded with them not to provoke Him to anger with the work of their hands and their hearts, “but they hearkened not.” Jeremiah then predicted the captivity of the Jews as their punishment for not heeding the word of the Lord. The

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Chaldeans were to be used as the instrument by which God would chastise His disobedient people. Their punishment was to be in proportion to their intelligence and to the warnings they had despised. God had long delayed His judgments because of His unwillingness to humiliate His chosen people, but now He would visit His displeasure upon them as a last effort to check them in their evil course.  {4T 164.3}

     In these days He has instituted no new plan to preserve the purity of His people. As of old, He entreats the erring ones who profess His name to repent and turn from their evil ways. Now, as then, by the mouth of His chosen servants He predicts the dangers before them. He sounds the note of warning and reproves sin just as faithfully as in the days of Jeremiah. But the Israel of our time have the same temptations to scorn reproof and hate counsel as had ancient Israel. They too often turn a deaf ear to the words that God has given His servants for the benefit of those who profess the truth. Though the Lord in mercy withholds for a time the retribution of their sin, as in the days of Jeremiah, He will not always stay His hand, but will visit iniquity with righteous judgment.  {4T 165.1}

     The Lord commanded Jeremiah to stand in the court of the Lord’s house and speak unto all the people of Judah who came there to worship, those things which He would give him to speak, diminishing not a word, that they might hearken and turn from their evil ways. Then God would repent of the punishment which He had purposed to inflict upon them because of their wickedness.  {4T 165.2}

     The unwillingness of the Lord to chastise His erring people is here vividly shown. He stays His judgments; He pleads with them to return to their allegiance. He had brought them out of bondage that they might faithfully serve Him, the only true and living God; but they had wandered into idolatry, they had slighted the warnings given them by His prophets. Yet He defers His chastisement to give them one more opportunity to repent and avert the retribution for their sin. Through His chosen prophet he now sends them a clear and positive warning, and lays before them the only course by

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which they can escape the punishment which they deserve. This is a full repentance of their sin and a turning from the evil of their ways.  {4T 165.3}

     The Lord commanded Jeremiah to say to the people: “Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in My law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” They understood this reference to Shiloh and the time when the Philistines overcame Israel and the ark of God was taken.  {4T 166.1}

     The sin of Eli was in passing lightly over the iniquity of his sons, who were occupying sacred offices. The neglect of the father to reprove and restrain his sons brought upon Israel a fearful calamity. The sons of Eli were slain, Eli himself lost his life, the ark of God was taken from Israel, and thirty thousand of the people were slain. All this was because sin was lightly regarded and allowed to remain among them. What a lesson is this to men holding responsible positions in the church of God! It adjures them faithfully to remove the wrongs that dishonor the cause of truth.  {4T 166.2}

     In the days of Samuel, Israel thought that the presence of the ark containing the commandments of God would gain them the victory over the Philistines, whether or not they repented of their wicked works. Just so, in Jeremiah’s time, the Jews believed that the strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from the just punishment of their evil course.  {4T 166.3}

     The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity. Neglect to repent and obey

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His word will bring as serious consequences upon God’s people today as did the same sin upon ancient Israel. There is a limit beyond which He will no longer delay His judgments. The desolation of Jerusalem stands as a solemn warning before the eyes of modern Israel, that the corrections given through His chosen instruments cannot be disregarded with impunity.   {4T 166.4}

     When the priests and the people heard the message that Jeremiah delivered to them in the name of the Lord, they were very angry and declared that he should die. They were boisterous in their denunciations of him, crying: “Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.” Thus was the message of God despised and the servant with whom He entrusted it threatened with death. The priests, the unfaithful prophets, and all the people turned in wrath upon him who would not speak to them smooth things and prophesy deceit.  {4T 167.1}

     The unfaltering servants of God have usually suffered the bitterest persecution from false teachers of religion. But the true prophets will ever prefer reproach, and even death, rather than unfaithfulness to God. The Infinite Eye is upon the instruments of divine reproof, and they bear a heavy responsibility. But God regards the injury done to them through misrepresentation, falsehood, or abuse as though it were done unto Himself, and will punish accordingly.  {4T 167.2}

     The princes of Judah had heard concerning the words of Jeremiah and came up from the king’s house and sat in the entry of the Lord’s house. “Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.” But Jeremiah stood boldly before the princes and the people, declaring: “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God;

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and the Lord will repent Him of the evil that He hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the Lord hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.”  {4T 167.3}

     Had the prophet been intimidated by the threats of those in high authority and the clamoring of the rabble, his message would have been without effect, and he would have lost his life. But the courage with which he discharged his painful duty commanded the respect of the people and turned the princes of Israel in his favor. Thus God raised up defenders for His servant. They reasoned with the priests and false prophets, showing them how unwise would be the extreme measures which they advocated.  {4T 168.1}

     The influence of these powerful persons produced a reaction in the minds of the people. Then the elders united in protesting against the decision of the priests regarding the fate of Jeremiah. They cited the case of Micah, who prophesied judgments upon Jerusalem, saying: “Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest.” They put to them the question: “Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the Lord, and besought the Lord, and the Lord repented Him of the evil which He had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls.”  {4T 168.2}

     So, through the pleading of Ahikam and others, the prophet Jeremiah’s life was spared; although many of the priests and false prophets would have been pleased had he been put to death on the plea of sedition, for they could not endure the truths that he uttered exposing their wickedness.  {4T 168.3}

     But Israel remained unrepentant, and the Lord saw that they must be punished for their sin; so He instructed Jeremiah to make yokes and bonds and place them upon his neck, and

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to send them to the kings of Edom, of Moab, of the Ammonites, and of Tyrus and Zidon, commanding the messengers to say that God had given all these lands to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, and that all these nations should serve him and his descendants for a certain time, till God should deliver them. They were to declare that if these nations refused to serve the king of Babylon, they should be punished with famine, with the sword, and with pestilence, till they should be consumed. “Therefore,” said the Lord, “hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.”  {4T 168.4}

     Jeremiah declared that they were to wear the yoke of servitude for seventy years; and the captives that were already in the hands of the king of Babylon, and the vessels of the Lord’s house which had been taken, were also to remain in Babylon till that time had elapsed. But at the end of the seventy years God would deliver them from their captivity and would punish their oppressors and bring into subjection the proud king of Babylon.  {4T 169.1}

     Ambassadors came from the various nations named to consult with the king of Judah as to the matter of engaging in battle with the king of Babylon. But the prophet of God, bearing the symbols of subjection, delivered the message of the Lord to these nations, commanding them to bear it to their several kings. This was the lightest punishment that a merciful God could inflict upon so rebellious a people, but if they warred against this decree of servitude they were to feel the full rigor of His chastisement. They were faithfully warned not to listen to their false teachers, who prophesied lies.  {4T 169.2}

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     The amazement of the assembled council of nations knew no bounds when Jeremiah, carrying the yoke of subjection about his neck, made known to them the will of God. But Hananiah, one of the false prophets against whom God had warned His people through Jeremiah, lifted up his voice in opposition to the prophecy declared. Wishing to gain the favor of the king and his court, he affirmed that God had given him words of encouragement for the Jews. Said he: “Within two full years will I bring again into this place all the vessels of the Lord’s house, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon took away from this place, and carried them to Babylon: and I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, that went into Babylon, saith the Lord: for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”  {4T 170.1}

     Jeremiah, in the presence of all the priests and the people, said that it was the earnest wish of his heart that God would so favor His people that the vessels of the Lord’s house might be returned and the captives brought back from Babylon; but this could only be done on condition that the people repented and turned from their evil way to the obedience of God’s law. Jeremiah loved his country and ardently wished that the desolation predicted might be averted by the humiliation of the people, but he knew the wish was vain. He hoped the punishment of Israel would be as light as possible, therefore he earnestly entreated them to submit to the king of Babylon for the time that the Lord specified.  {4T 170.2}

     He entreated them to hear the words that he spoke. He cited them to the prophecies of Hosea, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and others whose messages of reproof and warning had been similar to his own. He referred them to events which had transpired in their history in fulfillment of the prophecies of retribution for unrepented sins. Sometimes, as in this case, men had arisen in opposition to the message of God and had predicted peace and prosperity to quiet the fears of the people and gain the favor of those in high places. But in every past instance the judgment of God had been visited upon Israel

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as the true prophets had indicated. Said he: “The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.” If Israel chose to run the risk, future developments would effectually decide which was the false prophet.  {4T 170.3}

     But Hananiah, incensed at this, took the yoke from Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. “And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way.” He had done his work; he had warned the people of their danger; he had pointed out the only course by which they could regain the favor of God. But though his only crime was that he had faithfully delivered the message of God to an unbelieving people, they had mocked his words, and men in responsible positions had denounced him and tried to arouse the people to put him to death.  {4T 171.1}

     But another message was given to Jeremiah: “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also. Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The Lord hath not sent thee but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the Lord. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month.”  {4T 171.2}

     This false prophet had strengthened the unbelief of the people in Jeremiah and his message. He had wickedly declared himself to be the Lord’s messenger, and he suffered death in consequence of his fearful crime. In the fifth month

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Jeremiah prophesied the death of Hananiah, and in the seventh month his death proved the words of the prophet true.  {4T 171.3}

     God had said that His people should be saved, that the yoke He would lay upon them should be light, if they submitted uncomplainingly to His plan. Their servitude was represented by a yoke of wood, which was easily borne; but resistance would be met with corresponding severity, represented by the yoke of iron. God designed to hold the king of Babylon in check, that there should be no loss of life nor galling oppression; but by scorning His warning and commands they brought upon themselves the full rigor of bondage. It was far more agreeable to the people to receive the message of the false prophet, who predicted prosperity; therefore it was received. It wounded their pride to have their sins brought continually before their eyes; they would much rather put them out of sight. They were in such moral darkness that they did not realize the enormity of their guilt nor appreciate the messages of reproof and warning given them of God. Had they had a proper sense of their disobedience they would have acknowledged the justice of the Lord’s course and recognized the authority of His prophet. God entreated them to repent, that He might spare them humiliation and that a people called by His name should not become tributary to a heathen nation; but they scoffed at His counsel and went after false prophets.  {4T 172.1}

     The Lord then commanded Jeremiah to write letters to the captains, elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been taken as captives to Babylon, bidding them not to be deluded into believing their deliverance nigh, but to quietly submit to their captors, pursue their vocations, and make for themselves peaceful homes among their conquerors. The Lord bade them not to allow their prophets or diviners to deceive them with false expectations; but He assured them by the words of Jeremiah that after seventy years of bondage they should be delivered and return to Jerusalem. He would listen to their prayers and give them His favor when they turned to Him with all their hearts. “And I will be found of you,

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saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”  {4T 172.2}

     With what tender compassion did God inform His captive people in regard to His plans for Israel. He knew what suffering and disaster they would experience were they led to believe that they should speedily be delivered from bondage and brought back to Jerusalem according to the prediction of the false prophets. He knew that this belief would make their position a very difficult one. Any demonstration of insurrection upon their part would have awakened the vigilance and severity of the king, and their liberty would have been restricted in consequence. He desired them to quietly submit to their fate and make their servitude as pleasant as possible.  {4T 173.1}

     There were two other false prophets, Ahab and Zedekiah, who prophesied lies in the name of the Lord. These men professed to be holy teachers; but their lives were corrupt, and they were slaves to the pleasures of sin. The prophet of God had condemned the evil course of these men and warned them of their danger; but, instead of repenting and reforming, they were angry with the faithful reprover of their sins and sought to thwart his work by stirring up the people to disbelieve his words and act contrary to the counsel of God in the matter of subjecting themselves to the king of Babylon. The Lord testified through Jeremiah that these false prophets should be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon and slain before his eyes, and in good time this prediction was fulfilled.  {4T 173.2}

     Other false prophets arose to sow confusion among the people by turning them away from obeying the divine commands given through Jeremiah, but God’s judgments were pronounced against them in consequence of their grievous sin of bringing rebellion against Him.  {4T 173.3}

     Just such men arise in these days and breed confusion and rebellion among the people who profess to obey the law of God. But just as certainly as divine judgment was visited

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upon the false prophets, just so surely will these evil workers receive their full measure of retribution; for the Lord has not changed. Those who prophesy lies encourage men to look upon sin as a small matter. When the terrible results of their crimes are made manifest, they seek, if possible, to make the one who has faithfully warned them responsible for their difficulties, even as the Jews charged Jeremiah with their evil fortunes.  {4T 173.4}

     Those who pursue a course of rebellion against the Lord can always find false prophets who will justify them in their acts and flatter them to their destruction. Lying words often make many friends, as in the case of Ahab and Zedekiah. These false prophets, in their pretended zeal for God, found many more believers and followers than the true prophet, who delivered the simple message of the Lord.  {4T 174.1}

               A Lesson from the Rechabites

     God commanded Jeremiah to gather the Rechabites into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers, and set wine before them and invite them to drink. Jeremiah did as the Lord commanded him. “But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons forever.”  {4T 174.2}

     Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to My words? saith the Lord. The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed, for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father’s commandment.”  {4T 174.3}

     Here God contrasts the obedience of the Rechabites with the disobedience and rebellion of His people, who will not receive His words of reproof and warning. The Rechabites obeyed the commandment of their father and refused to be enticed into transgression of his requirements. But Israel

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refused to hearken unto the Lord. He says: “I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking, but ye hearkened not unto Me. I have sent also unto you all My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto Me. Because the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have performed the commandment of their father, which he commanded them; but this people hath not hearkened unto Me; therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon Judah and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the evil that I have pronounced against them: because I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered.  {4T 174.4}

     “And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me forever.”  {4T 175.1}

     The Rechabites were commended for their ready and willing obedience, while God’s people refused to be reproved by their prophets. Because He had spoken unto them but they had not heard, because He had called unto them but they had not answered, therefore God pronounced judgment against them. Jeremiah repeated the words of commendation from the Lord to the faithful Rechabites and pronounced blessings upon them in His name. Thus God taught His people that faithfulness, and obedience to His requirements, would be reflected back upon them in blessings, as the Rechabites were blessed for their obedience to their father’s command.  {4T 175.2}

     If the directions of a good and wise father, who took the best and most effectual means to secure his posterity against the evil of intemperance, were to be so strictly obeyed, God’s

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authority should be held in as much greater reverence as He is holier than man. He is our Creator and commander, infinite in power and terrible in judgment. In mercy He employs a variety of means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. If they will continue to disregard the reproofs He sends them, and act contrary to His declared will, ruin must follow; for God’s people are kept in prosperity only by His mercy, through the care of His heavenly messengers. He will not uphold and guard a people who disregard His counsel and despise His reproofs.  {4T 175.3}

              The Warnings of God Rejected

     Jeremiah was already deprived of his liberty because he would obey God and give to the king and others occupying responsible positions in Israel the words of warning which he had received from the mouth of God. The Israelites would not accept these reproofs nor allow their course to be questioned. They had manifested great anger and contempt at the words of rebuke and at the judgments which were predicted to come upon them if they continued in rebellion against the Lord. Although Israel would not hear the word of divine counsel, it did not make that word of less effect, neither did God cease to reprove and to threaten with His displeasure and His judgments those who refused to obey His requirements.  {4T 176.1}

     The Lord directed Jeremiah, saying: “Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”  {4T 176.2}

     Here is shown the Lord’s reluctance to give up His sinning people. And lest Israel had so far neglected His reproofs and warnings as to let them pass from their memory, He delays His judgments upon them and gives them a full

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rehearsal of their disobedience and aggravating sins from the days of Josiah down to their own time, and of the judgments He had pronounced in consequence of their transgressions. Thus they had another opportunity to see their iniquity and repent. In this we see that God does not delight in afflicting His people; but with a care that surpasses that of a pitying father for a wayward child, He entreats His wandering people to return to their own allegiance.  {4T 176.3}

     The prophet Jeremiah, in obedience to the commands of God, dictated the words that the Lord gave him to Baruch, his scribe, who wrote them upon a roll. See Jeremiah 36:4. This message was a reproof of the many sins of Israel and a warning of the consequences that would follow a continuance of their evil course. It was an earnest appeal for them to renounce their sins. After it was written, Jeremiah, who was a prisoner, sent his scribe to read the roll to all the people who had assembled “in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day.” Said the prophet: “It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will return everyone from his evil way; for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people.”  {4T 177.1}

     The scribe obeyed the prophet, and the roll was read before all the people of Judah. But this was not all; he was summoned to read it before the princes. They listened with great interest, and fear was stamped upon their faces as they questioned Baruch concerning the mysterious writing. They promised to tell the king all they had heard in regard to him and his people, but counseled the scribe to hide himself, as they feared that the king would reject the testimony God had given through Jeremiah, and seek to slay not only the prophet, but his scribe.  {4T 177.2}

     When the king was told by the princes of what Baruch had read, he immediately ordered the roll brought and read to him. But instead of heeding its warnings and trembling at the danger that hung over himself and his people, in a frenzy of rage he flung it into the fire, notwithstanding certain ones who were high in his confidence had begged him not to burn

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  1. When the wrath of this wicked monarch rose against Jeremiah and his scribe, and he forthwith sent for them to be taken; but the Lord hid them.” After the king had burned the sacred roll, the word of God came to Jeremiah, saying: “Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned. And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?” {4T 177.3}

     A merciful God had graciously warned the people for their good. “It may be,” said the compassionate Creator, “that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them, that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” God pities the blindness and perversity of man; He sends light to their darkened understanding in reproofs and threatenings which are designed to make the most exalted feel their ignorance and deplore their errors. He would cause the self-complacent to feel dissatisfied with their attainments and seek greater blessings by closer connection with heaven.  {4T 178.1}

     God’s plan is not to send messengers who will please and flatter sinners; He delivers no messages of peace to lull the unsanctified into carnal security. But He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces his soul with sharp arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God, to deepen the sense of his great need and prompt the agonizing cry: “What shall I do to be saved?” The very hand that humbles to the dust, rebukes sin, puts pride and ambition to shame, lifts up the penitent, stricken one, and inquires with deepest sympathy: “What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?”  {4T 178.2}

     When man has sinned against a holy and merciful God, he can pursue no course so noble as to sincerely repent and confess his errors in tears and bitterness of soul. This God requires of him; He will accept of nothing less than a broken

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heart and a contrite spirit. But the king and his lords, in their arrogance and pride, refused the invitation of God to return; they would not heed this warning and repent. This gracious opportunity was their last. God had declared that if they refused to hear His voice, He would inflict upon them fearful retribution. They did refuse to hear, and He pronounced His judgments upon Israel; He visited with special wrath the man who had proudly lifted himself up against the Almighty.  {4T 178.3}

     “Therefore thus saith the Lord of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not.”  {4T 179.1}

     The burning of the roll was not the end of the matter. The written words were more easily disposed of than the reproof and warning which they contained and the swift-coming punishment which God had pronounced against rebellious Israel. But even the written roll was reproduced at the command of the Lord. The words of the Infinite were not to be destroyed. “Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.”  {4T 179.2}

     God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent. The wrath of man sought to prevent the labors of the prophet of God by depriving him of his liberty; but God can speak to men through prison walls, and even increase the usefulness of His servants through the very means by which their persecutors seek to limit their influence.  {4T 179.3}

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     Many now despise the faithful reproof given of God in testimony. I have been shown that some in these days have even gone so far as to burn the written words of rebuke and warning, as did the wicked king of Israel. But opposition to God’s threatenings will not hinder their execution. To defy the words of the Lord, spoken through His chosen instruments, will only provoke His anger and eventually bring certain ruin upon the offender. Indignation often kindles in the heart of the sinner against the agent whom God chooses to deliver His reproofs. It has ever been thus, and the same spirit exists today that persecuted and imprisoned Jeremiah for obeying the word of the Lord.  {4T 180.1}

     While men will not heed repeated warnings, they are pleased with false teachers who flatter their vanity and strengthen their iniquity, but who will fail to help them in the day of trouble. God’s chosen servants should meet with courage and patience whatever trials and sufferings befall them through reproach, neglect, or misrepresentations because they faithfully discharge the duty that God has given them to do. They should remember that the prophets of old and the Saviour of the world also endured abuse and persecution for the word’s sake. They must expect to meet just such opposition as was manifested by the burning of the roll that was written by the dictation of God.  {4T 180.2}

     The Lord is fitting a people for heaven. The defects of character, the stubborn will, the selfish idolatry, the indulgence of faultfinding, hatred, and contention, provoke the wrath of God and must be put away from His commandment-keeping people. Those living in these sins are deceived and blinded by the wiles of Satan. They think that they are in the light when they are groping in darkness. There are murmurers among us now, even as there were murmurers among ancient Israel. Those who by unwise sympathy encourage men in rebellion when their self-love is smarting beneath merited reproof are not the friends of God, the great Reprover. God will send reproof and warning to His people as long as they continue upon earth.  {4T 180.3}

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     Those who valiantly take their position on the right side, who encourage submission to God’s revealed will and strengthen others in their efforts to put away their wrong-doings, are the true friends of the Lord, who in love is trying to correct the errors of His people, that He may wash them and, cleansing them from every defilement, fit them for His holy kingdom.  {4T 181.1}

     Zedekiah succeeded Jehoiakim in reigning at Jerusalem. But neither the new king nor his court nor the people of the land hearkened to the words of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah. The Chaldeans commenced the siege against Jerusalem, but were diverted for a time to turn their arms against the Egyptians. Zedekiah sent a messenger to Jeremiah, asking him to pray to the God of Israel in their behalf; but the prophet’s fearful answer was that the Chaldean army would return and destroy the city. Thus the Lord showed them how impossible it is for man to avert divine judgment. “Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us; for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.”  {4T 181.2}

     Jeremiah considered his work done and attempted to leave the city; but he was prevented by a son of one of the false prophets, who reported that he was about to join the enemy. Jeremiah denied the lying charge, but nevertheless he was brought back. The princes were ready to believe the son of the false prophet because they hated Jeremiah. They seemed to think that he had brought upon them the calamity which he had predicted. In their wrath they smote him and imprisoned him.  {4T 181.3}

     After he had remained in the dungeon many days, Zedekiah the king sent for him and asked him secretly if there was any word from the Lord. Jeremiah again repeated his warning that the nation would be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.  {4T 181.4}

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     “Moreover Jeremiah said unto King Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land? Therefore hear now, I pray thee, O my lord the king: let my supplication, I pray thee, be accepted before thee; that thou cause me not to return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there. Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers street, until all the bread in the city were spent. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.”  {4T 182.1}

     The wicked king dared not openly manifest any faith in Jeremiah, but his fear drove him to seek information of him. Yet he was too weak to brave the disapprobation of his nobles and of the people by submitting to the will of God as declared by the prophet. At last men in authority who were enraged because Jeremiah persisted in prophesying evil went to the king and told him that as long as the prophet lived he would not cease to predict calamity. They urged that he was an enemy to the nation and that his words had weakened the hands of the people and brought misfortune upon them, and they wanted him put to death.  {4T 182.2}

     The cowardly king knew these charges were false; but in order to propitiate those who occupied high and influential positions in the nation, he feigned to believe their falsehoods and gave Jeremiah into their hands to do with him as they pleased. Accordingly the prophet was taken and cast “into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire.” But God raised up friends for him who besought the king in his behalf and had him again removed to the court of the prison.  {4T 182.3}

     Once more the king sent privately for Jeremiah and bade

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him faithfully relate the purpose of God toward Jerusalem. “Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me? So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.” Then Jeremiah again sounded the Lord’s note of warning in the ears of the king. Said he: “Thus saith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house: but if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me. But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.”  {4T 182.4}

     Here was exhibited the long-suffering mercy of God. Even at that late hour, if there were submission to His requirements, the lives of the people would be spared and the city saved from conflagration. But the king thought he had gone too far to retract. He was afraid of the Jews, afraid of becoming a subject of ridicule, afraid for his life. It was too humiliating, at that late day, to say to the people: “I accept the word of the Lord as spoken through His prophet Jeremiah. I dare not venture to war against the enemy in the face of all these warnings.”  {4T 183.1}

     With tears Jeremiah entreated the king to save himself and his people. With anguish of spirit he assured him that he could not escape with his life, and that all his possessions would fall to the king of Babylon. He could save the city if he would. But he had started upon the wrong track and

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would not retrace his steps. He decided to follow the counsel of false prophets and of men whom he really despised and who ridiculed his weakness of character in yielding so readily to their wishes. He yielded the noble freedom of his manhood to become a cringing slave to public opinion. While he had no fixed purpose of evil, he also had no resolution to stand boldly for the right. While he was convicted of the truth as spoken by Jeremiah, he did not possess the moral stamina to obey his counsel, but advanced steadily in the wrong direction.  {4T 183.2}

     He was even too weak to be willing that his courtiers and people should know that he had held a conference with the prophet, so far had the fear of man taken possession of his soul. If this cowardly ruler had stood bravely before his people and declared that he believed the words of the prophet, already half-fulfilled, what desolation might have been averted! He should have said: “I will obey the Lord and save the city from utter ruin. I dare not disregard the commands of God for the fear or favor of men. I love the truth, I hate sin, and I will follow the counsel of the Mighty One of Israel.” Then the people would have respected his courageous spirit, and those who were wavering between faith and unbelief would have taken a firm stand for the right. The very fearlessness and justice of this course would have inspired his subjects with admiration and loyalty. He would have had ample support, and Israel would have been spared the untold woe of fire and carnage and famine.  {4T 184.1}

     But the weakness of Zedekiah was a crime for which he paid a fearful penalty. The enemy swept down like a resistless avalanche and devastated the city. The Hebrew armies were beaten back in confusion. The nation was conquered. Zedekiah was taken prisoner, and his sons were slain before his eyes. Then he was led away from Jerusalem a captive, hearing the shrieks of his wretched people and the roaring of the flames that were devouring their homes. His eyes were put out, and when he arrived at Babylon he perished miserably.

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This was the punishment of unbelief and following ungodly counsel.  {4T 184.2}

     There are many false prophets in these days, to whom sin does not appear specially repulsive. They complain that the peace of the people is unnecessarily disturbed by the reproofs and warnings of God’s messengers. As for them, they lull the souls of sinners into a fatal ease by their smooth and deceitful teachings. Ancient Israel was thus charmed by the flattering messages of the corrupt priests. Their prediction of prosperity was more pleasing than the message of the true prophet, who counseled repentance and submission.  {4T 185.1}

     The servants of God should manifest a tender, compassionate spirit and show to all that they are not actuated by any personal motives in their dealings with the people, and that they do not take delight in giving messages of wrath in the name of the Lord. But they must never flinch from pointing out the sins that are corrupting the professed people of God, nor cease striving to influence them to turn from their errors and obey the Lord.  {4T 185.2}

     Those who seek to cloak sin and make it appear less aggravating to the mind of the offender are doing the work of the false prophets and may expect the retributive wrath of God to follow such a course. The Lord will never accommodate His ways to the wishes of corrupt men. The false prophet condemned Jeremiah for afflicting the people with his severe denunciations, and he sought to reassure them by promising them prosperity, thinking that the poor people should not be continually reminded of their sins and threatened with punishment. This course strengthened the people to resist the true prophet’s counsel and intensified their enmity toward him.  {4T 185.3}

     God has no sympathy with the evildoer. He gives no one liberty to gloss over the sins of His people, nor to cry, “Peace, peace,” when He has declared that there shall be no peace for the wicked. Those who stir up rebellion against the servants whom God sends to deliver His messages are rebelling against the word of the Lord.  {4T 185.4}

Chap. 18 – Faithful Reproofs Necessary

     The following testimony, given in my last vision, January 5, 1875, I wrote in my tent between the services of the Vermont camp meeting, August, 1875. It sets forth the condition of things at —– in January, 1875. Developments during the following summer fully justified the apparent severity of the testimony. In September I read portions of it to that church, and a great work commenced under our labors; yet, for the benefit of that church and others, I give the testimony in this humble work.  {4T 186.1}

     Darkness is getting the control where only the Spirit of God should rule. But few who engage in the work realize the necessity of personal effort and individual responsibility in whatever department they occupy. Few feel the sacredness of the work in which they are engaged. They regard it as upon a common level with ordinary enterprises.  {4T 186.2}

     Selfishness predominates with many who should know that a life of self-sacrificing love is a life of peace and liberty. Those who seek happiness by gratifying themselves and looking out mainly for their own interests are on the wrong track to secure happiness even upon earth. Whoever is unfaithful in the least of his duties is unfaithful in greater ones. If he neglects to faithfully perform the small tasks devolving upon him, he proves himself incapable of bearing weightier responsibilities; he indicates that he is not wholehearted in the work and that he does not have an eye single to the glory of God.  {4T 186.3}

     Some are ready to define the duties that belong to others, and realize the full importance of their responsibilities, but fail to readily perceive their own. Personal fidelity and individual responsibility are needed especially in the Health Institute [now sanitarium], and in the office, the church, and the school. If all connected with these institutions were listening eagerly to hear what Jesus directed them to do, instead of turning to ask what this man or that man shall do, we should

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witness a great change in every department of the work. If the language of each heart was, “I must listen to Christ’s teachings, and obey His voice; no one can do my work for me; the attention of others can never repair my negligence,” then we might see the cause of God advancing as it has never yet advanced.  {4T 186.4}

     It is this holding back, waiting for others to do, that brings spiritual feebleness. To reserve one’s energies is a sure way to lessen them. Jesus requires implicit obedience and willing submission from all His servants. There must be no halting or self-indulgence in the service of Christ. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. What a lack of devotion to the work of God, what a want of caretaking, has there been at —–.  {4T 187.1}

     The heart of A has not been devoted to God. He has capabilities and talents for which he must render an account to the great Giver of all. His heart has been unconsecrated and his life unworthy of his profession; yet he has been closely connected with the sacred work of God for more than a score of years. What light he has had, what privileges! He has enjoyed the rarest opportunities to develop a substantial Christian character. The words of Christ when He wept over Jerusalem are applicable to him: “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” A, the retribution of God hangs over you, “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”  {4T 187.2}

     B is of the same cast of mind, but not so thoroughly selfish. Both are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Their course is entirely inconsistent with the Christian life. They lack stability, sobriety, and devotion to God. With B the work of grace is altogether too superficial. He desires to be a Christian, but does not strive to maintain the victory over self and act up to his convictions of right and wrong. Deeds, not idle words and empty intentions, are acceptable to God.  {4T 187.3}

     A, you have heard the word of God in reproofs, in counsels, in warnings, as well as in the entreaties of love. But hearing

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is not enough. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” It is easy to be borne along by the current, and to cry Hosannah with the multitude; but in the calm of everyday life, when there is no special excitement or exaltation, then comes the test of true Christianity. It is then that your heart becomes cold, and your zeal abates, and religious exercises become distasteful to you.  {4T 187.4}

     You positively neglect to do the will of God. Says Christ: “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” This is the condition imposed; this is the test that proves men’s characters. Feelings are often deceiving, emotions are no sure safeguard; for they are variable and subject to external circumstances. Many are deluded by relying on sensational impressions. The test is: What are you doing for Christ? What sacrifices are you making? What victories are you gaining? A selfish spirit overcome, a temptation to neglect duty resisted, passion subdued, and willing, cheerful obedience rendered to the will of Christ are far greater evidences that you are a child of God than spasmodic piety and emotional religion.  {4T 188.1}

     Both of you have been averse to reproof; it has ever awakened disaffection and murmuring in your hearts against your best Friend, who has ever sought to do you good, and whom you have every reason to respect. You have separated yourselves from Him and have vexed the Spirit of God by rising up against the words He has given His servants to speak in regard to your course. You have not listened to these admonitions, and have thus rejected the Spirit of God and turned it from your hearts, and have become careless and indifferent in your deportment.  {4T 188.2}

     Brother A, you should have gained a valuable experience during the many years that you have been blessed with the great light God has permitted to shine upon your pathway. I heard a voice saying in reference to you: “It is an unfruitful tree; why should its fruitless branches shadow the space that a fruitful tree might occupy? Cut it down; for why cumbereth it the ground?” Then I heard the pleading tones of Mercy’s sweet voice, saying: “Spare it a little longer. I will

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dig about its roots; I will prune it. Give it one more trial; if it fails to be fruitful then, you may cut it down.” So a little longer probation is granted the unproductive tree, a little longer time for the barren life to blossom and bear fruit. Will the opportunity given be improved? Will the warnings of God’s Spirit be heeded? The words of Jesus in regard to Jerusalem after she had slighted the salvation graciously offered by her Redeemer are also, in substance, spoken unto you: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Christ pleaded, He invited; but His love was unrequited by the people He came to save. You have done no better in your day than did the poor, self-deceived and blinded Jews in theirs. You might have improved your blessed privileges and opportunities, and perfected Christian character; but your heart has been rebellious, and you “would not” humble yourself to be truly converted and live in obedience to God’s requirements.  {4T 188.3}

     The unreconciled feelings and murmurings which have been expressed by some have also been festering in your soul, although you have not dared to speak out plainly to the same effect. It would have been better for the office and for all concerned had you been separated from it years ago. The more light you have had, the more privileges you have enjoyed, the less sincerity and righteousness have you manifested. Your heart has been carnal, and you have neglected the expressed word of God. Although you have been hedged about with warnings and counsels, and have had the strongest evidence that God was in this work and that His voice was speaking to you, yet you have slighted and rejected solemn reproofs, and gone on in your own selfish, willful way.  {4T 189.1}

     Sometimes your fears have been aroused, but still you have never realized your wretched spiritual condition and absolute danger. You have repeatedly fallen back again into the same state of indifference and selfishness. Your repentance has never gone deep enough to perfect a thorough reformation. You have had a surface work, but not that entire transformation

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which is necessary in order to bring you into acceptance with God. “He that followeth Me,” says Christ, “shall not walk in darkness.” But through the greater part of your professed Christian life you have walked in darkness because you have failed to connect with heaven and receive the pure light of God’s Spirit.  {4T 189.2}

     If you were in daily communion with the Lord and cultivated a love for souls you would grow out of self and become an earnest worker in the vineyard of the Lord. You would perceive how the faithful performance of the duties of life would preserve you from self-love and self-gratification. You have not been diligent, seeking to gain an advanced experience every day. You should be at this time a trusty man in any position of responsibility, but selfishness has marked the performance of everything you have set your hand to do. You have been wise in your own conceit, but have failed to gain wisdom from the experience of many years.  {4T 190.1}

     B has been vain. He might have moved steadily forward, growing in grace, but the external appearance has seemed to him more important than the inward adorning, even the garment of a meek and quiet spirit, which God accounts of great value. Unbelievers who have been employed in the office, but have not had the light of present truth as you have had, have nevertheless been far more faithful and conscientious than either of you whom I am addressing. If you had been diligently gathering with Christ, some of these would now be with us in the truth. But your lives were a stumbling block to them. God looks upon these unbelievers with greater pity and favor than upon those who believe the truth, yet deny Him in their works. That belief that is laid aside when convenient, and put on and off like a garment, is not the religion of Christ, but a spurious article that will not bear the tests even of this world.  {4T 190.2}

     True religion is ever distinctly seen in our words and deportment, and in every act of life. With the followers of Christ, religion should never be divorced from business. They should go hand in hand, and God’s commandments should

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be strictly regarded in all the details of worldly matters. The knowledge that we are children of God should give a high tone of character even to the everyday duties of life, making us not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit. Such a religion as this bears the scrutiny of a critical world with a grand consciousness of integrity.  {4T 190.3}

     Every workman in the office should consider himself God’s steward and should do his work with exactness and faithful vigilance. The constant inquiry should be: “Is this in accordance with the will of God? Will this please my Redeemer?” Bible religion elevates the reason until Christ is blended with all the thoughts. Every action, every word, and every moment of our lives should bear the impress of our holy faith. The end of all things is at hand, and we have no time to be idle or to live in pleasure, at cross-purposes with God.  {4T 191.1}

     The Lord will not be trifled with. Those who neglect His mercies and blessings in this day of opportunities will bring impenetrable darkness upon themselves and will be candidates for the wrath of God. Sodom and Gomorrah were visited with the curse of the Almighty for their sins and iniquities. There are those in our day who have equally abused the mercies of God and slighted His warnings. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who bear the name of Christ, yet dishonor Him by their unconsecrated lives. This class are laying up for themselves a fearful retribution when God in His wrath shall visit them with His judgments.  {4T 191.2}

     Sinners who have not had the light and privileges that Seventh-day Adventists have enjoyed will, in their ignorance, be in a more favorable position before God than those who have been unfaithful while in close connection with His work and professing to love and serve Him. The tears of Christ upon the mount came from an anguished, breaking heart because of His unrequited love and the ingratitude of His chosen people. He had labored untiringly to save them from the fate that they seemed determined to bring upon themselves, but they refused His mercy and knew not the time of

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their visitation. Their day of privilege was ending, yet they were so blinded by sin that they knew it not.  {4T 191.3}

     Jesus looked down through the centuries even to the close of time, and, taking in the cases of all who had repaid His love and admonitions with selfishness and neglect, and all who would thus repay Him, He addressed to them those solemn words, declaring that they knew not the time of their visitation. The Jews were gathering about themselves the dark clouds of retribution, and many today, in like manner, are drawing upon themselves the wrath of God, because of opportunities unimproved, the counsels and love of Jesus scorned, and His servants despised and hated for speaking the truth.  {4T 192.1}

     There is no place on the face of the earth where so great light has been granted as at —–. Even Jerusalem of old was not more highly favored with the beams of heaven’s light shining upon the way that her people should tread. Yet they have failed to walk, by faithful obedience, in the full radiance of the light, serving God night and day. A sickly, dwarfed religion is the result of neglecting to follow the revealed light of the Spirit of the Lord. Energy and love increase as we exercise them, and the Christian graces can be developed only by careful cultivation.  {4T 192.2}

               Necessity of Family Discipline

     The state of many in —– is truly alarming; especially is this the case with a majority of the youth. Families have moved to the place with the understanding that they were not to burden the church, but to be a help to it. With a considerable number the result has been quite the contrary. The neglect of parents to properly discipline their children has been a fruitful source of evil in many families. The youth have not been restrained as they should have been. Parents have neglected to follow the directions of the word of God in this matter, and the children have taken the reins of government into their own hands. The consequence has been that they have generally succeeded in ruling their parents instead of being under their authority.  {4T 192.3}

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     The parents are blind to the true state of their children, who have succeeded in entirely deceiving them. But those who have lost the control of their children are not pleased when others seek to control them or to point out their defects for the purpose of correcting them. The cause of God has been retarded in —– by parents’ bringing their unruly and undisciplined children into this large church. Many are living in constant neglect of their duty to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; yet these very ones have most to say concerning the wickedness of the youth in —–, when it is the wrong example and evil influence of their own children that have demoralized the young people with whom they have associated.  {4T 193.1}

     Such families have brought upon this church its heaviest burdens. They come with false ideas. They seem to expect the church to be faultless and that it will take the responsibility of making Christians of those very children whom they, as parents, are unable to control or keep within bounds. They throw themselves upon the church, a terrible and crushing weight. They might be a help if they would yield their selfishness and strive to honor God and to repair the mistakes they made in their lives. But they do no such thing; they hold themselves aloof, ready to criticize the lack of spirituality in the church, whose greatest calamity is that it numbers among its members too many like themselves–dead weights, persons whose hearts and lives are unconsecrated, and whose course is all wrong. The institutions located at —– have carried along too many diseased and lifeless bodies for their own prosperity and spiritual vitality.  {4T 193.2}

                  Criticizing Burden Bearers

     The church is suffering for want of unselfish Christian workers. If all who are, as a rule, unable to resist temptation and are too weak to stand alone would remain away from —–, there would be a much purer spiritual atmosphere

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in that place. Those who live upon the husks of others’ failings and deficiencies, and who gather to themselves the unwholesome miasma of their neighbors’ neglects and shortcomings, making themselves church scavengers, are no advantage to the society of which they form a part, but are an actual burden to the community upon which they inflict themselves.  {4T 193.3}

     The church is in need, not of burdens, but of earnest workers; not of faultfinders, but of builders in Zion. Missionaries are really needed at the great heart of the work–men who will keep the fort, who will be true as steel to preserve the honor of those whom God has placed at the head of His work, and who will do their utmost to sustain the cause in all its departments, even at the sacrifice of their own interests and lives, if need be. But I was shown that there are but few who have the truth wrought into their very souls, who can bear the searching test of God. There are many who have taken hold of the truth, but the truth has not taken hold of them, to transform their hearts and cleanse them from all selfishness. There are those who come to —– to help in the work, as well as many of the old members, who have a fearful account to render to God for the hindrance they have been to the work through their self-love and unconsecrated lives.  {4T 194.1}

     Religion has no saving virtue if the characters of those professing it do not correspond with their profession. God has graciously given great light to His people in —–; but Satan has his work to accomplish, and he brings his power to bear most strongly at the great heart of the work. He seizes men and women who are selfish and unconsecrated, and makes of them sentinels to watch the faithful servants of God, to question their words, their actions, and their motives, and to find fault and murmur at their reproofs and warnings. Through them he creates suspicion and jealousy, and seeks to weaken the courage of the faithful, to please the unsanctified, and to bring to nought the labors of God’s servants.  {4T 194.2}

     Satan has had great power over the minds of parents through their undisciplined children. The sin of parental neglect stands marked against many Sabbathkeeping parents.

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The spirit of gossip and talebearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions. Brethren and sisters are too ready to talk of the faults and errors that they think exist in others, and especially in those who have borne unflinchingly the messages of reproof and warning given them of God.  {4T 194.3}

     The children of these complainers listen with open ears and receive the poison of disaffection. Parents are thus blindly closing the avenues through which the hearts of the children might be reached. How many families season their daily meals with doubt and questionings. They dissect the characters of their friends, and serve them up as a dainty dessert. A precious bit of slander is passed around the board to be commented upon, not only by adults, but by children. In this God is dishonored. Jesus said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Therefore Christ is slighted and abused by those who slander His servants.  {4T 195.1}

     The names of God’s chosen servants have been handled with disrespect, and in some cases with absolute contempt, by certain persons whose duty it is to uphold them. The children have not failed to hear the disrespectful remarks of their parents in reference to the solemn reproofs and warnings of God’s servants. They have understood the scornful jests and depreciatory speeches that from time to time have met their ears, and the tendency has been to bring sacred and eternal interests, in their minds, on a level with the common affairs of the world. What a work are these parents doing in making infidels of their children even in their childhood! This is the way that children are taught to be irreverent and to rebel against Heaven’s reproof of sin. Spiritual declension can but prevail where such evils exist. These very fathers and mothers, blinded by the enemy, marvel why their children are so inclined to unbelief and to doubt the truth of the Bible. They wonder that it is so difficult to reach them by moral and religious influences. Had they spiritual eyesight, they would

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at once discover that this deplorable condition of things is the result of their own home influence, the offspring of their jealousy and distrust. Thus many infidels are educated in the family circles of professed Christians.  {4T 195.2}

     There are many who find special enjoyment in discoursing and dwelling upon the defects, whether real or imaginary, of those who bear heavy responsibilities in connection with the institutions of God’s cause. They overlook the good that has been accomplished, the benefits that have resulted from arduous labor and unflinching devotion to the cause, and fasten their attention upon some apparent mistake, some matter that, after it has been done and the consequences have followed, they fancy could have been done in a better manner with fairer results, when the truth is, had they been left to do the work, they would either have refused to move at all under the attending discouragements of the case, or would have managed more indiscreetly than those who did do the work, following the opening of God’s providence.  {4T 196.1}

     But these unruly talkers will fasten upon the more disagreeable features of the work, even as the lichen clings to the roughness of the rock. These persons are spiritually dwarfed by continually dwelling upon the failings and faults of others. They are morally incapable of discerning good and noble actions, unselfish endeavors, true heroism, and self-sacrifice. They are not becoming nobler and loftier in their lives and hopes, more generous and broad in their ideas and plans. They are not cultivating that charity that should characterize the Christian’s life. They are degenerating every day and are becoming narrower in their prejudices and views. Littleness is their element, and the atmosphere that surrounds them is poisonous to peace and happiness.  {4T 196.2}

     The great sin of —– is a neglect to cherish the light which God has given them through His servants. Said Christ to His apostles: “He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.” Here it is made plain that those who reject the messages of God’s servants reject not only the Son, but also the Father.  {4T 196.3}

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     Again He says: “But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.”  {4T 197.1}

     How awfully solemn are these words! How important that we should not be found rejecting the warnings and admonitions that God delivers through His humble instruments; for in slighting the light brought by His messengers, we slight the Saviour of the world, the King of glory. Many are running this terrible risk and are thus bringing upon themselves the condemnation of God. The Almighty will not be trifled with, nor allow His voice to be disregarded with impunity.  {4T 197.2}

               Evils of Lax Discipline

     Brethren C and D did not bring that relief to the cause at —– that they should have brought. Had they both taken hold humbly, in the fear of God, and persevered in well-doing both in the church and the office, they would have been a great blessing to the work of God. Had they felt their accountability to God for the training and discipline of their children they would have been worthy examples to others. These children needed not only the education acquired at school, but home training also, that their mental and moral powers might be developed in due proportion, each having the requisite exercise. The physical, mental, and spiritual

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capabilities should be developed in order to form a properly balanced character.  {4T 197.3}

     Children should be watched, guarded, and disciplined in order to successfully accomplish this. It requires skill and patient effort to mold the young in the right manner. Certain evil tendencies are to be carefully restrained and tenderly rebuked; the mind is to be stimulated in favor of the right. The child should be encouraged in attempting to govern self, and all this is to be done judiciously, or the purpose desired is frustrated.  {4T 198.1}

     Parents may well inquire: “Who is sufficient for these things?” God alone is their sufficiency, and if they leave Him out of the question, seeking not His aid and counsel, hopeless indeed is their task. But by prayer, by study of the Bible, and by earnest zeal on their part they may succeed nobly in this important duty and be repaid a hundredfold for all their time and care. But gossiping and anxiety concerning the external appearance have taken the precious time that should have been devoted to prayer for wisdom and strength from God to fulfill their most sacred trust. Parents who are wise unto salvation will so order their surroundings that they will be favorable to the formation of correct characters in their children. This is almost always in their power. The source of wisdom is open, from which they may draw all necessary knowledge in this direction.  {4T 198.2}

     The Bible, a volume rich in instruction, should be their textbook. If they train their children according to its precepts they not only set their young feet in the right path, but they educate themselves in their most holy duties. Impressions made upon the minds of the young are hard to efface. How important, then, that these impressions should be of the right sort, bending the elastic faculties of youth in the right direction.  {4T 198.3}

     Certain parents have come to —– with their children and dropped them into the church as if they resigned from thenceforth all responsibility of their moral and religious training. Brother and Sister C and Brother and Sister D have made a decided failure in disciplining their children as well as in

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properly regulating themselves. Their children have gloried in their freedom to do as they pleased. They have been released from home responsibilities and have despised restraint. A life of usefulness appears to them like a life of drudgery. Lax government at home has unfitted them for any position, and as a natural consequence they have rebelled against school discipline. Their complaints have been received and credited by their parents, who, in sympathizing with their imaginary troubles, have encouraged their children in wrong-doing. These parents have in many instances believed positive untruths that have been palmed off upon them by their deceiving children. A few such cases of unruly and dissembling children would do much toward breaking down all authority in the school and demoralizing the young people of our church.  {4T 198.4}

     There is perfect order in heaven, perfect concord and agreement. If parents so neglect to bring their children under proper authority here, how can they hope that they will be considered fit companions for the holy angels in a world of peace and harmony? Indulgent parents, who justify their children in their wrongdoing, are thereby creating an element that will bring discord into society and subvert the authority of both school and church.  {4T 199.1}

     Children need watchful care and guidance as never before; for Satan is striving to gain the control of their minds and hearts, and to drive out the Spirit of God. The fearful state of the youth of this age constitutes one of the strongest signs that we are living in the last days, but the ruin of many may be traced directly to the wrong management of the parents. The spirit of murmuring against reproof has been taking root and is bearing its fruit of insubordination. While the parents are not pleased with the characters their children are developing, they fail to see the errors that make them what they are.  {4T 199.2}

     Eli remonstrated with his sons, but did not act promptly in restraining them. The ease-loving, affectionate father was warned of God that retribution would follow his neglect, but even then he did not feel the importance of at once putting

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the disgusting evil away from Israel. He should have taken prompt measures himself; but instead of this he said, with remarkable submission: “It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth Him good.” If he had been aroused to the full guilt of his neglect, Israel might have been saved from the humiliation of defeat, and the ark of God would not have fallen into the enemy’s hands.  {4T 199.3}

     God condemns the negligence that dallies with sin and crime, and the insensibility that is slow to detect its baleful presence in the families of professed Christians. He holds parents accountable in a great degree for the faults and follies of their offspring. God visited with His curse not only the sons of Eli, but Eli himself, and this fearful example should be a warning to the parents of this time.  {4T 200.1}

     As I looked upon the perilous situation of our youth, and was shown how indifferent the parents are to their welfare, my heart was sick and faint; angels were troubled and wept with grief. The youth are passing into the world, and into the hands of Satan. They are becoming less susceptible to the sweet influences of the grace of God, bolder and more defiant, and manifest increasing disregard of eternal interests. I saw Satan planting his banner in the households of those who profess to be God’s chosen ones, but those who are walking in the light should be able to discern the difference between the black banner of the adversary and the bloodstained standard of Christ.  {4T 200.2}

     Children should be taught by precept and example. Parents should meet their grave responsibilities with fear and trembling. Fervent prayers should be offered for divine strength and guidance in this task. In many families the seeds of vanity and selfishness are sown in the hearts of the children almost during babyhood. Their cunning little sayings and doings are commented upon and praised in their presence, and repeated with exaggerations to others. The little ones take note of this and swell with self-importance; they presume to interrupt conversations, and become forward and impudent. Flattery and indulgence foster their vanity and willfulness,

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until the youngest not unfrequently rules the whole family, father and mother included.  {4T 200.3}

     The disposition formed by this sort of training cannot be laid aside as the child matures to riper judgment. It grows with his growth, and what might have appeared cunning in the baby becomes contemptible and wicked in the man or woman. They seek to rule over their associates, and if any refuse to yield to their wishes they consider themselves aggrieved and insulted. This is because they have been indulged to their injury in youth, instead of being taught the self-denial necessary to bear the hardships and toils of life.  {4T 201.1}

     Parents frequently pet and indulge their young children because it appears easier to manage them in that way. It is smoother work to let them have their own way than to check the unruly inclinations that rise so strongly in their breasts. Yet this course is cowardly. It is a wicked thing thus to shirk responsibility; for the time will come when these children, whose unchecked inclinations have strengthened into absolute vices, will bring reproach and disgrace upon themselves and their families. They go out into busy life unprepared for its temptations, not strong enough to endure perplexities and troubles; passionate, overbearing, undisciplined, they seek to bend others to their will, and, failing in this, consider themselves ill-used by the world and turn against it.  {4T 201.2}

     The lessons of childhood, good or bad, are not learned in vain. Character is developed in youth for good or evil. At home there may be praise and false flattery; in the world each stands on his own merits. The pampered ones, to whom all home authority has yielded, are there daily subjected to mortification by being obliged to yield to others. Many are even then taught their true place by these practical lessons of life. Through rebuffs, disappointments, and plain language from their superiors they often find their true level and are humbled to understand and accept their proper place. But this is a severe and unnecessary ordeal for them to pass through, and could have been prevented by proper training in their youth.  {4T 201.3}

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     The majority of these ill-disciplined ones go through life at cross-purposes with the world, making a failure where they should have succeeded. They grow to feel that the world owes them a grudge because it does not flatter and caress them, and they take revenge by holding a grudge against the world and bidding it defiance. Circumstances sometimes oblige them to affect a humility they do not feel; but it does not fit them with a natural grace, and their true characters are sure to be exposed sooner or later.  {4T 202.1}

     If such persons have families of their own, they become arbitrary rulers at home and display there the selfish and unreasonable disposition they are forced to partially conceal from the outside world. Their dependents feel to the utmost all the faults of their early training. Why will parents educate their children in such a manner that they will be at war with those who are brought in contact with them?  {4T 202.2}

     Their religious experience is molded by the education received in childhood. The sad trials, which prove so dangerous to the prosperity of a church, and which cause the unbelieving to stumble and turn away with doubt and dissatisfaction, usually arise from an unsubdued and rebellious spirit, the offspring of parental indulgence in early youth. How many lives are wrecked, how many crimes are committed, under the influence of a quick-rising passion that might have been checked in childhood, when the mind was impressible, when the heart was easily influenced for right, and was subject to a fond mother’s will. Inefficient training of children lies at the foundation of a vast amount of moral wretchedness.  {4T 202.3}

     Children who are allowed to have their own way are not happy. The unsubdued heart has not within itself the elements of rest and contentment. The mind and heart must be disciplined and brought under proper restraint in order for the character to harmonize with the wise laws that govern our being. Restlessness and discontent are the fruits of indulgence and selfishness. The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and

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cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.  {4T 202.4}

     The youth of —– are in a startling condition. While some in the church have been burdened in regard to those occupying responsible positions, and have been finding fault and murmuring against reproof, insinuating their doubts, and gossiping of the affairs of others, their own souls have been enshrouded in darkness, and their children have been leavened with the spirit that was working upon their parents. This disposition is calculated to break down all restraint and authority. God holds these parents responsible for the malice and rebellion of the youth under their care.  {4T 203.1}

     Satan has succeeded wonderfully in his plans. Men of experience, fathers of families, who manifest a headstrong defiance when their track is crossed, show plainly that they cannot or do not control themselves. Then how can they succeed in controlling their children, who follow in their steps and rebel against their authority and all other restraint, even as they themselves rebel against the authority of the church and the institutions with which they are connected? Some of these professed Christians have yielded themselves into the hands of Satan and have become his instruments. They influence souls against the truth by exhibiting their insubordination and restless discontent. While professing righteousness, they are flying in the face of the Almighty, and before they are aware of the enormity of their sin they have accomplished the object of the adversary. The impression has been made, the shadow of darkness has been cast, the arrows of Satan have found their mark. Verily, a little leaven has leavened the entire lump. Unbelief creeps in and fastens its grasp upon minds that would have wholly accepted the truth.  {4T 203.2}

     Meanwhile, these spasmodic workers for Satan look innocently upon those who have drifted into skepticism, and who stand unmoved under reproof or entreaty. While those persons who have been thus influenced have gone farther in unbelief than even they themselves had dared to venture, they flatter themselves that in comparison with them, they are

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virtuous and righteous. They fail to understand that those sad cases are the result of their own unbridled tongues and wicked rebellion, that the tempted ones have fallen through their evil influence. They started the difficulty; they sowed the seeds of anarchy and unbelief.  {4T 203.3}

     No family is justified in bringing children to —– who are not under the control of their parents. If their parents have disregarded the word of God in the matter of instructing and training their children, —– is no place for them. They will only be the means of demoralizing the young people of that place and bringing discord where peace and prosperity should reign. Let such parents take up the neglected work of restraining and disciplining their children before they venture to impose them upon the church at —–.  {4T 204.1}

     Many are as guilty of neglect toward their children as was Eli, and the punishment of God will as surely rest upon them as upon him. The case of Brother E was a marked one. God’s hand was stretched out in the wrath of His retribution, not only over his children, but over himself also. The word of God was plain, but its admonitions had been trampled underfoot; warnings had been given him, reproofs administered, but all were unheeded, and the curse fell upon him. It is a terrible thing to neglect the education of children. Not only will they be lost in consequence, but the parents themselves, who have so far departed from God as to lose all sense of their sacred responsibility, stand in a very perilous position as regards eternal life.  {4T 204.2}

     Fond and indulgent parents, let me present for your instruction the directions given in the Bible for dealing with a rebellious son: “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them; then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; and they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

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And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”  {4T 204.3}

     Both the young and the old who are connected with the office should be looked after closely, lest their influence should be such as to work directly against the object designed by the office. If any are employed whose influence is of a character to lead away from God and the truth, there should not be a moment’s question as to the disposal of their cases. They should be separated from the office at once, for they are scattering from Christ instead of gathering with Him. They are virtually servants of Satan.  {4T 205.1}

     If there are young people connected with the office who do not respect the authority of parents, and are ungovernable at home, despising counsel and restraint, the curse of God will fall upon them; and it will not only rest upon them, but upon the office, should their services be retained and they be given further opportunity to pervert the young with whom they are there brought in contact. Those who occupy responsible positions in the office are accountable for the prevailing influence there, and if they are indifferent to the course of the insubordinate and impenitent in their employ they become partakers of their sin.  {4T 205.2}

     There has been a covering up of iniquity in—–. God calls for a different order of things. The youth connected with His work should be select, those who will be improved, refined, and ennobled by being associated with the cause of God. Faithful minutemen are needed at every post of duty, especially at the great heart of the work. Like sleepless sentinels, those who profess the truth should guard the interests of the cause at the office; they should sacredly guard themselves and one another from spiritual contamination.  {4T 205.3}

     Those who have imbibed the spirit of independence, and come to—–as students in our school, thinking to do as they please in all matters, should be quickly undeceived and brought under proper discipline. But especially should the youth residing at—–be brought under the strictest rules,

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to guard their integrity and morality. If they refuse to submit to these regulations they should be expelled from the school and cut off from association with those whom they are demoralizing by their wrong example.  {4T 205.4}

     Parents living at a distance send their children to—– to be educated, feeling perfect confidence that they will there receive the proper moral training and not be exposed to wrong influences. It is due these patrons of our school that the moral atmosphere there be purified. A lack of propriety and a disregard of strict virtue has been developing among a certain class of young men and women in—–. Some of these are low in the scale of morality and are influencing the young students who have been sent there from a distance and have not the advantages of parental advice and protection. This should be attended to at once, for it is a matter of grave importance.  {4T 206.1}

     The influence of some youth in—–is demoralizing. They seem to think it praiseworthy to appear independent and to show disrespect to the authority of their parents. Paul gives a faithful description of this class of youth in these words: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”  {4T 206.2}

     The influence of this class upon the youth of—–is doing much harm. Their conversation and example are contemptibly low. The young whose morals are established, and whose minds are of an elevated character, would find no attraction in their society and would therefore be beyond the reach of their influence. But there are young men and women who find pleasure in the company of just such persons. Satan has marked success in benumbing the spiritual sensibilities of certain persons who have believed the truth, and in

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clouding their minds with false ideas until they are unable to discern right from wrong. Then suggestions are made to undermine their confidence in the chosen servants of God, and they are led into positive unbelief.  {4T 206.3}

     If the young would choose the company of those whose lives are an honor to their profession, they would escape many serious dangers. Satan is constantly seeking the ruin of those who are ignorant concerning his devices, yet feel no special need of the prayers and counsel of experienced and godly friends. Many of the youth who come to—–with good resolutions to live Christian lives fall in with a class of young people who take them by the hand and, under the guise of friendship, lead them directly into Satan’s snare. The enemy does not always come as a roaring lion; he frequently appears as an angel of light, assuming friendly airs, presenting peculiar temptations which it is difficult for the inexperienced to withstand. Sometimes he accomplishes his purpose of deluding the unwary by exciting the pity of their sympathetic natures, and presenting himself before them as a righteous being who has been persecuted without a cause.  {4T 207.1}

     Satan finds willing instruments to do his work. He exercises a skill in this direction that has been perfected by years of experience. He uses the accumulated knowledge of ages in executing his malicious designs. Ignorant youth play themselves into the hands of Satan for him to use as instruments to lead souls to ruin. Those who yield to Satan’s power gain no happiness thereby. They are never contented or at rest. They are dissatisfied, querulous and irritable, unthankful and rebellious. Such a one is the young man now under review. But God will have mercy upon him if he sincerely repents and becomes converted. His sins may be washed away by the atoning blood of Jesus.  {4T 207.2}

     The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward,

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repenting, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer: Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.” If the sinner still refuses to heed the voice of mercy which calls after him with tender, pitying love, his soul will be left in darkness. If he neglects the opportunity presented him, and goes on in his evil course, the wrath of God will, in an unexpected moment, break forth upon him. “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” This young man has made light of his father’s authority, and despised restraint. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It lies at the foundation of a proper education. Those who, having a favorable opportunity, have failed to learn this first great lesson, are not only disqualified for service in the cause of God, but are a positive injury to the community in which they live.  {4T 207.3}

     Solomon exhorts the youth: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. . . . Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you.  {4T 208.1}

     “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their

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own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”  {4T 208.2}

     Order should be maintained in our different institutions at—–. Insubordination should be overruled. None should be retained in the office who have been instructed by Sabbath-keeping parents and have been privileged to hear the truth yet rebel against its teachings. No persons should be connected with the sacred work of God who speak lightly of it or treat our holy faith with disrespect. Those who have been connected with the office for quite a length of time and have had ample opportunity to become acquainted with our faith, yet manifest opposition to the truth, should no longer be retained in the office. Their influence is against the truth if they continue to neglect the light and slight salvation. This very indifference has a chilling influence upon the faith of others to draw them away from God. These impenitent, unimpressible ones should not occupy positions that might be filled by persons who will respect the truth and yield to the influence of the Spirit of God by being so closely connected with this sacred work.  {4T 209.1}

     The influence of our young people in the office is not what it should be. A and B have virtually worked against the cause. The influence of their conversation and deportment has been such as to disgust unbelievers and turn them from our faith and from Christ. The young who heed not the warnings of the word of God and slight the Testimonies of His Spirit can only be a living curse to the office and should be separated from it.  {4T 209.2}

     The youth whose influence is demoralizing should have no connection with our college. Those who are possessed of a lovesick sentimentalism, and make their attendance at school an opportunity for courting and exchanging improper attentions, should be brought under the closest restrictions. Authority must be maintained. Justice and Mercy are twin sisters, standing side by side.  {4T 209.3}

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     If no efforts are made to correct the state of things existing at—–, it will soon be a place for the encouragement of immorality and dissipation. Will parents and those in charge of our institutions sleep while Satan is taking possession of the minds of the children? God abhors the sins that are fostered and concealed by the church, cherished in the office, and sheltered under the paternal roof. Let parents, and those in authority, earnestly take hold of the work and purge this evil from among them.  {4T 210.1}

     We are living in the last days. John exclaims: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Christ is the only refuge in these perilous times. Satan is at work in secrecy and darkness. Cunningly he draws away the followers of Christ from the cross and brings them into self-indulgence and wickedness.  {4T 210.2}

     Vital interests are located at—–, and Satan is opposed to everything that will strengthen the cause of Christ and weaken his own power. He is diligently laying plans to undermine the work of God. He never rests for a moment when he sees that the right is gaining the ascendancy. He has legions of evil angels that he sends to every point where light from heaven is shining upon the people. Here he stations his pickets to seize every unguarded man, woman, or child and press them into his service.  {4T 210.3}

     The great heart of the work is at—–; and, as the human heart throws its living current of blood into all parts of the body, so does the management at this place, the headquarters of our church, affect the whole body of believers. If the physical heart is healthy, the blood that is sent from it through the system is also healthy; but if this fountain is impure, the whole organism becomes diseased by the poison of the vital fluid. So it is with us. If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence.  {4T 210.4}

     Satan’s chief work is at the headquarters of our faith. He

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spares no pains to corrupt men in responsible positions and to persuade them to be unfaithful to their several trusts. He insinuates his suspicions and jealousies into the minds of those whose business it is to do God’s work faithfully. While God is testing and proving these helpers, and fitting them for their posts, Satan is doing his utmost to deceive and allure them, that they may not only be destroyed themselves, but may influence others to do wrong and to injure the great work. He seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God’s people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.  {4T 210.5}

     It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.  {4T 211.1}

     Satan has gained marked advantage in —– because the people of God have not guarded the outposts. The very men whose labors God has signified that He would accept if they were fully consecrated have been the ones to be deceived, to fail in their duties, and to prove a terrible burden and discouragement, instead of the help and blessing that they should have been. These men who have been trusted to keep the fort have well-nigh betrayed it into the hands of the enemy. They have opened the gates to a wily foe, who has sought to destroy them.  {4T 211.2}

     Men of experience have seen stealthy hands slipping the bolts that Satan might enter; yet they have held their peace with apparent indifference as to the results. Some have been glad to see this, as it seemed an extenuation of their past neglect, which made it a necessity to call for others to fill the posts of responsibility that they had abused or neglected. This

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lack of watchfulness on the part of these newer incumbents seemed to excuse the former for their own want of faithfulness, as it showed that others were fully as derelict in duty. These persons do not realize that God holds them responsible for every advantage gained by the foe who is admitted to the fort. The desolation and ruin following lie at the door of the unfaithful sentinels, who, by their neglect, become agents in the hands of the adversary to win souls to destruction. Men in responsible positions should seek wisdom and guidance of God, and not trust to their own judgment and knowledge. Like Solomon they should earnestly pray for faith and light, and God will give them freely of His abundant supply.  {4T 211.3}

     God would have His work done intelligently, not in a haphazard manner. He would have it done with faith and careful exactness, that He may place the sign of His approval upon it. Those who love Him, and walk with fear and humility before Him, He will bless and guide and connect with heaven. If the workers rely upon Him, He will give them wisdom and correct their infirmities, so that they will be able to do the work of the Lord with perfection.  {4T 212.1}

     We must put on the armor and be prepared to successfully resist all the attacks of Satan. His malignity and cruel power are not sufficiently estimated. When he finds himself foiled upon one point he takes new ground and fresh tactics, and tries again, working wonders in order to deceive and destroy the children of men. The youth should be carefully warned against his power and patiently and prayerfully directed how to endure the trials sure to come upon them in this life. They should be led to cling to the word of God and give attention to counsel and advice.  {4T 212.2}

     Living faith in the merits of a crucified Redeemer will carry them through the fiery furnace of affliction and trial. The form of the Fourth will be with them in the fierce heat of the furnace, which will not leave even the smell of fire upon their garments. Children should be encouraged to become Bible students and to have firm religious principles that will

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stand the test of the perils sure to be experienced by all who live upon the earth during the last days in the closing history of the world.   {4T 212.3}

Chap. 21 – Opposition to Faithful Warnings

     January 3, 1875, I was shown that there is a great work to be done for those who profess to believe the truth in California, before God can work for them. Many are flattering themselves that they are right with God, when they have not the principles of the truth in their hearts. This class can be brought into working order only by seeking with diligent, persevering earnestness to heed the counsel of the True Witness. They are in a cold, formal, backslidden state. These are addressed by the True Witness: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment,

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that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”  {4T 227.2}

     Brother G, God has claims upon you to which you do not respond. Your spiritual strength and growth in grace will be proportionate to the labor of love and good works which you do cheerfully for your Saviour, who has withheld nothing, not even His own life, that He might save you. You have the injunction of the apostle: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” It is not enough to merely profess faith in the commandments of God; you must be a doer of the work. You are a transgressor of His law. You do not love God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength; neither do you live in obedience to the last six commandments and love your neighbor as yourself. You love yourself more than you love God or your neighbor. Keeping the commandments of God requires more of us than you are willing to perform. God requires of you good works, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and devotion to the good of others, that through your instrumentality souls may be brought to the truth.  {4T 228.1}

     Our good works alone will not save any of us, but we cannot be saved without good works. And after we have done all that we can do, in the name and strength of Jesus we are to say: “We are unprofitable servants.” We are not to think that we have made great sacrifices and that we should receive great reward for our feeble services.  {4T 228.2}

     Self-righteousness and carnal security have closed you about as with bands of iron. You need to be zealous and repent. You have been unfortunate in sympathizing with the disaffected, whose course has been in opposition to the work that the Lord through His servants was doing upon this coast. The wrong men have had your sympathy. Because your heart was not right with God, you did not receive the light He sent to you. You set up your stubborn will to resist the reproof which the Lord gave to you in love. You knew these things

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were true, but tried to close your eyes to the true state of your case. Whether you heed the voice of reproof and warning God has sent to you or not; whether you reform, or retain your defects of character, you will one day realize what you have lost by placing yourself in a defiant position, warring in spirit against the servants of God. Your bitterness of feeling toward Elder H is astonishing. He has endured and sacrificed and toiled on this coast to do the work of God. But in your blindness, while unconsecrated in heart and life, you have ventured, in connection with I and J, to handle the servant of God in a cruel manner. “Touch not Mine anointed,” saith God, “and do My prophets no harm.” It is not a small matter for you to array yourself, as you have done, against men whom God has sent with light and truth for the people. Beware how your influence turns souls from the truth which God has sent His servants to declare, for a heavy woe hangs over you.  {4T 228.3}

     Satan has been using you as his agent to insinuate doubts and to reiterate insinuations and misrepresentations which have originated in an unsanctified heart, which God would have cleansed from its pollution. But you refused to be instructed, refused correction, rejected reproof, and followed your own will and way. Souls are defiled by this root of bitterness and are, through these questioning, murmuring ones, placed where the testimony of reproof which God sends will not reach them. The blood of these souls will be chargeable to you and to the spirits with whom you are in harmony.  {4T 229.1}

     God has given us, as His servants, our work. He has given us a message to bear to His people. For thirty years we have been receiving the words of God and speaking them to His people. We have trembled at the responsibility, which we have accepted with much prayer and meditation. We have stood as God’s ambassadors, in Christ’s stead beseeching souls to be reconciled to God. We have warned of danger as God has presented before us the perils of His people. Our work has been given us of God. What, then, will be the condition of those who refuse to hear the words which God has sent

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them, because they cross their track or reprove their wrongs? If you are thoroughly convinced that God has not spoken by us, why not act in accordance with your faith and have no more to do with a people who are under so great a deception as this people are? If you have been moving according to the dictates of the Spirit of God you are right and we are wrong. God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil. In arraying yourself against the servants of God you are doing a work either for God or for the devil. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” What stamp does your work bear? It will pay to look critically at the result of your course.  {4T 229.2}

     It is not a new thing for a man to be deluded by the arch-deceiver and array himself against God. Consider your course critically before you venture to go any further in the path you are traveling. The Jews were self-deceived. They rejected the teachings of Christ because He exposed the secrets of their hearts and reproved their sins. They would not come to the light, fearing that their deeds would be reproved. They chose darkness rather than light. “This is the condemnation,” said Christ, “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God service. This was the result of their refusing light. You are in danger of similar deception. It will be profitable for your soul, Brother G, to consider where the path which you are now traveling will end. God can do without you, but you cannot afford to do without God. He does not compel any man to believe. He sets light before men, and Satan presents his darkness. While the deceiver is constantly crying, “Light is here; truth is here,” Jesus is saying: “I am the truth; I have the words of eternal life. If any

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man follow Me, he shall not walk in darkness.” God gives to us all evidence sufficient to balance our faith on the side of truth. If we surrender to God we shall choose the light and reject the darkness. If we desire to maintain the independence of the natural heart, and refuse the correction of God, we shall, as did the Jews, stubbornly carry out our purposes and our ideas in the face of the plainest evidence, and shall be in danger of as great deception as came upon them; and in our blind infatuation we may go to as great lengths as they did, and yet flatter ourselves that we are doing work for God.  {4T 230.1}

     Brother G, you will not long stand where you now are. The path you have started upon is diverging from the true path and separating you from the people whom God is testing in order to purify them for the final victory. You will either come into union with this body, and labor earnestly to answer the prayer of Christ, or you will become more and more unbelieving. You will question point after point of the established faith of the body, become more self-willed in your opinion, and grow darker and darker in regard to the work of God for this time, until you set light for darkness and darkness for light.  {4T 231.1}

     Satan has great power to entangle souls by confusing the minds of those who do not cherish the light and the privileges which Providence sends them. Minds which are submitted to Satan’s control are led continually from the light of truth into error and darkness. If you give Satan the least advantage, he will claim more and will watch the outposts to make the most of any circumstance to advantage his cause and ruin your soul.  {4T 231.2}

     Brother and Sister G, you are neither of you in a safe position. You despise reproof. Had smooth words been spoken to you rather than words of reproof, had you been praised and flattered, you would now occupy a very different position from what you do in regard to your belief in the Testimonies. There are some in these last days who will cry: “Speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.” But this is not my work. God has set me as a reprover of His people; and just so surely

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as He has laid upon me the heavy burden, He will make those to whom this message is given responsible for the manner in which they treat it. God will not be trifled with, and those who despise His work will receive according to their deeds. I have not chosen this unpleasant labor for myself. It is not a work which will bring to me the favor or praise of men. It is a work which but few will appreciate. But those who seek to make my labor doubly hard by their misrepresentations, jealous suspicions, and unbelief, thus creating prejudice in the minds of others against the Testimonies God has given me, and limiting my work, have the matter to settle with God, while I shall go forward as Providence and my brethren may open the way before me. In the name and strength of my Redeemer I shall do what I can. I shall warn and counsel and reprove and encourage as the Spirit of God dictates, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear. My duty is not to please myself, but to do the will of my heavenly Father, who has given me my work.  {4T 231.3}

     Christ warned His disciples: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Here is a test, and, Brother G, you can apply it if you will. You need not go in uncertainty and doubt. Satan is at hand to suggest a variety of doubts, but if you will open your eyes in faith you will find sufficient evidence for belief. But God will never remove from any man all causes for doubts. Those who love to dwell in the atmosphere of doubt and questioning unbelief can have the unenviable privilege. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few

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things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith. You have seemed to consider it a virtue to be on the side of the doubting rather than on the side of the believing. Jesus never praised unbelief; He never commended doubts. He gave to His nation evidences of His Messiahship in the miracles He wrought, but there were some who considered it a virtue to doubt and who would reason these evidences away and find something in every good work to question and censure.  {4T 232.1}

     The centurion who desired Christ to come and heal his servant felt unworthy to have Jesus come under his roof; his faith was so strong in the power of Christ that he entreated Him just to say the word and the work would be done. “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.”  {4T 233.1}

     Here Jesus exalted faith in contrast with doubt. He showed that the children of Israel would stumble because of their unbelief, which would lead to the rejection of great light and would result in their condemnation and overthrow. Thomas declared that he would not believe unless he put his finger into the prints of the nails and thrust his hand into the side of his Lord. Christ gave him the evidence he desired and then reproved his unbelief: “Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  {4T 233.2}

     In this age of darkness and error, men who profess to be followers of Christ seem to think that they are at liberty to receive or reject the servants of the Lord at pleasure and that

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they will not be called to an account for so doing. Unbelief and darkness lead them to this. Their sensibilities are blunted by their unbelief. They violate their consciences and become untrue to their own convictions and weaken themselves in moral power. They view others in the same light with themselves.  {4T 233.3}

     When Christ sent out the twelve, He commanded them: “And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” They were warned to beware of men, for they should be delivered up to the councils and scourged in the synagogues.  {4T 234.1}

     Men’s hearts are no softer today than when Christ was upon the earth. They will do all in their power to aid the great adversary in making it as hard as possible for the servants of Christ, just as the people did with Christ when He was upon the earth. They will scourge with the tongue of slander and falsehood. They will criticize, and turn against the servant of God the very efforts he is leading them to make. They will, with their evil surmisings, see fraud and dishonesty where all is right and where perfect integrity exists. They lay selfish motives to the charge of God’s servants, when He Himself is leading them, and when they would give even their lives if God required, if by so doing they could advance His cause. They who have done the least, and made the least investment in the cause of truth, are the most forward to express lack of faith in the integrity of the servants of God who are placed in a position to bear financial responsibilities in the great work. They who have confidence in the work of God are willing to venture something for its advancement, and

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their spiritual prosperity will be in proportion to their works of faith. God’s word is our standard, but how few follow it! Our religion will be of but little worth to our fellow men if it is only theoretical and not practical. The influence of the world and of selfishness is carried about by many who profess to be following the Bible. They are like a cloud, chilling the atmosphere in which others move.  {4T 234.2}

                   Obstinacy Not Independence

     Brother G, it will be uphill work for you to cultivate pure, unselfish love and disinterested benevolence. You have not much experience in yielding your opinions and ideas, and in sometimes giving up your own judgment and being guided by the counsel of others. Brother and Sister G, you both need to have less of self and more of the grace of God. You both need to acquire a habit of self-government, that your thoughts may be brought into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. It is the grace of God that you need in order that your thoughts may be disciplined to flow in the right channel, that the words you utter may be right words, and that your passions and appetites may be subject to the control of reason, and the tongue be bridled against levity and unhallowed censure and faultfinding. “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” The greatest triumph given us by the religion of Christ is control over ourselves. Our natural propensities must be controlled, or we can never overcome as Christ overcame.  {4T 235.1}

     There are some among the professed followers of Christ who are spiritual dyspeptics. They are self-made invalids, and their spiritual debility is the direct result of their own shortcomings. They do not obey the laws of God nor carry out the principles of His commandments. They are indolent in His cause and work, accomplishing nothing themselves; but when they think they see something with which they can find fault, then they are active and zealous. A Christian who does not work cannot be healthy. Spiritual disease is the result of

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neglected duty. In order for a man’s faith to be strong, he must be much with God in secret prayer. How can a man’s benevolence be a blessing to him if he never exercises it? How can we ask God to help in the conversion of souls unless we are doing all in our power to bring them to the knowledge of the truth? You have brought upon yourself a debility which has made you useless to yourself and to the church, and the remedy is repentance, confession, and reform. You need moral power and the real nourishment of the grace of God. Nothing will give bone and sinew to your piety like working to advance the cause you profess to love, instead of binding it. There is but one genuine cure for spiritual laziness, and that is work–working for souls who need your help. Instead of strengthening souls, you have been discouraging and weakening the hearts and hands of those who would see the cause of God advance.  {4T 235.2}

     God has given you abilities which you can use to good account, or abuse to your own injury and to the injury of others. You have not realized the claims that God has upon you. It should be ever borne in mind that we are living in this world to form characters for the next. And all our associations with our fellow mortals should be with reference to their eternal interest and to our own; but if our interviews with them are devoted only to pleasure and to our own selfish gratification, if we are light and trifling, if we indulge in wrong acts, we are not co-workers with God, but are decidedly working against Him. The precious lives God has given us are not to be molded by unbelieving relatives in a way to please the carnal mind, but to be spent in a manner which God can approve.  {4T 236.1}

     If Brother J enjoyed the love of God, he would be a channel of light. He has too little moral power, with strong tendencies to unbelief. He is pitied by the heavenly angels, for he is surrounded with darkness. His ears hear words of unbelief and darkness almost continually. He has doubts and questionings constantly thrown before him. The tongue is a world of iniquity. “The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly

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evil, full of deadly poison.” If Brother J would cling to God more firmly and feel that he should preserve his integrity before God even at the cost of his natural life, he would receive strength from above. If he allows his faith to be affected by the darkness and unbelief that surrounds him–the doubts and questioning and much talk–he will soon be all darkness and doubt and unbelief, and will have no light or strength in the truth.  {4T 236.2}

     He need not think that by seeking to compromise with his friends, who are embittered against our faith, he will make it easier for himself. If he stands with the single purpose to obey God at any cost he will have help and strength. God loves and pities Brother J. He knows every perplexity, every discouragement, every bitter speech. He is acquainted with it all. If he will lay aside his unbelief and stand in God unmoved, his faith will be strengthened by exercise. “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”  {4T 237.1}

     I saw Brethren J and G in special danger of losing eternal life. They did not see that they were standing directly in the way of the advancement of the work of God in _____. When the tent meeting was held there the first time we were upon this coast, hundreds were convicted of the truth; but God knew the material of which that church was composed. If souls came out into the truth, there were none to nourish and cherish them, and to lead them along to an elevated life. Brother I was of an envious, faultfinding, jealous spirit. Unless he could be first, he would not do anything. He esteemed himself far more highly than God esteemed him. A man of his temperament will not, long at a time, be in agreement with anyone; for it is his element to contend, and to array himself in opposition to anything that does not suit his ideas. The Lord left him to take his own course and to manifest what manner of spirit he was of. He brought into the church, and sought to carry out there, the very same spirit that he carried out in his family. His bitterness and his cruel speeches against the servants of God are written in the book. He will meet

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them again. He went out from us because he was not of us. And in no case should the church encourage him to unite with them again; for, with the spirit he now has, he would quarrel even with the angels of God. He would wish to rule and dictate the work of the angels. No such spirit can enter heaven. I and J, whom God frowns upon, have dared to withstand the servants of God, to malign them, and to impute to them evil motives. They have tried to destroy the confidence of the brethren in these workers as well as in the Testimonies. But if the work is of God, they cannot overthrow it. Their efforts will lie in vain. Brother G, you were in such darkness that you thought these men were right. You have repeated their words and talked of the one-man power.” Oh, how little you knew what you were talking about!  {4T 237.2}

     Some have been ready to say anything, to prefer any charge, against the servants of God, and to be jealous and faultfinding. And if they can find any instance where, in their zeal for the cause of God, they think ministers have spoken decidedly, and perhaps severely, they have been willing to make the most of their words, and have felt at liberty to cherish the most bitter, wicked spirit, and to charge the Lord’s servants with wrong motives. Let these faultfinders ask what they would have done under similar circumstances, bearing similar burdens. Let them look and search and condemn their own wrong, overbearing course and their own impatience and fretfulness; and when without sin themselves, let them cast the first stone of censure at the brethren who are trying to get them into working order. A holy God will not bring out souls to the truth to come under such an influence as has existed in the church. Our heavenly Father is too wise to bring souls into the truth to be molded by the influence of these men who are unconsecrated in heart and life. These men are not in harmony with the truth. They are not in union with the body, but are drawing off from the church. They are working at cross purposes with those whom God is using to bring souls into the truth.  {4T 238.1}

     Who would nourish those who should take their stand to

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obey all of God’s commandments? Who would be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to those who need help and strength? Do these brethren know what they are doing? They are standing directly in the way of sinners. They are blocking up the way by their own wrong course. The blood of souls will be on their garments unless they repent and entirely change their course. Do these disaffected ones think that they are right and the body of Sabbathkeepers deluded? By their fruits ye shall know them.” Whom is God blessing? Whom is He leading? Who are at work for Him? Who are doing good in laboring to get the truth before other minds? Do these men think that the body will come to them and give up their experience and views to follow the judgment of these unconsecrated ones? or will they come into harmony with the body?  {4T 238.2}

     Brother G boasts of his independence of mind and judgment, while he is blocking up the way of sinners by his unconsecrated life and his opposition to the work in blindly warring against Christ in the persons of His servants; but he is deceived in the quality of true independence. Independence is not obstinacy, although obstinacy is often confounded with independence. When Brother G has formed an opinion, and expressed it in his family or in the church with considerable confidence and with some publicity, he is then inclined to make it appear that he is right by every argument he can produce. He is in danger, great danger, of closing his eyes and violating his conscience by his persistency; for the temptation of the enemy is strong upon him. His pride of opinion is hard to yield, even in the face of light and evidence sufficient to convince him if he would be convinced. He thinks that if he should admit that he was wrong, it would be a reflection on his judgment and discernment.  {4T 239.1}

     Brother G, you are in great danger of losing your soul. You want to have the pre-eminence. At times you feel deeply if you think you are slighted. You are not a happy man. You will not be happy if you leave the people of God, taking offense at plain words and facts, as did many of the followers

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of Christ, because the truth spoken was too close. You will not be a happy man, for you will take yourself with you. You are not right; you make trouble for yourself. Your temperament is your enemy, and go where you will you will take yourself with your burden of unhappiness. It is an honor to confess a wrong as soon as it is discerned.  {4T 239.2}

     There are many matters in connection with the work of God with which you find fault, because it is natural for you to do so. And since you have turned your face against the light God revealed to you in regard to yourself, you are fast losing your discernment and are more than ever ready to find fault with everything. You give your opinion with dictatorial confidence and treat the queries of others in regard to your opinion as personal abuse. True, refined independence never disdains to seek counsel of the experienced and of the wise, and it treats the counsel of others with respect.  {4T 240.1}

                  Religion in the Family

     Brother G, you must be a converted man or you will lose eternal life. You cannot be a happy man until you obtain the meekness of wisdom. You and your wife have too long worked at cross purposes. You must lay down this faultfinding, these suspicions, jealousies, and unhappy bickerings. The spirit which is developed in your family is carried into your religious experience. Be careful how you speak of each other’s faults in the presence of your children; and be careful how you let your spirit control you. You see only the bad and evil in your oldest son; you give him no credit for the good qualities, which, should he die, you would suddenly become convinced that he had possessed. Neither of you pursues a consistent course toward your son. You dwell upon his faults in the presence of others and show that you have no confidence in his good traits of character.  {4T 240.2}

     In each of you there is a disposition to see the faults of the other, and of all others; but you are each blind to your own faults and many errors. You are both nervous, easily excited

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and irritated. You need the meekness of wisdom. You cling tenaciously to your own frailties, passions, and prejudices as though if you let them go you would no more have happiness in this life, when they are thorns, pricking, bruising thorns. Jesus invites you to lay down the yoke you have been bearing, which has been galling your neck, and take His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. How wearisome is the load of self-love, covetousness, pride, passion, jealousy, and evil surmising. Yet how closely do men clasp these curses, and how loath are they to give them up. Christ understands how grievous are these self-imposed burdens, and He invites us to lay them down. The heavy-laden and weary souls He invites to come to Him, and take His burden, which is light, in exchange for the burdens which they bind upon themselves. He says: “Ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” The requirements of our Saviour are all consistent and harmonious, and if cheerfully borne will bring peace and rest to the soul.  {4T 240.3}

     When Brother G once takes a position on the wrong side, it is not easy for him to confess that he has erred; but if he can let his wrong course pass out of his mind and pass from the memory of others, and he can make some changes for the better without an open acknowledgment of his wrong, he will do so. But all these errors and unconfessed sins stand registered in heaven and will not be blotted out until he complies with the directions given in the word of God: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” If Brother G has found another plan besides that given us by our Lord, it is not a safe way and will prove his ruin at last. This other way is ruinous to the church, and ruinous to the prosperity and happiness of his family. He needs to soften his heart and to let tenderness, humility, and love into his soul. He needs to cultivate unselfish qualities. Brother and Sister G, you should cultivate qualities of mind which will make you pure, forgetful of self, and more interested in those with whom you are brought in contact. There

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is a vein of self-love and care for self which does not increase your happiness, but brings to you grief and sorrow. You have a conflict with yourself in which you alone can act a part. Both of you should control the tongue and keep back many things to which you give utterance. The first evil is in thinking wrong; then come the words which are wrong. But you leave undone the work of cultivating love, deference, and respect for each other. Be kindly considerate of each other’s feelings, and seek to sacredly guard each other’s happiness. You can do this only in the strength and name of Jesus.  {4T 241.1}

     Sister G has made strong efforts to gain victories, but she has not had much encouragement from her husband. Instead of seeking God in earnest prayer for strength to overcome the defects in their characters, they have been watching each other’s course and weakening themselves by finding fault with the course of others. The garden of the heart has not had attention.  {4T 242.1}

     If Brother G had received the light that the Lord sent him months ago and had frankly conversed with his wife, if both had broken their hard hearts before the Lord, how different would be their present state. They both slighted the words of reproof and entreaty of the Spirit of God, and did not reform their lives. But closing their eyes to the light God had sent them did not make one of their faults less grievous in the sight of God nor lessen their accountability. They have hated the reproof which the Lord in pitying tenderness gave them. Brother G has naturally a kind and tender heart, but it is crusted over with self-love, vanity, and evil surmising. His heart is not callous, but he lacks moral power. He is a coward as soon as the necessity of self-denial and self-sacrifice is brought before him, for he loves himself. To control self, to put a watch upon his words, to acknowledge that he has done wrong or spoken wrongly, is a cross which he feels is too humiliating to lift; and yet if he is ever saved this cross must be lifted.  {4T 242.2}

     Brother and Sister G, both of you need to watch your words; for just as surely as there is not a sentinel placed over your thoughts and actions, you will discourage each other

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and make it a sure case that neither of you can be saved. Both of you need to guard against a hasty spirit, which prompts hasty words and actions. Resentment, which is indulged because you think you have been misused, is the spirit of Satan and leads to great moral evil. When you are controlled by a hasty spirit you deprive your reason, for the time, of the power of regulating your words and your conduct, while you make yourselves responsible for all the evil consequences. That which is done in haste and anger is not excusable. The action is bad. You may, by a single word spoken in haste and passion, leave a sting in the hearts of friends which may never be forgotten. Unless you exercise self-control you will be a most unhappy couple. You each ascribe your unhappy life to the faults of the other; but do this no more. Make it a rule never to speak a word of censure to each other, but commend and praise whenever you can.  {4T 242.3}

     Some think it is a virtue to be unrestrained, and they will speak in praise of their outspoken habit of talking out disagreeable things which are in the heart. They let an angry spirit exhaust itself in a torrent of reproach and faultfinding. The more they talk, the more excited they become, and Satan stands by to help on the work, for it suits him. The words irritate the one to whom they are spoken, and they will be thrown back, giving provocation for still harder words, until a little matter has blazed into a great flame. Both of you feel that you have all the trials that you can possibly endure and that your lives are most unhappy. Resolutely commence the work of controlling your thoughts, your words, your actions. When either of you feels the rising of resentment, make it a rule to go by yourself and humbly pray to God, who will hearken to the prayer which goeth not forth from feigned lips.  {4T 243.1}

     Every passion must be under the control of enlightened conscience. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these

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things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”  {4T 243.2}

     If you live upon the plan of addition, adding grace to grace, God will multiply unto you His grace. While you add, God multiplies. If you cherish a habitual impression that God sees and hears all that you do and say, and keeps a faithful record of all your words and actions, and that you must meet it all, then in all you do and say you will seek to follow the dictates of an enlightened and wakeful conscience. Your tongue will be used to the glory of God and will be a source of blessing to yourself and to others. But if you separate from God, as you have been doing, take heed lest your tongue shall prove a world of iniquity and bring upon you fearful condemnation; for souls will be lost through you.  {4T 244.1}

                   Duty of Self-Control

     The appetites of our animal natures ought to be kept in rigid subjection. These appetites were given us for important purposes, for good, and not to become the ministers of death by being perverted and becoming warring lusts. The appetite for tobacco, which you, Brother G, strengthen by indulgence, is becoming a warring lust against your soul. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man. The almost imperceptible indulgence of the taste will create an appetite for stronger stimulants. If the thoughts, passions, and appetites are kept in due subjection, the tongue will be controlled. Call to your aid moral power, and abandon the use of tobacco forever. You have tried to hide from others the fact that you used tobacco, but you did not hide the matter from God. “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” I commend these words to you in the name of Jesus, who has given me my commission. Do not reject them.  {4T 244.2}

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     You would never have rejected the Testimonies as you have, had your wrongdoings not been reproved. You thought it would be easier to sacrifice the Testimonies and close your eyes to the light God has given you than to give up your tobacco and cease your life of levity and joking with unbelievers. The cleansing process involves denial and restraint which you have not moral power to endure; therefore you think to excuse your sins by your unbelief of the light God has sent you. Remember, you must meet all these things again; for they are written in the book, with all the warnings and reproofs that God has committed to me to give to you.  {4T 245.1}

     Brother J is to be pitied, for he has naturally a defective organization. His hope is small. His unbelief and doubts control his judgment. It is in his nature to place himself on the side of doubting and questioning. The only way to overcome this great evil is to cultivate opposite traits of character. He should repress unbelief, and not cultivate it. He should not express his doubts. He has no right to thrust the defects of his character before others, to cause them sadness and discouragement. If he must be affected with this sad evil, he should not embitter the happiness of others by introducing his unbelief to chill the faith of his brethren. He is inclined to pass over almost everything in every discourse and exhortation from which he might draw comfort and encouragement, and pick up something which he thinks will afford an excuse for his questioning and criticism. The avenues of his soul are thrown open and left unguarded for Satan to come in and mold his mind to his purposes.  {4T 245.2}

     I was shown that your meetings are losing interest because God’s Spirit does not attend them. The brethren and sisters are in complete bondage because of these two men. They dare not exercise their freedom and speak out their faith in the simplicity of their souls, for here is Brother J, with his cool, severe, critical eye, watching and ready to catch at any word which will give him a chance to exercise the faculties of his unbelieving mind. Between these two, the Spirit of God is grieved away from the meetings. When brethren manifest

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the spirit of the dragon, to make war upon those who believe that God has communicated light and comfort to them through the Testimonies, it is time for the brethren and sisters to assert their liberty and perfect freedom of conscience. God has given them light, and it is their privilege to cherish the light and to speak of it to strengthen and encourage one another. Brother J would confuse the mind by seeking to make it appear that the light God has given through the Testimonies is an addition to the word of God, but in this he presents the matter in a false light. God has seen fit in this manner to bring the minds of His people to His word, to give them a clearer understanding of it.  {4T 245.3}

     The church of —– are growing weaker and weaker because of the influence which has been exerted over them–not an influence to help them advance, but to clog the wheels. It is the privilege of Brother J to cast aside his unbelief and to advance with the light, if he will. If he refuses to do this, the cause of God will advance all the same without his aid. But God designs that a change shall be made in the church at —–. They will either advance or retrograde. God can do more with six souls who are united and of the same mind and judgment, than with scores of men who do as Brother J and G have been doing. They have brought with them into the meeting, not angels of light, but angels of darkness. The meetings have been unprofitable and sometimes a positive injury. God calls for these men to come over on the Lord’s side and to be united with the body, or to cease hindering those who would be wholly for the Lord.  {4T 246.1}

     The great reason why so many professed disciples of Christ fall into grievous temptation and make work for repentance is that they are deficient in a knowledge of themselves. Here is where Peter was so thoroughly sifted by the enemy. Here is where thousands will make shipwreck of faith. You do not take your wrongs and errors to heart, and afflict your souls over them. I entreat you to purify your souls by obeying the truth. Connect yourselves with heaven. And may the Lord save you from self-deception.  {4T 246.2}

Chap. 29 – The Cause in Texas

     God has shown me much in regard to the work of Satan in Texas and the unchristian conduct of some who have moved there from Michigan. I was shown that the Brethren B have not in heart accepted the testimony which has been given them. They have more confidence in themselves than in the spirit of prophecy. They have felt that the light given was not of heaven, but that it originated from reports made to me in regard to them. This is not correct. But let me ask: Was there not foundation for reports? Does not their very life history condemn their course?  {4T 330.2}

     Not one of this family has had a religious experience that would qualify him to take any leading position in teaching the truth to others. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord,” were the words spoken by the angel of God. “Ye are not chosen vessels of God to do any part of His most sacred work. Ye mar and corrode, but do not purify and bless.” You have, Brethren B, ever held a low standard of Christianity. For a time, where you are not fully known, you have influence. This once gained, you become less guarded and act out the natural propensities of the heart, until the lovers of the truth feel that you are a great hindrance to the advancement of the work of God. This is no evil surmising, but the actual facts in the case.  {4T 330.3}

     If you would always manifest kindness, respect, noble love and generosity, toward even wicked men, you might render effectual service to Christ. If the spirit of Christ dwelt in you, you would represent Him in your words, in your actions, and even in the expression of your countenance. Your conversation would be expressive of meekness, not proud and boastful. You would not seek to exalt and glorify self. Humility is a Christian grace with which you are unacquainted. You have aspired for the supremacy and have tried to cause your power and superiority to be felt in ruling and dictating to others. Especially has this been the case with A B. He and his wife cannot advance the moral and spiritual standing of the cause of God by their influence. The more limited their sphere in connection with the cause of God the better will it be for the cause. Their words and acts in matters of deal are not reliable. This is the case with A B and his brothers generally. The world and the church have a right to say that their religion is vain. They are worldly and scheming, and watch their opportunity to make a close bargain. They are harsh and severe with those who are connected with them. They are envious, jealous, puffed up.  {4T 331.1}

     Those who thus represent the truth rear a mighty barrier to the salvation of others. Unless they become transformed, it would be better had they never embraced the truth. Their minds are controlled more by Satan than by the Spirit of God. Brother A B’s wife naturally possesses a kind heart, but she has been molded by her husband. She is a careless talker. Her tongue is frequently set on fire of hell; it is untamable. “In the multitude of words,” says Solomon, “there wanteth not sin.” This is certainly true in her case. She exaggerates and bears false witness and is thus constantly transgressing the commandment of God, while she professes to be a commandment keeper. She does not mean to do wrong, but her heart is not sanctified by the truth.  {4T 331.2}

     While you, Brethren B, have been forward to engage in controversy with others upon points of our faith, without an exception you have been asleep in reference to those things which pertain to Christianity. You are not even dreaming of the perilous position you occupy. This apathy extends over the church and over everyone who, professing Christ as you have done, denies Him by his works. You are leading others in the same path of recklessness in which you are treading. God’s word declares that without holiness no man shall see God. Jesus died to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  {4T 332.1}

     “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Christ says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” What do your prayers amount to while you regard iniquity in your hearts? Unless you make a thorough change, you will, not far hence, become weary of reproof, as did the children of Israel; and, like them, you will apostatize from God. Some of you in words acknowledge reproof, but you do not in heart accept it. You go on the same as before, only being less susceptible to the influence of the Spirit of God, becoming more and more blinded, having less wisdom, less self-control, less moral power, and less zeal and relish for religious exercises; and, unless converted, you will finally yield your hold upon God entirely. You have not made decided changes in your life when reproof has come, because you have not seen and realized your defects of character and the great contrast between your life and the life of Christ. It has been your policy to place yourselves in a position where you would not entirely lose the confidence of your brethren.  {4T 332.2}

     I was shown that the condition of the —– church is deplorable. Your influence, Brother A B, and that of your wife, has resulted, as you and all may see, in discord and strife, and will prove utter ruin to the church unless you either change your location or become converted. You rust and corrode those connected with you. You have sympathizers, because all do not see you as God sees. Their perception is perverted by your multiplicity of words and fair speeches. This is a sad, discouraging state of things.  {4T 332.3}

     I was shown that so far as talk is concerned, A B is qualified to lead the meetings; but when moral fitness is weighed, he is found wanting. His heart is not right with God. When others are placed in a leading position, they have the opposing spirit of himself and his wife to meet. This unsanctified spirit is not manifested openly, but works secretly to hinder, perplex, and discourage those who are trying to do the very best they can. God sees this, and it will in due time receive its just reward. Rule or ruin is the policy of this brother, and his wife is now in no better condition herself. Her senses are perverted. She is not right with God.  {4T 333.1}

     Brother A B, a record of the sad history you are making is kept in heaven. In heart you are at war with the testimonies of reproof. The E family have been, and are still, deceived in you. Others are more or less perplexed because you can talk well on present truth. Harmony and unity do not exist in the church at —–. You have not received and acted upon the light given you. Had you heeded the words of Solomon you would not today be found standing in such a slippery path. He says: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Entire submission to the will and ways of God, united with deep distrust of your own wisdom, would have led you in a safer path.  {4T 333.2}

     Your self-confidence has been very great. No sooner has a brother been suggested to lead the meetings, or to take a position of trust in preference to yourself, than you have resolved that he should not succeed if you could help it, and with the might of your perverse will you have set your spirit to oppose.  {4T 333.3}

     Your course toward Brother D was abusive. His heart was stirred with the deepest sympathy for you. He had been your friend, but the fact that he disconnected from you was sufficient to create in you a spirit of jealousy which was as cruel as the grave. And this spirit was exercised against a blind man, one who should have had the kindest care and the deepest sympathy from all. It was your perverse and deceptive spirit which led others to sympathize with you rather than with him. When he saw that the clear light of the case could not be brought before the brethren, and was fully convinced that wrong was triumphing over right, his spirit was so wounded that he became desperate. It was then that he let go his hold upon God. A partial shock of paralysis came upon him. He was nearly ruined, mentally and physically. In the church meetings, matters of no special account were talked over, dwelt upon, and made the most of; and wrong, cruelly wrong impressions were made upon the minds of those present.  {4T 333.4}

     To thus seek to injure a man who is in full possession of all his faculties is a great sin; but such a course toward a man who is blind, and who should be treated in such a manner as to cause him to feel his loss of sight as little as possible, is a sin of far greater magnitude. Had you been a man of fine feelings, or a Christian, as you profess to be, you could not have abused him as you did. But Brother D has a Friend in heaven who has pleaded his cause for him and strengthened him to grasp God’s promises anew. When Brother D was crazed with his great grief and the treatment he had received, he acted like an insane man. This was used against him as evidence that he had a wrong spirit. But the all-seeing Judge weighs motives, and He will reward as the works have been.  {4T 334.1}

     You, Brother A B, have been puffed up with vain conceit and have felt yourself competent for any task. You have renounced the Testimonies of the Spirit of God; and if you had your own way, would cast everything in a new mold. How hard it is for you to see things in a just light when duty leads in one direction and inclination in another. Your ideas of the character of Christ, and of the necessary preparation for the life to come, are narrow and perverted. {4T 334.2}

     I was shown that the brothers B and their families are descending lower and lower. “Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit;” and if they continue in the course they have been pursuing, they will finally be “twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” In leaning to their own understanding, they have gone down to the point where they have no practical godliness, no heaven, no God as theirs.  {4T 335.1}

     If God’s people were all connected with Him, they would discern the limited capacities of these men, their prejudices, envy, jealousy, and self-confidence. The objections which their wicked hearts may raise against the Testimonies of the Spirit of God, will not, in the providence of God, be removed. They may stumble and fall upon questions of their own originating. But God’s people should see that their proud hearts have never been humbled, and their high looks have never been brought low. The Bible is clear upon all points which relate to Christian duty. All who do the will of God shall know of the doctrine. But these persons are seeking light from their own tapers and not from the Sun of Righteousness.  {4T 335.2}

     No man who does not utter the real sentiment of his heart can be called a truthful man. Falsehood virtually consists in an intention to deceive; and this may be shown by a look or a word. Even facts may be so arranged and stated as to constitute falsehoods. Some are adepts at this business, and they will seek to justify themselves for departing from strict veracity. There are some who, in order to tear down or injure the reputation of another, will, from sheer malice, fabricate falsehoods concerning them. Lies of self-interest are uttered in buying and selling goods, cattle, or any kind of merchandise. Lies of vanity are uttered by men who love to appear what they are not. A story cannot pass through their hands without embellishment. Oh, how much is done in the world which the doers will one day wish to undo! But the record of words and deeds in the books of heaven will tell the sad story of falsehoods spoken and acted. {4T 335.3}

     Falsehood and deception of every cast is sin against the God of truth and verity. The word of God is plain upon these points. Ye shall not “deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” God is a God of sincerity and truth. The word of God is a book of truth. Jesus is a faithful and true witness. The church is the witness and ground of the truth. All the precepts of the Most High are true and righteous altogether. How, then, must prevarication and any exaggeration or deception appear in His sight? For the falsehood he uttered because he coveted the gifts which the prophet refused, the servant of Elisha was struck with leprosy, which ended only with death.  {4T 336.1}

     Even life itself should not be purchased with the price of falsehood. By a word or a nod the martyrs might have denied the truth and saved their lives. By consenting to cast a single grain of incense upon the idol altar they might have been saved from the rack, the scaffold, or the cross. But they refused to be false in word or deed, though life was the boon they would receive by so doing. Imprisonment, torture, and death, with a clear conscience, were welcomed by them, rather than deliverance on condition of deception, falsehood, and apostasy. By fidelity and faith in Christ they earned spotless robes and jeweled crowns. Their lives were ennobled and elevated in the sight of God because they stood firmly for the truth under the most aggravated circumstances.  {4T 336.2}

     Men are mortals. They may be sincerely pious and yet have many errors of understanding and many defects of character, but they cannot be Christ’s followers and yet be in league with him who “loveth and maketh a lie.” Such a life is a fraud, a perpetual falsehood, a fatal deception. It is a close test upon the courage of men and women to be brought to face their own sins and to frankly acknowledge them. To say, “That mistake must be charged to my account,” requires a strength of inward principle that the world possesses in but a limited degree. But he who has the courage to say this in sincerity gains a decided victory over self and effectually closes the door against the enemy.  {4T 336.3}

     An adherence to the strictest principles of truth will frequently cause present inconvenience and may even involve temporal loss, but it will increase the reward in the future life. Religion does not consist merely in a system of dry doctrines, but in practical faith, which sanctifies the life and corrects the conduct in the family circle and in the church. Many may tithe mint and rue, but neglect the weightier matters, mercy and the love of God. To walk humbly with God is essential to the perfection of Christian character. God requires undeviating principle in the minutest details of the transactions of life. Said Christ: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.”  {4T 337.1}

     It is neither the magnitude nor the seeming insignificance of a business transaction that makes it fair or unfair, honest or dishonest. By the least departure from rectitude we place ourselves on the enemy’s ground, and may go on, step by step, to any length of injustice. A large proportion of the Christian world divorce religion from their business. Thousands of little tricks and petty dishonesties are practiced in dealing with their fellow men, which reveal the true state of the heart, showing its corruption.  {4T 337.2}

     You, Brother A B, do not honor the cause of truth. The fountain needs to be cleansed, that the streams may be pure. Your wife is engaged too much in seeking spot and stain upon the characters of her brethren and sisters. While seeking to weed the gardens of her neighbors, she has neglected her own. She must make most diligent efforts in order to build up a spotless character. There is the most fearful danger that she will fail here. If she loses heaven, she loses everything. Both of you should cleanse the soul-temple, which has become terribly polluted. Your minds have become sadly perverted. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Be very jealous and distrustful of self, but never let your tongues be used to express the jealousy of your hearts in regard to another. A great work remains for both of you to do, to so humble yourselves before God that He will accept your repentance. Hitherto you have been hearers but not persevering doers of the word. You have admitted again and again that you were wrong, but the carnal mind has remained unchanged. You have made a little change under the influence of feeling, but there has not been a reformation of principle. I saw that the time has now fully come when action must be taken in your cases unless a thorough change is wrought in your lives. The church of God must not compromise with your coarse ways and low standard of Christianity.  {4T 337.3}

     One of you brothers is enough in a place. You are continually at strife and war among yourselves, hateful, and hating one another. But although you are a byword to those of the world with whom you associate, yet you are so far distant from God that you cannot see but that you are about right. You each need a nearer view of the character of Christ, that you may discern more clearly what it is to be like Him. Unless you all change your deportment, and entirely overcome your pompous, dictatorial, uncourteous course of conduct, you will dishonor the cause wherever you are; and it would have been better had you never been born. The time has come for you to turn to the right or to the left. “If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” The deformed character developed in you is a disgrace to the Christian name. No church will prosper under your rule or guidance, for you are not connected with God. You are boastful, proud, and self-important, and would mold others after the same pattern as yourselves.  {4T 338.1}

     The church of God has long been burdened with your unchristian acts and deportment. God help you to see and feel that your eternal interests demand an entire transformation. By your example others are led astray from the pure, elevated path of holiness. Truly great men are invariably modest. Humility is a grace which sits naturally upon them as a garment. Those who have stored their minds with useful knowledge, and who possess genuine attainments and refinement, are the ones who will be most willing to admit the weakness of their own understanding. They are not self-confident nor boastful; but in view of the higher attainments to which they might rise in intellectual greatness, they seem to themselves to have but just begun the ascent. It is the superficial thinker, the one who has but a beginning or smattering of knowledge, who deems himself wise and who takes on disgusting airs of importance.  {4T 338.2}

     You might today be men of honor and of trust, but you have all been so well satisfied with yourselves that you have not improved the light and privileges which have been graciously granted you. Your minds have not been expanded by the Christian graces, neither have your affections been sanctified by communion with the Life-giver. There is a littleness, an earthliness, which stamps the outer character and reveals the fact beyond doubt that you have been walking in the way of your own heart and in the sight of your own eyes and that you are filled with your own devices.  {4T 339.1}

     When connected with God and sincerely seeking His approval, man becomes elevated, ennobled, and sanctified. The work of elevation is one that man must perform for himself through Jesus Christ. Heaven may give him every advantage so far as temporal and spiritual things are concerned, but it is all in vain unless he is willing to appropriate these blessings and to help himself. His own powers must be put to use, or he will finally be weighed in the balances and pronounced wanting; he will be a failure so far as this life is concerned, and will lose the future life.  {4T 339.2}

     All who will with determined effort seek help from above, and subdue and crucify self, may be successful in this world, and may gain the future, immortal life. This world is the field of man’s labor. His preparation for the future world depends upon the way he discharges his duties in this world. He is designed of God to be a blessing to society; and he cannot, if he would, live and die to himself. God has bound us together as members of one family, and this relationship everyone is bound to cherish. There are services due to others which we cannot ignore and yet keep the commandments of God. To live, think, and act for self only is to become useless as servants of God. High-sounding titles and great talents are not essential in order to be good citizens or exemplary Christians.  {4T 339.3}

     We have in our ranks too many who are restless, talkative, self-commending, and who take the liberty to put themselves forward, having no reverence for age, experience, or office. The church is suffering today for help of an opposite character –modest, quiet, God-fearing men, who will bear disagreeable burdens when laid upon them, not for the name, but to render service to their Master, who died for them. Persons of this character do not think it detracts from their dignity to rise up before the ancient and to treat gray hairs with respect. Our churches need weeding out. Too much self-exaltation and self-sufficiency exists among the members.  {4T 340.1}

     Those who fear and reverence God, He will delight to honor. Man may be so elevated as to form the connecting link between heaven and earth. He came from the hand of his Creator with a symmetrical character, endowed with such capacities for improvement that, combining divine influence with human effort, he might elevate himself almost to an angel’s sphere. Yet, when thus elevated, he will be unconscious of his goodness and greatness.  {4T 340.2}

     God has given man intellectual faculties capable of the highest cultivation. Had the Brethren B seen the natural coarseness and roughness of their characters, and with assiduous care cultivated and trained the mind, strengthening their weak points of character and overcoming their glaring defects, some of them would have been accepted as Christ’s messengers. But as they now are, God cannot accept any one of them as His representative. They have not sufficiently realized the need of improvement to cause them to seek for it. Their minds have not been trained by study, observation, reflection, and a constant effort to thoroughly discipline themselves for the duties of life. The means of improvement are within the reach of all. None are so poor or so busy but that with Jesus to help them they can make improvements in their life and character.  {4T 340.3}

Chap. 32 – Religion in the Daily Life

     Brother H: I was shown that you really love the truth, but that you are not sanctified through it. You have a great work before you to do. “Every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” You have this work to do, and you have no time to lose. I was shown that your life has been a stormy one. You have not been right yourself; but you have been deeply wronged, and your motives have been misjudged. But your disappointments and pecuniary losses have, in the providence of God, been overruled for your good.  {4T 360.1}

     It has been difficult for you to feel that your heavenly Father is still your kind benefactor. Your troubles and perplexities have had a tendency to discourage, and you have felt that death would be preferable to life. But at a certain time, could your eyes have been opened, you would have seen angels of God seeking to save you from yourself. The angels of God led you where you could receive the truth and plant your feet upon a foundation that would be more firm than the everlasting hills. Here you saw light and cherished it. New faith, new life, sprang up in your pathway. God in His providence connected you with His work in the office of the Pacific Press. He has been at work for you, and you should see His guiding hand. Sorrow has been your portion; but you have brought much of it upon yourself because you have not had self-control. You have been very severe at times. You have a quick temper, which must be overcome. In your life you have been in danger, either of indulging in self-confidence or else of throwing yourself away and becoming despondent. A continual dependence upon the word and providence of God will qualify you to exert your powers wholly for your Redeemer, who has called you, saying: “Follow Me.” You should cultivate a spirit of entire submission to the will of God, earnestly, humbly seeking to know His ways and to follow the leadings of His Spirit. You must not lean to your own understanding. You should have deep distrust of your own wisdom and supposed prudence. Your condition demands these cautions. It is unsafe for man to confide in his own judgment. He has limited capacities at best, and many have received, as their birthright, both strong and weak points of character, which are positive defects. These peculiarities color the entire life.  {4T 360.2}

     The wisdom which God gives will lead men to self-examination. The truth will convict them of their errors and existing wrongs. The heart must be open to see, realize, and acknowledge these wrongs, and then, through the help of Jesus, each must earnestly engage in the work of overcoming them. The knowledge gained by the wise of the world, however diligent they may be in acquiring it, is, after all, limited and comparatively inferior. But few comprehend the ways and works of God in the mysteries of His providence. They advance a few steps, and then are unable to touch bottom or shore. It is the superficial thinker who deems himself wise. Men of solid worth, of high attainments, are the most ready to admit the weakness of their own understanding. God wants everyone who claims to be His disciple to be a learner, to be more inclined to learn than to teach.  {4T 361.1}

     How many men in this age of the world fail to go deep enough. They only skim the surface. They will not think closely enough to see difficulties and grapple with them, and will not examine every important subject which comes before them with thoughtful, prayerful study and with sufficient caution and interest to see the real point at issue. They talk of matters which they have not fully and carefully weighed. Frequently persons of mind and candor have opinions of their own which need to be firmly resisted, or these of less mental strength will be in danger of being misled. Through the mental bias, habits are formed, and customs, feelings, and wishes have a greater or less influence. Sometimes a course of conduct is pursued every day, and persisted in, because it is a habit, and not because the judgment approves. In these cases, feeling, rather than duty, bears sway.  {4T 361.2}

     If we could understand our own weakness, and see the sharp traits in our character which need repressing, we should see so much to do for ourselves that we would humble our hearts under the mighty hand of God. Hanging our helpless souls upon Christ, we should supplement our ignorance with His wisdom, our weakness with His strength, our frailty with His enduring might, and, connected with God, we should indeed be lights in the world.  {4T 362.1}

     Dear brother, God loves you, and is very patient toward you, notwithstanding your many errors and mistakes. In view of the tender, pitying love of God exercised in your behalf, should you not be more kind, forbearing, patient, and forgiving to your children? Your harshness and severity is weaning their hearts from you. You cannot give them lessons in regard to patience, forbearance, long-suffering, and gentleness, when you are overbearing and manifest temper in dealing with them. They have the stamp of character which their parents have given them; and if you wish to counsel and direct them, and turn them from following any wrong course, the object cannot be gained by harshness and that which looks to them like tyranny. When in the fear of God you can advise and counsel them with all the solicitude and tender love which a father should manifest toward an erring child, then you will have demonstrated to them that there is power in the truth to transform those who receive it. When your children do not act according to your ideas, instead of manifesting sorrow for their wrongs, and earnestly pleading with and praying for them, you fly into a passion and pursue a course that will do them no good, but will only wean their affections and finally separate them from you.  {4T 362.2}

     Your youngest son is perverse; he does not do right. His heart is in rebellion against God and the truth. He is affected by influences which only make him coarse, rough, and uncourteous. He is a trial to you, and, unless converted, he will be a great tax upon your patience. But harshness and overbearing severity will not reform him. You must seek to do what you can for him in the spirit of Christ, not in your own spirit, not under the influence of passion. You must control yourself in the management of your children. You must remember that Justice has a twin sister, Mercy. When you would exercise justice, show mercy, tenderness, and love, and you will not labor in vain.  {4T 362.3}

     Your son has a perverse will, and he needs the most judicious discipline. Consider what have been your children’s surroundings, how unfavorable to the formation of good characters. They need pity and love. The youngest is now in the most critical period of his life. The intellect is now taking shape; the affections are receiving their impress. The whole future career of this young man is being determined by the course he now pursues. He is entering upon the path which leads to virtue, or that which leads to vice. I appeal to the young man to fill his mind with images of truth and purity. It will be no advantage to him to indulge in sin. He may flatter himself that it is very pleasant to sin and to have his own way; but it is a fearful way after all. If he loves the society of those who love sin and love to do evil, his thoughts will run in a low channel, and he will see nothing attractive in purity and holiness. But could he see the end of the transgressor, that the wages of sin is death, he would be overcome with alarm and would cry out: “O my Father, be Thou the guide of my youth.”  {4T 363.1}

     His success in this life depends very much upon the course he now pursues. The responsibilities of life must be borne by him. He has not been a promising youth. He has been impatient and is wanting in self-control. This is the seed his father is sowing, which will produce a harvest for the sower to reap. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” With what care should we cast in the seed, knowing that we must reap as we have sown. Jesus still loves this young man. He died for him and invites him to come to His arms and find in Him peace and happiness, quiet and rest. This youth is forming associations which will mold his whole life. He should connect with God and without delay give to Him his unreserved affections. He should not hesitate. Satan will make his fiercest assaults upon him, but he must not be overcome by temptation.  {4T 363.2}

     I have been shown the dangers of youth. Their hearts are full of high anticipations, and they see the downward road strewn with tempting pleasures which look very inviting; but death is there. The narrow path to life may appear to them to be destitute of attractions, a path of thorns and briers, but it is not. It is the path which requires a denial of sinful pleasures; it is a narrow path, cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. None can walk this path and carry with them their burdens of pride, self-will, deceit, falsehood, dishonesty, passion, and the carnal lusts. The path is so narrow that these things will have to be left behind by those who walk in it, but the broad road is wide enough for sinners to travel it with all their sinful propensities.  {4T 364.1}

     Young man, if you reject Satan with all his temptations you may walk in the footsteps of your Redeemer and have the peace of heaven, the joys of Christ. You cannot be happy in the indulgence of sin. You may flatter yourself that you are happy, but real happiness you cannot know. The character is becoming deformed by the indulgence of sin. Danger is encountered at every downward step, and those who could help the youth do not see or realize it. The kind and tender interest which should be taken in the young is not manifested. Many might be kept from sinful influences if they were surrounded with good associations and had words of kindness and love spoken to them.  {4T 364.2}

     My dear brother, I hope you will not become discouraged because your feelings so often master you when your way or will is crossed. Never despond. Flee to the Stronghold. Watch and pray, and try again. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”  {4T 364.3}

     Upon another point be guarded. You are not at all times as cautious as you should be to abstain from the very appearance of evil. You are in danger of being too familiar with the sisters, of talking with them in a light and foolish way. This will injure your influence. Guard carefully all these points; watch against the first approach of the tempter. You are highly nervous and excitable. Tea has an influence to excite the nerves, and coffee benumbs the brain; both are highly injurious. You should be careful of your diet. Eat the most wholesome, nourishing food, and keep yourself in a calm state of mind, where you will not become so excited and fly into a passion.  {4T 364.4}

     You can be of great service in the office, for you can fill a place of importance if you will become transformed; but as you now are you will certainly fail of doing what you might do. I have been shown that you are rough and coarse in your feelings. These need to be softened, refined, elevated. In all your course of action you should discipline yourself to habits of self-control. With the spirit you now possess you can never enter heaven.  {4T 365.1}

     “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” Can any human dignity equal this? What higher position can we occupy than to be called the sons of the infinite God? You would be ready to do some great thing for the Master; but the very things which would please Him most, you do not do. Will you not be faithful in overcoming self, that you may have the peace of Christ and an indwelling Saviour?  {4T 365.2}

     Your afflicted son needs to be dealt with calmly and tenderly; he needs your compassion. He should not be exposed to your insane temper and unreasonable demands. You must reform in respect to the spirit you manifest. Ungovernable passion will not be subdued in a moment; but your lifework is before you to rid the garden of the heart of the poisonous weeds of impatience, faultfinding, and an overbearing disposition. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts; but the brutish part of your nature takes the lines of control and guides the spiritual. This is God’s order reversed. {4T 365.3}

     Your faithfulness in labor is praiseworthy. Others in the office would do well to imitate your example of fidelity, diligence, and thoroughness. But you lack the graces of the Spirit of God. You are an intelligent man, but your powers have been abused. Jesus presents to you His grace, patience, and love. Will you accept the gift? Be careful of your words and actions. You are sowing seed in your daily life. Every thought, every word uttered, and every action performed, is seed cast into the soil, which will spring up and bear fruit to life eternal or to misery and corruption. Think, my brother, how the angels of God look upon your sad state when you let passion control you. And then it is written in the books of heaven. As is the seed sown, so will be the harvest. You must reap that which you have sown.  {4T 366.1}

     You should control the appetite and in the name of Jesus be a conqueror on this point. Your health may improve with correct habits. Your nervous system is greatly shattered; but the Great Physician can heal your body as well as your soul. Make His power your dependence, His grace your strength, and your physical, moral, and spiritual powers will be greatly improved. You have more to overcome than some others, and therefore will have more severe conflicts; but Jesus will regard your earnest efforts; He knows just how hard you have to work to keep self under the control of His Spirit. Place yourself in the hands of Jesus. Self-culture should be your business, with the object before you of being a blessing to your children and to all with whom you associate. Heaven will look with pleasure upon every victory you gain in the work of overcoming. If you put away anger and passion, and look unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of your faith, you may, through His merits, develop a Christian character. Make a decided change at once, and be determined that you will act a part worthy of the intellect with which God has endowed you.  {4T 366.2}

     When I was shown the present condition of man in physical, mental, and moral power, and what he might become through the merits of Christ, I was astonished that he should preserve such a low level. Man may grow up into Christ, his living head. It is not the work of a moment, but that of a lifetime. By growing daily in the divine life, he will not attain to the full stature of a perfect man in Christ until his probation ceases. The growing is a continuous work. Men with fiery passions have a constant conflict with self; but the harder the battle, the more glorious will be the victory and the eternal reward.  {4T 366.3}

     You are connected with the office of publication. In this position your peculiar traits of character will be developed. The little courtesies of life should be cherished. A pleasant and amiable temper, blended with a firm principle of justice and honesty, will make you a man of influence. Now is the time to obtain a moral fitness for heaven. The church to which you belong must have the refining, elevating grace of Christ. God requires His followers to be men of good report, as well as to be pure, elevated, and honest; kind, as well as faithful. It is essential to be right in the weightier matters; but this is no excuse for negligence in things apparently of less importance. The principles of the law of God must be developed in the life and character. An amiable temper, combined with firm integrity and faithfulness, will constitute a moral fitness for any position. The apostle Peter exhorts: “Be courteous.”  {4T 367.1}

     We must be learners in the school of Christ. We cannot imitate His example unless we are pleasing in disposition and condescending in deportment. True Christian politeness should be cultivated. No one else can lessen our influence as we ourselves can lessen it through the indulgence of uncontrollable temper. A naturally petulant man does not know true happiness, and is seldom content. He is ever hoping to get into a more favorable position, or to so change his surroundings that he will have peace and rest of mind. His life seems to be burdened with heavy crosses and trials, when, had he controlled his temper and bridled his tongue, many of these annoyances might have been avoided. It is the “soft answer” which “turneth away wrath.” Revenge has never conquered a foe. A well-regulated temper exerts a good influence on all around; but “he that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”  {4T 367.2}

     Consider the life of Moses. Meekness in the midst of murmuring, reproach, and provocation constituted the brightest trait in his character. Daniel was of a humble spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he never deviated from principle. He maintained a serene and cheerful trust in God. Above all, let the life of Christ teach you. When reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not. This lesson you must learn, or you will never enter heaven. Christ must be made your strength. In His name you will be more than conqueror. No enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel, will prevail. If your soul is riveted to the eternal Rock, you are safe. Come joy or come sorrow, nothing can sway you from the right.  {4T 368.1}

     You have been afloat in the world, but the eternal truth will prove an anchor to you. You need to guard your faith. Do not move from impulse nor entertain vague theories. Experimental faith in Christ and submission to the law of God are of the highest consequence to you. Be willing to take the advice and counsel of those who have experience. Make no delay in the work of overcoming. Be true to yourself, to your children, and to God. Your afflicted son needs to be tenderly dealt with. As a father you should remember that the nerves that can thrill with pleasure can also thrill with keenest pain. The Lord identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity.  {4T 368.2}

     Many parents forget their accountability to God to so educate their children for usefulness and duty that they will be a blessing to themselves and to others. Children are often indulged from their babyhood, and wrong habits become fixed. The parents have been bending the sapling. By their course of training, the character develops, either into deformity or into symmetry and beauty. But while many err upon the side of indulgence, others go to the opposite extreme and rule their children with a rod of iron. Neither of these follow out the Bible directions, but both are doing a fearful work. They are molding the minds of their children and must render an account in the day of God for the manner in which they have done this. Eternity will reveal the results of the work done in this life. “As the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined.”  {4T 368.3}

     Your manner of government is wrong, decidedly wrong. You are not a tender, pitiful father. What an example do you give your children in your insane outbursts of passion! What an account will you have to render to God for your perverse discipline! If you would have the love and respect of your children, you must manifest affection for them. The indulgence of passion is never excusable; it is always blind and perverse.  {4T 369.1}

     God calls upon you to change your course of action. You can be a useful and efficient man in the office if you will make determined efforts to overcome. Do not set up your views as a criterion. The Lord connected you with His people that you might be a learner in the school of Christ. Your ideas have been perverted; you must not now lean to your own understanding. You cannot be saved unless your spirit is changed. Notwithstanding the fact that Moses was the meekest man that lived upon the earth, on one occasion he drew the displeasure of God upon himself. He was harassed greatly by the murmuring of the children of Israel for water. The undeserved reproaches of the people which fell upon him led him for a moment to forget that their murmuring was not against him, but against God; and instead of being grieved because the Spirit of God was insulted, he became irritated, offended, and in a self-willed, impatient manner struck the rock twice saying: “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Moses and Aaron put themselves forward in God’s place, as though the miracle had been wrought by them. They did not exalt God, but themselves, before the people. Many will ultimately fail of eternal life because they indulge in a similar course.  {4T 369.2}

     Moses revealed great weakness before the people. He showed a marked lack of self-control, a spirit similar to that possessed by the murmurers. He should have been an example of forbearance and patience before that multitude, who were ready to excuse their failures, disaffections, and unreasonable murmurings, on account of this exhibition of wrong on his part. The greatest sin consisted in assuming to take the place of God. The position of honor that Moses had heretofore occupied did not lessen his guilt, but greatly magnified it. Here was a man hitherto blameless, now fallen. Many in a similar position would reason that their sin would be overlooked because of their long life of unwavering fidelity. But no; it was a more serious matter for a man who had been honored of God to show weakness of character in the exhibition of passion than if he had occupied a less responsible position. Moses was a representative of Christ, but how sadly was the figure marred! Moses had sinned, and his past fidelity could not atone for the present sin. The whole company of Israel was making history for future generations. This history the unerring pen of inspiration must trace with exact fidelity. Men of all future time must see the God of heaven is a firm ruler, in no case justifying sin. Moses and Aaron must die without entering Canaan, subjected to the same punishment that fell upon those in a more lowly position. They bowed in submission, though with anguish of heart that was inexpressible; but their love for and confidence in God was unshaken. Their example is a lesson that many pass over without learning from it as they should. Sin does not appear sinful. Self-exaltation does not appear to them grievous.  {4T 369.3}

     But few realize the sinfulness of sin; they flatter themselves that God is too good to punish the offender. The cases of Moses and Aaron, of David, and numerous others, show that it is not a safe thing to sin in word or thought or deed. God is a Being of infinite love and compassion. In the parting address which Moses gave to the children of Israel he said: “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” The touching plea made by Moses that he might be privileged to enter Canaan was steadfastly refused. The transgression at Kadesh had been open and marked; and the more exalted the position of the offender, the more distinguished the man, the firmer was the decree and the more certain the punishment.  {4T 370.1}

     Dear brother, be warned. Be true to the light which shines upon your pathway. Said Paul: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”   {4T 371.1}

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Chap. 36 – Christ’s Ambassadors

     Ambassadors for Christ have a solemn and important work, which rests upon some altogether too lightly. While Christ is the minister in the sanctuary above, He is also, through His delegates, the minister of His church on earth. He speaks to the people through chosen men, and carries forward His work through them, as when in the days of His humiliation He moved visibly upon the earth. Although centuries have passed, the lapse of time has not changed His parting promise to His disciples: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” From Christ’s ascension to the present day, men ordained of God, deriving their authority from Him, have become teachers of the faith. Christ, the True Shepherd, superintends His work through the instrumentality of these undershepherds. Thus the position of those who labor in word and doctrine becomes very important. In Christ’s stead they beseech the people to be reconciled to God.  {4T 393.1}

     The people should not regard their ministers as mere public speakers and orators, but as Christ’s ambassadors, receiving their wisdom and power from the great Head of the church. To slight and disregard the word spoken by Christ’s representative is not only showing disrespect to the man, but also to the Master who has sent him. He is in Christ’s stead; and the voice of the Saviour should be heard in His representative.  {4T 393.2}

     Many of our ministers have made a great mistake in giving discourses which were wholly argumentative. There are souls

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who listen to the theory of the truth and are impressed with the evidences brought out, and then if a portion of the discourse presents Christ as the Saviour of the world, the seed sown may spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God. But in many discourses the cross of Christ is not presented before the people. Some may be listening to the last sermon they will ever hear, and some will never again be so situated that they can have the chain of truth brought before them and a practical application made of it to their hearts. That golden opportunity lost is lost forever. Had Christ and His redeeming love been exalted in connection with the theory of truth, it might have balanced them on His side.  {4T 393.3}

     There are more souls longing to understand how they may come to Christ than we imagine. Many listen to popular sermons from the pulpit and know no better than before they listened how to find Jesus and the peace and rest which their souls desire. Ministers who preach the last message of mercy to the world should bear in mind that Christ is to be exalted as the sinner’s refuge. Many ministers think that it is not necessary to preach repentance and faith, with a heart all subdued by the love of God; they take it for granted that their hearers are perfectly acquainted with the gospel, and that matters of a different nature must be presented in order to hold their attention. If their hearers are interested, they take it as evidence of success. The people are more ignorant in regard to the plan of salvation and need more instruction upon this all-important subject than upon any other.  {4T 394.1}

     Those who assemble to listen to the truth should expect to be profited, as did Cornelius and his friends: “Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.”  {4T 394.2}

     Theoretical discourses are essential, that all may know the form of doctrine and see the chain of truth, link after link, uniting in a perfect whole. But no discourse should ever be delivered without presenting Christ and Him crucified as the foundation of the gospel, making a practical application of the truths set forth, and impressing upon the people the fact

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that the doctrine of Christ is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus.  {4T 394.3}

     After the theory of truth has been presented, then comes the laborious part of the work. The people should not be left with out instruction in the practical truths which relate to their everyday life. They must see and feel that they are sinners and need to be converted to God. What Christ said, what He did, and what He taught should be brought before them in the most impressive manner.  {4T 395.1}

     The work of the minister is but commenced when the truth is opened to the understanding of the people. Christ is our Mediator and officiating High Priest in the presence of the Father. He was shown to John as a Lamb that had been slain, as in the very act of pouring out His blood in the sinner’s behalf. When the law of God is set before the sinner, showing him the depth of his sins, he should then be pointed to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. He should be taught repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus will the labor of Christ’s representative be in harmony with His work in the heavenly sanctuary.  {4T 395.2}

     Ministers would reach many more hearts if they would dwell more upon practical godliness. Frequently, when efforts are made to introduce the truth into new fields, the labor is almost entirely theoretical. The people are unsettled. They see the force of truth and are anxious to obtain a sure foundation. When their feelings are softened is the time, above all others, to urge the religion of Christ home upon the conscience; but too often the course of lectures has been allowed to close without that work being done for the people which they needed. That effort was too much like the offering of Cain; it had not the sacrificial blood to make it acceptable to God. Cain was right in making an offering, but he left out all that made it of any value–the blood of the atonement.  {4T 395.3}

     It is a sad fact that the reason why many dwell so much on theory and so little on practical godliness is that Christ is not abiding in their hearts. They do not have a living

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connection with God. Many souls decide in favor of the truth from the weight of evidence, without being converted. Practical discourses were not given in connection with the doctrinal, that as the hearers should see the beautiful chain of truth they might fall in love with its Author and be sanctified through obedience. The minister’s work is not done until he has urged home upon his hearers the necessity of a change of character in accordance with the pure principles of the truth which they have received.  {4T 395.4}

     A formal religion is to be dreaded, for in it is no Saviour. Plain, close, searching, practical discourses were given by Christ. His ambassadors should follow His example in every discourse. Christ and His Father were one; in all the Father’s requirements Christ cheerfully acquiesced. He had the mind of God. The Redeemer was the perfect Pattern. Jehovah was manifested in Him. Heaven was enshrined in humanity, and humanity enclosed in the bosom of Infinite Love. If ministers will in meekness sit at the feet of Jesus, they will soon obtain right views of God’s character and will be able to teach others also. Some enter the ministry without deep love to God or to their fellow men. Selfishness and self-indulgence will be manifested in the lives of such; and while these unconsecrated, unfaithful watchmen are serving themselves instead of feeding the flock and attending to their pastoral duties, the people perish for want of proper instruction.  {4T 396.1}

     In every discourse fervent appeals should be made to the people to forsake their sins and turn to Christ. The popular sins and indulgences of our day should be condemned and practical godliness enforced. The minister should be deeply in earnest himself, feeling from the heart the words he utters and unable to repress his feeling of concern for the souls of men and women for whom Christ died. Of the Master it was said: “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” The same earnestness should be felt by His representatives.  {4T 396.2}

     An infinite sacrifice has been made for man, and made in vain for every soul who will not accept of salvation. How

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important, then that the one who presents the truth shall do so under a full sense of the responsibility resting upon him. How tender, pitiful, and courteous should be all his conduct in dealing with the souls of men, when the Redeemer of the world has shown that He values them so highly. The question is asked by Christ: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household?” Jesus asks, Who? and every minister of the gospel should repeat the question to his own heart. As he views the solemn truths, and his mind beholds the picture drawn of the faithful and wise steward, his soul should be stirred to the very depths.  {4T 396.3}

     To every man is given his work; not one is excused. Each has a part to act according to his capacity; and it devolves upon the one who presents the truth to carefully and prayerfully learn the ability of all who accept the truth, and then to instruct them and lead them along, step by step, letting them realize the burden of responsibility resting upon them to do the work that God has for them to do. It should be urged upon them again and again that no one will be able to resist temptation, to answer the purpose of God, and to live the life of a Christian unless he shall take up his work, be it great or small, and do that work with conscientious fidelity. There is some thing for all to do besides going to church and listening to the word of God. They must practice the truth heard, carrying its principles into their everyday life. They must be doing work for Christ constantly, not from selfish motives, but with an eye single to the glory of Him who made every sacrifice to save them from ruin.  {4T 397.1}

     Ministers should impress upon those who accept the truth that they must have Christ in their homes; that they need grace and wisdom from Him in guiding and controlling their children. It is a part of the work which God has left for them to do, to educate and discipline these children, bringing them into subjection. Let the kindness and courtesy of the minister be seen in his treatment of children. He should ever

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bear in mind that they are miniature men and women, younger members of the Lord’s family. These may be very near and dear to the Master, and, if properly instructed and disciplined, will do service for Him, even in their youth. Christ is grieved with every harsh, severe, and inconsiderate word spoken to children. Their rights are not always respected, and they are frequently treated as though they had not an individual character which needs to be properly developed, that it may not be warped and the purpose of God in their lives prove a failure.  {4T 397.2}

     From a child, Timothy knew the Scriptures, and his knowledge was a safeguard to him against the evil influences surrounding him and the temptation to choose pleasure and selfish gratification before duty. Such a safeguard all our children need, and it should be a part of the work of parents and of Christ’s ambassadors to see that the children are properly instructed in the word of God.  {4T 398.1}

     If the minister would meet the approval of his Lord, he must labor with fidelity to present every man perfect in Christ. He should not, in his manner of labor, carry the impression that it is of little consequence whether men do or do not accept the truth and practice true godliness; but the faithfulness and self-sacrifice manifested in his life should be such as to convince the sinner that eternal interests are at stake and that his soul is in peril unless he responds to the earnest labor put forth in his behalf. Those who have been brought from error and darkness to truth and light have great changes to make, and unless the necessity of thorough reform is pressed home upon the conscience, they will be like the man who looked into the mirror, the law of God, and discovered the defects in his moral character, but went away and forgot what manner of man he was. The mind must be kept awake to a sense of responsibility or it will settle back into a state of even more careless inattention than before it was aroused.  {4T 398.2}

     The work of the ambassadors for Christ is far greater and more responsible than many dream of. They should not be at all satisfied with their success until they can, by their

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earnest labors and the blessing of God, present to Him serviceable Christians who have a true sense of their responsibility and will do their appointed work. The proper labor and instruction will result in bringing into working order those men and women whose characters are strong and their convictions so firm that nothing of a selfish character is permitted to hinder them in their work, to lessen their faith, or to deter them from duty. If the minister has properly instructed those under his care, when he leaves for other fields of labor the work left will not ravel out, for it will be bound off so firmly as to be secure. Unless those who receive the truth are thoroughly converted and there is a radical change in their life and character, the soul is not riveted to the eternal Rock; and after the labor of the minister ceases, and the novelty is gone, the impression soon wears away, the truth loses its power to charm, and they exert no holier influence, and are no better for their profession of the truth.  {4T 398.3}

     I am astonished that with the examples before us of what man may be, and what he may do, we are not stimulated to greater exertion to emulate the good works of the righteous. All may not occupy a position of prominence; yet all may fill positions of usefulness and trust, and may, by their persevering fidelity, do far more good than they have any idea that they can do. Those who embrace the truth should seek a clear understanding of the Scriptures and an experimental knowledge of a living Saviour. The intellect should be cultivated, the memory taxed. All intellectual laziness is sin, and spiritual lethargy is death.  {4T 399.1}

     Oh, that I could command language of sufficient force to make the impression I wish to make upon my fellow laborers in the gospel! My brethren, you are handling the words of life; you are dealing with minds that are capable of the highest development, if directed in the right channel. But there is too much exhibition of self in the discourses given. Christ crucified, Christ ascended into the heavens, Christ coming again, should so soften, gladden, and fill the mind of the minister of the gospel that he will present these truths to the

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people in love and deep earnestness. The minister will then be lost sight of and Jesus magnified. The people will be so impressed with these all-absorbing subjects that they will talk of them and praise them, instead of praising the minister, the mere instrument. But if the people, while they praise the minister, have little interest in the word preached, he may know that the truth is not sanctifying his own soul. He does not speak to his hearers in such a manner that Jesus is honored and His love magnified.  {4T 399.2}

     Said Christ: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Let your light so shine that the glory will redound to God instead of to yourselves. If the praise comes to you, well may you tremble and be ashamed, for the great object is defeated; it is not God, but the servant, that is magnified. Let your light so shine; be careful, minister of Christ, in what manner your light shines. If it flashes heavenward, revealing the excellence of Christ, it shines aright. If it is turned upon yourself, if you exhibit yourself, and attract the people to admire you, it would be better for you to hold your peace altogether: for your light shines in the wrong way.  {4T 400.1}

     Ministers of Christ, you may be connected with God if you will watch and pray. Let your words be seasoned with salt, and let Christian courtesy and true elevation pervade your demeanor. If the peace of God is ruling within, its power will not only strengthen, but soften your hearts, and you will be living representatives of Christ. The people who profess the truth are backsliding from God. Jesus is soon to come, and they are unready. The minister must reach a higher standard himself, a faith marked with greater firmness, an experience that is living and vivid, not dull and common place, like that of the nominal professors. The word of God sets a high mark before you. Will you, through fasting and prayerful effort, attain to the completeness and consistency of Christian character? You should make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. A close

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connection with God will bring to you in your labor that vital power which arouses the conscience, and convicts the sinner of sin, leading him to cry: “What shall I do to be saved?”  {4T 400.2}

     The commission which Christ gave to the disciples just prior to His ascension to heaven was: “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.” “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” The commission reaches those who shall believe on His word through His disciples. And all who are called of God to stand as ambassadors for Him should take the lessons upon practical godliness given them by Christ in His word and teach them to the people.  {4T 401.1}

     Christ opened the Scriptures to His disciples, beginning at Moses and the prophets, and instructed them in all things concerning Himself, and also explained to them the prophecies. The apostles in their preaching went back to Adam’s day and brought their hearers down through prophetic history and ended with Christ and Him crucified, calling upon sinners to repent and turn from their sins to God. The representatives of Christ in our day should follow their example and in every discourse magnify Christ as the Exalted One, as all and in all.  {4T 401.2}

     Not only is formality taking possession of the nominal churches, but it is increasing to an alarming extent among those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and looking for the soon appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven. We should not be narrow in our views and limit our facilities for doing good; yet while we extend our influence and enlarge our plans as Providence opens the way, we should be more earnest to avoid the idolatry of the world. While we make greater efforts to increase our usefulness, we

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must make corresponding efforts to obtain wisdom from God to carry on all the branches of the work after His own order, and not from a worldly standpoint. We should not pattern after the customs of the world, but make the most of the facilities which God has placed within our reach to get the truth before the people.  {4T 401.3}

     When as a people our works correspond with our profession, we shall see very much more accomplished than now. When we have men as devoted as Elijah, and possessing the faith which he possessed, we shall see that God will reveal Himself to us as He did to holy men of old. When we have men who, while they acknowledge their deficiencies, will plead with God in earnest faith as did Jacob, we shall see the same results. Power will come from God to man in answer to the prayer of faith. There is but little faith in the world. There are but few who are living near to God. And how can we expect more power and that God will reveal Himself to men, when His word is handled negligently and when hearts are not sanctified through the truth? Men who are not half converted, who are self-confident and self-sufficient in character, preach the truth to others. But God does not work with them, for they are not holy in heart and life. They do not walk humbly with God. We must have a converted ministry, and then we shall see the light of God and His power aiding all our efforts.  {4T 402.1}

     The watchmen anciently placed upon the walls of Jerusalem and other cities occupied a most responsible position. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within those cities. When danger was apprehended, they were not to keep silent day nor night. Every few moments they were required to call to one another to see if all were awake and no harm had come to any. Sentinels were stationed upon some eminence overlooking the important posts to be guarded, and the cry of warning or of good cheer was sounded from them. This was borne from one to another, each repeating the words, till it went the entire rounds of the city.  {4T 402.2}

     These watchmen represent the ministry, upon whose fidelity

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depends the salvation of souls. The stewards of the mysteries of God should stand as watchmen upon the walls of Zion; and if they see the sword coming, they should sound the note of warning. If they are sleepy sentinels, and their spiritual senses are so benumbed that they see and realize no danger, and the people perish, God will require their blood at the watchmen’s hands.  {4T 402.3}

     “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.” The watchmen will need to live very near to God, to hear His word and be impressed with His Spirit, that the people may not look to them in vain. “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 of 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.” Ambassadors of Christ should take heed that they do not, through their unfaithfulness, lose their own souls and the souls of those who hear them.  {4T 403.1}

     I was shown the churches in different states that profess to be keeping the commandments of God and looking for the second coming of Christ. There is an alarming amount of indifference, pride, love of the world, and cold formality existing among them. And these are the people who are fast coming to resemble ancient Israel, so far as the want of piety is concerned. Many make high claims to godliness and yet are destitute of self-control. Appetite and passion bear sway; self is made prominent. Many are arbitrary, dictatorial, overbearing, boastful, proud, and unconsecrated. Yet some of these persons are ministers, handling sacred truths. Unless they repent, their candlestick will be removed out of its place. The Saviour’s curse pronounced upon the fruitless fig tree is a sermon to all formalists and boasting hypocrites who stand forth to the world in pretentious leaves, but are devoid of fruit. What a rebuke to those who have a form of godliness,

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while in their unchristian lives they deny the power thereof! He who treated with tenderness the very chief of sinners, He who never spurned true meekness and penitence, however great the guilt, came down with scathing denunciations upon those who made high professions of godliness, but in works denied their faith.  {4T 403.2}

                  Manner of Speaking

     Some of our most talented ministers are doing themselves great injury by their defective manner of speaking. While teaching the people their duty to obey God’s moral law, they should not be found violating the laws of God in regard to health and life. Ministers should stand erect and speak slowly, firmly, and distinctly, taking a full inspiration of air at every sentence and throwing out the words by exercising the abdominal muscles. If they will observe this simple rule, giving attention to the laws of health in other respects, they may preserve their life and usefulness much longer than men in any other profession.  {4T 404.1}

     The chest will become broader, and by educating the voice, the speaker need seldom become hoarse, even by constant speaking. Instead of our ministers’ becoming consumptives by speaking, they may, by care, overcome all tendency to consumption. I would say to my ministering brethren: Unless you educate yourselves to speak according to physical law, you will sacrifice life, and many will mourn the loss of “those martyrs to the cause of truth,” when the facts in the case are that by indulging in wrong habits you did injustice to your selves and to the truth which you represented, and robbed God and the world of the service you might have rendered. God would have been pleased to have you live, but you slowly committed suicide.  {4T 404.2}

     The manner in which the truth is presented often has much to do in determining whether it will be accepted or rejected. All who labor in the great cause of reform should study to become efficient workmen, that they may accomplish

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the greatest possible amount of good and not detract from the force of the truth by their own deficiencies.  {4T 404.3}

     Ministers and teachers should discipline themselves to clear and distinct articulation, giving the full sound to every word. Those who talk rapidly, from the throat, jumbling the words together and raising their voices to an unnaturally high pitch, soon become hoarse, and the words spoken lose half the force which they would have if spoken slowly, distinctly, and not so loud. The sympathies of the hearers are awakened for the speaker, for they know that he is doing violence to himself and they fear that he will break down at any moment. It is no evidence that a man has zeal for God because he works himself up into a frenzy of excitement and gesticulation. “Bodily exercise,” says the apostle, “profiteth little.”  {4T 405.1}

     The Saviour of the world would have His colaborers represent Him; and the more closely a man walks with God, the more faultless will be his manner of address, his deportment, his attitude, and his gestures. Coarse and uncouth manners were never seen in our Pattern, Christ Jesus. He was a representative of heaven, and His followers must be like Him.  {4T 405.2}

     Some reason that the Lord will by His Spirit qualify a man to speak as He would have him; but the Lord does not propose to do the work which He has given man to do. He has given us reasoning powers and opportunities to educate the mind and manners. And after we have done all we can for ourselves, making the best use of the advantages within our reach, then we may look to God with earnest prayer to do by His Spirit that which we cannot do for ourselves, and we shall ever find in our Saviour power and efficiency.  {4T 405.3}

              Qualifications for the Ministry

     A great injury is often done our young men by permitting them to commence to preach when they have not sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures to present our faith in an intelligent manner. Some who enter the field are mere novices in the Scriptures. In other things also they are incompetent and

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inefficient. They cannot read the Scriptures without hesitating, miscalling words, and jumbling them together in such a manner that the word of God is abused. Those who are not qualified to present the truth in a proper manner need not be perplexed with regard to their duty. Their place is that of learners, not teachers. Young men who wish to prepare for the ministry are greatly benefited by attending our college; but advantages are still needed that they may be qualified to be come acceptable speakers. A teacher should be employed to educate the youth to speak without wearing the vocal organs. The manners also should receive attention.  {4T 405.4}

     Some young men who enter the field are not successful in teaching the truth to others because they have not been educated themselves. Those who cannot read correctly should learn, and they should become apt to teach before they attempt to stand before the public. The teachers in our schools are obliged to apply themselves closely to study, that they may be prepared to instruct others. These teachers are not accepted until they have passed a critical examination and their capabilities to teach have been tested by competent judges. No less caution should be used in the examination of ministers; those who are about to enter upon the sacred work of teaching Bible truth to the world should be carefully examined by faithful, experienced persons.  {4T 406.1}

     After these have had some experience, there is still another work to be done for them. They should be presented before the Lord in earnest prayer that He would indicate by His Holy Spirit if they are acceptable to Him. The apostle says: “Lay hands suddenly on no man.” In the days of the apostles the ministers of God did not dare to rely upon their own judgment in selecting or accepting men to take the solemn and sacred position of mouthpiece for God. They selected the men whom their judgment would accept, and then they placed them before the Lord to see if He would accept them to go forth as His representatives. No less than this should be done now.  {4T 406.2}

     In many places we meet men who have been hurried into

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responsible positions as elders of the church when they are not qualified for such a position. They have not proper government over themselves. Their influence is not good. The church is in trouble continually in consequence of the defective character of the leader. Hands have been laid too suddenly upon these men.  {4T 406.3}

     Ministers of God should be of good repute, capable of discreetly managing an interest after they have aroused it. We stand in great need of competent men who will bring honor instead of disgrace upon the cause which they represent. Ministers should be examined especially to see if they have an intelligent understanding of the truth for this time, so that they can give a connected discourse upon the prophecies or upon practical subjects. If they cannot clearly present Bible subjects they need to be hearers and learners still. They should earnestly and prayerfully search the Scriptures, and become conversant with them, in order to be teachers of Bible truth to others. All these things should be carefully and prayerfully considered before men are hurried into the field of labor.  {4T 407.1}

     The plan that has been adopted, to have Elder Smith hold Biblical institutes in different states, is approved of God. Great good has been accomplished by these institutes, but all the time is not devoted to this work that would be profitable to our young ministers and to the cause of God. The fruits of the efforts that have already been made can never be fully realized in this life, but will be seen in eternity.  {4T 407.2}

Chap. 38 – Our College

     The education and training of the youth is an important and solemn work. The great object to be secured should be the proper development of character, that the individual may be fitted rightly to discharge the duties of the present life and to enter at last upon the future, immortal life. Eternity will reveal the manner in which the work has been performed. If ministers and teachers could have a full sense of their responsibility, we should see a different state of things in the world today. But they are too narrow in their views and purposes. They do not realize the importance of their work or its results.  {4T 418.1}

     God could not do more for man than He has done in giving His beloved Son, nor could He do less and yet secure the redemption of man and maintain the dignity of the divine law. He poured out in our behalf the whole treasure of heaven; for in giving His Son He threw open to us the golden gates of heaven, making one infinite gift to those who shall accept the sacrifice and return to their allegiance to God. Christ came to our world with love as broad as eternity in His heart, offering to make man heir of all His riches and glory. In this act He unveiled to man the character of His Father, showing to every human being that God can be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.  {4T 418.2}

     The Majesty of heaven pleased not Himself. Whatever He did was in reference to the salvation of man. Selfishness in all its forms stood rebuked in His presence. He assumed our nature that He might suffer in our stead, making His soul an offering for sin. He was stricken of God and afflicted to save man from the blow which he deserved because of the transgression of God’s law. By the light shining from the cross, Christ proposed to draw all men unto Him. His human heart yearned over the race. His arms were opened to receive them, and He invited all to come to Him. His life on earth was one continued act of self-denial and condescension.  {4T 418.3}

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     Since man cost heaven so much, the price of God’s dear Son, how carefully should ministers, teachers, and parents deal with the souls of those brought under their influence. It is nice work to deal with minds, and it should be entered upon with fear and trembling. The educators of youth should maintain perfect self-control. To destroy one’s influence over a human soul through impatience, or in order to maintain undue dignity and supremacy, is a terrible mistake, for it may be the means of losing that soul for Christ. The minds of youth may become so warped by injudicious management that the injury done may never be entirely overcome. The religion of Christ should have a controlling influence on the education and training of the young. The Saviour’s example of self-denial, universal kindness, and long-suffering love is a rebuke to impatient ministers and teachers. He inquires of these impetuous instructors: “Is this the manner in which you treat the souls of those for whom I gave My life? Have you no greater appreciation of the infinite price I paid for their redemption?”  {4T 419.1}

     All connected with our college must be men and women who have the fear of God before them and His love in their hearts. They should make their religion attractive to the youth who come within the sphere of their influence. The professors and teachers should constantly feel their dependence upon God. Their work is in this world, but the Source of wisdom and knowledge from which they must continually draw is above. Self must not obtain the mastery. The Spirit of God must control. They must walk humbly with God, and they should feel their responsibility, which is not less than that of the minister. The influence which professors and teachers exert upon the youth in our college will be carried wherever these youth may go. A sacred influence should go forth from that college to meet the moral darkness existing everywhere. When I was shown by the angel of God that an institution should be established for the education of our youth I saw that it would be one of the greatest means ordained of God for the salvation of souls.  {4T 419.2}

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     Those who would make a success in the education of the youth must take them as they are, not as they ought to be nor as they will be when they come from under their training. With dull scholars they will have a trial, and they must bear patiently with their ignorance. With sensitive, nervous students they must deal tenderly and very kindly, remembering that they are hereafter to meet their students before the judgment seat of Christ. A sense of their own imperfections should constantly lead educators to cherish feelings of tender sympathy and forbearance for those who are struggling with the same difficulties. They may help their students, not by overlooking their defects, but by faithfully correcting wrong in such a manner that the one reproved shall be bound still closer to the teacher’s heart.  {4T 420.1}

     God has linked old and young together by the law of mutual dependence. The educators of youth should feel an unselfish interest for the lambs of the flock, as Christ has given us an example in His life. There is too little pitying tenderness, and too much of the unbending dignity of the stern judge. Exact and impartial justice should be given to all, for the religion of Christ demands this; but it should ever be remembered that firmness and justice have a sister, which is mercy. To stand aloof from students, to treat them indifferently, to be unapproachable, harsh, and censorious, is contrary to the spirit of Christ.  {4T 420.2}

     We need individually to open our hearts to the love of God, to overcome selfishness and harshness, and to let Jesus in to take possession of the soul. The educator of youth will do well to remember that with all his advantages of age, education, and experience he is not yet a perfect overcomer; he is himself erring and makes many failures. As Christ deals with him, he should endeavor to deal with the youth under his care, who have had fewer advantages and less favorable surroundings than he himself has enjoyed. Christ has borne with the erring through all his manifest perversity and rebellion. His love for the sinner does not grow cold, His efforts do not cease, and

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He does not give him up to the buffeting of Satan. He has stood with open arms to welcome again the erring, the rebellious, and even the apostate. By precept and example, teachers should represent Christ in the education and training of youth; and in the day of judgment they will not be put to shame by meeting their students and the history of their management of them.  {4T 420.3}

     Again and again has the educator of youth carried into the schoolroom the shadow of darkness which has been gathering upon his soul. He has been overtaxed and is nervous, or dyspepsia has colored everything a gloomy hue. He enters the schoolroom with quivering nerve and irritated stomach. Nothing seems to be done to please him, he thinks that his scholars are bent upon showing him disrespect, and his sharp criticisms and censures are given on the right hand and on the left.  {4T 421.1}

     Perhaps one or more commit errors or are unruly. The case is exaggerated in his mind, and he becomes unjust and is severe and cutting in reproof, even taunting the one whom he considers at fault. This same injustice afterward prevents him from admitting that he has not taken the proper course. To maintain the dignity of his position, he has lost a precious, golden opportunity to manifest the spirit of Christ, perhaps to gain a soul for heaven.  {4T 421.2}

     Men and women of experience should understand that this is a time of especial danger for the young. Temptations surround them on every hand; and while it is easy work to float with the current, the strongest effort is required to press against the tide of evil. It is Satan’s studied effort to secure the youth in sin, for then he is more sure of the man. The enemy of souls is filled with intense hatred against every endeavor to influence the youth in the right direction. He hates everything which will give correct views of God and our Saviour, and his efforts are especially directed against all who are placed in a favorable position to receive light from heaven. He knows that any movement on their part to come in connection with God will give them power to resist his devices. Those who are

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at ease in their sins are safe under his banner. But as soon as efforts are made to break his power, his wrath is aroused, and he commences in earnest his work to thwart the purpose of God if possible.  {4T 421.3}

     If the influence in our college is what it should be, the youth who are educated there will be enabled to discern God and glorify Him in all His work; and while engaged in cultivating the faculties which God has given them, they will be preparing to render Him more efficient service. The intellect, sanctified, will unlock the treasures of God’s word and gather its precious gems to present to other minds and lead them also to search for the deep things of God. A knowledge of the riches of His grace will ennoble and elevate the human soul, and through connection with Christ it will become a partaker of the divine nature and obtain power to resist the advances of Satan.  {4T 422.1}

     Students must be impressed with the fact that knowledge alone may be, in the hands of the enemy of all good, a power to destroy them. It was a very intellectual being, one who occupied a high position among the angelic throng, that finally became a rebel; and many a mind of superior intellectual attainments is now being led captive by his power. The sanctified knowledge which God imparts is of the right quality and will tell to His glory.  {4T 422.2}

     The work of the teachers in our college will be laborious. Among those who attend the school there will be some who are nothing less than Satan’s agents. They have no respect for the rules of the school, and they demoralize all who associate with them. After the teachers have done all they can do to reform this class, after they have, by personal effort, by entreaties and prayer, endeavored to reach them, and they refuse all the efforts made in their behalf and continue in their course of sin, then it will be necessary to separate them from the school, that others may not be contaminated by their evil influence.  {4T 422.3}

     To maintain proper discipline and yet exercise pitying love and tenderness for the souls of those under his care, the teacher needs a constant supply of the wisdom and grace of

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God. Order must be maintained. But those who love souls, the purchase of the blood of Christ, should do their utmost to save the erring. These poor sinful ones are too frequently left in darkness and deception to pursue their own course, and those who should help them let them alone to go to ruin. Many excuse their neglect of these careless, wayward ones by referring to the religious privileges at Battle Creek. They say that if these do not call them to repentance, nothing will. The opportunities of attending Sabbath school, and listening to the sermons from the desk, are indeed precious privileges; but they may be passed by all unheeded, while if one with true interest should come close to these souls in sympathy and love, he might succeed in reaching them. I have been shown that personal effort, judiciously put forth, will have a telling influence upon these cases considered so hardened. All may not be so hard at heart as they appear. Our people in Battle Creek should feel a deep interest for the youth whom the providence of God has brought under their influence. We have seen a good work done in the salvation of many who have come to our college, but much more can be accomplished by personal effort.  {4T 422.4}

     The selfish love of “me and mine” keeps many from doing their duty to others. Do they think that all the work they have to do is for themselves and their own children? “Inasmuch,” says Christ,” as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” “Are your own children of more value in the sight of God than the children of your neighbors? God is no respecter of persons. We are to do all we can to save souls. None should be passed by because they have not the culture and religious training of more favored children. Had these erring, neglected ones enjoyed the same home advantages, they might have shown far more nobility of soul and greater talent for usefulness than many who have been watched over day and night with gentlest care and overflowing love. Angels pity these stray lambs; angels weep, while human eyes are dry, and human hearts are closed against them. If God had not given me another work, I would make it the business of my life to care for those whom others will not take the trouble to save.  {4T 423.1}

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     In the day of God somebody will be held responsible for the loss of these dear souls.  {4T 424.1}

     Parents who have neglected their God-given responsibilities must meet that neglect in the judgment. The Lord will then inquire: Where are the children that I gave you to train for Me? Why are they not at My right hand?” Many parents will then see that unwise love blinded their eyes to their children’s faults and left those children to develop deformed characters, unfit for heaven. Others will see that they did not give their children time and attention, love and tenderness; their own neglect of duty made the children what they are. Teachers will see where they could have worked for the Master by seeking to save the apparently incorrigible cases that they cast off in the youth of tender years. And the members of the church will see that they might have done good service for the Master in seeking to help those who most needed help. While their interest and love were lavished upon their own families, there were many inexperienced youth who might have been taken to their hearts and homes, and whose precious souls could have been saved by interest and kindly care.  {4T 424.2}

     Educators should understand how to guard the health of their students. They should restrain them from taxing their minds with too many studies. If they leave college with a knowledge of the sciences but with shattered constitutions, it would have been better had they not entered the school at all. Some parents feel that their children are being educated at considerable expense, and they urge them forward in their studies. Students are desirous of taking many studies in order to complete their education in as short a time as possible. The professors have allowed some to advance too rapidly. While some may need urging, others need holding back. Students should ever be diligent, but they ought not to crowd their minds so as to become intellectual dyspeptics. They should not be so pressed with studies as to neglect the culture of the manners; and, above all, they should let nothing interfere

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with their seasons of prayer, which bring them in connection with Jesus Christ, the best teacher the world has ever known. In no case should they deprive themselves of religious privileges. Many students have made their studies the first great object and have neglected prayer and absented themselves from the Sabbath school and the prayer meeting, and from neglect of religious duties they have returned to their homes backslidden from God. A most important part of their education has been neglected. That which lies at the foundation of all true knowledge should not have been made a secondary consideration. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” This must not be made last, but first. The student must have opportunities to become conversant with his Bible. He needs time for this. A student who makes God his strength, who is becoming intelligent in the knowledge of God as revealed in His word, is laying the foundation for a thorough education.  {4T 424.3}

     God designs that the college at Battle Creek shall reach a higher standard of intellectual and moral culture than any other institution of the kind in our land. The youth should be taught the importance of cultivating their physical, mental, and moral powers, that they may not only reach the highest attainments in science, but, through a knowledge of God, may be educated to glorify Him; that they may develop symmetrical characters, and thus be fully prepared for usefulness in this world and obtain a moral fitness for the immortal life.  {4T 425.1}

     I wish I could find language to express the importance of our college. All should feel that it is one of God’s instrumentalities to make Himself known to man. The teachers may do a greater work than they have hitherto calculated upon. Minds are to be molded and character is to be developed by interested experiment. In the fear of God, every endeavor to develop the higher faculties, even if it is marked with great imperfection, should be encouraged and strengthened. The minds of many of the youth are rich in talents which are put

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to no available use because they have lacked opportunity to develop them. Their physical powers have been strengthened by exercise; but the faculties of the mind lie hidden, because the discernment and God-given tact of the educator have not been exercised in bringing them into use. Aids to self-development must be given to the youth; they must be drawn out, stimulated, encouraged, and urged to action.  {4T 425.2}

     Workers are needed all over the world. The truth of God is to be carried to foreign lands, that those in darkness may be enlightened by it. God requires that a zeal be shown in this direction infinitely greater than has hitherto been manifested. As a people, we are almost paralyzed. We are not doing one-twentieth part of the good we might, because selfishness prevails to a large extent among us. Cultivated intellect is now needed in the cause of God, for novices cannot do the work acceptably. God has devised our college as an instrumentality for developing workers of whom He will not be ashamed. The height man may reach by proper culture has not hitherto been realized. We have among us more than an average of men of ability. If their talents were brought into use, we should have twenty ministers where we now have one.  {4T 426.1}

     Teachers should not feel that their duty is done when their pupils have been instructed in the sciences. But they should realize that they have the most important missionary field in the world. If the capabilities of all engaged as instructors are used as God would have them, they will be most successful missionaries. It must be remembered that the youth are forming habits which will, in nine cases out of ten, decide their future. The influence of the company they keep, the associations they form, and the principles they adopt will be carried with them through life.  {4T 426.2}

     It is a terrible fact, and one which should make the hearts of parents tremble, that the colleges to which the youth of our day are sent for the cultivation of the mind endanger their morals. As innocent youth when placed with hardened

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criminals learn lessons of crime they never before dreamed of, so pure-minded young people, through association with college companions of corrupt habits, lose their purity of character and become vicious and debased. Parents should awake to their responsibilities and understand what they are doing in sending their children from home to colleges where they can expect nothing else but that they will become demoralized. The college at Battle Creek should stand higher in moral tone than any other college in the land, that the safety of the children entrusted to her keeping may not be endangered. If teachers do their work in the fear of God, working with the spirit of Christ for the salvation of the souls of the students, God will crown their efforts with success. God-fearing parents will be more concerned in regard to the characters their children bring home with them from college than in regard to the success and advancement made in their studies.  {4T 426.3}

     I was shown that our college was designed of God to accomplish the great work of saving souls. It is only when brought under full control of the Spirit of God that the talents of an individual are rendered useful to the fullest extent. The precepts and principles of religion are the first steps in the acquisition of knowledge, and lie at the very foundation of true education. Knowledge and science must be vitalized by the Spirit of God in order to serve the noblest purposes. The Christian alone can make the right use of knowledge. Science, in order to be fully appreciated, must be viewed from a religious standpoint. The heart which is ennobled by the grace of God can best comprehend the real value of education. The attributes of God, as seen in His created works, can be appreciated only as we have a knowledge of the Creator. In order to lead the youth to the fountain of truth, to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, the teachers must not only be acquainted with the theory of the truth, but must have an experimental knowledge of the way of holiness. Knowledge is power when united with true piety.  {4T 427.1}

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             Duty of Parents to the College

     Our brethren and sisters abroad should feel it their duty to sustain this institution which God has devised. Some of the students return home with murmuring and complaints, and parents and members of the church give an attentive ear to their exaggerated, one-sided statements. They would do well to consider that there are two sides to the story; but instead, they allow these garbled reports to build up a barrier between them and the college. They then begin to express fears, questionings, and suspicions in regard to the way the college is conducted. Such an influence does great harm. The words of dissatisfaction spread like a contagious disease, and the impression made upon minds is hard to efface. The story enlarges with every repetition, until it becomes of gigantic proportions, when investigation would reveal the fact that there was no fault with teachers or professors. They were simply doing their duty in enforcing the rules of the school, which must be carried out or the school will become demoralized.  {4T 428.1}

     Parents do not always move wisely. Many are very exacting in wishing to bring others to their ideas, and become impatient and overbearing if they cannot do this; but when their own children are required to observe rules and regulations at school, and these children fret under the necessary restraint, too often their parents, who profess to love and fear God, join with the children instead of reproving them and correcting their faults. This often proves the turning point in the character of their children. Rules and order are broken down, and discipline is trampled underfoot. The children despise restraint and are allowed to speak disparagingly of the institutions at Battle Creek. If parents would only reflect, they would see the evil result of the course they are pursuing. It would indeed be a most wonderful thing if, in a school of four hundred students, managed by men and women subject to the frailties of humanity, every move should be so perfect, so exact, as to challenge criticism.  {4T 428.2}

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     If parents would place themselves in the position of the teachers and see how difficult it must necessarily be to manage and discipline a school of hundreds of students of every grade and class of minds, they might upon reflection see things differently. They should consider that some children have never been disciplined at home. Having always been indulged and never trained to obedience, it would be greatly for their advantage to be removed from their injudicious parents and placed under as severe regulations and drilling as soldiers in an army. Unless something shall be done for these children who have been so sadly neglected by unfaithful parents, they will never be accepted of Jesus; unless some power of control shall be brought to bear upon them, they will be worthless in this life and will have no part in the future life.  {4T 429.1}

     In heaven there is perfect order, perfect obedience, perfect peace and harmony. Those who have had no respect for order or discipline in this life would have no respect for the order which is observed in heaven. They can never be admitted into heaven, for all worthy of an entrance there will love order and respect discipline. The characters formed in this life will determine the future destiny. When Christ shall come, He will not change the character of any individual. Precious, probationary time is given to be improved in washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. To remove the stains of sin requires the work of a lifetime. Every day renewed efforts in restraining and denying self are needed. Every day there are new battles to fight and victories to be gained. Every day the soul should be called out in earnest pleading with God for the mighty victories of the cross. Parents should neglect no duty on their part to benefit their children. They should so train them that they may be a blessing to society here and may reap the reward of eternal life hereafter.  {4T 429.2}

Chap. 41 – Sacredness of Vows

     The brief but terrible history of Ananias and Sapphira is traced by the pen of inspiration for the benefit of all who profess to be the followers of Christ. This important lesson has not rested with sufficient weight upon the minds of our people. It will be profitable for all to thoughtfully consider the nature of the grievous offense for which these guilty ones were made an example. This one marked evidence of God’s retributive justice is fearful, and should lead all to fear and tremble to repeat sins which brought such a punishment. Selfishness was the great sin which had warped the characters of this guilty couple.  {4T 462.2}

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     With others, Ananias and his wife Sapphira had the privilege of hearing the gospel preached by the apostles. The power of God attended the word spoken, and deep conviction rested upon all present. The softening influence of the grace of God had the effect upon their hearts to cause them to release their selfish hold upon their earthly possessions. While under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, they made a pledge to give to the Lord certain lands; but when they were no longer under this heavenly influence, the impression was less forcible, and they began to question and draw back from fulfilling the pledge which they had made. They thought that they had been too hasty, and wished to reconsider the matter. Thus a door was opened by which Satan at once entered and gained control of their minds.  {4T 463.1}

     This case should be a warning to all to guard against the first approach of Satan. Covetousness was first cherished; then, ashamed to have their brethren know that their selfish souls grudged that which they had solemnly dedicated and pledged to God, deception was practiced. They talked the matter over together and deliberately decided to withhold a part of the price of the land. When convicted of their falsehood, their punishment was instant death. They knew that the Lord, whom they had defrauded, had searched them out; for Peter said: “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”  {4T 463.2}

     A special example was necessary to guard the young church from becoming demoralized; for their numbers were rapidly increasing. A warning was thus given to all who professed Christ at that time, and to all who should afterward profess His name, that God requires faithfulness in the performance of vows. But notwithstanding this signal punishment of deception and lying, the same sins have often been repeated in the Christian church and are widespread in our day. I have

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been shown that God gave this example as a warning to all who should be tempted to act in a similar manner. Selfishness and fraud are practiced daily in the church, in withholding from God that which He claims, thus robbing Him and conflicting with His arrangements to diffuse the light and knowledge of truth throughout the length and breadth of the land.  {4T 463.3}

     God in His wise plans has made the advancement of His cause dependent upon the personal efforts of His people and upon their freewill offerings. By accepting the co-operation of man in the great plan of redemption, He has placed a signal honor upon him. The minister cannot preach except he be sent. The work of dispensing light does not rest upon ministers alone. Every person, upon becoming a member of the church, pledges himself to be a representative of Christ by living out the truth he professes. The followers of Christ should carry forward the work which He left for them to do when He ascended into heaven.  {4T 464.1}

     Institutions that are God’s instruments to carry forward His work on the earth must be sustained. Churches must be erected, schools established, and publishing houses furnished with facilities for doing a great work in the publication of the truth to be sent to all parts of the world. These institutions are ordained of God and should be sustained by tithes and liberal offerings. As the work enlarges, means will be needed to carry it forward in all its branches. Those who have been converted to the truth and been made partakers of His grace may become co-workers with Christ by making voluntary sacrifices and freewill offerings to Him. And when the members of the church wish in their hearts that there would be no more calls for means, they virtually say that they are content that the cause of God shall not progress.  {4T 464.2}

     “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house:

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and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” The circumstances which prompted Jacob to vow to the Lord were similar to those which prompt men and women to vow to the Lord in our time. He had by a sinful act obtained the blessing which he knew had been promised him by the sure word of God. In doing this he showed great lack of faith in God’s power to carry out His purposes, however discouraging present appearances might be. Instead of placing himself in the position he coveted, he was obliged to flee for his life from the wrath of Esau. With only his staff in his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through a desolate country. His courage was gone, and he was filled with remorse and timidity, seeking to avoid men, lest he should be traced by his angry brother. He had not the peace of God to comfort him, for he was harassed with the thought that he had forfeited divine protection.  {4T 464.3}

     The second day of his journey is drawing to a close. He is weary, hungry, and homeless, and he feels that he is forsaken of God. He knows that he has brought this upon himself by his own wrong course. Dark clouds of despair enclose him, and he feels that he is an outcast. His heart is filled with a nameless terror, and he hardly dares to pray. But he is so utterly lonely that he feels the need of protection from God as he has never felt it before. He weeps and confesses his sin before God, and entreats for some evidence that He has not utterly forsaken him. But his burdened heart finds no relief. He has lost all confidence in himself, and he fears that the God of his fathers has cast him off. But God, the merciful God, pities the desolate, sorrow-stricken man, who gathers the stones for his pillow and has only the canopy of heaven for his covering.  {4T 465.1}

     In a vision of the night he sees a mystic ladder, its base resting upon the earth and its top reaching above the starry host to the highest heavens. Angel messengers are ascending and descending this ladder of shining brightness, showing him the pathway of communication between earth and heaven.

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A voice is heard by him, renewing the promise of mercy and protection and of future blessings. When Jacob awoke from his dream, he said: “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” He looked about him as if expecting to see the heavenly messengers; but only the dim outline of earthly objects, and the heavens above, brilliant with the gems of light, met his earnest, wondering gaze. The ladder and the bright messengers were gone, and the glorious Majesty above it he could see only in imagination.  {4T 465.2}

     Jacob was awed with the deep stillness of the night and with the vivid impression that he was in the immediate presence of God. His heart was full of gratitude that he was not destroyed. There was no more sleep for him that night; gratitude deep and fervent, mingled with holy joy, filled his soul. “And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.” And here he made his solemn vow to God.  {4T 466.1}

     Jacob made his vow while refreshed by the dews of grace and invigorated by the presence and assurance of God. After the divine glory had passed away, he had temptations, like men in our time, but he was faithful to his vow and would not harbor thoughts as to the possibility of being released from the pledge which he had made. He might have reasoned much as men do now, that this revelation was only a dream, that he was unduly excited when he made his vow, and that therefore it need not be kept; but he did not.  {4T 466.2}

     Long years intervened before Jacob dared to return to his own country, but when he did he faithfully discharged his debt to his Master. He had become a wealthy man, and a very large amount of property passed from his possessions to the treasury of the Lord.  {4T 466.3}

     Many in our day fail where Jacob made a success. Those to whom God has given the greatest amount have the strongest inclination to retain what they have, because they must give a sum proportionate to their property. Jacob gave the

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tenth of all that he had, and then reckoned the use of the tenth, and gave the Lord the benefit of that which he had used for his own interest during the time he was in a heathen land and could not pay his vow. This was a large amount, but he did not hesitate; that which he had vowed to God he did not regard as his, but as the Lord’s.  {4T 466.4}

     According to the amount bestowed will be the amount required. The larger the capital entrusted, the more valuable is the gift which God requires to be returned to Him. If a Christian has ten or twenty thousand dollars, God’s claims are imperative upon him, not only to give his proportion according to the tithing system, but to present his sin offerings and thank offerings to God. The Levitical dispensation was distinguished in a remarkable manner by the sanctification of property. When we speak of the tithe as the standard of the Jewish contributions to religious purposes, we do not speak understandingly. The Lord kept His claims paramount, and in almost every article they were reminded of the Giver by being required to make returns to Him. They were required to pay a ransom for their firstborn son, for the first fruits of their flocks, and for the first gathering of the harvest. They were required to leave the corners of their harvest fields for the destitute. Whatever dropped from their hands in reaping was left for the poor, and once in every seven years their lands were allowed to produce spontaneously for the needy. Then there were the sacrificial offerings, the trespass offerings, the sin offerings, and the remission of all debts every seventh year. There were also numerous expenses for hospitalities and gifts to the poor, and there were assessments upon their property.  {4T 467.1}

     At stated periods, in order to preserve the integrity of the law, the people were interviewed as to whether they had faithfully performed their vows or not. A conscientious few made returns to God of about one third of all their income for the benefit of religious interests and for the poor. These exactions were not from a particular class of the people, but from all, the requirement being proportioned according to the amount

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possessed. Besides all these systematic and regular donations there were special objects calling for freewill offerings, such as the tabernacle built in the wilderness and the temple erected at Jerusalem. These drafts were made by God upon the people for their own good, as well as to sustain His service.  {4T 467.2}

     There must be an awakening among us as a people upon this matter. There are but few men who feel conscience-stricken if they neglect their duty in beneficence. But few feel remorse of soul because they are daily robbing God. If a Christian deliberately or accidentally underpays his neighbor, or refuses to cancel an honest debt, his conscience, unless seared, will trouble him; he cannot rest although no one may know but himself. There are many neglected vows and unpaid pledges, and yet how few trouble their minds over the matter; how few feel the guilt of this violation of duty. We must have new and deeper convictions on this subject. The conscience must be aroused, and the matter receive earnest attention; for an account must be rendered to God in the last day, and His claims must be settled.  {4T 468.1}

     The responsibilities of the Christian businessman, however large or small his capital, will be in exact proportion to his gifts from God. The deceitfulness of riches has ruined thousands and tens of thousands. These wealthy men forget that they are stewards, and that the day is fast approaching when it shall be said to them: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” As shown by the parable of the talents, every man is responsible for the wise use of the gifts bestowed. The poor man in the parable, because he had the least gift, felt the least responsibility and made no use of the talent entrusted to him; therefore he was cast into outer darkness.  {4T 468.2}

     Said Christ: “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” And His disciples were astonished at His doctrine. When a minister who has labored successfully in securing souls to Jesus Christ abandons his sacred work in order to secure temporal gain, he is called an apostate, and he will be held accountable to God for the talents that he has

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misapplied. When men of business, farmers, mechanics, merchants, lawyers, etc., become members of the church, they become servants of Christ; and although their talents may be entirely different, their responsibility to advance the cause of God by personal effort, and with their means, is no less than that which rests upon the minister. The woe which will fall upon the minister if he preach not the gospel, will just as surely fall upon the businessman, if he, with his different talents, will not be a co-worker with Christ in accomplishing the same results. When this is brought home to the individual, some will say, “This is an hard saying;” nevertheless it is true, although continually contradicted by the practice of men who profess to be followers of Christ.  {4T 468.3}

     God provided bread for His people in the wilderness by a miracle of mercy, and He could have provided everything necessary for religious service; but He did not, because in His infinite wisdom He saw that the moral discipline of His people depended upon their co-operating with Him, every one of them doing something. As long as the truth is progressive, the claims of God rest upon men to give of that which He has entrusted to them for this very purpose. God, the Creator of man, by instituting the plan of systematic benevolence, has made the work bear equally upon all according to their several abilities. Everyone is to be his own assessor and is left to give as he purposes in his heart. But there are those who are guilty of the same sin as Ananias and Sapphira, thinking that if they withhold a portion of what God claims in the tithing system the brethren will never know it. Thus thought the guilty couple whose example is given us as a warning. God in this case proves that He searches the heart. The motives and purposes of man cannot be hidden from Him. He has left a perpetual warning to Christians of all ages to beware of the sin to which the hearts of men are continually inclined.  {4T 469.1}

     Although no visible marks of God’s displeasure follow the repetition of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira now, yet the sin is just as heinous in the sight of God and will as surely

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be visited upon the transgressor in the day of judgment, and many will feel the curse of God even in this life. When a pledge is made to the cause, it is a vow made to God and should be sacredly kept. In the sight of God it is no better than sacrilege to appropriate to our own use that which has been once pledged to advance His sacred work.  {4T 469.2}

     When a verbal or written pledge has been made in the presence of our brethren to give a certain amount, they are the visible witnesses of a contract made between ourselves and God. The pledge is not made to man, but to God, and is as a written note given to a neighbor. No legal bond is more binding upon the Christian for the payment of money than a pledge made to God.  {4T 470.1}

     Persons who thus pledge to their fellow men do not generally think of asking to be released from their pledges. A vow made to God, the Giver of all favors, is of still greater importance; then why should we seek to be released from our vows to God? Will man consider his promise less binding because made to God? Because his vow will not be put to trial in courts of justice, is it less valid? Will a man who professes to be saved by the blood of the infinite sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “rob God”? Are not his vows and his actions weighed in the balances of justice in the heavenly courts?  {4T 470.2}

     Each of us has a case pending in the court of heaven. Shall our course of conduct balance the evidence against us? The case of Ananias and Sapphira was of the most aggravated character. In keeping back part of the price, they lied to the Holy Ghost. Guilt likewise rests upon every individual in proportion to like offenses. When the hearts of men are softened by the presence of the Spirit of God, they are more susceptible to impressions of the Holy Spirit, and resolves are made to deny self and to sacrifice for the cause of God. It is when divine light shines into the chambers of the mind with unusual clearness and power that the feelings of the natural man are overcome, that selfishness loses its power upon the heart, and that desires are awakened to imitate the Pattern, Jesus Christ, in practicing self-denial and benevolence. The

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disposition of the naturally selfish man then becomes kind and pitiful toward lost sinners, and he makes a solemn pledge to God, as did Abraham and Jacob. Heavenly angels are present on such occasions. The love of God and love for souls triumphs over selfishness and love of the world. Especially is this the case when the speaker, in the Spirit and power of God, presents the plan of redemption, laid by the Majesty of heaven in the sacrifice of the cross. By the following scriptures we may see how God regards the subject of vows:  {4T 470.3}

     “And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded. If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” Numbers 30:1, 2. “Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?” Ecclesiastes 5:6. “I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay Thee my vows, which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.” Psalm 66:13, 14. “It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make inquiry.” Proverbs 20:25. “When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.” Deuteronomy 23:21-23.  {4T 471.1}

     “Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God: let all that be round about Him bring presents unto Him that ought to be feared.” Psalm 76:11. “But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even His meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and

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the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is dreadful among the heathen.” Malachi 1:12-14.  {4T 471.2}

     “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.  {4T 472.1}

     God has given man a part to act in accomplishing the salvation of his fellow men. He can work in connection with Christ by doing acts of mercy and beneficence. But he cannot redeem them, not being able to satisfy the claims of insulted justice. This the Son of God alone can do, by laying aside His honor and glory, clothing His divinity with humanity, and coming to earth to humiliate Himself and shed His blood in behalf of the human race.  {4T 472.2}

     In commissioning His disciples to go “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” Christ assigned to men the work of spreading the gospel. But while some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer to His claims upon them for tithes and offerings with which to support the ministry and to spread the printed truth all over the land. This is God’s means of exalting man. It is just the work which he needs, for it will stir the deepest sympathies of his heart and call into exercise the highest capabilities of the mind.  {4T 472.3}

     Every good thing of earth was placed here by the bountiful hand of God as an expression of His love to man. The poor are His, and the cause of religion is His. He has placed means in the hands of men, that His divine gifts may flow through human channels in doing the work appointed us in saving our fellow men. Everyone has his appointed work in the great field; and yet none should receive the idea that God is dependent upon man. He could speak the word, and every son of poverty would be made rich. In a moment of time He could

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heal the human race of all their diseases. He might dispense with ministers altogether and make angels the ambassadors of His truth. He might have written the truth upon the firmament, or imprinted it upon the leaves of the trees and upon the flowers of the field; or He might with an audible voice have proclaimed it from heaven. But the all-wise God did not choose any of these ways. He knew that man must have something to do in order that life might be a blessing to him. The gold and silver are the Lord’s, and He could rain them from heaven if He chose; but instead of this He has made man His steward, entrusting him with means, not to be hoarded, but to be used in benefiting others. He thus makes man the medium through which to distribute His blessings on earth. God planned the system of beneficence in order that man might become, like his Creator, benevolent and unselfish in character, and finally be a partaker with Him of the eternal, glorious reward.  {4T 472.4}

     God works through human instrumentalities; and whoever shall awaken the consciences of men, provoking them to good works and a real interest in the advancement of the cause of truth, does not do it of himself, but by the Spirit of God which worketh in him. Pledges made under these circumstances are of a sacred character, being the fruit of the work of the Spirit of God. When these pledges are canceled, Heaven accepts the offering, and these liberal workers are credited for so much treasure invested in the bank of heaven. Such are laying up a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  {4T 473.1}

     But when the immediate presence of the Spirit of God is not so vividly felt, and the mind becomes exercised in the temporal concerns of life, then they are tempted to question the force of the obligation which they voluntarily assumed; and, yielding to Satan’s suggestions, they reason that undue pressure was brought to bear upon them and they acted under the excitement of the occasion; that the demand for means to use in the cause of God was overstated; and that they were

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induced to pledge under false pretenses, without fully understanding the subject, and therefore they wish to be released. Have ministers the power to accept their excuses and say: “You shall not be holden to your pledge; you are released from your vow”? If they venture to do this, they become partakers of the sin of which the withholder is guilty.  {4T 473.2}

     Of all our income we should make the first appropriation to God. In the system of beneficence enjoined upon the Jews they were required either to bring to the Lord the first fruits of all His gifts, whether in the increase of their flocks or herds, or in the produce of their fields, orchards, or vineyards, or they were to redeem it by substituting an equivalent. How changed the order of things in our day! The Lord’s requirements and claims, if they receive any attention, are left till the last. Yet our work needs tenfold more means now than was needed by the Jews. The great commission given to the apostles was to go throughout the world and preach the gospel. This shows the extension of the work and the increased responsibility resting upon the followers of Christ in our day. If the law required tithes and offerings thousands of years ago, how much more essential are they now! If the rich and poor were to give a sum proportionate to their property in the Jewish economy, it is doubly essential now.  {4T 474.1}

     The majority of professed Christians part with their means with great reluctance. Many of them do not give one twentieth of their income to God, and many give far less than that; while there is a large class who rob God of the little tithe, and others who will give only the tithe. If all the tithes of our people flowed into the treasury of the Lord as they should, such blessings would be received that gifts and offerings for sacred purposes would be multiplied tenfold, and thus the channel between God and man would be kept open. The followers of Christ should not wait for thrilling missionary appeals to arouse them to action. If spiritually awake, they would hear in the income of every week, whether much or little, the voice of God and of conscience with authority demanding the tithes and offerings due the Lord.  {4T 474.2}

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     Not only are the gifts and labors of Christ’s followers desired, but in one sense they are indispensable. All heaven is interested in the salvation of man and waiting for men to become interested in their own salvation and in that of their fellow men. All things are ready, but the church is apparently upon the enchanted ground. When they shall arouse and lay their prayers, their wealth, and all their energies and resources at the feet of Jesus, the cause of truth will triumph. Angels are amazed that Christians do so little when such an example has been given them by Jesus, who even withheld not Himself from death, a shameful death. It is a marvel to them that when professors come in contact with the selfishness of the world they should fall back to their narrow views and selfish motives.  {4T 475.1}

     One of the greatest sins in the Christian world of today is dissembling and covetousness in dealing with God. There is an increasing carelessness on the part of many in regard to meeting their pledges to the various institutions and religious enterprises. Many look upon the act of pledging as though it imposed no obligation to pay. If they think that their money will bring them considerable profit by being invested in bank stock or in merchandise, or if there are individuals connected with the institution which they have pledged to help to whom they take exceptions, they feel perfectly free to use their means as they please. This lack of integrity is prevailing to quite an extent among those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and looking for the soon appearing of their Lord and Saviour.  {4T 475.2}

     The plan of systematic benevolence was of God’s own arrangement, but the faithful payment of God’s claims is often refused or postponed as though solemn promises were of no significance. It is because church members neglect to pay their tithes and meet their pledges that our institutions are not free from embarrassment. If all, both rich and poor, would bring their tithes into the storehouse, there would be a sufficient supply of means to release the cause from financial embarrassment and to nobly carry forward the missionary work in its

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various departments. God calls upon those who believe the truth to render to Him the things that are His. Those who have thought that to withhold from God is gain will eventually experience His curse as the result of their robbery of the Lord. Nothing but utter inability to pay can excuse one in neglecting to meet promptly his obligations to the Lord. Indifference in this matter shows that you are in blindness and deception, and are unworthy of the Christian name.  {4T 475.3}

     A church is responsible for the pledges of its individual members. If they see that there is a brother who is neglecting to fulfill his vows, they should labor with him kindly but plainly. If he is not in circumstances which render it possible for him to pay his vow, and he is a worthy member and has a willing heart, then let the church compassionately help him. Thus they can bridge over the difficulty and receive a blessing themselves.  {4T 476.1}

     God would have the members of His church consider their obligations to Him as binding as their indebtedness to the merchant or the market. Let everyone review his past life and see if any unpaid, unredeemed pledges have been neglected, and then make extra exertions to pay the “uttermost farthing,” for we must all meet and abide the final issue of a tribunal where nothing will stand the test but integrity and veracity.   {4T 476.2}

                                    Chap. 42 – Wills and Legacies

     “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Selfishness is a soul-destroying sin. Under this head comes covetousness, which is idolatry. All things belong to God. All the prosperity we enjoy is the result of divine beneficence. God is the great and bountiful giver. If He requires any portion of the liberal supply He has given

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us, it is not that He may be enriched by our gifts, for He needs nothing from our hand; but it is that we may have an opportunity to exercise self-denial, love, and sympathy for our fellow men, and thus become highly exalted. In every dispensation, from Adam’s time to ours, God has claimed the property of man, saying: I am the rightful owner of the universe; therefore consecrate to Me thy first fruits, bring a tribute of loyalty, surrender to Me My own, thus acknowledging My sovereignty, and you shall be free to retain and enjoy My bounties, and My blessing shall be with you. “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase.”  {4T 476.3}

     God’s requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left of our income after all our imaginary wants have been supplied. Before any part of our earnings is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims. In the old dispensation an offering of gratitude was kept continually burning upon the altar, thus showing man’s endless obligation to God. If we have prosperity in our secular business, it is because God blesses us. A part of this income is to be devoted to the poor, and a large portion to be applied to the cause of God. When that which God claims is rendered to Him, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when a man robs God by withholding that which He requires, His curse rests upon the whole.  {4T 477.1}

     God has made men the channels through which His gifts are to flow to sustain the work which He would have carried forward in the world. He has given them property to be wisely used, not selfishly hoarded or extravagantly expended in luxury and selfish gratification either in dress or in the embellishment of their houses. He has entrusted them with means with which to support His servants in their labor as preachers and missionaries, and to sustain the institutions He has established among us. Those who rejoice in the precious light of truth should feel a burning desire to have it sent

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everywhere. There are a few faithful standard-bearers who never flinch from duty or shirk responsibilities. Their hearts and purses are always open to every call for means to advance the cause of God. Indeed, some seem ready to exceed their duty, as though fearful that they will lose an opportunity of investing their portion in the bank of heaven. There are others who will do as little as possible. They hoard their treasure, or lavish means upon themselves, grudgingly doling out a mere pittance to sustain the cause of God. If they make a pledge or a vow to God, they afterward repent of it, and will avoid the payment of it as long as they can, if not altogether. They make their tithe as small as possible, as if afraid that that which they return to God is lost. Our various institutions may be embarrassed for means, but this class act as though it made no difference to them whether they prospered or not. And yet these are God’s instrumentalities with which to enlighten the world.  {4T 477.2}

     These institutions have not, like other institutions of the kind, received endowments or legacies. And yet God has greatly prospered and blessed them, and made them the means of great good. There are aged ones among us who are nearing the close of their probation; but for the want of wide-awake men to secure to the cause of God the means in their possession, it passes into the hands of those who are serving Satan. This means was only lent them of God to be returned to Him; but in nine cases out of ten these brethren, when passing from the stage of action, appropriate God’s property in a way that cannot glorify Him, for not one dollar of it will ever flow into the Lord’s treasury. In some cases these apparently good brethren have had unconsecrated advisers, who counseled from their own standpoint and not according to the mind of God. Property is often bequeathed to children and grandchildren only to their injury. They have no love for God or for the truth, and therefore this means, all of which is the Lord’s, passes into Satan’s ranks, to be controlled by him. Satan is much more vigilant, keen-sighted, and skillful in devising ways to secure means to himself than our brethren

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are to secure the Lord’s own to His cause. Some wills are made in so loose a manner that they will not stand the test of the law, and thus thousands of dollars have been lost to the cause. Our brethren should feel that a responsibility rests upon them, as faithful servants in the cause of God, to exercise their intellect in regard to this matter, and secure to the Lord His own.  {4T 478.1}

     Many manifest a needless delicacy on this point. They feel that they are stepping upon forbidden ground when they introduce the subject of property to the aged or to invalids in order to learn what disposition they design to make of it. But this duty is just as sacred as the duty to preach the word to save souls. Here is a man with God’s money or property in his hands. He is about to change his stewardship. Will he place the means which God has lent him to be used in His cause, in the hands of wicked men, just because they are his relatives? Should not Christian men feel interested and anxious for that man’s future good as well as for the interest of God’s cause, that he shall make a right disposition of his Lord’s money, the talents lent him for wise improvement? Will his brethren stand by and see him losing his hold on this life and at the same time robbing the treasury of God? This would be a fearful loss to himself and to the cause; for, by placing his talent of means in the hands of those who have no regard for the truth of God, he would, to all intents and purposes, be wrapping it in a napkin and hiding it in the earth.  {4T 479.1}

     The Lord would have His followers dispense their means while they can do it themselves. Some may inquire: “Must we actually dispossess ourselves of everything which we call our own?” We may not be required to do this now; but we must be willing to do so for Christ’s sake. We must acknowledge that our possessions are absolutely His, by using of them freely whenever means is needed to advance His cause. Some close their ears to the calls made for money to be used in sending missionaries to foreign countries and in publishing the truth and scattering it like autumn leaves all over the world. Such excuse their covetousness by informing you that

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they have made arrangements to be charitable at death. They have considered the cause of God in their wills. Therefore they live a life of avarice, robbing God in tithes and in offerings, and in their wills return to God but a small portion of that which He has lent them, while a very large proportion is appropriated to relatives who have no interest in the truth. This is the worst kind of robbery. They rob God of His just dues, not only all through life, but also at death.  {4T 479.2}

     It is utter folly to defer to make a preparation for the future life until nearly the last hour of the present life. It is also a great mistake to defer to answer the claims of God for liberality to His cause until the time comes when you are to shift your stewardship upon others. Those to whom you entrust your talents of means may not do as well with them as you have done. How dare rich men run so great risks! Those who wait till death before they make a disposition of their property, surrender it to death rather than to God. In so doing many are acting directly contrary to the plan of God plainly stated in His word. If they would do good they must seize the present golden moments and labor with all their might, as if fearful that they may lose the favorable opportunity.  {4T 480.1}

     Those who neglect known duty by not answering to God’s claims upon them in this life, and who soothe their consciences by calculating on making their bequests at death, will receive no words of commendation from the Master, nor will they receive a reward. They practiced no self-denial, but selfishly retained their means as long as they could, yielding it up only when death claimed them. That which many propose to defer until they are about to die, if they were Christians indeed they would do while they have a strong hold on life. They would devote themselves and their property to God, and, while acting as His stewards, they would have the satisfaction of doing their duty. By becoming their own executors, they could meet the claims of God themselves, instead of shifting the responsibility upon others. We should regard ourselves as stewards of the Lord’s property and God as the supreme proprietor, to

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whom we are to render His own when He shall require it. When He shall come to receive His own with usury, the covetous will see that instead of multiplying the talents entrusted to them, they have brought upon themselves the doom pronounced upon the unprofitable servant.  {4T 480.2}

     The Lord designs that the death of His servants shall be regarded as a loss because of the influence for good which they exerted and the many willing offerings which they bestowed to replenish the treasury of God. Dying legacies are a miserable substitute for living benevolence. The servants of God should be making their wills every day in good works and liberal offerings to God. They should not allow the amount given to God to be disproportionately small when compared with that appropriated to their own use. In making their wills daily, they will remember those objects and friends that hold the largest place in their affections. Their best friend is Jesus. He did not withhold His own life from them, but for their sakes became poor, that through His poverty they might be made rich. He deserves the whole heart, the property, all that they have and are. But many professed Christians put off the claims of Jesus in life and insult Him by giving Him a mere pittance at death. Let all of this class remember that this robbery of God is not an impulsive action, but a well-considered plan which they preface by saying: “Being in sound mind.” After having defrauded the cause of God through life they perpetuate the fraud after death. And this is with the full consent of all the powers of the mind. Such a will many are content to cherish for a dying pillow. Their will is a part of their preparation for death and is prepared so that their possessions shall not disturb their dying hours. Can these dwell with pleasure upon the requirement that will be made of them to give an account of their stewardship?  {4T 481.1}

     We must all be rich in good works in this life if we would secure the future, immortal life. When the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, every man will be rewarded according to his works. Many names are enrolled on the

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church book that have robbery recorded against them in the Ledger of Heaven. And unless these repent and work for the Master with disinterested benevolence, they will certainly share in the doom of the unfaithful steward.  {4T 481.2}

     It often happens that an active businessman is cut down without a moment’s warning and on examination his business is found to be in a most perplexing condition. In the effort to settle his estate the lawyers’ fees eat up a large share, if not all, of the property, while his wife and children and the cause of Christ are robbed. Those who are faithful stewards of the Lord’s means will know just how their business stands, and, like wise men, they will be prepared for any emergency. Should their probation close suddenly, they would not leave such great perplexity upon those who are called to settle their estate.  {4T 482.1}

     Many are not exercised upon the subject of making their wills while they are in apparent health. But this precaution should be taken by our brethren. They should know their financial standing and should not allow their business to become entangled. They should arrange their property in such a manner that they may leave it at any time.  {4T 482.2}

     Wills should be made in a manner to stand the test of law. After they are drawn they may remain for years and do no harm, if donations continue to be made from time to time as the cause has need. Death will not come one day sooner, brethren, because you have made your will. In disposing of your property by will to your relatives, be sure that you do not forget God’s cause. You are His agents, holding His property; and His claims should have your first consideration. Your wife and children, of course, should not be left destitute; provision should be made for them if they are needy. But do not, simply because it is customary, bring into your will a long line of relatives who are not needy.  {4T 482.3}

     Let it ever be kept in mind that the present selfish system of disposing of property is not God’s plan, but man’s device. Christians should be reformers and break up this present

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system, giving an entirely new aspect to the formation of wills. Let the idea be ever present that it is the Lord’s property which you are handling. The will of God in this matter is law. If man had made you the executor of his property, would you not closely study the will of the testator, that the smallest amount might not be misapplied? Your heavenly Friend has entrusted you with property, and given you His will as to how it should be used. If this will is studied with an unselfish heart, that which belongs to God will not be misapplied. The Lord’s cause has been shamefully neglected, when He has provided men with sufficient means to meet every emergency, if they only had grateful, obedient hearts.  {4T 482.4}

     Those who make their wills should not feel that when this is done they have no further duty; but they should be constantly at work, using the talents entrusted to them, for the upbuilding of the Lord’s cause. God has devised plans that all may work intelligently in the distribution of their means. He does not propose to sustain His work by miracles. He has a few faithful stewards, who are economizing and using their means to advance His cause. Instead of self-denial and benevolence being an exception, they should be the rule. The growing necessities of the cause of God require means. Calls are constantly coming in from men in our own and foreign countries for messengers to come to them with light and truth. This will necessitate more laborers and more means to support them.  {4T 483.1}

     Only a small amount of means flows into the Lord’s treasury to be appropriated to the saving of souls, and it is with hard labor that even this is obtained. If the eyes of all could be opened to see how prevailing covetousness has hindered the advancement of the work of God, and how much more might have been done had all acted up to God’s plan in tithes and offerings, there would be a decided reform on the part of many; for they would not dare to hinder the work of advancing the cause of God as they have done. The church is asleep as to the work it might do if it would give up all for

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Christ. A true spirit of self-sacrifice would be an argument for the reality and power of the gospel which the world could not misunderstand or gainsay, and abundant blessings would be poured upon the church.  {4T 483.2}

     I call upon our brethren to cease their robbery of God. Some are so situated that wills must be made. But in doing this, care should be taken not to give to sons and daughters means which should flow into the treasury of God. These wills often become the subject of quarrels and dissensions. It is recorded to the praise of God’s ancient people that He was not ashamed to be called their God; and the reason assigned is that instead of selfishly seeking for and coveting earthly possessions, or seeking their happiness in worldly pleasures, they placed themselves and all that they had in the hands of God. They lived only for His glory, declaring plainly that they sought a better country, even a heavenly. Of such a people God was not ashamed. They did not disgrace Him in the eyes of the world. The Majesty of heaven was not ashamed to call them brethren.  {4T 484.1}

     There are many who urge that they cannot do more for God’s cause than they now do; but they do not give according to their ability. The Lord sometimes opens the eyes blinded by selfishness by simply reducing their income to the amount they are willing to give. Horses are found dead in the field or stable, houses or barns are destroyed by fire, or crops fail. In many cases God tests man with blessings, and if unfaithfulness is manifested in rendering to Him tithes and offerings, His blessing is withdrawn. “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly.” By the mercies of Christ and the riches of His goodness, and for the honor of truth and religion, we beseech you who are followers of Christ to dedicate yourselves and your property anew to God. In view of the love and compassion of Christ, which brought Him from the royal courts to suffer self-denial, humiliation, and death, let each ask himself the question, “How much do I owe my Lord?” and then let your grateful offerings be in accordance with your appreciation of the great gift of heaven in God’s dear Son.  {4T 484.2}

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     In determining the proportion to be given to the cause of God, be sure to exceed, rather than fall short, of the requirements of duty. Consider for whom the offering is to be made. This recollection will put covetousness to flight. Only consider the great love wherewith Christ has loved us, and our richest offerings will seem unworthy of His acceptance. When Christ is the object of our affections, those who have received His pardoning love will not stop to calculate the value of the alabaster box of precious ointment. Covetous Judas could do this; but the receiver of the gift of salvation will only regret that the offering has not a richer perfume and greater value. Christians must look upon themselves only as channels through which mercies and blessings are to flow from the Fountain of all goodness to their fellow men, by whose conversion they may send to heaven waves of glory in praise and offerings from those who thus become partakers with them of the heavenly gift.   {4T 485.1}

Chap. 57 – Economy and Self-Denial

     Economy in the outlay of means is an excellent branch of Christian wisdom. This matter is not sufficiently considered by those who occupy responsible positions in our institutions. Money is an excellent gift of God. In the hands of His children it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, and raiment for the naked; it is a defense for the oppressed and a means of health to the sick. Means should not be needlessly or lavishly expended for the gratification of pride or ambition.  {4T 571.1}

     In order to meet the real wants of the people, the stern motives of religious principle must be a controlling power. When Christians and worldlings are brought together, the Christian element is not to assimilate with the unsanctified. The contrast between the two must be kept sharp and positive. They are servants of two masters. One class strive to keep the humble path of obedience to God’s requirements,–the path of simplicity, meekness, and humility,–imitating the Pattern, Christ Jesus. The other class are in every way the opposite of the first. They are servants of the world, eager and ambitious to follow its fashions in extravagant dress and in the gratification of appetite. This is the field in which Christ has given those connected with the sanitarium their appointed work. We are not to lessen the distance between us and worldlings by coming to their standard, stepping down from the high path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But the charms exhibited in the Christian’s life–the principles carried out in our daily work, in holding appetite under the control of reason, maintaining simplicity in dress, and engaging in holy conversation–will be a light continually shining upon the pathway of those whose habits are false.  {4T 571.2}

     There are weak and vain ones who have no depth of mind or power of principle, who are foolish enough to be influenced and corrupted from the simplicity of the gospel by the devotees of fashion. If they see that those who profess to be reformers

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are, as far as their circumstances will admit, indulging the appetite and dressing after the customs of the world, the slaves of self-indulgence will become confirmed in their perverse habits. They conclude that they are not so far out of the way after all, and that no great change need be made by them. The people of God should firmly uphold the standard of right and exert an influence to correct the wrong habits of those who have been worshiping at the shrine of fashion, and break the spell which Satan has had over these poor souls. Worldlings should see a marked contrast between their own extravagance and the simplicity of reformers who are followers of Christ.  {4T 571.3}

     The secret of life’s success is in a careful, conscientious attention to the little things. God makes the simple leaf, the tiny flower, the blade of grass, with as much care as He creates a world. The symmetrical structure of a strong, beautiful character is built up by individual acts of duty. All should learn to be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest duty. Their work cannot bear the inspection of God unless it is found to include a faithful, diligent, economical care for the little things.  {4T 572.1}

     All who are connected with our institutions should have a jealous care that nothing be wasted, even if the matter does not come under the very part of the work assigned them. Everyone can do something toward economizing. All should perform their work, not to win praise of men, but in such a manner that it may bear the scrutiny of God.  {4T 572.2}

     Christ once gave His disciples a lesson upon economy which is worthy of careful attention. He wrought a miracle to feed the hungry thousands who had listened to His teachings; yet after all had eaten and were satisfied, He did not permit the fragments to be wasted. He who could, in their necessity, feed the vast multitude by His divine power, bade His disciples gather up the fragments, that nothing might be lost. This lesson was given as much for our benefit as for those living in Christ’s day. The Son of God has a care for the

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necessities of temporal life. He did not neglect the broken fragments after the feast, although He could make such a feast whenever He chose. The workers in our institutions would do well to heed this lesson: “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” This is the duty of all; and those who occupy a leading position should set the example.  {4T 572.3}

     Those whose hands are open to respond to the calls for means to sustain the cause of God and to relieve the suffering and the needy are not the ones who are found loose and lax and dilatory in their business management. They are always careful to keep their outgoes within their income. They are economical from principle; they feel it their duty to save, that they may have something to give.  {4T 573.1}

     Some of the workers, like the children of Israel, allow perverted appetite and old habits of indulgence to clamor for the victory. They long, as did ancient Israel, for the leeks and onions of Egypt. All connected with these institutions should strictly adhere to the laws of life and health, and thus give no countenance, by their example, to the wrong habits of others.  {4T 573.2}

     It is transgression in the little things that first leads the soul away from God. By their one sin in partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Some may regard that transgression as a very little thing, but we see that its consequences were anything but small. The angels in heaven have a wider and more elevated sphere of action than we, but right with them and right with us are one and the same thing.  {4T 573.3}

     It is not a mean, penurious spirit that would lead the proper officers to reprove existing wrongs and require from all the workers justice, economy, and self-denial. It is no coming down from proper dignity to guard the interests of our institutions in these matters. Those who are faithful themselves, naturally look for faithfulness in others. Strict integrity should govern the dealings of the managers and should be enforced upon all who labor under their direction.  {4T 573.4}

     Men of principle need not the restriction of locks and keys;

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they do not need to be watched and guarded. They will deal truly and honorably at all times, alone, with no eye upon them, as well as in public. They will not bring a stain upon their souls for any amount of gain or selfish advantage. They scorn a mean act. Although no one else might know it, they would know it themselves, and this would destroy their self-respect. Those who are not conscientious and faithful in little things would not be reformed were there laws and restrictions and penalties upon the point.  {4T 573.5}

     Few have moral stamina to resist temptation, especially of the appetite, and to practice self-denial. To some it is a temptation too strong to be resisted to see others eat the third meal; and they imagine they are hungry, when the feeling is not a call of the stomach for food, but a desire of the mind that has not been fortified with firm principle and disciplined to self-denial. The walls of self-control and self-restriction should not in a single instance be weakened and broken down. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, says: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  {4T 574.1}

     Those who do not overcome in little things will have no moral power to withstand greater temptations. All who seek to make honesty the ruling principle in the daily business of life will need to be on their guard that they covet “no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.” While they are content with convenient food and clothing, it will be found an easy matter to keep the heart and hands from the defilement of covetousness and dishonesty.  {4T 574.2}

     The habits formed in childhood and youth have more influence than any natural endowment in making men and women intellectually great or dwarfed and crippled; for the very best talents may, through wrong habits, become warped and enfeebled. To a great extent the character is determined in early years. Correct, virtuous habits formed in youth will generally mark the course of the individual through life. In most cases those who reverence God and honor the right will

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be found to have learned this lesson before the world could stamp its images of sin upon the soul. Men and women of mature age are generally as insensible to new impressions as is the hardened rock; but youth is impressible, and a right character may then be easily formed.  {4T 574.3}

     Those who are employed in our institutions have, in many respects, the best advantages for the formation of correct habits. None will be placed beyond the reach of temptation, for in every character there are weak points that are in danger when assailed. Those who profess the name of Christ should not, like the self-righteous Pharisee, find great pleasure in recounting their good deeds, but all should feel the necessity of keeping the moral nature braced by constant watchfulness. Like faithful sentinels they should guard the citadel of the soul, never feeling that they may relax their vigilance for a moment. In earnest prayer and living faith is their only safety.  {4T 575.1}

     Those who begin to be careless of their steps will find that, before they are aware of it, their feet are entangled in a web from which it is impossible for them to extricate themselves. It should be a fixed principle with all to be truthful and honest. Whether they are rich or poor, whether they have friends or are left alone, come what will, they should resolve in the strength of God that no influence shall lead them to commit the least wrong act. One and all should realize that upon them, individually, depends in a measure the prosperity of the institutions which God has established among us.   {4T 575.2}

Chap. 61 – Love of the World

     Dear Brethren and Sisters at —–: You are in a rich, beautiful country, where the bounties of God’s providence have been scattered with a liberal hand; but unless they are wisely improved, these very blessings will prove a curse. Some of you are surfeited with the cares of this life, and some are becoming drunken with the spirit of the world. Your position is one of danger. Especially is this the case with the youth among you. Parents have not closely connected with God so that they could labor intelligently, in His Spirit and power, for the conversion of their children. Continual talk will not convert them. Reproof and restraint are frequently necessary; but these are often carried too far, especially when vital godliness is not exemplified in the life of those who administer the reproof.  {4T 609.3}

     Our words and actions constitute the fruit we bear. A consecrated life is a daily, living sermon. But inward piety and true devotion are fast giving place to outward forms. Pure and undefiled religion is the great need of the church

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at —–. They should make it an individual work to draw near to God. No one can be saved by proxy, but every man and woman must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. Satan has much more power over some who profess the truth than many realize. Self reigns in the heart, instead of Christ. Self-will, self-interest, envy, and pride shut out the presence of God.  {4T 609.4}

     The love of God must pervade the soul, or the fruits of righteousness will not appear. It is not safe to indulge in vanity and pride, or love of power or gain. It is the worst phase of selfishness to fret and censure and complain because you have the power to do this and those whom you abuse in this way cannot prevent you. It is selfishness that causes variance in the family circle and in the church. Unchristian hearts will think they can discern great wrongs in others where none exist and will dwell upon little matters until they appear greatly magnified. The work of adjusting these little matters, which seem so large to some, God has left for His followers themselves to do. Let not those unhappy differences remain till they become a root of bitterness in the church, whereby many will be defiled. When Christ is in the heart it will be so softened and subdued by love for God and man that fretting, faultfinding, and contention will not exist there. The religion of Christ in the heart will gain for its possessor a complete victory over those passions that are seeking for the mastery.  {4T 610.1}

     Said Christ: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these [needed] things shall be added unto you.” This promise will never fail. We cannot enjoy the favor of God unless we comply with the conditions upon which His favor is bestowed. By so doing there will come to us that peace, contentment, and wisdom that the world can neither give nor take away. If you would, as a church, secure the rich blessing of God, you must individually make Him first and last and best in every thought, plan, and work. Obedience to God is the first duty of the Christian. A humble mind and a grateful heart will elevate us above petty trials

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and real difficulties. The less earnest, energetic, and vigilant we are in the service of the Master, the more will the mind dwell upon self, magnifying molehills into mountains of difficulty. We shall feel that we are abused, when no disrespect even was designed.  {4T 610.2}

     The burden of God’s work, laid upon Moses, made him a man of power. While keeping, for so many years, the flocks of Jethro, he gained an experience that taught him true humility. But God’s call found Moses, as it will find us, inefficient, hesitating, and self-distrustful. The command to deliver Israel seemed overwhelming; but, in the fear of God, Moses accepted the trust. Mark the result: He did not bring the work down to his deficiency; but in the strength of God he put forth the most earnest efforts to elevate and sanctify himself for his sacred mission.  {4T 611.1}

     Moses would never have been prepared for his position of trust had he waited for God to do the work for him. Light from heaven will come to those who feel the need of it, and who seek for it as for hidden treasures. But if we sink down into a state of inactivity, willing to be controlled by Satan’s power, God will not send His inspiration to us. Unless we exert to the utmost the powers which He has given us, we shall ever remain weak and inefficient. Much prayer and the most vigorous exercise of the mind are necessary if we would be prepared to do the work which God would entrust to us. Many never attain to the position which they might occupy, because they wait for God to do for them that which He has given them power to do for themselves. All who are fitted for usefulness in this life must be trained by the severest mental and moral discipline, and then God will assist them by combining divine power with human effort.  {4T 611.2}

     Many in —– will fail because they do not keep up with the advancement of the work, and do not properly represent in their daily life the sanctification of the truth. They do not, like Moses, bring their life up to meet the exalted standard. If they had done this, many more would now be added to their numbers, rejoicing in the truth. It is a fearful thing to lead

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souls away from Christ by our unsanctified life. Our religion must be something more than a head religion. It must affect the heart, and then it will have a correcting influence upon the life. Wrong habits are not overcome by a single effort. Only through long and severe struggles is self mastered. This self-training must be taken up by the individual members of the church, and the rubbish which has accumulated around the door of the heart must be removed, ere they can serve God with singleness of purpose, adorning their profession by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation. Then, and not till then, can they teach sinners the truth and win souls to Christ.  {4T 611.3}

     There are men in this church who feel that they should teach the truth to others, while they are fretful, impatient, and faultfinding in their own families. Such need that one teach them, until they become patient, God-fearing men at home. They need to learn the first principles of true religion. They should seek God with earnestness of soul, for they have been a scourge in their families and as a desolating hail to depress and destroy their brethren. These men do not deserve the name of husband, “house band;” for they do not bind the family together with the Christian love, sympathy, and true dignity of a godly life and Christlike character.  {4T 612.1}

     The solemn, sacred truth–the testing message given us of God to communicate to the world–lays every one of us under the strongest obligation to so transform our daily life and character that the power of the truth may be well represented. We should have a continual sense of the shortness of time and of the fearful events which prophecy has declared must speedily take place. It is because these truths are not made a reality that the life is so inconsistent with the truth which we profess. Many hide in the earth talents which should be invested where they will be accumulating to be returned to God when He shall say: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” Moses became great because he used his talents to do the work of God, and an increase of talents was then given him. He became eloquent, patient, self-reliant, and

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competent to do the greatest work ever entrusted to mortal man. This is the effect upon character whenever men give themselves to God with the whole soul, and listen for His commands that they may obey them.  {4T 612.2}

     Willing obedience to God’s requirements gives vital energy and power to the soul. A work enduring as the sun is done for the worker as well as for those for whom he labors. However limited the capacity of the one who engages in this work, the labor which he performs in his humble sphere will be acceptable to God.  {4T 613.1}

     “Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”  {4T 613.2}

     The reason why our people have not more power is that they profess the truth, but do not practice it. They have but little faith and trust in God. There are but few who bear the burdens connected with His work. The Lord claims the strength of brain, bone, and muscle; but it is too often withheld from Him and given to the world. The service of God is made a secondary matter, while worldly interests receive prompt attention. Thus things of minor consequence are made important, while the requirements of God, things spiritual and eternal, are treated in an indifferent manner, as something

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which may be taken up at will and let alone at pleasure. If the mind were stayed upon God and the truth exerted a sanctifying influence upon the heart, self would be hid in Christ. If we realize the importance of the truth which we profess to believe we should feel that we have a sacred mission to fulfill, a responsibility involving eternal results. All temporal interests would yield to this.  {4T 613.3}

     Brethren in —–, you do not realize your obligation to God and the individual work He has given you to perform for Him. You have the theory of the truth, but do not feel its power in the soul. The barren fig tree flaunted its pretentious branches in the face of heaven; but when the search for fruit was made by the Redeemer, lo, there was nothing but leaves. Unless there is a thorough work wrought for you as individuals and as a church, the curse of God will as surely come upon you as it fell upon that fruitless tree.  {4T 614.1}

     The members of the —– church possess talents which would be valuable if put to a right use. The weak man may become strong, the timid may become brave, and the irresolute and undecided may become men of quick and firm decision, when they feel that God considers them of sufficient consequence to accept their labors.  {4T 614.2}

     Men in this church must feel that God wishes them to become laborers in His cause in any capacity. Unless they change their course, some will be found in a position similar to that of the Pharisees when Christ addressed them: “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” Many feel secure because they profess the truth, while they do not feel its sanctifying influence upon their hearts and do not advance in the divine life.  {4T 614.3}

     Brethren, while you as a people profess to have light far in advance of other denominations, your works do not correspond with your profession. Many who have been in the darkness of error gladly accept the truth when it is opened to their understanding. Although they have spent their life in sin, yet when they come to God in penitence and with a sense of their sinfulness they are accepted of Him. Such persons are

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in a more favorable position for the perfection of Christian character than are those who have had great light and have failed to improve upon it. That which leaves men and women in darkness is their neglect to improve the light and opportunities granted them. Christ hates all vain pretense. When on earth, He ever treated with tenderness the penitent, even though they had been the chief of sinners; but His denunciations fell heavily upon all hypocrisy.  {4T 614.4}

     God has given to every man his work, and no one else can do that work for him. Oh, that you individually would apply the eyesalve, that you might see your defects of character and realize how God regards your love of the world, which is crowding out the love of God. Nothing can give you such power, such true self-reliance and nobility of soul, as a sense of the dignity of your work, an assurance that you are co-laborers with God in doing good and saving souls.  {4T 615.1}

     The Son of God came to this world to leave an example of a perfect life. He sacrificed Himself for the joy that was set before Him, the joy of seeing souls rescued from Satan’s grasp and saved in the kingdom of God. “Follow Me” was Christ’s command. Those who follow His example will share in the divine work of doing good and will finally enter into the joy of their Lord.  {4T 615.2}

     There is many a man in the humble walks of life today whom the Lord might designate as He did Abraham: “The friend of God.” Such men approve that which God approves and condemn that which He condemns. In their presence even the sinner feels a sense of awe, a restraint; for God is with them, and they are living epistles, known and read of all men. There is a softened tenderness, a dignity, a divine propriety, in their deportment, which gives them power over the hearts of their fellow men.  {4T 615.3}

     In following Christ, looking unto Him who is the Author and Finisher of your faith, you will feel that you are working under His eye, that you are influenced by His presence, and that He knows your motives. At every step you will humbly inquire: Will this please Jesus? Will it glorify God? Morning

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and evening your earnest prayers should ascend to God for His blessing and guidance. True prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence and gives us the victory. Upon his knees the Christian obtains strength to resist temptation.  {4T 615.4}

     The father who is the “house band” of the family will bind his children to the throne of God by living faith. Distrusting his own strength, he hangs his helpless soul on Jesus and takes hold of the strength of the Most High. Brethren, pray at home, in your family, night and morning; pray earnestly in your closet; and while engaged in your daily labor, lift up the soul to God in prayer. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. The silent, fervent prayer of the soul will rise like holy incense to the throne of grace and will be as acceptable to God as if offered in the sanctuary. To all who thus seek Him, Christ becomes a present help in time of need. They will be strong in the day of trial.  {4T 616.1}

     The word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” The heart preoccupied with the word of God is fortified against Satan. Those who make Christ their daily companion and familiar friend will feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around them; and by looking unto Jesus they will become assimilated to His image. By beholding they become changed to the divine pattern; their character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom.  {4T 616.2}

     When a true, earnest zeal is manifested in your character and works, brethren of the —– church, unbelievers will see by your deportment, and feel in your presence, that you have a peace of which they have no knowledge, a serenity to which they are strangers. They will believe that you are working for God, for your works will be wrought in Him. I was shown that this is the characteristic of a Christian. Satan has destroyed many souls by leading them to place themselves in the way of temptation. He comes to them as he came to Christ, tempting them to love the world. He tells them that they may invest with profit in this or that enterprise, and in good faith they follow his dictation. Soon they are tempted

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to swerve from their integrity in order to make as good bargains for themselves as possible. Their course may be perfectly lawful according to the world’s standard of right and yet not bear the test of the law of God. Their motives are called in question by their brethren, and they are suspected of over-reaching to serve themselves and thus is sacrificed that precious influence which should have been sacredly guarded for the benefit of the cause of God. That business which might be a financial success in the hands of a sharper who will sell his integrity for worldly gain would be entirely inappropriate for a follower of Christ.  {4T 616.3}

     All such speculations are attended with unseen trials and difficulties, and are a fearful ordeal for those who engage in them. Circumstances often occur which naturally cause reflections to be cast upon the motives of these brethren; but although some things may look decidedly wrong, these should not always be considered a true test of character. Yet they often prove to be the turning point in one’s experience and destiny. The character becomes transformed by the force of circumstances under which the individual has placed himself.  {4T 617.1}

     I was shown that it is a dangerous experiment for our people to engage in speculation. They thereby place themselves on the enemy’s ground, subject to great temptations, disappointments, trials, and losses. Then comes a feverish unrest, a longing desire to obtain means more rapidly than present circumstances will admit. Their surroundings are accordingly changed in hope of making more money. But frequently their expectations are not realized, and they become discouraged and go backward rather than forward. This has been the case with some in —–. They are backsliding from God. Had the Lord prospered some of our dear brethren in their speculations, it would have proved their eternal ruin. God loves His people, and He loves those who have been unfortunate. If they will learn the lessons which He intends to teach them, their defeat will in the end prove a precious victory. The love of the world has crowded out the love of Christ. When the rubbish is cleared away from the door of the heart, and it is

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thrown open in response to the invitation of Christ, He will come in and take possession of the soul-temple. Had these words of the apostle been more carefully regarded, much trial would have been saved:  {4T 617.2}

     “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”  {4T 618.1}

     The present is our day of trust. To every person is committed some peculiar gift or talent which is to be used to advance the Redeemer’s kingdom. All God’s responsible agents, from the lowliest and most obscure to those in high positions in the church, are entrusted with the Lord’s goods. It is not the minister alone who can work for the salvation of souls. Those who have the smallest gifts are not excused from using the very best gifts they have, and in so doing their talents will be increased. It is not safe to trifle with moral responsibilities nor to despise the day of small things. God’s providence proportions His trusts according to the varied capabilities of the people. None should mourn because they cannot glorify God with talents which they never possessed and for which they are not responsible.  {4T 618.2}

     One great cause of weakness in the —– church has been that, instead of improving their talents to the glory of God, they have wrapped them in a napkin and buried them in the

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world. Although some may be restricted to one talent, yet if they will exercise that one, it will increase. God values the service according to what a man has and not according to what he has not. If we perform our daily duties with fidelity and love we shall receive the approval of the Master as if we had performed a greater work. We must cease longing to do great service and to trade on large talents, while we have been made accountable only for small talents and the performance of humble duties. In overlooking the small daily duties, and reaching for higher responsibilities, we utterly fail to do the very work which God has given us.  {4T 618.3}

     Oh, that I might impress upon this church the fact that Christ has claims upon their service! My brethren and sisters, have you become servants of Christ? Then if you devote the most of your time to serving yourselves, what answer will you give the Master when He shall bid you render an account of your stewardship? The talents entrusted to us are not ours, be they talents of property, of strength, or of mental ability. If we abuse any or all of these, we shall be justly condemned for our unworthy stewardship. How great are the obligations resting upon us to render to God the things that are His.  {4T 619.1}

     Unless this church shall arouse from their lethargy and shake off the spirit of the world, they will mourn when, too late, they find their opportunities and privileges lost, lost forever. The Lord sometimes tests His people with prosperity in temporal things. But He intends that they shall make a right use of His gifts. Their property, their time, their strength, and their opportunities are all of God. For all these blessings they must account to the Giver. While want and destitution are seen among our brethren, and we withhold relief from them when our own necessities are supplied, we neglect a plain duty revealed in the word of God. He gives to us liberally that we may give to others. It is beneficence that overcomes selfishness and ennobles and purifies the soul. Some abuse the talents given them of God; they close their eyes that they may not see the necessities of His cause and turn away their ears that they may not hear His voice showing them their duty to feed

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the hungry and clothe the naked. Some who profess to be children of God seem anxious to invest their means in the world lest it shall return to the Giver in gifts and offerings. They forget their divine mission, and if they continue to follow the dictates of their selfish hearts, and expend precious time and means to gratify their pride, God will send reverses, and they will feel pinching want because of their ingratitude. He will entrust His talents to more faithful stewards, who will acknowledge His claims upon them.  {4T 619.2}

     Wealth is a power with which to do good or to do evil. If it is rightly used it becomes a source of continual gratitude, because the gifts of God are appreciated and the Giver acknowledged by using them as God intended they should be used. Those who rob God by withholding from His cause and from the suffering poor will meet His retributive justice. Our heavenly Father, who has given us in trust every good gift, pities our ignorance, our frailty, and our hopeless condition. In order to save us from death, He freely gave His beloved Son. He claims from us all that we claim as our own. A neglect of His suffering poor is a neglect of Christ, for He tells us that the poor are His representatives on earth. Pity and benevolence shown to them are accepted of Christ as if shown to Him.  {4T 620.1}

     When the Lord’s poor are neglected and forgotten or greeted with cold looks and cruel words, let the guilty one bear in mind that he is neglecting Christ in the person of His saints. Our Saviour identifies His interest with that of suffering humanity. As the heart of the parent yearns with pitying tenderness over the suffering one of her little flock, so the heart of our Redeemer sympathizes with the poorest and lowliest of His earthly children. He has placed them among us to awaken in our hearts that love which He feels toward the suffering and oppressed, and He will let His judgments fall upon anyone who wrongs, slights, or abuses them.  {4T 620.2}

     Let us consider that Jesus took all the woes and griefs, the poverty and suffering, of man into His own heart and made them a part of His own experience. Although He was the

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Prince of life, He did not take His position with the great and honorable, but with the lowly, the oppressed, and the suffering. He was the despised Nazarene. He had not where to lay His head. He became poor for our sakes, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He is now the King of glory, and should He come crowned with majesty, millions would do Him homage. All would vie with one another in bestowing honors upon Him; all would plead to be found in His presence. An opportunity is now granted us to receive Christ in the person of His saints. God wants you to appreciate His gifts and use them to His glory. I entreat you to open your hearts to true and disinterested benevolence.  {4T 620.3}

     Dear brethren, as a church you have sadly neglected your duty toward the children and youth. While rules and restrictions are laid upon them, great care should be taken to show them the Christlike side of your character and not the satanic side. Children need constant watchcare and tender love. Bind them to your hearts, and keep the love as well as the fear of God before them. Fathers and mothers do not control their own spirit and therefore are not fit to govern others. To restrain and caution your children is not all that is required. You have yet to learn to do justly and love mercy, as well as to walk humbly with God. Everything leaves its impress upon the youthful mind. The countenance is studied, the voice has its influence, and the deportment is closely imitated by them. Fretful and peevish fathers and mothers are giving their children lessons which at some period in their lives they would give all the world, were it theirs, could they unlearn. Children must see in the lives of their parents that consistency which is in accordance with their faith. By leading a consistent life and exercising self-control, parents may mold the characters of their children.  {4T 621.1}

     Too many cares and burdens are brought into our families, and too little of natural simplicity and peace and happiness is cherished. There should be less care for what the outside world will say and more thoughtful attention to the members of the family circle. There should be less display and affectation

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of worldly politeness, and much more tenderness and love, cheerfulness and Christian courtesy, among the members of the household. Many need to learn how to make home attractive, a place of enjoyment. Thankful hearts and kind looks are more valuable than wealth and luxury, and contentment with simple things will make home happy if love be there.  {4T 621.2}

     Jesus, our Redeemer, walked the earth with the dignity of a king; yet He was meek and lowly of heart. He was a light and blessing in every home because He carried cheerfulness, hope, and courage with Him. Oh, that we could be satisfied with less heart longings, less striving for things difficult to obtain wherewith to beautify our homes, while that which God values above jewels, the meek and quiet spirit, is not cherished. The grace of simplicity, meekness, and true affection would make a paradise of the humblest home. It is better to endure cheerfully every inconvenience than to part with peace and contentment.  {4T 622.1}

     You greatly need to humble your hearts before God as you see the sad condition of your children, without God and without hope in the world. They do not appreciate and reverence sacred things because common, worldly affairs have been placed on a level with eternal interests. There are youth among you whose service God will accept if they will yield their hearts to Him and connect with Him, as did Daniel and his fellows. But few have a true idea of the peril surrounding the youth of today. It requires a great amount of moral courage, and a constant resistance of temptation, to reach a noble manhood. A character unsullied before God is rare. Many who have not the fear of God before them, and whose feet are in the broad road to death, are waiting to be the companions of your children. I wish I could make the youth see and feel their danger, especially the danger of making unhappy marriages.  {4T 622.2}

     A little time spent in sowing your wild oats, dear young friends, will produce a crop that will embitter your whole life; an hour of thoughtlessness, once yielding to temptation,

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may turn the whole current of your life in the wrong direction. You can have but one youth; make that useful. When once you have passed over the ground you can never return to rectify your mistakes. He who refuses to connect with God, and puts himself in the way of temptation, will surely fall. God is testing every youth. Many have excused their carelessness and irreverence because of the wrong example given them by more experienced professors. But this should not deter any from rightdoing. In the day of final accounts you will plead no such excuses as you plead now. You will be justly condemned because you knew the way but did not choose to walk in it.  {4T 622.3}

     Satan, that archdeceiver, transforms himself into an angel of light and comes to the youth with his specious temptations and succeeds in winning them, step by step, from the path of duty. He is described as an accuser, a deceiver, a liar, a tormentor, and a murderer. “He that committeth sin is of the devil.” Every transgression brings the soul into condemnation and provokes the divine displeasure. The thoughts of the heart are discerned of God. When impure thoughts are cherished, they need not be expressed by word or act to consummate the sin and bring the soul into condemnation. Its purity is defiled, and the tempter has triumphed.  {4T 623.1}

     Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed. He is turned away from the course of virtue and real good by following his own inclinations. If the youth possessed moral integrity, the strongest temptations might be presented in vain. It is Satan’s act to tempt you, but your own act to yield. It is not in the power of all the host of Satan to force the tempted to transgress. There is no excuse for sin.  {4T 623.2}

     While some of the youth are wasting their powers in vanity and folly, others are disciplining their minds, storing up knowledge, girding on the armor to engage in life’s warfare, determined to make it a success. But they cannot make life a success, however high they may attempt to climb, unless they center their affections upon God. If they will turn to the

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Lord with all the heart, rejecting the flatteries of those who would in the slightest degree weaken their purpose to do right, they will have strength and confidence in God.  {4T 623.3}

     Those who love society frequently indulge this trait until it becomes an overruling passion. To dress, to visit places of amusement, to laugh and chat upon subjects altogether lighter than vanity–this is the object of their lives. They cannot endure to read the Bible and contemplate heavenly things. They are miserable unless there is something to excite. They have not within them the power to be happy, but they depend for happiness upon the company of other youth as thoughtless and reckless as themselves. The powers which might be turned to noble purposes they give to folly and mental dissipation.  {4T 624.1}

     The youth who finds joy and happiness in reading the word of God and in the hour of prayer is constantly refreshed by drafts from the Fountain of life. He will attain a height of moral excellence and a breadth of thought of which others cannot conceive. Communion with God encourages good thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, and lofty purposes of action. Those who thus connect their souls with God are acknowledged by Him as His sons and daughters. They are constantly reaching higher and still higher, obtaining clearer views of God and of eternity, until the Lord makes them channels of light and wisdom to the world.  {4T 624.2}

     Some of the youth in—–are in a hardened state of sin; they are coarse, uncourteous, rough, and rebellious. They have had great light, and have rejected it. If they now choose the way of peace, they must do so from principle rather than from feeling. Sin and holiness can make no compromise. The Bible contains no sanction of ungodliness, no sweet words of forbearance and charity for the persistently impenitent. Jesus came to draw all men unto Himself, and His followers must walk in the light of His glorious example, at whatever sacrifice of ease or reputation, at whatever peril of property or life. In this way only can they fight the good fight of faith.  {4T 624.3}

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     A pearl of great price is offered to the youth. They may sell all and buy this pearl, or they may refuse it to their own infinite loss. Heaven may be attained by all who will comply with the conditions laid down in the word of God. Our Redeemer was obedient unto death; He gave Himself an offering for sin. Ye are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish.” “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Young friends, you may form earnest purposes in your own strength, you may flatter yourselves that you can pursue a straightforward course without yielding the heart to the controlling influence of the Spirit of God; but you are not thus made happy. Your restless spirit needs change and thirsts for pleasure in amusement and hilarity and the society of your young associates. You are hewing out to yourselves broken cisterns which contain no water. A deceptive power controls your mind and actions. Happiness is to be found only in repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ; for your heart is filled with rebellion; it breathes forth in your words. Your selfish prayers and religious forms may soothe the conscience, but they only increase your peril. Your nature is unrenewed.  {4T 625.1}

     The precious blood of Jesus is the fountain prepared to cleanse the soul from the defilement of sin. When you determine to take Him as your friend, a new and enduring light will shine from the cross of Christ. A true sense of the sacrifice and intercession of the dear Saviour will break the heart that has become hardened in sin; and love, thankfulness, and humility will come into the soul. The surrender of the heart to Jesus subdues the rebel into a penitent, and then the language of the obedient soul is: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” “This is the true religion of the Bible. Everything short of this is a deception.  {4T 625.2}

     The youth have not realized that freedom and light can be retained only through self-denial and constant watchfulness and prayer, with a continual reliance upon the merits of the blood of Christ. When the Holy Spirit is breathing upon

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the soul, the will and the powers of the man must respond to Its influence. Those who abide in Jesus will be happy, cheerful, and joyful in God. A subdued gentleness will mark the voice, reverence for spiritual and eternal things will be expressed in the actions, and music, joyful music, will echo from the lips; for it is wafted from the throne of God. This is the mystery of godliness, not easily explained, but nonetheless felt and enjoyed. A stubborn and rebellious heart can close its doors to all the sweet influences of the grace of God and all the joy in the Holy Ghost; but the ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. The more closely we are connected with Christ, the more will our words and actions show the subduing, transforming power of His grace.  {4T 625.3}

     I appeal to the youth at —– to consider their ways and change their course of action before it shall be too late. Some of you pride yourselves on your capabilities; but the more valuable the talents entrusted to your keeping, the greater will be your condemnation if these gifts of heaven are employed in the service of Satan. God can do without you, but you cannot do without God. It is you who will suffer without Jesus. The commands of God are as briers and thorns to some of the youth in —–. Their knowledge of the truth makes it hard for them to indulge in sinful pleasures, for they cannot altogether put out of the mind the claims of God upon them. There is a feeling of impatience at the restraint which is thus imposed. They try to get away from this admonitory voice; but they find themselves kicking against the pricks, piercing themselves through with many sorrows. Oh, that they would come to the Fountain of living waters before they shall have grieved away the Spirit of God for the last time!  {4T 626.1}

     A few words more to the church members. Said Christ: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” We are not to make crosses for ourselves, by wearing sackcloth, by pinching our bodies, or by denying ourselves wholesome, nourishing food. We are not to shut ourselves in monasteries, away from the world,

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and do no good to our fellow beings, thinking this is the cross of Christ; neither are we required to expose health and life unnecessarily, nor to go mourning up the hill of Christian life, feeling it a sin to be cheerful, contented, happy, and joyful. These are all self-made crosses, but not the cross of Christ.  {4T 626.2}

     To bear the cross of Christ is to control our sinful passions, to practice Christian courtesy even when it is inconvenient to do so, to see the wants of the needy and distressed and deny ourselves in order to relieve them, and to open our hearts and our doors to the homeless orphan, although to do this may tax our means and our patience. Such children are younger members of God’s family and are to receive love and care, and to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This is a cross which, if lifted and cheerfully borne for Christ, will prove a diadem of glory in the kingdom of God.  {4T 627.1}

     Brethren, for Christ’s sake fill up your lives with good works, even though the world does not appreciate your efforts and gives you no credit. This is self-denial. Selfishness is the most galling yoke the members of the church ever placed upon their necks, but there is much of it cherished by those who profess to be Christ’s followers. All you have belongs to God. Be guarded, lest you selfishly hoard the bounties He has given you for the widow and the fatherless. Christ left His glory, His honor, His high command, and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. Now the question comes home: What will we individually do for Jesus, who gave His life for a ruined world?  {4T 627.2}

Chap. 62 – Simplicity in Dress

     In His Sermon on the Mount Christ exhorts His followers not to allow their minds to be absorbed in earthly things. He plainly says: Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  {4T 628.1}

     These words are full of meaning. They were applicable in the days of Christ, and they are applicable in our day. Jesus here contrasts the natural simplicity of the flowers of the field with the artificial adorning of raiment. He declares that the glory of Solomon could not bear comparison with one of the flowers in natural loveliness. Here is a lesson for all who desire to know and to do the will of God. Jesus has noticed the care and devotion given to dress, and has cautioned, yea, commanded, us not to bestow too much thought upon it. It is important that we give careful heed to His words. Solomon was so engrossed with thoughts of outward display that he failed to elevate his mind by a constant connection with the God of wisdom. Perfection and beauty of character were overlooked in his attempt to obtain outward beauty. He sold his honor and integrity of character in seeking to glorify himself before the world, and finally became a despot, supporting his extravagance by a grinding taxation upon the people. He first became corrupt at heart, then he apostatized from God, and finally became a worshiper of idols.  {4T 628.2}

     As we see our sisters departing from simplicity in dress, and cultivating a love for the fashions of the world, we feel troubled. By taking steps in this direction they are separating themselves from God and neglecting the inward adorning. They should not feel at liberty to spend their God-given time in the unnecessary ornamentation of their clothing. How

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much better might it be employed in searching the Scriptures, thus obtaining a thorough knowledge of the prophecies and of the practical lessons of Christ.  {4T 628.3}

     As Christians, we ought not to engage in any employment upon which we cannot conscientiously ask the blessing of the Lord. Do you, my sisters, in the needless work you put upon your garments, feel a clear conscience? Can you, while perplexing the mind over ruffles and bows and ribbons, be uplifting the soul to God in prayer that He will bless your efforts? The time spent in this way might be devoted to doing good to others and to cultivating your own minds.  {4T 629.1}

     Many of our sisters are persons of good ability, and if their talents were used to the glory of God they would be successful in winning many souls to Christ. Will they not be responsible for the souls they might have saved had not extravagance in dress and the cares of this world so crippled and dwarfed their God-given powers that they felt no burden of the work? Satan invented the fashions in order to keep the minds of women so engrossed with the subject of dress that they could think of but little else.  {4T 629.2}

     The duties devolving upon mothers to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord cannot be discharged while they continue their present manner of dress. They have no time to pray or to search the Scriptures that they may understand the truth and teach it to their children. It is not only the privilege but the duty of everyone to increase daily in the knowledge of God and the truth. But Satan’s object is gained if he can invent anything which shall so attract the mind that this cannot be the case. The reason why so many are not desirous of attending prayer meeting and of engaging in religious exercises is that their minds are devoted to other things. They are conforming to the world in the matter of dress; and while they are so doing, souls whom they might have helped by letting their light shine in good works are strengthened in their unbelief by the inconsistent course of these professed Christians.  {4T 629.3}

     God would be pleased to see our sisters clad in neat, simple

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apparel and earnestly engaged in the work of the Lord. They are not deficient in ability, and if they would put to a right use the talents they already have, their efficiency would be greatly increased. If the time they now spend in needless work were devoted to searching the word of God and explaining it to others, their own minds would be enriched with gems of truth, and they would be strengthened and ennobled by the effort made to understand the reasons of our faith. Were our sisters conscientious Bible Christians, seeking to improve every opportunity to enlighten others, we should see scores of souls embracing the truth through their self-sacrificing endeavors alone. Sisters, in the day when the accounts of all are balanced, will you feel a pleasure in reviewing your life, or will you feel that the beauty of the outward man was sought, while the inward beauty of the soul was almost entirely neglected?  {4T 629.4}

     Have not our sisters sufficient zeal and moral courage to place themselves without excuse upon the Bible platform? The apostle has given most explicit directions on this point: I will therefore . . . that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” Here the Lord, through His apostle, speaks expressly against the wearing of gold. Let those who have had experience see to it that they do not lead others astray on this point by their example. That ring encircling your finger may be very plain, but it is useless, and the wearing of it has a wrong influence upon others.  {4T 630.1}

     Especially should the wives of our ministers be careful not to depart from the plain teachings of the Bible on the point of dress. Many look upon these injunctions as too old-fashioned to be worthy of notice; but He who gave them to His disciples understood the dangers from the love of dress in our time and sent to us the note of warning. Will we heed the warning and be wise? Extravagance in dress is continually increasing. The end is not yet. Fashion is constantly changing,

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and our sisters follow in its wake, regardless of time or expense. There is a great amount of means expended upon dress, when it should be returned to God the giver.  {4T 630.2}

     The plain, neat dress of the poorer class often appears in marked contrast with the attire of their more wealthy sisters, and this difference frequently causes a feeling of embarrassment on the part of the poor. Some try to imitate their more wealthy sisters, and frill and ruffle and trim goods of an inferior quality so as to approach as nearly as possible to them in dress. Poor girls, receiving but two dollars a week for their work, will expend every cent to dress like others who are not obliged to earn their own living. These youth have nothing to put into the treasury of God. And their time is so thoroughly occupied in making their dress as fashionable as that of their sisters that they have no time for the improvement of the mind, for the study of God’s word, for secret prayer, or for the prayer meeting. The mind is entirely taken up with planning how to appear as well as their sisters. To accomplish this end, physical, mental, and moral health is sacrificed. Happiness and the favor of God are laid upon the altar of fashion.  {4T 631.1}

     Many will not attend the service of God upon the Sabbath because their dress would appear so unlike that of their Christian sisters in style and adornment. Will my sisters consider these things as they are, and will they fully realize the weight of their influence upon others? By walking in a forbidden path themselves, they lead others in the same way of disobedience and backsliding. Christian simplicity is sacrificed to outward display. My sisters, how shall we change all this? How shall we recover ourselves from the snare of Satan and break the chains that have bound us in slavery to fashion? How shall we recover our wasted opportunities? how bring our powers into healthful, vigorous action? There is only one way, and that is to make the Bible our rule of life. All should work earnestly to do good to others, watch unto prayer, take up the long-neglected cross, and heed the warnings and injunctions of Him who has said: “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  {4T 631.2}

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     My Christian sisters, face the mirror, the law of God, and test your course of action by the first four commandments. These explicitly define our duty to God. He claims the undivided affections; and anything which tends to absorb the mind and divert it from God assumes the form of an idol. The true and living God is crowded out of the thoughts and heart, and the soul-temple is defiled by the worship of other gods before the Lord. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” says the commandment. Let us search the heart, compare the life and character with the statutes and precepts of Jehovah, and then seek diligently to correct our errors.  {4T 632.1}

     The last six commandments specify the duties of man to his fellow men. Here are brought to view solemn obligations which are trampled upon every day by professed commandment keepers. Those who have been enlightened by the grace of God, who have been adopted into the royal family, ought not always to be children in the work of the Lord. If they wisely improve upon the grace given, their capacity will increase and their knowledge become more extensive, and they will be entrusted with a still greater measure of divine power. In putting forth earnest, well-directed efforts to bring their fellow men to a knowledge of the truth, they will become strong in the Lord; and for working righteousness on the earth, they will receive the reward of eternal life in the kingdom of heaven. This is the privilege of our sisters. And when we see them using God’s time and money in needless display of dress we cannot but warn them that they are breaking not only the first four, but the last six commandments. They do not make God the supreme object of their worship, neither do they love their neighbor as themselves.  {4T 632.2}

     Christ is our example. We must keep the Pattern continually before us and contemplate the infinite sacrifice which has been made to redeem us from the thralldom of sin. If we find ourselves condemned as we look into the mirror, let us not venture further in transgression, but face rightabout and wash our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb, that

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they may be spotless. Let us cry, as did David: “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Those to whom God has entrusted time and means that they might be a blessing to humanity, but who have squandered these gifts needlessly upon themselves and their children, will have a fearful account to meet at the bar of God.  {4T 632.3}

     “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” The unbelieving world will soon have something to think of besides their dress and appearance; and as their minds are torn from these things by distress and perplexity, they have nothing to turn to. They are not prisoners of hope, and therefore do not turn to the Stronghold. Their hearts will fail them with repining and fear. They have not made God their refuge, and He will not be their consolation. He will laugh at their calamity and mock when their fear cometh.  {4T 633.1}

     Those among Sabbathkeepers who have yielded to the influence of the world are to be tested. The perils of the last days are upon us, and a trial is before the professed people of God which many have not anticipated. The genuineness of their faith will be proved. Many have united with worldlings in pride, vanity, and pleasure seeking, flattering themselves that they could do this and still be Christians. But it is such indulgences that separate them from God and make them children of the world. Christ has given us no such example. Those only who deny self, and live a life of sobriety, humility, and holiness, are true followers of Jesus; and such cannot enjoy the society of the lovers of the world.  {4T 633.2}

     Many dress like the world in order to have an influence over unbelievers, but here they make a sad mistake. If they would have a true and saving influence, let them live out their profession, show their faith by their righteous works, and make the distinction plain between the Christian and the worldling. The words, the dress, the actions, should tell for

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God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all around them, and even unbelievers will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. If any wish to have their influence tell in favor of truth, let them live out their profession and thus imitate the humble Pattern.  {4T 633.3}

     Pride, ignorance, and folly are constant companions. The Lord is displeased with the pride manifested among His professed people. He is dishonored by their conformity to the unhealthful, immodest, and expensive fashions of this degenerate age.  {4T 634.1}

     Fashion rules the world; and she is a tyrannical mistress, often compelling her devotees to submit to the greatest inconvenience and discomfort. Fashion taxes without reason and collects without mercy. She has a fascinating power, and stands ready to criticize and ridicule the poor if they do not follow in her wake at any cost, even the sacrifice of life itself. Satan triumphs that his devices succeed so well, and Death laughs at the health-destroying folly and blind zeal of the worshipers at Fashion’s shrine.  {4T 634.2}

     To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing; not to increase labor, but to save labor; not to add to the expense of dress, but to save expense. It would distinguish God’s people from the world, and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies. He who knows the end from the beginning, who understands our nature and our needs,–our compassionate Redeemer,–saw our dangers and difficulties, and condescended to give us timely warning and instruction concerning our habits of life, even in the proper selection of food and clothing.  {4T 634.3}

     Satan is constantly devising some new style of dress that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he exults when he sees professed Christians eagerly accepting the fashions that he has invented. The amount of physical suffering

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created by unnatural and unhealthful dress cannot be estimated. Many have become lifelong invalids through their compliance with the demands of fashion. Displacements and deformities, cancers and other terrible diseases, are among the evils resulting from fashionable dress.  {4T 634.4}

     Many a style of dress that was inappropriate and even ridiculous has been generally adopted because it was the fashion. Among these pernicious fashions were the large hoops, which frequently caused indecent exposure of the person. In contrast with this was presented a neat, modest, becoming dress, which would dispense with the hoops and the trailing skirts, and provide for the proper clothing of the limbs. But dress reform comprised more than shortening the dress and clothing the limbs. It included every article of dress upon the person. It lifted the weights from the hips by suspending the skirts from the shoulders. It removed the tight corsets, which compress the lungs, the stomach, and other internal organs, and induce curvature of the spine and an almost countless train of diseases. Dress reform proper provided for the protection and development of every part of the body.  {4T 635.1}

     To those who consistently adopted the reform dress, appreciating its advantages and cheerfully taking their position in opposition to pride and fashion, it proved a blessing. When properly made, it was a becoming and consistent dress, and recommended itself to persons of candid mind, even among those not of our faith.  {4T 635.2}

     The question may be asked: “Why has this dress been laid aside, and for what reason has dress reform ceased to be advocated?” The reason for this change I will here briefly state. While many of our sisters accepted this reform from principle, others opposed the simple, healthful style of dress which it advocated. It required much labor to introduce this reform among our people. It was not enough to present before our sisters the advantages of such a dress and to convince them that it would meet the approval of God. Fashion had so strong a hold upon them that they were slow to break away from its

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control, even to obey the dictates of reason and conscience. And many who professed to accept the reform made no change in their wrong habits of dress, except in shortening the skirts and clothing the limbs.  {4T 635.3}

     Nor was this all. Some who adopted the reform were not content to show by example the advantages of the dress, giving, when asked, their reasons for adopting it, and letting the matter rest there. They sought to control others’ conscience by their own. If they wore it, others must put it on. They forgot that none were to be compelled to wear the reform dress.  {4T 636.1}

     It was not my duty to urge the subject upon my sisters. After presenting it before them as it had been shown me, I left them to their own conscience. Reformatory action is always attended with sacrifice. It demands that love of ease, selfish interest, and the lust of ambition be held in subjection to the principles of right. Whoever has the courage to reform must encounter obstacles. He will be opposed by the conservatism of those whose business or pleasure brings them in contact with the votaries of fashion, and who will lose caste by the change.  {4T 636.2}

     Much unhappy feeling was created by those who were constantly urging the reform dress upon their sisters. With extremists, this reform seemed to constitute the sum and substance of their religion. It was the theme of conversation and the burden of their hearts; and their minds were thus diverted from God and the truth. They failed to cherish the spirit of Christ and manifested a great lack of true courtesy. Instead of prizing the dress for its real advantages, they seemed to be proud of its singularity. Perhaps no question has ever come up among us which has caused such development of character as has the dress reform.  {4T 636.3}

     While many of the young adopted this dress, some endeavored to shun the cross by indulging in extra trimmings, thus making it a curse rather than a blessing. To those who put it on reluctantly, from a sense of duty, it became a grievous yoke. Still others, who were apparently the most zealous reformers, manifested a sad lack of order and neatness in their

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dress. It was not made according to the approved pattern. Some would have a variety suit–dress of one material, sack of another, and pants of still another. Others wore the skirt very long, so that only about an inch of the pants could be seen, thus making the dress ill-proportioned and out of taste. These grotesque and untidy costumes disgusted many who would have been pleased with the reform dress proper.  {4T 636.4}

     Some were greatly troubled because I did not make the dress a test question, and still others because I advised those who had unbelieving husbands or children not to adopt the reform dress, as it might lead to unhappiness that would counteract all the good to be derived from its use. For years I carried the burden of this work and labor to establish uniformity of dress among our sisters.  {4T 637.1}

     In a vision given me at Battle Creek, January 3, 1875, I was shown the state of things which I have here represented, and that the wide diversity in dress was an injury to the cause of truth. That which would have proved a blessing, if uniformly adopted and properly worn, had been made a reproach, and, in some cases, even a disgrace.  {4T 637.2}

     Some who wore the dress sighed over it as a heavy burden. The language of their hearts was: “Anything but this. If we felt free to lay off this peculiar style, we would willingly adopt a plain, untrimmed dress of ordinary length. The limbs could be as warmly clothed as before, and we could secure all the physical benefits, with less effort. It requires much labor to prepare the reform dress in a proper manner.” Murmuring and complaining were fast destroying vital godliness.  {4T 637.3}

     I had no burden of testimony on the subject of dress. I made no reference to it in any way, either to advocate or to condemn. It was the Lord’s purpose to prove His professed people and reveal the motives of their hearts. At camp meetings I seldom had anything to say upon the subject. I avoided all questions and answered no letters.  {4T 637.4}

     One year ago the subject of dress was again presented before me. I saw that our sisters were departing from the simplicity of the gospel. The very ones who had felt that the reform dress

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required unnecessary labor, and who claimed that they would not be influenced by the spirit of the world, had now taken up the fashions they once condemned. Their dresses were arranged with all the unnecessary adornments of worldlings in a manner unbecoming to Christians and entirely at variance with our faith.  {4T 637.5}

     Thus has been developed the pride of heart indulged by a people that profess to have come out from the world and to be separate. Inspiration declares that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; yet His professed people have expended their God-given time and means upon the altar of fashion.  {4T 638.1}

     Our people have been steadily retrograding in the work of reform. Wisdom and judgment have seemed paralyzed. Selfishness and love of display have been corrupting the heart and deteriorating the character. There is a growing disposition to sacrifice health and the favor of God upon the altar of ever-changing, never-satisfying fashion.  {4T 638.2}

     There is no style of dress more appropriate to be worn at the sanitarium than the reform dress. The idea entertained by some, that it would detract from the dignity or usefulness of that institution, is a mistake. It is just such a dress as one would expect to find there, and should not have been discarded. In this suit the helpers could perform their work with far less effort than is now required. Such a dress would preach its own sermon to the devotees of fashion. The contrast between their own unhealthful, beruffled, trailing garments and the reform dress, properly represented, suggestive as it is of convenience and ease in using the limbs, would have been most instructive. Many of the patients would have made greater improvement had they accepted the dress reform.  {4T 638.3}

     We regret that any influence should have been brought to bear against this neat, modest, healthful dress. The natural heart is ever pleading in favor of worldly customs, and any influence tells with tenfold power when exerted in the wrong direction.  {4T 638.4}

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     While none were compelled to adopt the reform dress, our people could and should have appreciated its advantages and accepted it as a blessing. The evil results of an opposite course may now be seen. At the sanitarium, physicians and helpers have greatly departed from the Lord’s instructions in regard to dress. Simplicity is now rare. Instead of neat, unadorned apparel, which the pen of Inspiration has prescribed, almost every style of fashionable dress may be seen. Here, as elsewhere, the very ones who complained of the labor required to prepare the reform dress have now gone to great extremes in needless adornment. All this involves so much time and labor that many are obliged to hire their work done at twice what it would have cost had the garments been made in simplicity as becomes women professing godliness. The making of these fashionable dresses frequently costs more than the dress itself. And double the value of the material is often expended for the trimmings. Here pride and vanity are displayed, and a great lack of true principle is seen. If they would be content with plain, simple clothing, many who are dependent on their weekly earnings could do the most of their own sewing. But this is now impossible, and the dressmaker’s bill takes from their small wages a considerable sum.  {4T 639.1}

     God designed the reform dress as a barrier to prevent the hearts of our sisters from becoming alienated from Him by following the fashions of the world. Those who removed that barrier did not take upon themselves the burden to avert the dangers which must follow. Some in responsible positions have exerted an influence in favor of worldly customs and entirely at variance with the Bible standard. They have done their part in bringing about the present state of worldliness and backsliding.  {4T 639.2}

     God has been testing His people. He allowed the testimony concerning dress to become silent, that our sisters might follow their own inclination and thus develop the real pride existing in their hearts. It was to prevent the present state of worldliness that the reform dress was recommended. Many

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scorned the idea that this dress was necessary to preserve them from following the fashions; but the Lord has permitted them to prove that pride was cherished in their hearts, and that this was just what they would do. It is now shown that they needed the restriction which the reform dress imposed.  {4T 639.3}

     If all our sisters would adopt a simple, unadorned dress of modest length, the uniformity thus established would be far more pleasing to God, and would exert a more salutary influence on the world, than the diversity presented four years ago. As our sisters would not generally accept the reform dress as it should be worn, another, less objectionable style is now presented. It is free from needless trimmings, free from the looped-up, tied back overskirts. It consists of a plain sack or loose-fitting basque, and skirt, the latter short enough to avoid the mud and filth of the streets. The material should be free from large plaids and figures, and plain in color. The same attention should be given to the clothing of the limbs as with the short dress.  {4T 640.1}

     Will my sisters accept this style of dress and refuse to imitate the fashions that are devised by Satan and continually changing? No one can tell what freak fashion will take next. Worldlings whose only care is, “What shall we eat, and what shall we wear?” should not be our criterion.  {4T 640.2}

     Some have said: “After I wear out this dress, I will make the next plainer.” Now, if conformity to the fashions of the world is right and pleasing to God, where is the need of making a change at all? But if it is wrong, is it best to continue in the wrong any longer than is positively necessary to make the change? Right here we would remind you of the zeal and earnestness, the skill and perseverance, you manifested in preparing your dress according to the fashion. Would it not be praiseworthy to manifest at least equal earnestness to make it conform to the Bible standard? Precious, God-given time and means were used in fashioning those garments; and now what are you willing to sacrifice to correct the wrong example you have been giving to others?  {4T 640.3}

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     It is a shame to our sisters to so forget their holy character and their duty to God as to imitate the fashions of the world. There is no excuse for us except the perversity of our own hearts. We do not extend our influence by such a course. It is so inconsistent with our profession of faith that it makes us ridiculous in the eyes of worldlings.  {4T 641.1}

     Many a soul who was convinced of the truth has been led to decide against it by the pride and love of the world displayed by our sisters. The doctrine preached seemed clear and harmonious, and the hearers felt that a heavy cross must be lifted by them in taking the truth. When these persons have seen our sisters making so much display in dress, they have said: “This people dress fully as much as we do. They cannot really believe what they profess; and, after all, they must be deceived. If they really thought that Christ was soon coming, and the case of every soul was to be decided for eternal life or death, they could not devote time and money to dress according to the existing fashions.” How little did those professedly believing sisters know of the sermon their dress was preaching!  {4T 641.2}

     Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter to be passed off with a jest. The subject of dress demands serious reflection and much prayer. Many unbelievers have felt that they were not doing right in permitting themselves to be slaves of fashion; but when they see some who make a high profession of godliness dressing as worldlings dress, enjoying frivolous society, they decide that there can be no wrong in such a course.  {4T 641.3}

     “We are,” said the inspired apostle, “made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” All heaven is marking the daily influence which the professed followers of Christ exert upon the world. My sisters, your dress is telling either in favor of Christ and the sacred truth or in favor of the world. Which is it? Remember we must all answer to God for the influence we exert.  {4T 641.4}

     We would not by any means encourage carelessness in dress.

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Let the attire be appropriate and becoming. Though only a ten-cent calico, it should be kept neat and clean. If there are no ruffles, the wearer cannot only save something by making it herself, but she can save quite a little sum by washing and ironing it herself. Families bind heavy burdens upon themselves by dressing their children in accordance with the fashion. What a waste of time! The little ones would look very inviting in a dress without a ruffle or ornament, but kept sweet and clean. It is such a trifle to wash and iron a dress of this style that the labor is not felt to be a burden.  {4T 641.5}

     Why will our sisters rob God of the service due Him, and rob His treasury of money which they should give to His cause, to serve the fashions of this age? The first and best thoughts are given to dress; time is squandered and money wasted. The culture of the mind and heart is neglected. The character is considered of less importance than the dress. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is of infinite value, and it is the wickedest of folly to waste in frivolous pursuits our opportunities to secure this precious adorning of the soul.  {4T 642.1}

     Sisters, we may do a noble work for God if we will. Woman does not know her power. God did not intend that her capabilities should be all absorbed in questioning: What shall I eat? what shall I drink? and wherewithal shall I be clothed? There is a higher purpose for woman, a grander destiny. She should develop and cultivate her powers, for God can employ them in the great work of saving souls from eternal ruin.  {4T 642.2}

     On Sunday the popular churches appear more like a theater than a place for the worship of God. Every style of fashionable dress is displayed there. The poor have not courage to enter those houses of worship. The following remarks were made in my hearing by an attendant at one of those fashionable churches: “It affords such a fine opportunity for studying the fashions. I can see the effect of different styles of dress; and, do you know, I gain great benefit in my business by watching the effect of various dresses on different forms and different complexions. Did you notice that grand trail and that lovely

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hat? I know just how they were made. I have been taking lessons all day, which I shall put to a practical use.”  {4T 642.3}

     Not one word was said of Christ or of the sermon preached. How, thought I, can Jesus regard that company, with their display of ornaments and extravagant dress? What dishonor is shown to the house of God! Were Christ upon earth, and should He visit such churches, would He not drive out those desecrators of His Father’s house?  {4T 643.1}

     But the greatest evil is the influence upon the children and youth. Almost as soon as they come into the world they are subjected to fashion’s demands. Little children hear more of dress than of their salvation. They see their mothers more earnestly consulting the fashion plates than the Bible. More visits are made to the dry goods dealer and the milliner than to the church. The outward display of dress is made of greater consequence than the adornment of the character. Sharp reprimands are called forth for soiling the fine clothing, and the mind becomes peevish and irritable under continual restraint.  {4T 643.2}

     A deformed character does not disturb the mother so much as a soiled dress. The child hears more of dress than of virtue, for the mother is more familiar with fashion than with her Saviour. Her example too often surrounds the young with a poisonous atmosphere. Vice, disguised in fashion’s garb, intrudes itself among the children.  {4T 643.3}

     Simplicity of dress will make a sensible woman appear to the best advantage. We judge of a person’s character by the style of dress worn. Gaudy apparel betrays vanity and weakness. A modest, godly woman will dress modestly. A refined taste, a cultivated mind, will be revealed in the choice of simple and appropriate attire.  {4T 643.4}

     There is an ornament that will never perish, that will promote the happiness of all around us in this life, and will shine with undimmed luster in the immortal future. It is the adorning of a meek and lowly spirit. God has bidden us wear the richest dress upon the soul. By every look into the mirror, the worshipers of fashion should be reminded of the neglected

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soul. Every hour squandered over the toilet should reprove them for leaving the intellect to lie waste. Then there might be a reformation that would elevate and ennoble all the aims and purposes of life. Instead of seeking golden ornaments for the exterior, an earnest effort would be put forth to secure that wisdom which is of more value than fine gold, yea, which is more precious than rubies.  {4T 643.5}

     Those who worship at fashion’s altar have but little force of character and but little physical energy. They live for no great purpose, and their lives accomplish no worthy end. We meet everywhere women whose whole mind and heart are absorbed in their love of dress and display. The soul of womanhood is dwarfed and belittled, and her thoughts are centered upon her poor, despicable self. As a fashionably dressed young lady was passing several gentlemen on the street, one of them made some inquiries in regard to her. The answer was: “She makes a pretty ornament in her father’s house, but otherwise she is of no use.” It is deplorable that those who profess to be Christ’s disciples should think it a fine thing to imitate the dress and manners of these useless ornaments.  {4T 644.1}

     Peter gives valuable instruction concerning the dress of Christian women: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves.” All that we urge is compliance with the injunctions of God’s word. Are we Bible readers and followers of Bible teachings? Will we obey God, or conform to the customs of the world? Will we serve God or mammon? Can we expect to enjoy peace of mind and the approval of God while walking directly contrary to the teachings of His word?  {4T 644.2}

     The apostle Paul exhorts Christians not to be conformed

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to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” But many who profess to be children of God feel no scruples against conforming to the customs of the world in the wearing of gold and pearls and costly array. Those who are too conscientious to wear these things are regarded as narrow-minded, superstitious, and even fanatical. But it is God who condescends to give us these instructions; they are the declarations of Infinite Wisdom, and those who disregard them do so at their own peril and loss. Those who cling to the ornaments forbidden in God’s word cherish pride and vanity in the heart. They desire to attract attention. Their dress says: Look at me; admire me. Thus the vanity inherent in human nature is steadily increasing by indulgence. When the mind is fixed upon pleasing God alone, all the needless embellishments of the person disappear.  {4T 644.3}

     The apostle places the outward adorning in direct contrast with a meek and quiet spirit and then testifies of the comparative value of the latter: “In the sight of God of great price.” There is a decided contradiction between the love of outward adorning and the grace of meekness, the quiet spirit. It is only when we seek in all things to conform to the will of God that peace and joy will reign in the soul.  {4T 645.1}

     The love of dress endangers the morals and makes woman the opposite of the Christian lady characterized by modesty and sobriety. Showy, extravagant dress too often encourages lust in the heart of the wearer and awakens base passions in the heart of the beholder. God sees that the ruin of the character is frequently preceded by the indulgence of pride and vanity in dress. He sees that the costly apparel stifles the desire to do good.  {4T 645.2}

     The more means persons expend in dress, the less they can have to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; and the streams of beneficence, which should be constantly flowing, are dried up. Every dollar saved by denying one’s self of useless ornaments may be given to the needy or may be placed in the

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Lord’s treasury to sustain the gospel, to send missionaries to foreign countries, to multiply publications to carry rays of light to souls in the darkness of error. Every dollar used unnecessarily deprives the spender of a precious opportunity to do good.  {4T 645.3}

     My sister, how much time have you spent on needless trimming, time for which you must render an account to God? How much money expended to please your fancy and win the admiration of hearts as vain as your own? It was God’s money. How much good you might have done with it! And what a loss have you sustained in this life, and in the future, immortal life, by not doing this! Every soul will be judged according to the deeds done in the body. God reads purposes and motives. Every work and every secret thing is open to His all-seeing eye. No thought, word, or action escapes His notice. He knows whether we love and glorify Him or please and exalt ourselves. He knows whether we set our affections upon things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, or upon things earthly, sensual, and devilish.  {4T 646.1}

     When you place a useless or extravagant article of clothing upon your person, you are withholding from the naked. When you spread your tables with a needless variety of costly food, you are neglecting to feed the hungry. How stands your record, professed Christian? Do not, I beseech you, lay out in foolish and hurtful indulgences that which God requires in His treasury, and the portion which should be given to the poor. Let us not clothe ourselves with costly apparel, but, like women professing godliness, with good works. Let not the cry of the widow and the fatherless go up to heaven against us. Let not the blood of souls be found on our garments. Let not precious probationary time be squandered in cherishing pride of heart. Are there no poor to be visited? no dim eyes for whom you can read the word of God? no desponding, discouraged ones that need your words of comfort and your prayers?  {4T 646.2}

     As God has prospered you, has not the indulgence of pride

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and vanity been steadily increasing? While you are devoting precious time to the study of dress, the inward adorning is neglected; there is no growth in grace. Instead of becoming more heavenly-minded, you are becoming more and more earthly-minded. Foolish and hurtful lusts, groveling appetites, becloud your sense of sacred things. Why will not everyone who professes to love Jesus flee from these soul-destroying indulgences! The world is crazy after show and fashion and pleasure. Licentiousness is steadily and fearfully on the increase. Why will not Christians be true to their high profession!  {4T 646.3}

     Christ is ashamed of His professed followers. Wherein do we bear any resemblance to Him? Wherein does our dress conform to the Bible requirements? I do not want the sins of the people upon me, and I will give the trumpet a certain sound. For years I have borne a plain and decided testimony upon this subject, in print and upon the speaker’s stand. I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. I must be clear of the blood of all. The fact that worldliness and pride bear almost universal sway is no excuse for one Christian to do as others do. God has said: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.”  {4T 647.1}

     Do not, my sisters, trifle longer with your own souls and with God. I have been shown that the main cause of your backsliding is your love of dress. This leads to the neglect of grave responsibilities, and you find yourselves with scarcely a spark of the love of God in your hearts. Without delay, renounce the cause of your backsliding, because it is sin against your own soul and against God. Be not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. I have been shown that our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If

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there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God.  {4T 647.2}

     There is a terrible sin upon us as a people, that we have permitted our church members to dress in a manner inconsistent with their faith. We must arise at once and close the door against the allurements of fashion. Unless we do this, our churches will become demoralized.   {4T 648.1}

Chap. 63 – Proper Education

     Education comprises more than a knowledge of books. Proper education includes not only mental discipline, but that training which will secure sound morals and correct deportment. We have had many fears that those who take students into their houses will not realize their responsibility and will neglect to exert a proper influence over these youth. Thus students will fail to obtain all the benefit which they might receive at the college. The question too often arises: “Am I my brother’s keeper?’ What care, what burden or responsibility, should I have for the students who occupy rooms in our houses?” I answer: The very same interest that you have for your own children.  {4T 648.2}

     Says Christ: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” The souls of the youth that are brought under your roof are as precious in the eyes of the Lord as are the souls of your own dear children. When young men and women are separated from the softening, subduing influences of the home circle, it is the duty of those who have the care of them to make home influences for them. They would thus supply a great lack and would be doing a work for God as verily as the minister in the desk. To throw around these students an influence which would preserve them from temptations to immorality, and lead them to Jesus, is a work which heaven would approve.

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Grave responsibilities rest upon those who reside at the great center of the work, where are important interests to be sustained. Those who choose their homes at Battle Creek should be men and women of faith, of wisdom, and of prayer.  {4T 648.3}

     Hundreds of youth of various dispositions and of different education are associated in the school, and great care as well as much patience is required to balance in the right direction minds that have been warped by bad management. Some have never been disciplined, and others have been governed too much, and have felt, when away from the vigilant hands that held the reins of control, perhaps too tightly, that they were free to do as they pleased. They despise the very thought of restraint. These varying elements brought together in our college bring care, burdens, and weighty responsibility, not only upon teachers, but on the entire church.  {4T 649.1}

     The students at our college are exposed to manifold temptations. They will be brought in contact with individuals of almost every stamp of mind and morals. Those who have any religious experience are censurable if they do not place themselves in a position to resist every evil influence. But many choose to follow inclination. They do not consider that they must make or mar their own happiness. It is in their own power to so improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful.  {4T 649.2}

     The youth who reside at Battle Creek are in constant danger because they do not connect with heaven. If they would be true to their profession they might be living missionaries for God. By manifesting Christian interest, sympathy, and love, they might greatly benefit the youth who come to Battle Creek from other places. An earnest effort should be made to keep these strangers from choosing superficial, frivolous, pleasure-seeking associates. This class exert a demoralizing influence upon the college, upon the sanitarium, and upon the office of publication. Our numbers are constantly increasing, and vigilance and zeal to keep the fort are steadily decreasing. If they will open their eyes, all may see whither these things are tending.  {4T 649.3}

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     Many move to Battle Creek to give their children the advantages of the college, and at the same time do not feel their own responsibility in making this move. They do not realize that something more is to be considered than their own selfish interest; that they may be a hindrance instead of a blessing, unless they come with the full purpose to do good as well as to get good. Yet none need lose their spirituality in coming to Battle Creek; if we will follow Christ, it is not in the power of any to lead us astray from the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. No one is compelled to copy the errors of professed Christians. If he sees the mistakes and faults of others, he will be responsible before God and before his fellow men if he does not set a better example. But some make the faults of others an excuse for their own defects of character, and even copy the very objectionable traits which they condemn. Such persons strengthen those of whom they complain as pursuing an unchristian course. With their eyes open they walk into the enemy’s snare. Not a few in Battle Creek have pursued this course. Some have come to the place where our institutions are located, with the selfish motive of making money. This class will be no help to the youth either by precept or example.  {4T 650.1}

     The dangers of the young are greatly increased as they are thrown into the society of a large number of their own age of varied character and habits of life. Under these circumstances many parents are inclined to relax rather than redouble their own efforts to guard and control their children. Thus they cast a tremendous burden upon those who feel the responsibility. When these parents see that their children are becoming demoralized, they are inclined to find fault with those who have charge of the work at Battle Creek, when the evils have been caused by just such a course as these parents themselves have pursued.  {4T 650.2}

     Instead of uniting with those who bear the burdens, to lift up the standard of morals, and working with heart and soul in the fear of God to correct the wrongs in their children,

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many parents soothe their own consciences by saying: “My children are no worse than others.” They seek to conceal the glaring wrongs which God hates, lest their children shall become offended and take some desperate course. If the spirit of rebellion is in their hearts, far better subdue it now than permit it to increase and strengthen by indulgence. If parents would do their duty, we should see a different state of things. Many of these parents have backslidden from God. They do not have wisdom from Him to perceive the devices of Satan and to resist his snares.  {4T 650.3}

     In this age of the world, children should have strict watchcare. They should be advised and restrained. Eli was cursed of God because he did not promptly and decidedly restrain his wicked sons. There are parents at Battle Creek who are doing no better than did Eli. They are afraid to control their children. They see them serving Satan with a high hand and pass it by as a disagreeable necessity which must be endured because it cannot be cured.  {4T 651.1}

     Every son and daughter should be called to account if absent from home at night. Parents should know what company their children are in and at whose house they spend their evenings. Some children deceive their parents with falsehoods to avoid exposure of their wrong course. There are those who seek the society of corrupt companions and secretly visit saloons and other forbidden places of resort in the city. There are students who visit the billiard rooms, and who engage in card playing, flattering themselves that there is no danger. Since their object is merely amusement, they feel perfectly safe. It is not the lower grade alone who do this. Some who have been carefully reared, and educated to look upon such things with abhorrence, are venturing upon the forbidden ground.  {4T 651.2}

     The young should be controlled by firm principle, that they may rightly improve the powers which God has given them. But youth follow impulse so much and so blindly, without reference to principle, that they are constantly in

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danger. Since they cannot always have the guidance and protection of parents and guardians they need to be trained to self-reliance and self-control. They must be taught to think and act from conscientious principle.  {4T 651.3}

     Those who are engaged in study should have relaxation. The mind must not be constantly confined to close thought, for the delicate mental machinery becomes worn. The body as well as the mind must have exercise. But there is great need of temperance in amusements, as in every other pursuit. And the character of these amusements should be carefully and thoroughly considered. Every youth should ask himself: What influence will these amusements have on physical, mental, and moral health? Will my mind become so infatuated as to forget God? shall I cease to have His glory before me?  {4T 652.1}

     Card playing should be prohibited. The associations and tendencies are dangerous. The prince of the powers of darkness presides in the gaming room and wherever there is card playing. Evil angels are familiar guests in these places. There is nothing in such amusements beneficial to soul or body. There is nothing to strengthen the intellect, nothing to store it with valuable ideas for future use. The conversation is upon trivial and degrading subjects. There is heard the unseemly jest, the low, vile talk, which lowers and destroys the true dignity of manhood. These games are the most senseless, useless, unprofitable, and dangerous employments the youth can have. Those who engage in card playing become intensely excited and soon lose all relish for useful and elevating occupations. Expertness in handling cards will soon lead to a desire to put this knowledge and tact to some use for personal benefit. A small sum is staked, and then a larger, until a thirst for gaming is acquired, which leads to certain ruin. How many has this pernicious amusement led to every sinful practice, to poverty, to prison, to murder, and to the gallows! And yet many parents do not see the terrible gulf of ruin that is yawning for our youth.  {4T 652.2}

     Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater.

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Instead of being a school of morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals. Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drinks strengthens with its use. The only safe course is to shun the theater, the circus, and every other questionable place of amusement.  {4T 652.3}

     There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for the entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of highest benefit.  {4T 653.1}

     The great God, whose glory shines from the heavens, and whose divine hand upholds millions of worlds, is our Father. We have only to love Him, trust in Him, as little children in faith and confidence, and He will accept us as His sons and daughters, and we shall be heirs to all the inexpressible glory of the eternal world. All the meek will He guide in judgment, the meek will He teach His way. If we will walk in obedience to His will, learn cheerfully and diligently the lessons of His providence, by and by He will say: Child, come home to the heavenly mansions I have prepared for you.  {4T 653.2}

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