Table of Contents
Chap. 5 – The Cause in New York
Chap. 6 – Experience Not Reliable
Chap. 11 – Labor Among the Churches
Chapter 13 – Proper Education
Chap. 14 – The Health Reform
Chapter 27 – The Laodicean Church
Chap. 28 – Moses and Aaron
Chap. 32 – Appeal to the Young
Chap. 33 – Tithes and Offerings
Chap. 34 – Systematic Benevolence
Chap. 36 – Unity in the Church
Chap. 44 – Leadership
Chap. 46 – Duty to the Unfortunate
Chap. 47 – Man’s Duty to His Fellow Men
Chap. 50 – Parents as Reformers

 

Number Twenty-One

Testimony for the Church

An Appeal for Burden Bearers

     Dear Brethren and Sisters: I feel compelled at this time to fulfill a long-neglected duty.  {3T 9.1}

     For years previous to my husband’s dangerous and protracted illness he performed more labor than two men should have done in the same time. He saw no time when he could be relieved from the pressure of care and obtain mental and physical rest. Through the testimonies he was warned of his danger. I was shown that he was doing too much brain labor. I will here copy a written testimony, given as far back as August 26, 1855:  {3T 9.2}

     “While at Paris, Maine, I was shown that my husband’s health was in a critical condition, that his anxiety of mind had been too much for his strength. When the present truth was first published, he put forth great exertion and labored with but little encouragement or help from his brethren. From the first he has taken burdens upon him which were too taxing for his physical strength.  {3T 9.3}

     “These burdens, if equally shared, need not have been so wearing. While my husband took much responsibility, some of his brethren in the ministry were not willing to take any. And those who shunned burdens and responsibilities did not realize his burdens, and were not as interested in the advancement of the work and cause of God as they should have been. My husband felt this lack and laid his shoulder under burdens that were too heavy and which nearly crushed him. As the result of these extra efforts more souls will be saved, but it is these efforts that have told upon his constitution and deprived him of strength. I have been shown that he should in a great measure lay aside his anxiety; God is willing that he should be released from such wearing labor, and that he should spend more time in the study of the Scriptures and in the society of his children, seeking to cultivate their minds.  {3T 9.4}

     “I saw that it is not our duty to perplex ourselves with individual trials. Such mental labor endured for others’ wrongs should be avoided. My husband can continue to labor with all his energies, as he has done, and as the result go down into the grave, and his labors be lost to the cause of God; or he can now be released, while he has some strength left, and last longer, and his labors be more efficient.”  {3T 10.1}

     I will now copy from a testimony given in 1859: “In my last vision I was shown that the Lord would have my husband give himself more to the study of the Scriptures, that he may be qualified to labor more effectually in word and doctrine, both in speaking and in writing. I saw that in the past we had exhausted our energies through much anxiety and care to bring the church into a right position. Such wearing labor in various places, bearing the burdens of the church, is not required; for the church should bear their own burdens. Our work is to instruct them in God’s word, to urge upon them the necessity of experimental religion, and to define as clearly as possible the correct position in regard to the truth. God would have us raise our voices in the great congregation upon points of present truth which are of vital importance. These should be presented with clearness and with decision, and should also be written out, that the silent messengers may bring them before the people everywhere. A more thorough consecration to the essential work is required on our part; we must be earnest to live in the light of God’s countenance. If our minds were less occupied with the trials of the church they would be more free to be exercised upon Bible subjects; and a closer application to Bible truth would accustom the mind to run in that channel, and we would thus be better qualified for the important work devolving upon us.  {3T 10.2}

     “I was shown that God did not lay upon us such heavy burdens as we have borne in the past. It is our duty to talk to the church and show them the necessity of working for themselves. They have been carried too much. The reason why we should not be required to take upon ourselves heavy burdens and engage in perplexing labor is that the Lord has work of another character for us to perform. He would not have us exhaust our physical and mental energies, but hold them in reserve, that upon special occasions, whenever help is actually needed, our voices may be heard.  {3T 11.1}

     “I saw that important moves would be made, in which our influence would be demanded to lead out; that influences would arise, and errors would occasionally be brought into the church, and that then our influence would be required. But if exhausted by previous labors, we would not possess that calm judgment, discretion, and self-control necessary for the important occasion in which God would have us act a prominent part.  {3T 11.2}

     “Satan has crippled our efforts by so affecting the church as to call forth from us almost double labor to cut our way through the darkness and unbelief. These efforts to set things in order in the churches have exhausted our strength, and lassitude and debility have followed. I saw that we have a work to do, but the adversary of souls will resist every effort that we attempt to make. The people may be in a state of backsliding, so that God cannot bless them, and this will be disheartening; but we should not be discouraged. We should do our duty in presenting the light, and leave the responsibility with the people.”  {3T 11.3}

     I will here copy from another testimony, written June 6, 1863: “I was shown that our testimony is still needed in the church, that we should labor to save ourselves trials and cares, and that we should preserve a devotional frame of mind. It is the duty of those in the office to tax their brains more, and of my husband to tax his less. Much time is spent by him upon various matters which confuse and weary his mind, and unfit him for study or for writing, and thus prevent his light from shining in the Review as it should.  {3T 11.4}

     “My husband’s mind should not be crowded and overtaxed. It must have rest, and he must be left free to write and attend to matters which others cannot do. Those engaged in the office could lift from him a great weight of care if they would dedicate themselves to God and feel a deep interest in the work. No selfish feelings should exist among those who labor in the office. It is the work of God in which they are engaged, and they are accountable to Him for their motives and the manner in which this branch of His work is performed. They are required to discipline their minds. Many feel that no blame should be attached to forgetfulness. This is a great mistake. Forgetfulness is sin. It leads to many blunders and to much disorder and many wrongs. Things that should be done ought not to be forgotten. The mind must be tasked; it must be disciplined until it will remember.  {3T 12.1}

     “My husband has had much care, and has done many things which others ought to have done, but which he feared to have them do, lest, in their heedlessness, they should make mistakes not easily remedied, and thus involve losses. This has been a great perplexity to his mind. Those who labor in the office should learn. They should study, and practice, and exercise their own brains; for they have this branch of business alone, while my husband has the responsibility of many departments of the work. If a workman makes a failure, he should feel that it rests upon him to repair damages from his own purse, and should not allow the office to suffer loss through his carelessness. He should not cease to bear responsibilities, but should try again, avoiding former mistakes. In this way he will learn to take that care which the word of God ever requires, and then he will do no more than his duty. {3T 12.2}

     “My husband should take time to do those things which his judgment tells him would preserve his health. He has thought that he must throw off the burdens and responsibilities which were upon him, and leave the office, or his mind would become a wreck. I was shown that when the Lord released him from his position, he would give him just as clear evidence of his release as he gave him when He laid the burden of the work upon him. But he has borne too many burdens, and those laboring with him at the office, and also his ministering brethren, have been too willing that he should bear them. They have, as a general thing, stood back from bearing burdens, and have sympathized with those who were murmuring against him, and left him to stand alone while he was bowed down beneath censure, until God has vindicated His own cause. If they had taken their share of the burdens, my husband would have been relieved.  {3T 13.1}

     “I saw that God now requires us to take special care of the health He has given us, for our work is not yet done. Our testimony must still be borne, and will have influence. We should preserve our strength to labor in the cause of God when our labor is needed. We should be careful not to take upon ourselves burdens that others can and should bear. We should encourage a cheerful, hopeful, peaceful frame of mind; for our health depends upon our so doing. The work that God requires us to do will not prevent our caring for our health, that we may recover from the effect of overtaxing labor. The more perfect our health, the more perfect will be our labor. When we overtax our strength, and become exhausted, we are liable to take cold, and at such times there is danger of disease assuming a dangerous form. We must not leave the care of ourselves with God, when He has placed that responsibility upon us.”  {3T 13.2}

     October 25, 1869, while at Adams Center, New York, I was shown that some ministers among us fail to bear all the responsibility that God would have them. This lack throws extra labor upon those who are burden bearers, especially upon my husband. Some ministers fail to move out and venture something in the cause and work of God. Important decisions are to be made; but as mortal man cannot see the end from the beginning, some shrink from venturing and advancing as the providence of God leads. Someone must advance; someone must venture in the fear of God, trusting the result with Him. Those ministers who shun this part of the labor are losing much. They are failing to obtain that experience which God designed they should have to make them strong, efficient men that can be relied upon in any emergency.  {3T 13.3}

     Brother A, you shrink from running risks. You are not willing to venture when you cannot see the way perfectly clear. Yet someone must do this very work; someone must walk by faith, or no advance moves will be made, and nothing will be accomplished. A fear that you will make mistakes and mismoves, and then be blamed, binds you. You excuse yourself from taking responsibility because you have made some mistakes in the past. But you should move according to your best judgment, trusting the result with God. Someone must do this, and it is a trying position for anyone. One should not bear all this responsibility alone, but with much reflection and earnest prayer, it should be equally shared.  {3T 14.1}

     During my husband’s affliction, the Lord tested and proved His people to reveal what was in their hearts; and in so doing He showed to them what was undiscovered in themselves that was not according to the Spirit of God. The trying circumstances under which we were placed called out from our brethren that which otherwise would never have been revealed. The Lord proved to His people that the wisdom of man is foolishness, and that unless they possess firm trust and reliance on God, their plans and calculations will prove a failure. We are to learn from all these things. If errors are committed, they should teach and instruct, but not lead to the shunning of burdens and responsibilities. Where much is at stake, and where matters of vital consequence are to be considered, and important questions settled, God’s servants should take individual responsibility. They cannot lay off the burden and yet do the will of God. Some ministers are deficient in the qualifications necessary to build up the churches, and they are not willing to wear in the cause of God. They have not a disposition to give themselves wholly to the work, with their interest undivided, their zeal unabated, their patience and perseverance untiring. With these qualifications in lively exercise, the churches would be kept in order, and my husband’s labors would not be so heavy. All ministers do not constantly bear in mind that the labor of all must bear the inspection of the judgment, and that every man will be rewarded as his works have been.  {3T 14.2}

     Brother A, you have a responsibility to bear in regard to the Health Institute. [LATER KNOWN AS THE BATTLE CREEK SANITARIUM.] You should ponder, you should reflect. Frequently the time that you occupy in reading is the very best time for you to reflect and to study what must be done to set things in order at the Institute and at the office. My husband takes on these burdens because he sees that the work for these institutions must be done by someone. As others will not lead out, he steps into the gap and supplies the deficiency.  {3T 15.1}

     God has cautioned and warned my husband in regard to the preservation of his strength. I was shown that he was raised up by the Lord, and that he lives as a miracle of mercy–not for the purpose of again gathering upon him the burdens under which he once fell, but that the people of God may be benefited by his experience in advancing the general interests of the cause, and in connection with the work the Lord has given me, and the burden He has laid upon me to bear.  {3T 15.2}

     Brother A, great care should be exercised by you, especially at Battle Creek. In visiting, your conversation should be upon the most important subjects. Be careful to back up precept by example. This is an important post and will require labor. While you are here, you should take time to ponder the many things which need to be done and which require solemn reflection, careful attention, and most earnest, faithful prayer. You should feel as great an interest in the things relating to the cause, to the work at the Health Institute and at the office of publication, as my husband feels; you should feel that the work is yours. You cannot do the work that God has specially qualified my husband to do, neither can he do the work that God has specially qualified you to do. Yet both of you together, united in harmonious labor, you in your office, and my husband in his, can accomplish much.  {3T 15.3}

     The work in which we have a common interest is great; and efficient, willing, burden-bearing laborers are few indeed. God will give you strength, my brother, if you will move forward and wait upon Him. He will give my husband and myself strength in our united labor, if we do all to His glory, according to our ability and strength to labor. You should be located where you would have a more favorable opportunity to exercise your gift according to the ability that God has given you. You should lean your whole weight upon God and give Him an opportunity to teach, lead, and impress you. You feel a deep interest in the work and cause of God, and you should look to Him for light and guidance. He will give you light. But, as an ambassador of Christ, you are required to be faithful, to correct wrong in meekness and love, and your efforts will not prove unavailing.  {3T 16.1}

     Since my husband has recovered from his feebleness, we have labored earnestly. We have not consulted our own ease or pleasure. We have traveled and labored in camp meetings, and overtaxed our strength, so that it has brought upon us debility, without the advantages of rest. During the year 1870 we attended twelve camp meetings. In a number of these meetings, the burden of labor rested almost wholly upon us. We traveled from Minnesota to Maine, and to Missouri and Kansas.  {3T 16.2}

     My husband and I united our efforts to improve the Health Reformer [NOW CALLED GOOD HEALTH.] and make it an interesting and profitable journal, one that would be desired, not only by our people, but by all classes. This was a severe tax upon him. He also made very important improvements in the Review and the Instructor. He accomplished the work which should have been shared by three men. And while all this labor fell upon him in the publishing branch of the work, the business departments at the Health Institute and the Publishing Association required the labor of two men to relieve them of financial embarrassment.  {3T 16.3}

     Unfaithful men who had been entrusted with the work at the office and at the Institute, had, through selfishness and a lack of consecration, placed matters in the worst possible condition. There was unsettled business that had to be attended to. My husband stepped into the gap and worked with all his energies. He was wearing. We could see that he was in danger; but we could not see how he could stop, unless the work in the office should cease. Almost every day some new perplexity would arise, some new difficulty caused by the unfaithfulness of the men who had taken charge of the work. His brain was taxed to the utmost. But the worst perplexities are now over, and the work is moving on prosperously.  {3T 17.1}

     At the General Conference my husband pleaded to be released from the burdens upon him; but, notwithstanding his pleading, the burden of editing the Review and the Reformer was placed upon him, with encouragement that men who would take burdens and responsibilities would be encouraged to settle at Battle Creek. But as yet no help has come to lift from him the burdens of the financial work at the office.  {3T 17.2}

     My husband is fast wearing. We have attended the four Western camp meetings, and our brethren are urging us to attend the Eastern meetings. But we dare not take additional burdens upon us. When we came from the labor of the Western camp meetings in July, 1871, we found a large amount of business that had been left to accumulate in my husband’s absence. We have seen no opportunity for rest yet. My husband must be released from the burdens upon him. There are too many that use his brain instead of using their own. In view of the light which God has been pleased to give us, we plead for you, my brethren, to release my husband. I am not willing to venture the consequences of his going forward and laboring as he has done. He served you faithfully and unselfishly for years, and finally fell under the pressure of the burdens placed upon him. Then his brethren, in whom he had confided, left him. They let him drop into my hands, and forsook him. For nearly two years I was his nurse, his attendant, his physician. I do not wish to pass through the experience a second time. Brethren, will you lift the burdens from us, and allow us to preserve our strength as God would have us, that the cause at large may be benefited by the efforts we may make in His strength? Or will you leave us to become debilitated so that we will become useless to the cause?  {3T 17.3}

     The foregoing portion of this appeal was read at the New Hampshire camp meeting, August, 1871.  {3T 18.1}

     When we returned from Kansas in the autumn of 1870, Brother B was at home sick with fever. Sister Van Horn, at this very time, was absent from the office in consequence of fever brought upon her by the sudden death of her mother. Brother Smith was also from the office, in Rochester, New York, recovering from a fever. There was a great amount of unfinished work at the office, yet Brother B left his post of duty to gratify his own pleasure. This fact in his experience is a sample of the man. Sacred duties rest lightly upon him.  {3T 18.2}

     It was a great breach of the trust reposed in him to pursue the course he did. In what marked contrast with this is the life of Christ, our Pattern! He was the Son of Jehovah, and the Author of our salvation. He labored and suffered for us. He denied Himself, and His whole life was one continued scene of toil and privation. Had He chosen so to do, He could have passed His days in a world of His own creating, in ease and plenty, and claimed for Himself all the pleasures and enjoyment the world could give Him. But He did not consider His own convenience. He lived not to please Himself, but to do good and lavish His blessings upon others.  {3T 18.3}

     Brother B was sick with fever. His case was critical. In justice to the cause of God, I feel compelled to state that his sickness was not the result of unwearied devotion to the interests of the office. Imprudent exposure on a trip to Chicago, for his own pleasure, was the cause of his long, tedious, suffering sickness. God did not sustain him in leaving the work, when so many who had filled important positions in the office were absent. At the very time when he should not have excused himself for an hour, he left his post of duty, and God did not sustain him.  {3T 18.4}

     There was no period of rest for us, however much we needed it. The Review, the Reformer, and the Instructor must be edited. Many letters had been laid aside until we should return to examine them. Things were in a sad state at the office. Everything needed to be set in order. My husband commenced his labor, and I helped him what I could; but that was but little. He labored unceasingly to straighten out perplexing business matters and to improve the condition of our periodicals. He could not depend upon help from any of his ministering brethren. His head, heart, and hands were full. He was not encouraged by Brethren A and C, when they knew he was standing alone under the burdens at Battle Creek. They did not stay up his hands. They wrote in a most discouraging manner of their poor health, and that they were in such an exhausted condition that they could not be depended on to accomplish any labor. My husband saw that nothing could be hoped for in that direction. Notwithstanding his double labor through the summer, he could not rest. And, irrespective of his weakness, he reined himself up to do the work which others had neglected.  {3T 19.1}

     The Reformer was about dead. Brother B had urged the extreme positions of Dr. Trall. This had influenced the doctor to come out in the Reformer stronger than he otherwise would have done, in discarding milk, sugar, and salt. The position to entirely discontinue the use of these things may be right in its order; but the time had not come to take a general stand upon these points. And those who do take their position, and advocate the entire disuse of milk, butter, and sugar, should have their own tables free from these things. Brother B, even while taking his stand in the Reformer with Dr. Trall in regard to the injurious effects of salt, milk, and sugar, did not practice the things he taught. Upon his own table these things were used daily.  {3T 19.2}

     Many of our people had lost their interest in the Reformer, and letters were daily received with this discouraging request: “Please discontinue my Reformer.” Letters were received from the West, where the country is new and fruit scarce, inquiring: “How do the friends of health reform live at Battle Creek? Do they dispense with salt entirely? If so, we cannot at present adopt the health reform. We can get but little fruit, and we have left off the use of meat, tea, coffee, and tobacco; but we must have something to sustain life.”  {3T 20.1}

     We had spent some time in the West, and knew the scarcity of fruit, and we sympathized with our brethren who were conscientiously seeking to be in harmony with the body of Sabbathkeeping Adventists. They were becoming discouraged, and some were backsliding upon the health reform, fearing that at Battle Creek they were radical and fanatical. We could not raise an interest anywhere in the West to obtain subscribers for the Health Reformer. We saw that the writers in the Reformer were going away from the people and leaving them behind. If we take positions that conscientious Christians, who are indeed reformers, cannot adopt, how can we expect to benefit that class whom we can reach only from a health standpoint?  {3T 20.2}

     We must go no faster than we can take those with us whose consciences and intellects are convinced of the truths we advocate. We must meet the people where they are. Some of us have been many years in arriving at our present position in health reform. It is slow work to obtain a reform in diet. We have powerful appetites to meet; for the world is given to gluttony. If we should allow the people as much time as we have required to come up to the present advanced state in reform, we would be very patient with them, and allow them to advance step by step, as we have done, until their feet are firmly established upon the health reform platform. But we should be very cautious not to advance too fast, lest we be obliged to retrace our steps. In reforms we would better come one step short of the mark than to go one step beyond it. And if there is error at all, let it be on the side next to the people.  {3T 20.3}

     Above all things, we should not with our pens advocate positions that we do not put to a practical test in our own families, upon our own tables. This is dissimulation, a species of hypocrisy. In Michigan we can get along better without salt, sugar, and milk than can many who are situated in the Far West or in the far East, where there is a scarcity of fruit. But there are very few families in Battle Creek who do not use these articles upon their tables. We know that a free use of these things is positively injurious to health, and, in many cases, we think that if they were not used at all, a much better state of health would be enjoyed. But at present our burden is not upon these things. The people are so far behind that we see it is all they can bear to have us draw the line upon their injurious indulgences and stimulating narcotics. We bear positive testimony against tobacco, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spices, rich cakes, mince pies, a large amount of salt, and all exciting substances used as articles of food.  {3T 21.1}

     If we come to persons who have not been enlightened in regard to health reform, and present our strongest positions at first, there is danger of their becoming discouraged as they see how much they have to give up, so that they will make no effort to reform. We must lead the people along patiently and gradually, remembering the hole of the pit whence we were digged.  {3T 21.2}

Chap. 5 – The Cause in New York

     While in Vermont, December 10, 1871, I was shown some things in regard to New York. The cause in that state seemed to be in a deplorable condition. There were but few laborers, and these were not as efficient as their profession of faith in the sacred truths for this time demanded them to be. There are those in the state who minister in word and doctrine, who are not thorough workmen. Although they believe the theory of the truth, and have been preaching for years, they will never be competent laborers until they work upon a different plan. They have spent much time among the churches, when they are not qualified to benefit them. They themselves are not consecrated to God. They need the spirit of endurance to suffer for Christ’s sake, “to drink of the cup,” and “be baptized with the baptism,” before they are prepared to help others. Unselfish, devoted workmen are needed, to bring things up in New York to the Bible standard. These men have not been in the line of their duty in traveling among the churches. If God has called them to His work, it is to save sinners. They should prove themselves by going out into new fields, that they may know for themselves whether God has committed to them the work of saving souls.  {3T 48.1}

     Had Brethren Taylor, Saunders, Cottrell, Whitney, and Brother and Sister Lindsay labored in new fields, they would now be far in advance of what they are. Meeting the opposition of opponents would drive them to their Bibles for arguments to sustain their position, and this would increase their knowledge of the Scriptures and would give them a consciousness of their ability in God to meet opposition in any form. Those who are content to go over and over the same ground among the churches will be deficient in the experience they should have. They will be weak–not strong to will and do and suffer for the truth’s sake. They will be inefficient workmen.  {3T 48.2}

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     Those who have the cause of God at heart and feel love for precious souls for whom Christ died, will not seek their own ease or pleasure. They will do as Christ has done. They will go forth “to seek and to save that which was lost.” He said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  {3T 49.1}

     If ministers in New York wish to help the church, they can do so in no better way than to go out into new fields and labor to bring souls into the truth. When the church see that the ministers are all aglow with the spirit of the work, that they feel deeply the force of the truth, and are seeking to bring others to the knowledge of it, it will put new life and vigor into them. Their hearts will be stirred to do what they can to aid in the work. There is not a class of people in the world who are more willing to sacrifice of their means to advance the cause than are Seventh-day Adventists. If the ministers do not utterly discourage them by their indolence and inefficiency, and by their lack of spirituality, they will generally respond to any appeal that may be made that commends itself to their judgment and consciences. But they want to see fruit. And it is right that the brethren in New York should demand fruit of their ministers. What have they done? What are they doing?  {3T 49.2}

     Ministers in New York should have been far in advance of what they are. But they have not engaged in that kind of labor which called forth earnest effort and strong opposition. Had they done so they would have been driven to their Bibles and to prayer in order to be able to answer their opponents, and in the exercise of their talents would have doubled them. There are ministers in New York who have been preaching for years, but who cannot be depended upon to give a course of lectures. They are dwarfed. They have not exercised their minds in the study of the word and in meeting opposition, so that they might become strong in God. Had they, like faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ, gone forth “without the camp,” depending upon God and their own energies, rather than leaning

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so heavily upon their brethren, they would have obtained an experience, and would now be qualified to engage in the work wherever their help is most needed. If the ministers generally in New York had left the churches to labor for themselves, and had not stood in their way, both churches and ministers would now be further advanced in spirituality and in the knowledge of the truth.  {3T 49.3}

     Many of our brethren and sisters in New York have been backsliding upon health reform. There is but a small number of genuine health reformers in the state. Light and spiritual understanding have been given to the brethren in New York. But the truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has shone upon the soul, which has not been appreciated and cherished, will witness against them in the day of God. Truth has been given to save those who would believe and obey. Their condemnation is not because they did not have the light, but because they had the light and did not walk in it.  {3T 50.1}

     God has furnished man with abundant means for the gratification of natural appetite. He has spread before him, in the products of the earth, a bountiful variety of food that is palatable to the taste and nutritious to the system. Of these our benevolent heavenly Father says that we may “freely eat.” We may enjoy the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, without doing violence to the laws of our being. These articles, prepared in the most simple and natural manner, will nourish the body, and preserve its natural vigor without the use of flesh meats.  {3T 50.2}

     God created man a little lower than the angels and bestowed upon him attributes that will, if properly used, make him a blessing to the world and cause him to reflect the glory to the Giver. But although made in the image of God, man has, through intemperance, violated principle and God’s law in his physical nature. Intemperance of any kind benumbs the perceptive organs and so weakens the brain-nerve power that eternal things are not appreciated, but placed upon a level with the common. The higher powers of the mind, designed for elevated purposes, are brought into slavery to the

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baser passions. If our physical habits are not right, our mental and moral powers cannot be strong; for great sympathy exists between the physical and the moral. The apostle Peter understood this and raised his voice of warning to his brethren: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”  {3T 50.3}

     There is but little moral power in the professed Christian world. Wrong habits have been indulged, and physical and moral laws have been disregarded, until the general standard of virtue and piety is exceedingly low. Habits which lower the standard of physical health enfeeble mental and moral strength. The indulgence of unnatural appetites and passions has a controlling influence upon the nerves of the brain. The animal organs are strengthened, while the moral are depressed. It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a Christian, for his higher powers are brought into slavery to the passions.  {3T 51.1}

     Those who have had the light upon the subjects of eating and dressing with simplicity in obedience to physical and moral laws, and who turn from the light which points out their duty, will shun duty in other things. If they blunt their consciences to avoid the cross which they will have to take up to be in harmony with natural law, they will, in order to shun reproach, violate the Ten Commandments. There is a decided unwillingness with some to endure the cross and despise the shame. Some will be laughed out of their principles. Conformity to the world is gaining ground among God’s people, who profess to be pilgrims and strangers, waiting and watching for the Lord’s appearing. There are many among professed Sabbathkeepers in New York who are more firmly wedded to worldly fashions and lusts than they are to healthy bodies, sound minds, or sanctified hearts.  {3T 51.2}

     God is testing and proving individuals in New York. He has permitted some to have a measure of prosperity, to develop what is in their hearts. Pride and love of the world have separated them from God. The principles of truth are virtually sacrificed, while they profess to love the truth. Christians

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should wake up and act. Their influence is telling upon, and molding, the opinions and habits of others. They will have to bear the weighty responsibility of deciding by their influence the destiny of souls.  {3T 51.3}

     The Lord, by close and pointed truths for these last days, is cleaving out a people from the world and purifying them unto Himself. Pride and unhealthful fashions, the love of display, the love of approbation–all must be left with the world if we would be renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created us. “For 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; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”  {3T 52.1}

     The church in —– need sifting. A thorough conversion is necessary before they can be in working order. Selfishness, pride, envy, malice, evil surmising, backbiting, gossiping, and tattling have been cherished among them, until the Spirit of God has but little to do with them. While some who profess to know God remain in their present state, their prayers are an abomination in His sight. They do not sustain their faith by their works, and it would have been better for some never to have professed the truth than to have dishonored their profession as they have. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of the enemy of righteousness; and their works testify of them that they are not acquainted with God and that their hearts are not in obedience to the will of Christ. They make child’s play of religion; they act like pettish children.  {3T 52.2}

     The children of God, the world over, are one great brotherhood. Our Saviour has clearly defined the spirit and principles which should govern the actions of those who, by their consistent, holy lives, distinguish themselves from the world.

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Love for one another, and supreme love to their heavenly Father, should be exemplified in their conversation and works. The present condition of many of the children of God is like that of a family of ungrateful and quarrelsome children.  {3T 52.3}

     There is danger of even ministers in New York being of that class who are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. They do not practice what they learn. They are hearers, but not doers. These ministers need an experience in the truth that will enable them to comprehend the elevated character of the work.  {3T 53.1}

     We are living in a most solemn, important time of this earth’s history. We are amid the perils of the last days. Important and fearful events are before us. How necessary that all who do fear God and love His law should humble themselves before Him, and be afflicted and mourn, and confess the sins that have separated God from His people. That which should excite the greatest alarm, is that we do not feel or understand our condition, our low estate, and that we are satisfied to remain as we are. We should flee to the word of God and to prayer, individually seeking the Lord earnestly, that we may find Him. We should make this our first business.  {3T 53.2}

     The members of the church are responsible for the talents committed to their trust, and it is impossible for Christians to meet their responsibilities unless they occupy that elevated position that is in accordance with the sacred truths which they profess. The light that shines upon our pathway makes us responsible to let that light shine forth to others in such a manner that they will glorify God.  {3T 53.3}

               Relatives in the Church

     The advancement of the church in —– in spiritual things is not in proportion to the light which has shone upon their pathway. God has committed to each talents to be improved by putting them out to the exchangers, that when the Master comes He may receive His own with usury. The

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church at —– is largely composed of valuable material, but its members fail to reach the high standard which it is their privilege to attain.  {3T 53.4}

     The working material in the church is found mostly in branches of three families which are connected by marriage. There is more talent in the church, and more material to make good workmen, than can be employed to advantage in that locality. The entire church are not growing in spirituality. They are not favorably situated to develop strength by calling into exercise the talents that God has given them. There is not room for all to work. One gets in the way of another. There is a lack of spiritual strength. If this church were less a family church each would feel individual responsibility.  {3T 54.1}

     If the talent and influence of several of its members should be exercised in other churches, where they would be drawn out to help where help is really needed, they would be obtaining an experience of the highest value in spiritual things, and by thus bearing responsibilities and burdens in the work of God would be a blessing to others. While engaged in helping others, they would be following the example of Christ. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others. He pleased not Himself. He made Himself of no reputation, but took upon Himself the form of a servant, and spent His life in doing good. He could have spent His days on earth in ease and plenty, and have appropriated to Himself the enjoyments of this life. But He lived not to enjoy, He lived to do good and to save others from suffering, and His example is for us to follow.  {3T 54.2}

     If consecrated to God, Brethren I and J could bear greater responsibilities than they have borne. They have thought that they would be prompt to respond to any call that should be made for means, and that this was the principal burden that they had to bear in the cause of God. But God requires more of them than this. If they had trained their minds to a more critical study of the word of God, that they might have become laborers in His cause, and had worked for the salvation of sinners as earnestly as they have to obtain the things

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of this life, they would have developed strength and wisdom to engage in the work of God where laborers are greatly needed.  {3T 54.3}

     These brethren, by remaining in a family community, are being dwarfed in mental and spiritual strength. It is not the best policy for children of one, two, or three families that are connected by marriage, to settle within a few miles of one another. The influence is not good on the parties. The business of one is the business of all. The perplexities and troubles which every family must experience more or less, and which, as far as possible, should be confined within the limits of the family circle, are extended to family connections, and have a bearing upon the religious meetings. There are matters which should not be known to a third person, however friendly and closely connected he may be. Individuals and families should bear them. But the close relationship of several families, brought into constant intercourse, has a tendency to break down the dignity which should be maintained in every family. In performing the delicate duty of reproving and admonishing, there will be danger of injuring feelings, unless it be done with the greatest tenderness and care. The best models of character are liable to errors and mistakes, and great care should be exercised that too much is not made of little things.  {3T 55.1}

     Such family and church relationship as exists in —– is very pleasant to the natural feelings; but it is not the best, all things considered, for the development of symmetrical Christian characters. The close relationship and the familiar associations with one another, while united in church capacity, render the influence feeble. That dignity, that high regard, confidence, and love that make a prosperous church is not preserved. All parties would be much happier to be separated and to visit occasionally, and their influence upon one another would be tenfold greater.  {3T 55.2}

     United as these families are by marriage, and mingling as they do in one another’s society, each is awake to the faults and errors of the others, and feels in duty bound to correct them; and because these relatives are really dear to one

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another, they are grieved over little things that they would not notice in those not so closely connected. Keen sufferings of mind are endured, because feelings will arise with some that they have not been treated impartially and with all that consideration which they deserved. Petty jealousies sometimes arise, and molehills become mountains. These little misunderstandings and petty variances cause more severe suffering of mind than do trials that come from other sources.  {3T 55.3}

     These things make these truly conscientious, noble-minded men and women feeble to endure, and they are not developing the character they might were they differently situated. They are dwarfed in mental and spiritual growth, which threatens to destroy their usefulness. Their labors and interests are confined mostly to themselves. Their influence is narrowed down when it should be widening and becoming more general, that they may, by being placed in a variety of circumstances, bring into exercise the powers which God has given them, in such a manner as shall contribute most to His glory. All the faculties of the mind are capable of high improvement. The energies of the soul need to be aroused and brought into action for the glory of God.  {3T 56.1}

                    Laborers for God

     God calls for missionaries. There are men of ability in the church at —– who will grow in capacity and power as they exercise their talents in the work and cause of God. If these brethren will educate themselves to make the cause of God their first interest, and will sacrifice their pleasure and inclination for the truth’s sake, the blessing of God will rest upon them. These brethren, who love the truth, and who have been for years rejoicing because of increasing light upon the Scriptures, should let their light shine forth to those who are in darkness. God will be to them wisdom and power, and will glorify Himself in working with and by those who wholly follow Him. “If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.” The wisdom and power of God will be given to the willing and faithful.  {3T 56.2}

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     The brethren in —– have been willing to give of their means for the various enterprises, but they have withheld themselves. They have not said: Here am I, Lord; send me. It is not the strength of human instruments, but the power and wisdom of Him who employs them and works with them that makes men successful in doing the work that is necessary to be done. By offering our goods to the Possessor of heaven and earth while we withhold ourselves, we cannot meet His approbation nor secure His blessing. There must be in the hearts of the brethren and sisters in —– a principle to lay all, even themselves, upon the altar of God.  {3T 57.1}

     Men are needed in Battle Creek who can and will take burdens and bear responsibilities. The call has been given time and again, but hardly a response has been made. Some would have answered the call if their worldly interests would have been advanced by so doing. But as there was no prospect of increasing their means by coming to Battle Creek, they could see no duty to come. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” And without obedience and unselfish love, the richest offerings are too meager to be presented to the Possessor of all things.  {3T 57.2}

     God calls upon the brethren and sisters in —– to arise and come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. The reason why there is so little strength among those who profess the truth is that they do not exercise the ability that God has given them. Very many have wrapped their talent in a napkin and hid it in the earth. It is by using the talents that they increase. God will test and prove His people.  {3T 57.3}

     Brother and Sister I have been faithful burden bearers in the cause of God, and now their children should not stand back and let the burdens rest so heavily upon them. It is time that the powers of the less-worn minds of the children should be exercised and they work more especially in the Master’s vineyard.  {3T 57.4}

     Some of the brethren and sisters in New York have felt anxious that Brother and Sister K, especially Sister K, should be encouraged to labor among the churches. But this is the

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wrong place for them to prove themselves. If God has indeed laid upon them the burden of labor, it is not for the churches; for these are generally in advance of them. There is a world before Brother and Sister K, a world lying in wickedness. Their field is a large one. They have plenty of room to try their gifts and test their calling without entering into other men’s labors and building upon a foundation that they have not laid. Brother and Sister K have been very slow to obtain an experience in self-denial. They have been slow to adopt the health reform in all its branches. The churches are in advance of them in the denial of appetite. Therefore they cannot be a benefit to the churches in this direction, but rather a hindrance.  {3T 57.5}

     Brother K has not been a blessing to the church in —–, but a great burden. He has stood directly in the way of their advancement. He has not been in a condition to help when and where they needed help the most. He has not correctly represented our faith; his conversation and life have not been unto holiness. He has been far behind, and has not been ready or willing to discern the leadings of God’s providence. He has stood in the way of sinners; he has not been in such a position that his influence would recommend our faith to unbelievers.  {3T 58.1}

     His example has been a hindrance to the church and to his unbelieving neighbors. If Brother K had been wholly consecrated to God, his works would have been fruitful, productive of much good. But that which more especially distinguishes God’s people from the popular religious bodies is not their profession alone, but their exemplary characters and their principles of unselfish love. The powerful, purifying influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart, carried out in words and works, separates them from the world and designates them as God’s peculiar people. The character and disposition of Christ’s followers will be like their Master’s. He is the pattern, the holy and perfect example given for Christians to imitate. His true followers will love their brethren and be in harmony with them. They will love their neighbors as Christ has given

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them example and will make any sacrifice if they can by so doing persuade souls to leave their sins and be converted to the truth.  {3T 58.2}

     The truth, deeply rooted in the hearts of believers, will spring up and bear fruit unto righteousness. Their words and works are the channels through which the pure principles of truth and holiness are conveyed to the world. Especial blessings and privileges are for those who love the truth and walk according to the light they have received. If they neglect to do this, their light will become darkness. When the people of God become self-sufficient, the Lord leaves them to their own wisdom. Mercy and truth are promised to the humble in heart, the obedient and faithful.  {3T 59.1}

     Brother K has stood in the way of his children. If he had been consecrated to God, having his heart in the work, and living out the truth he professed, he would have felt the importance of commanding his household after him, as did faithful Abraham.  {3T 59.2}

     The lack of harmony and love between the two brothers K is a reproach to the cause of God. Both are at fault. Both have a work to do in subduing self and cultivating the Christian graces. God is dishonored by the dissensions, and I do not go too far when I say hatred, that exist between these two natural brothers. Brother A K is greatly at fault. He has cherished feelings that have not been in accordance with the will of God. He knows the peculiarities of his brother, B K, that he has a fretful, unhappy temperament. Frequently he cannot see good when it lies directly in his path. He sees only evil and becomes discouraged very easily. Satan magnifies a molehill into a mountain before him. All things considered, Brother B K has in many things pursued a less censurable course than his brother, because it has been less injurious to the cause of present truth.  {3T 59.3}

     These natural brothers must be fully reconciled to each other before they can lift the reproach from the cause of God that their disunion has caused. “In this the children of God

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are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” Those who labor for God should be clean vessels, sanctified to the Master’s use. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”  {3T 59.4}

     The ambassadors of Christ have a responsible and sacred work before them. They are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death. Their influence decides the destiny of souls for whom Christ died. Brother and Sister K both lack experience. Their lives have not been unto holiness. They have not had a deep and thorough knowledge of the divine will. They have not been steadily advancing onward and upward in the divine life, so that their experience could be of value to the church. Their course has burdened the church not a little.  {3T 60.1}

     Sister K’s past life has not been of such a character that her experience could be a blessing to others. She has not lived up to her convictions of duty. Her conscience has been violated too many times. She has been a pleasure seeker and has given her life to vanity, frivolity, and fashion, in face of the light of truth which has shone upon her pathway. She knew the way, but neglected to walk in it. The Lord gave Sister K a testimony of warning and reproof. She believed the testimony and separated herself from that class who were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Then, as she viewed her past life, so full of neglects and wrongs, she gave up to unbelief and stolid gloom. Despair spread its dark wings over her. Her marriage to Brother K changed the order of things somewhat, but at times since she has been very gloomy and desponding.  {3T 60.2}

     Sister K has a good knowledge of the prophecies and can trace them and speak upon them very readily. Some of the brethren and sisters have been anxious to urge Brother and

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Sister K to go out as active laborers. But there is danger of their working from a wrong standpoint. Sister K’s educational advantages have been superior to those of many by whom she is surrounded. As she has labored publicly, she has depended upon her own strength more than upon the Spirit of God. She has had a spirit of lofty independence and has thought that she was qualified to teach rather than be taught. With her lack of experience in spiritual things she is unprepared to labor among the churches. She has not the discernment and spiritual strength necessary to build them up. If she and her husband engage in this work at all, they should commence by exerting a good influence in the church at —–. Their labor should be bestowed where the work most needs to be done.  {3T 60.3}

     There is work to be done in new fields. Sinners who never have heard the warning message need to be warned. Here Brother and Sister K have ample room to work and prove their calling. No one should hinder them in their efforts in new fields. There are sinners to save in every direction. But some ministers are inclined to go over and over the same ground among the churches, when their labors cannot help them, and their time is wasted.  {3T 61.1}

     We wish that all the Lord’s servants were laborers. The work of warning souls should not be confined to ministers alone, but brethren who have the truth in their hearts, and who have exerted a good influence at home, should feel that a responsibility rests upon them to devote a part of their time to going out among their neighbors and into adjoining towns to be missionaries for God. They should carry our publications and engage in conversation and, in the spirit of Christ, pray with and for those whom they visit. This is the work that will arouse a spirit of investigation and reformation.  {3T 61.2}

     For years the Lord has been calling the attention of His people to health reform. This is one of the great branches of the work of preparation for the coming of the Son of man. John the Baptist went forth in the spirit and power of Elijah

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to prepare the way of the Lord and to turn the people to the wisdom of the just. He was a representative of those living in these last days to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to present before the people to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. John was a reformer. The angel Gabriel, direct from heaven, gave a discourse upon health reform to the father and mother of John. He said that he should not drink wine or strong drink, and that he should be filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth.  {3T 61.3}

     John separated himself from friends and from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair, was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests, and of the people generally. His diet, purely vegetable, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed. The prophet Malachi declares: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.” Here the prophet describes the character of the work. Those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for Christ’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred. Temperance in all things is to be connected with the message, to turn the people of God from their idolatry, their gluttony, and their extravagance in dress and other things.  {3T 62.1}

     The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God especially leads and blesses, is to be presented to the people in contrast to the extravagant, health-destroying habits of those who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is with the body. There is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject. Those who indulge appetite and passion, and close their eyes to the light for fear they will see sinful indulgences which they are

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unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance hardens his heart to disregard the light upon other matters. Whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing prepares the way to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests. Our bodies are not our own. God has claims upon us to take care of the habitation. He has given us, that we may present our bodies to Him a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Our bodies belong to Him who made them, and we are in duty bound to become intelligent in regard to the best means of preserving them from decay. If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God.  {3T 62.2}

     Brother and Sister K have not appreciated the light upon health reform. They have not seen a place for it in connection with the third message. Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from the indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand upon the platform of self-denial and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world. But if they follow the leadings of God they will accomplish His purposes, and will yield their will to His will. Christ will dwell in the heart. The temple of God will be holy. Your body, says the apostle, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does not require His children to deny themselves to the injury of physical strength. He requires them to obey natural law, to preserve physical health. Nature’s path is the road He marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian. God has, with a lavish hand, provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and enjoyment. But in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite, which will preserve health and prolong life, He restricts the appetite. He says: Beware; restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves.  {3T 63.1}

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     The spirit and power of Elijah have been stirring hearts to reform and directing them to the wisdom of the just. Brother and Sister K have not been converted to the health reform, notwithstanding the amount of evidence that God has given upon the subject. Self-denial is essential to genuine religion. Those who have not learned to deny themselves are destitute of vital, practical godliness. We cannot expect anything else than that the claims of religion will come in contact with the natural affections and worldly interests. There is work for everyone in the vineyard of the Lord. None should be idle. Angels of God are all astir, ascending to heaven and descending to earth again with messages of mercy and warning. These heavenly messengers are moving upon minds and hearts. There are men and women everywhere whose hearts are susceptible of being inspired with the truth. If those who have a knowledge of the truth would now work in unison with the Spirit of God, we would see a great work accomplished.  {3T 64.1}

     New fields are open in which all can test their calling by experimental effort in bringing souls out from darkness and error, and establishing them upon the platform of eternal truth. If Brother and Sister K feel that God has called them to engage in His work, they have enough to do to call sinners to repentance; but in order for God to work in and through them, they need a thorough conversion. The work of fitting a people in these last days for the coming of Christ, is a most sacred, solemn work, and calls for devoted, unselfish laborers. Those who have humility, faith, energy, perseverance, and decision will find plenty to do in their Master’s vineyard. There are responsible duties to be performed, which require earnestness and the exertion of all their energies. It is willing service that God accepts. If the truth we profess is of such infinite importance as to decide the destiny of souls, how careful should we be in its presentation.  {3T 64.2}

     “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Brother and Sister K, had you walked in the light as it shone upon your pathway,

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had you been drawing nearer to God, steadfastly believing the truth and walking humbly before God in the light He has given, you would now have an experience that would be of inestimable value. Had you improved the talents lent you of God, you would have shone as lights in the world. But light becomes darkness to all those who will not walk in it. In order to be accepted and blessed of God as our fathers were, we must, like them, be faithful. We must improve our light as the ancient, faithful prophets improved theirs. God requires of us according to the grace that He has bestowed upon us, and He will not accept less than He claims. All His righteous demands must be fully met. In order for us to discharge our responsibilities, we must stand on that elevated ground which the order and advancement of holy, sacred truth has prepared for us.  {3T 64.3}

     Brother L fails to realize the sanctifying influence of the truth of God upon the heart. He is not as patient, humble, and forbearing as he should be. He is easily stirred; self arises, and he says and does many things without due reflection. He does not at all times exert a saving influence. If he were imbued with the Spirit of Christ, he could with one hand take hold of the Mighty One, while with the hand of faith and love he would reach the poor sinner. Brother L needs the powerful influence of divine love; for this will renew and refine the heart, sanctify the life, and elevate and ennoble the entire man. Then his words and works will savor of heaven rather than of his own spirit.  {3T 65.1}

     If the words of eternal life are sown in the heart, fruit will be produced unto righteousness and peace. A spirit of self-sufficiency and self-importance must be overcome by you, my dear brother. You should cultivate a spirit that is willing to be instructed and counseled. Whatever others may say or do, you should say: What is that to me? Christ has bidden me follow Him. You should cultivate a spirit of meekness. You need an experience in genuine godliness, and unless you have this, you cannot engage in the work of God understandingly.

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Your spirit must soften and be subdued by being brought into obedience to the will of Christ. You should at all times maintain the lowly dignity of a follower of Jesus. Our deportment, our words and actions, preach to others. We are living epistles, known and read of all men.  {3T 65.2}

     You should be careful not to preach the truth from strife or contention, for if you do you will most assuredly turn the battle against yourself and be found advancing the cause of the enemy rather than the truth of God. Every time that you engage in a contest it should be from a sense of duty. If you make God your strength and subdue yourself, and let the truth bear away the victory, the devices of Satan and his fiery darts will fall upon himself, and you will be strengthened, kept from error, and guarded from every false way. You need to cultivate caution and not rush on in your own strength. The work is important and sacred, and you need great wisdom. You should counsel with your brethren who have had experience in the work. But, above everything else, you should obtain a thorough knowledge of your own weakness and dangers, and should strengthen the weak points in your character, that you may not make shipwreck of faith.  {3T 66.1}

     We are living amid the perils of the last days, and if we have a spirit of self-sufficiency and independence we shall be exposed to the wiles of Satan and be overcome. Self-importance must be put away from you, and you be hid in God, depending alone upon Him for strength. The churches do not need your labor. If you are consecrated to God, you can labor in new fields, and God will work with you. Purity of heart and life God will accept. Anything short of this, He will not regard. We must suffer with Christ if we would reign with Him.  {3T 66.2}

     Brother M could have accomplished good if he had, years ago, given all for Christ. He has not been sanctified through the truth; his heart has not been right with God. He has hid his talent in the earth. What will he who has put his talents to a wrong use say when the Master shall require him to give

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account of his stewardship? Brother M has not been an honor to the cause of God. It is dangerous to contend with the providence of God and to be dissatisfied with almost everything, as though there had been a special arrangement of circumstances to tempt and destroy. The work of pruning and purifying to fit us for heaven is a great work and will cost us much suffering and trial, because our wills are not subjected to the will of Christ. We must go through the furnace till the fires have consumed the dross and we are purified and reflect the divine image. Those who follow their inclinations and are governed by appearances are not good judges of what God is doing. They are filled with discontent. They see failure where there is indeed triumph, a great loss where there is gain; and, like Jacob, they are ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me,” when the very things whereof they complain are all working together for their good.  {3T 66.3}

     No cross, no crown. How can one be strong in the Lord without trials? To have strength we must have exercise. To have strong faith, we must be placed in circumstances where our faith will be exercised. The apostle Paul, just before his martyrdom, exhorted Timothy: “Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” It is through much tribulation that we are to enter the kingdom of God. Our Saviour was tried in every possible way, and yet He triumphed in God continually. It is our privilege to be strong in the strength of God under all circumstances and to glory in the cross of Christ.   {3T 67.1}

Chap. 6 – Experience Not Reliable

     Dear Sister N: In the view given me December 10, 1871, I saw that some things had been great hindrances to your recovery of health. Your peculiar traits of character have prevented you from receiving the good you might have received, and from improving in health as you might have improved. You have a special routine to go through and you will not be turned aside from it. You have your ideas, which you carry out, when frequently they are not in harmony with physical law, but simply with your judgment.  {3T 67.2}

     You have a strong mind and set will, and you think you understand your own case better than others can, because you trace your feelings. You are guided by your feelings and are governed by your experience. You have tried this and that plan to your entire satisfaction, and have decided that your judgment was the best to follow in your own case. But what has been your standard? Answer: Your feelings. Now, my sister, what have your feelings to do with the real facts in the case? But very little. Feelings are a poor criterion, especially when under the control of a strong imagination and firm will. You have a very determined mind, and your course is mapped out before you; but you do not view your case from a correct standpoint. Your judgment is not safe to be relied upon when it relates to your own case.  {3T 68.1}

     I was shown that you had made some improvement, but not as much, as fast, or as thorough, as you might, because you take your case into your own hands. For this reason, and that you might feel it your duty to be guided by the judgment of the more experienced, I wished you to come to the Health Institute. The physicians of the Health Institute understand disease, its causes and proper treatment, better than you can; and if you will yield your set ideas willingly, and abide by their judgment, there is hope of your recovery. But if you refuse to do this, I see no hope of your becoming what you might be with proper treatment.  {3T 68.2}

     As I have before stated, you, my sister, rely upon experience. Your experience decides you to pursue a certain course. But that which many term experience is not experience at all; it is simply habit, or mere indulgence, blindly and frequently ignorantly followed, with a firm, set determination, and without intelligent thought or inquiry relative to the laws at work in the accomplishment of the result. {3T 68.3}

     Real experience is a variety of careful experiments made with the mind freed from prejudice and uncontrolled by previously established opinions and habits. The results are marked with careful solicitude and an anxious desire to learn, to improve, and to reform on every habit that is not in harmony with physical and moral laws. The idea of others’ gainsaying what you have learned by experience seems to you to be folly and even cruelty itself. But there are more errors received and firmly retained from false ideas of experience than from any other cause, for the reason that what is generally termed experience is not experience at all; because there has never been a fair trial by actual experiment and thorough investigation, with a knowledge of the principle involved in the action.  {3T 69.1}

     Your experience was shown to me as not reliable, because opposed to natural law. It is in conflict with the unchangeable principles of nature. Superstition, my dear sister, arising from a diseased imagination, arrays you in conflict with science and principle. Which shall be yielded? Your strong prejudices and very set ideas in regard to what course is best to be pursued relative to yourself have long held you from good. I have understood your case for years, but have felt incompetent to present the matter in so clear a manner that you could see and comprehend it, and put to a practical use the light given you.  {3T 69.2}

     There are many invalids today who will ever remain so because they cannot be convinced that their experience is not reliable. The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body as by telegraph wires; and they control the vital action of every part of the system. All the organs of motion are governed by the communications they receive from the brain.  {3T 69.3}

     If your mind is impressed and fixed that a bath will injure you, the mental impression is communicated to all the nerves of the body. The nerves control the circulation of the blood; therefore the blood is, through the impression of the mind, confined to the blood vessels, and the good effects of the bath are lost. All this is because the blood is prevented by the mind and will from flowing readily, and from coming to the surface to stimulate, arouse, and promote the circulation. For instance, you are impressed that if you bathe you will become chilly. The brain sends this intelligence to the nerves of the body, and the blood vessels, held in obedience to your will, cannot perform their office and cause a reaction after the bath. There is no reason in science or philosophy why an occasional bath, taken with studious care, should do you anything but real good. Especially is this the case where there is but little exercise to keep the muscles in action and to aid the circulation of the blood through the system. Bathing frees the skin from the accumulation of impurities which are constantly collecting, and keeps the skin moist and supple, thereby increasing and equalizing the circulation.  {3T 69.4}

     Persons in health should on no account neglect bathing. They should by all means bathe as often as twice a week. Those who are not in health have impurities of the blood, and the skin is not in a healthy condition. The multitude of pores, or little mouths, through which the body breathes become clogged and filled with waste matter. The skin needs to be carefully and thoroughly cleansed, that the pores may do their work in freeing the body from impurities; therefore feeble persons who are diseased surely need the advantages and blessings of bathing as often as twice a week, and frequently even more than this is positively necessary. Whether a person is sick or well, respiration is more free and easy if bathing is practiced. By it the muscles become more flexible, the mind and body are alike invigorated, the intellect is made brighter, and every faculty becomes livelier. The bath is a soother of the nerves. It promotes general perspiration, quickens the circulation, overcomes obstructions in the system, and acts beneficially on the kidneys and urinary organs. Bathing helps the bowels, stomach, and liver, giving energy and new life to each. It also promotes digestion, and instead of the system’s being weakened it is strengthened. Instead of increasing the liability to cold, a bath, properly taken, fortifies against cold because the circulation is improved and the uterine organs, which are more or less congested, are relieved; for the blood is brought to the surface, and a more easy and regular flow of the blood through all the blood vessels is obtained.  {3T 70.1}

     Experience is said to be the best teacher. Genuine experience is indeed superior to book knowledge. But habits and customs gird men and women as with iron bands, and they are generally justified by experience, according to the common understanding of the term. Very many have abused precious experience. They have clung to their injurious habits, which are decidedly enfeebling to physical, mental, and moral health; and when you seek to instruct them, they sanction their course by referring to their experience. But true experience is in harmony with natural law and science.  {3T 71.1}

     Here is where we have met the greatest difficulties in religious matters. The plainest facts may be presented, the clearest truths, sustained by the word of God, may be brought before the mind; but the ear and heart are closed, and the all-convincing argument is: “my experience.” Some will say: “The Lord has blessed me in believing and doing as I have; therefore I cannot be in error.” “My experience” is clung to, and the most elevating, sanctifying truths of the Bible are rejected for what they are pleased to style experience. Many of the grossest habits are cherished under the plea of experience. Many fail to reach that physical, intellectual, and moral improvement which it is their privilege and duty to attain, because they will contend for the reliability and safety of their experience, although that misjudged experience is opposed to the plainest revealed facts. Men and women whose wrong habits have destroyed their constitution and health will be found recommending their experience as safe for others to follow, when it is this very experience that has robbed them of vitality and health. Many examples might be given to show how men and women have been deceived by relying upon their experience.  {3T 71.2}

     The Lord made man upright in the beginning. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind, the size and strength of all its organs being perfectly developed. Adam was a perfect type of man. Every quality of mind was well proportioned, each having a distinctive office, and yet all dependent one upon another for the full and proper use of any one of them. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat of all the trees in the garden, save one. The Lord said to the holy pair: In the day that ye eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ye shall surely die. Eve was beguiled by the serpent to believe that God would not do as He said He would. “Ye shall not surely die,” said the serpent. Eve ate and imagined that she felt the sensations of a new and more exalted life. She bore the fruit to her husband, and that which had an overpowering influence upon him was her experience. The serpent had said that she should not die, and she felt no ill effects from the fruit, nothing which could be interpreted to mean death, but, just as the serpent had said, a pleasurable sensation which she imagined was as the angels felt. Her experience stood arrayed against the positive command of Jehovah, and Adam permitted himself to be seduced by the experience of his wife. Thus it is with the religious world generally. God’s express commands are transgressed, and because “sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”  {3T 72.1}

     In the face of the most positive commands of God, men and women will follow their own inclinations and then dare to pray over the matter, to prevail upon God to consent to allow them to go contrary to His expressed will. The Lord is not pleased with such prayers. Satan comes to the side of such persons, as he did to Eve in Eden, and impresses them, and they have an exercise of mind, and this they relate as a most wonderful experience which the Lord has given them. A true experience will be in perfect harmony with natural and divine law. False experience will array itself against science and the principles of Jehovah. The religious world is covered with a pall of moral darkness. Superstition and bigotry control the minds of men and women, and blind their judgment so that they do not discern their duty to their fellow men and their duty to yield unquestioned obedience to the will of God.  {3T 72.2}

     Balaam inquired of God if he might curse Israel, because in so doing he had the promise of great reward. And God said, “Thou shalt not go;” but he was urged by the messengers, and greater inducements were presented. Balaam had been shown the will of the Lord in this matter, but he was so eager for the reward that he ventured to ask God the second time. The Lord permitted Balaam to go. Then he had a wonderful experience, but who would wish to be guided by such an experience? There are those who would understand their duty clearly if it were in harmony with their natural inclinations. Circumstances and reason may clearly indicate their duty; but when against their natural inclination, these evidences are frequently set aside. Then these persons will presume to go to God to learn their duty. But God will not be trifled with. He will permit such persons to follow the desires of their own hearts. Psalm 81:11, 12: “But My people would not hearken to My voice.” “So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.”  {3T 73.1}

     Those who desire to follow a course which pleases their fancy are in danger of being left to follow their own inclinations, supposing them to be the leadings of God’s Spirit. The duty of some is indicated sufficiently clear by circumstances and facts; but, through the solicitations of friends, in harmony with their own inclinations, they swerve from the path of duty and pass over the clear evidences in the case; then, with apparent conscientiousness, they pray long and earnestly for light. They have earnest feeling in the matter, and they interpret this to be the Spirit of God. But they are deceived. This course grieves the Spirit of God. They had light and in the very reason of things should have understood their duty; but a few pleasing inducements balance their minds in the wrong direction, and they urge these before the Lord and press their case, and the Lord allows them to have their own way. They have so strong an inclination to follow their own course that He permits them to do so and to suffer the results. These imagine that they have a wonderful experience.  {3T 73.2}

     My dear sister, firmness is a strong and controlling influence in your mind. You have acquired strength to stand up and brace against opposition, and carry through difficult and perplexing enterprises. You do not love contention. You are highly sensitive and feel deeply. You are strictly conscientious, and your judgment must be convinced before you will yield to the opinions of others. Had your physical health been unimpaired, you would have made an eminently useful woman. You have long been diseased, and this has affected your imagination so that your thoughts have been concentrated upon yourself, and the imagination has affected the body. Your habits have not been good in many respects. Your food has not been of the right quantity or quality. You have eaten too largely and of a poor quality of food which could not be converted into good blood. You have educated the stomach to this kind of diet. This, your judgment has taught you, was the best, because you realized the least disturbance from it. But this was not a correct experience. Your stomach was not receiving that vigor that it should from your food. Taken in a liquid state your food would not give healthful vigor or tone to the system. But when you change this habit, and eat more solids and less liquids, your stomach will feel disturbed. Notwithstanding this you should not yield the point; you should educate your stomach to bear a more solid diet. You have worn too great an amount of clothing and have debilitated the skin by so doing. You have not given your body a chance to breathe. The pores of the skin, or little mouths through which the body breathes, have become closed, and the system has been filled with impurities. {3T 74.1}

     Your habit of riding out in the open air and sunshine has been very beneficial. Your life out of doors has sustained you so that you have the measure of physical strength that you now enjoy. But you have neglected other exercise which was even more essential than this. You have depended upon your carriage to go even a short distance. You have thought that if you walked even a little way it would injure you, and you have felt weary in doing so. But in this your experience is not reliable.  {3T 75.1}

     The same power of motion which you exercise in getting in and out of a carriage, and in going up and down stairs, could just as well be exercised in walking and in performing the ordinary and necessary duties of life. You have been very helpless in regard to domestic duties. You have not felt that you could have the care of your husband’s clothes or of his food. Now, my sister, this inability exists more in your imagination than in your inability to perform. You think it will weary and tax you to do this and that; and it does. But you have strength that if put to a practical and economical use would accomplish much good and make you far more useful and happy. You have so great a dread of becoming helpless that you do not exercise the strength with which the Lord has blessed you. In many things you have helped your husband. At the same time you have taxed his patience and strength. When he has thought that you could change some of your habits and improve, you have felt that he did not understand your case. Your friends have felt that you might be more useful in your home and not so helpless. This has grieved you. You thought they did not understand. Some have unwisely pressed their opinion of your case upon you, and this, too, has grieved you. You have felt that God, in answer to prayer, would help you, and you have many times been helped in this way. But you have not gained that physical strength which it was your privilege to enjoy, because you have not performed your part. You have not worked in full union with the Spirit of God. {3T 75.2}

     The Lord has given you a work to do which He does not propose to do for you. You should move out from principle, in harmony with natural law, irrespective of feeling. You should begin to act upon the light that God has given you. You may not be able to do this all at once, but you can do much by moving out gradually in faith, believing that God will be your helper, that He will strengthen you. You could exercise in walking and in performing duties requiring light labor in your family, and not be so dependent upon others. The consciousness that you can do will give you increased strength. If your hands were more employed and your brain less exercised in planning for others, your physical and mental strength would increase. Your brain is not idle, but there is not corresponding labor on the part of the other organs of the body. Exercise, to be of decided advantage to you, should be systematized and brought to bear upon the debilitated organs that they may become strengthened by use. The movement cure is a great advantage to a class of patients who are too feeble to exercise. But for all who are sick to rely upon it, making it their dependence, while they neglect to exercise their muscles themselves, is a great mistake.  {3T 76.1}

     Thousands are sick and dying around us who might get well and live if they would; but their imagination holds them. They fear that they will be made worse if they labor or exercise, when this is just the change they need to make them well. Without this they never can improve. They should exercise the power of the will, rise above their aches and debility, engage in useful employment, and forget that they have aching backs, sides, lungs, and heads. Neglecting to exercise the entire body, or a portion of it, will bring on morbid conditions. Inaction of any of the organs of the body will be followed by a decrease in size and strength of the muscles, and will cause the blood to flow sluggishly through the blood vessels.  {3T 76.2}

     If there are duties to be done in your domestic life, you do not think it possible that you could do them, but you depend upon others. Sometimes it is exceedingly inconvenient for you to obtain the help you need. You frequently expend double the strength required to perform the task, in planning and searching for someone to do the work for you. If you would only bring your mind to do these little acts and family duties yourself, you would be blessed and strengthened in it, and your influence in the cause of God would be far greater. God made Adam and Eve in Paradise, and surrounded them with everything that was useful and lovely. He planted for them a beautiful garden. No herb nor flower nor tree was wanting which might be for use or ornament. The Creator of man knew that the workmanship of His hands could not be happy without employment. Paradise delighted their souls, but this was not enough; they must have labor to call into exercise the wonderful organs of the body. The Lord had made the organs for use. Had happiness consisted in doing nothing, man, in his state of holy innocence, would have been left unemployed. But He who formed man knew what would be for his best happiness, and He no sooner made him than He gave him his appointed work. In order to be happy, he must labor.  {3T 76.3}

     God has given us all something to do. In the discharge of the various duties which we are to perform, which lie in our pathway, our lives will be made useful, and we shall be blessed. Not only will the organs of the body be strengthened by exercise, but the mind also will acquire strength and knowledge through the action of those organs. The exercise of one muscle, while others are left with nothing to do, will not strengthen the inactive ones any more than the continual exercise of one of the organs of the mind will develop and strengthen the organs not brought into use. Each faculty of the mind and each muscle has its distinctive office, and all require to be exercised in order to become properly developed and retain healthful vigor. Each organ and muscle has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. Nature’s fine and wonderful works need to be kept in active motion in order to accomplish the object for which they were designed. Each faculty has a bearing upon the others, and all need to be exercised in order to be properly developed. If one muscle of the body is exercised more than another, the one used will become much the larger, and will destroy the harmony and beauty of the development of the system. A variety of exercise will call into use all the muscles of the body.  {3T 77.1}

     Those who are feeble and indolent should not yield to their inclination to be inactive, thus depriving themselves of air and sunlight, but should practice exercising out of doors in walking or working in the garden. They will become very much fatigued, but this will not injure them. You, my sister, will experience weariness, yet it will not hurt you; your rest will be sweeter after it. Inaction weakens the organs that are not exercised. And when these organs are used, pain and weariness are experienced, because the muscles have become feeble. It is not good policy to give up the use of certain muscles because pain is felt when they are exercised. The pain is frequently caused by the effort of nature to give life and vigor to those parts that have become partially lifeless through inaction. The motion of these long-disused muscles will cause pain, because nature is awakening them to life.  {3T 78.1}

     Walking, in all cases where it is possible, is the best remedy for diseased bodies, because in this exercise all the organs of the body are brought into use. Many who depend upon the movement cure could accomplish more for themselves by muscular exercise than the movements can do for them. In some cases want of exercise causes the bowels and muscles to become enfeebled and shrunken, and these organs that have enfeebled for want of use will be strengthened by exercise. There is no exercise that can take the place of walking. By it the circulation of the blood is greatly improved.  {3T 78.2}

     The active use of the limbs will be of the greatest advantage to you, Sister N. You have had many notions, and have been very sanguine, which has been to your injury. While you fear to trust yourself in the hands of the physicians, and think that you understand your case better than they do, you cannot be benefited, but only harmed, by their treatment of your case. Unless physicians can obtain the confidence of their patients, they can never help them. If you prescribe for yourself, and think you know what treatment you should have, better than the physicians do, you cannot be benefited. You must yield your will and ideas, and not rein yourself up to resist their judgment and advice in your case.  {3T 78.3}

     May the Lord help you, my sister, to have not only faith but corresponding works.   {3T 79.1}

Chap. 11 – Labor Among the Churches

     In the work done for the church at Battle Creek in the spring of 1870, there was not all that dependence upon God that the important occasion demanded. Brethren R and S did not make God their trust, and move in His strength and with His grace, as fully as they should.  {3T 104.2}

     When Brother S thinks a person is wrong, he is frequently too severe. He fails to exercise that compassion and consideration that he would have shown toward himself under like circumstances. He is also in great danger of misjudging and erring in dealing with minds. It is the nicest and most critical work ever given to mortals, to deal with minds. Those who engage in this work should have clear discernment and good powers of discrimination. True independence of mind is an element entirely different from rashness. That quality of independence which leads to a cautious, prayerful, deliberate

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opinion should not be easily yielded, not until the evidence is sufficiently strong to make it certain that we are wrong. This independence will keep the mind calm and unchangeable amid the multitudinous errors which prevail, and will lead those in responsible positions to look carefully at the evidence on every side, and not be swayed by the influence of others, or by the surroundings, to form conclusions without intelligent, thorough knowledge of all the circumstances.  {3T 104.3}

     The investigation of cases in Battle Creek was very much after the order in which a lawyer criticizes a witness, and there was a decided absence of the Spirit of God. There were a few united in this work who were active and zealous. Some were self-righteous and self-sufficient, and their testimonies were relied upon, and their influence swayed the judgment of Brethren R and S. Because of some trivial deficiency, Sisters T and U were not received as members of the church. Brethren R and S should have had judgment and discrimination to see that these objections were not of sufficient weight to keep these sisters out of the church. Both of them had been long in the faith and had been true to the observance of the Sabbath for eighteen or twenty years.  {3T 105.1}

     Sister V, who brought up these things, should have urged against herself more weighty reasons why she should not have become a member of the church. Was she without sin? Were all her ways perfect before God? Was she perfect in patience, self-denial, gentleness, forbearance, and calmness of temper? If she were without the weaknesses of common women, then she could cast the first stone. Those sisters who were left out of the church were worthy of a place in it; they were beloved of God. But they were dealt with unwisely, without sufficient cause. There were others whose cases were handled with no more heavenly wisdom and without even sound judgment. Brother S’s judgment and power of discrimination have been perverted for very many years through the influence of his wife, who has been a most effective medium of Satan. If he had possessed the genuine quality of independence he would have had proper self-respect and with becoming

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dignity would have built up his own house. When he has started upon a course designed to command respect in his family he has generally carried the matter too far and has been severe and has talked harshly and overbearingly. Becoming conscious of this after a time, he would then go to the opposite extreme and come down from his independence.  {3T 105.2}

     In this state of mind he would receive reports from his wife, give up his judgment, and be easily deceived by her intrigues. She would sometimes feign to be a great sufferer and would relate what privations she had endured and what neglect from her brethren, in the absence of her husband. Her prevarications and cunning artifices to abuse the mind of her husband have been great. Brother S has not fully received the light which the Lord has given him in times past in regard to his wife or he would not have been deceived by her as he has been. He has been brought into bondage many times by her spirit because his own heart and life have not been fully consecrated to God. His feelings kindled against his brethren, and he oppressed them. Self has not been crucified. He should seek earnestly to bring all his thoughts and feelings into subjection to the obedience of Christ. Faith and self-denial would have been Brother S’s strong helpers. If he had girded on the whole armor of God and chosen no other defense than that which the Spirit of God and the power of truth gives him, he would have been strong in the strength of God.  {3T 106.1}

     But Brother S is weak in many things. If God required him to expose and condemn a neighbor, to reprove and correct a brother, or to resist and destroy his enemies, it would be to him a comparatively natural and easy work. But a warfare against self, subduing the desires and affections of his own heart, and searching out and controlling the secret motives of the heart, is a more difficult warfare. How unwilling is he to be faithful in such a contest as this! The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God and being clothed with humility, possessing that love that is pure, peaceable, and easy to be

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entreated, full of gentleness and good fruits, is not an easy attainment. And yet it is his privilege and his duty to be a perfect overcomer here. The soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in knowledge and true holiness. The holy life and character of Christ is a faithful example. His confidence in His heavenly Father was unlimited. His obedience and submission were unreserved and perfect. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister to others. He came not to do His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. In all things He submitted Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. From the lips of the Saviour of the world were heard these words: “I can of Mine own self do nothing.”  {3T 106.2}

     He became poor, and made Himself of no reputation. He was hungry and frequently thirsty, and many times weary in His labors; but He had not where to lay His head. When the cold, damp shades of night gathered about Him, the earth was frequently His bed. Yet He blessed those who hated Him. What a life! what an experience! Can we, the professed followers of Christ, cheerfully endure privation and suffering as did our Lord, without murmuring? Can we drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism? If so, we may share with Him His glory in His heavenly kingdom. If not, we shall have no part with Him.  {3T 107.1}

     Brother S has an experience to gain, without which his work will do positive injury. He is affected too much by what others tell him of the erring; he is apt to decide according to the impressions made upon his mind, and he deals with severity, when a milder course would be far better. He does not bear in mind his own weakness, and how hard it is for him to have his course questioned, even when he is wrong. When he decides that a brother or sister is wrong he is inclined to carry the matter through and press his censure, although in doing so he hurts his own soul and endangers the souls of others.  {3T 107.2}

     Brother S should shun church trials and should have nothing to do in settling difficulties, if he can possibly avoid it. He has a valuable gift, which is needed in the work of God. But

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he should separate himself from influences which draw upon his sympathies, confuse his judgment, and lead him to move unwisely. This should not and need not be. He exercises too little faith in God. He dwells too much upon his bodily infirmities and strengthens unbelief by dwelling upon poor feelings. God has strength and wisdom in store for those who seek for it earnestly, in faith believing.  {3T 107.3}

     I was shown that Brother S is a strong man upon some points, while upon others he is as weak as a child. His course in dealing with the erring has had a scattering influence. He has confidence in his ability to labor in setting things in order where he thinks it is needed, but he does not view the matter aright. He weaves into his labors his own spirit, and he does not discriminate, but often deals without tenderness. There is such a thing as overdoing the matter in performing strict duty to individuals. “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”  {3T 108.1}

     Duty, stern duty, has a twin sister, which is kindness. If duty and kindness are blended, decided advantage will be gained; but if duty is separated from kindness, if tender love is not mingled with duty, there will be a failure, and much harm will be the result. Men and women will not be driven, but many can be won by kindness and love. Brother S has held aloft the gospel whip, and his own words have frequently been the snap to that whip. This has not had an influence to spur others to greater zeal and to provoke them to good works, but it has aroused their combativeness to repel his severity.  {3T 108.2}

     If Brother S had walked in the light, he would not have made so many serious failures. “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” The path of obedience is the path of safety. “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely.” Walk in the light, and “then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall

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not stumble.” Those who do not walk in the light will have a sickly, stunted religion. Brother S should feel the importance of walking in the light, however crucifying to self. It is earnest effort, prompted by love for souls, which strengthens the heart and develops the graces.  {3T 108.3}

     My brother, you are naturally independent and self-sufficient. You estimate your ability to do, more highly than it will bear. You pray for the Lord to humble you and fit you for His work, and when He answers your prayer and puts you under the course of discipline necessary for the accomplishment of the object, you frequently give way to doubts and despondency, and think you have reason for discouragement. When Brother W has cautioned and held you back from engaging in church difficulties, you have frequently felt that he was restraining you.  {3T 109.1}

     I was shown your labors in Iowa. There was a decided failure to gather with Christ. You distracted, confused, and scattered the poor sheep. You had a zeal, but it was not according to knowledge. Your labors were not in love, but in sternness and severity. You were exacting and overbearing. You did not strengthen the sick and bind up the lame. Your injudicious harshness pushed some out of the fold who can never be reached and brought back. Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Words unfitly spoken are the reverse. Your influence will be like desolating hail.  {3T 109.2}

     You have felt restless under restraint when Brother W has cautioned, advised, and reproved you. You have thought that if you could be free and act yourself, you could do a good and great work. But your wife’s influence has greatly injured your usefulness. You have not ruled well your own house; you have failed to command your household after you. You have thought that you understood how to manage your home matters. But how have you been deceived! You have too often followed the promptings of your own spirit, which has resulted in perplexities and discouragements, and these have clouded

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your discernment and weakened you spiritually so that your labors have been marked with great imperfection.  {3T 109.3}

     The labors of Brethren R and S in —– were premature. These brethren had their past experience with its mistakes before them, which should have been sufficient to guard them from engaging in a work that they were not qualified to perform. There was enough that needed to be done. It was a hard place in which to raise up a church. Opposing influences surrounded them. Every move made should have been with due caution and prayerful consideration.  {3T 110.1}

     These two brethren had been warned and reproved repeatedly for moving injudiciously, and they should not have taken the responsibilities upon themselves that they did. Oh, how much better would it have been for the cause of God in _____ had they been laboring in new fields! Satan’s seat is in —–, as well as in other wicked cities, and he is a wily foe to contend with. There were disorderly elements among the Sabbathkeepers in —– that were hindrances to the cause. But there is a proper time to speak and act, a golden opportunity which will show the best results of labor put forth.  {3T 110.2}

     If things had been left to more fully develop before they were touched, there would have been a separation of the disorderly, unconsecrated ones, and there would not have been an opposition party. This should ever be saved if possible. The church might better suffer much annoyance, and exercise the more patience, than to get in a hurry, drive matters, and provoke a combative spirit. Those who really loved the truth for the truth’s sake should have pursued their course with the glory of God in view and let the light of truth shine out before all.  {3T 110.3}

     They might expect that the elements of confusion and dissatisfaction among them would make them trouble. Satan would not remain quiet and see a company raised up in —– to vindicate truth and to dispel sophistry and error. His ire would be kindled, and he would institute a war against those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony

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of Jesus. But this should not have made the faithful believers impatient or discouraged. These things should have had an influence to make the true believer more guarded, watchful, and prayerful–more tender, pitiful, and loving to those who were making so great a mistake in regard to eternal things. As Christ has borne, and continues to bear, with our errors, our ingratitude, and our feeble love, so should we bear with those who test and try our patience. Shall the followers of the self-denying, self-sacrificing Jesus be unlike their Lord? Christians should have hearts of kindness and forbearance.  {3T 110.4}

                    The Gospel Sower

     The parable of the gospel sower, which Christ presented before His hearers, contains a lesson that we should study. Those who preach present truth and scatter the good seed will realize the same results as the gospel sower. All classes will be affected more or less by the presentation of pointed and convincing truth. Some will be wayside hearers. They will be affected by the truths spoken; but they have not cultivated the moral powers, they have followed inclination rather than duty, and evil habits have hardened their hearts until they have become like the hard, beaten road. These may profess to believe the truth; but they will have no just sense of its sacred, elevated character. They do not separate from the friendship of the lovers of pleasure and corrupt society; but they place themselves where they are constantly tempted, and may well be represented by the unfenced field. They invite the temptations of the enemy and finally lose the regard they seemed to have for the truth when the good seed was dropped into their hearts.  {3T 111.1}

     Some are stony-ground hearers. They readily receive anything new and exciting. The word of truth they receive with joy. They talk earnestly, with ardor and zeal, in reference to their faith and hope, and may even administer reproof to those of long experience for some apparent deficiency or for their

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lack of enthusiasm. But when they are tested and proved by the heat of trial and temptation, when the pruning knife of God is applied, that they may bring forth fruit unto perfection, their zeal dies, their voices are silent. No longer do they boast in the strength and power of truth.  {3T 111.2}

     This class are controlled by feeling. They have not depth and stability of character. Principle does not reach down deep, underlying the springs of action. They have in word exalted the truth, but are not doers of it. The seed of truth has not rooted down below the surface. The heart has not been renewed by the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. And when the truth calls for working men and women, when sacrifices have to be made for the truth’s sake, they are somewhere else; and when trials and persecution come, they fall away because they have no depth of earth. The truth, plain, pointed, and close, is brought to bear upon the heart and reveals the deformity of character. Some will not bear this test, but frequently close their eyes to their imperfections; although their consciences tell them that the words spoken by the messengers of God, which bear so closely upon their Christian characters, are truth, yet they will not listen to the voice. They are offended because of the word and yield the truth rather than submit to be sanctified through it. They flatter themselves that they may get to heaven an easier way.  {3T 112.1}

     Still another class is represented in the parable. Men and women who listen to the word are convinced of the truth and accept it without seeing the sinfulness of their hearts. The love of the world holds a large place in their affections. In deal they love to get the best of the bargain. They prevaricate, and by deception and fraud gain means which will ever prove as a thorn to them; for it will overbalance their good purposes and intentions. The good seed sown in their hearts is choked. Frequently they are so full of care and anxiety, fearing that they will not gain means, or that they will lose what they have gained, that they make their temporal matters primary. They do not nourish the good seed. They do not attend meetings

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where their hearts can be strengthened by religious privileges. They fear that they will meet with some loss in temporal things. The deceitfulness of riches leads them to flatter themselves that it is duty to toil and gain all they can, that they may help the cause of God; and yet the more they increase their earthly riches the less are their hearts inclined to part with their treasure, until their hearts are fully turned from the truth they loved. The good seed is choked because overgrown with unnecessary worldly cares and needless anxiety–with love for the worldly pleasures and honors which riches give.  {3T 112.2}

                The Wheat and Tares

     In another parable which Jesus presented to His disciples, He likened the kingdom of heaven to a field wherein a man sowed good seed, but in which, while he was sleeping, the enemy sowed tares. The question was asked the householder: “Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” If faithfulness and vigilance had been preserved, if there had been no sleeping or negligence upon the part of any, the enemy would not have had so favorable an opportunity to sow tares among the wheat. Satan never sleeps. He is watching, and he improves every opportunity to set his agents to scatter error, which finds good soil in many unsanctified hearts.  {3T 113.1}

     The sincere believers of truth are made sad, and their trials and sorrows greatly increased, by the elements among them which annoy, dishearten, and discourage them in their efforts. But the Lord would teach His servants a lesson of great carefulness in all their moves. “Let both grow together.” Do not

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forcibly pull up the tares, lest in rooting them up the precious blades will become loosened. Both ministers and church members should be very cautious, lest they get a zeal not according to knowledge. There is danger of doing too much to cure difficulties in the church, which, if let alone, will frequently work their own cure. It is bad policy to take hold of matters in any church prematurely. We shall have to exercise the greatest care, patience, and self-control to bear these things and not go to work in our own spirit to set them in order.  {3T 113.2}

     The work done in —– was premature and caused an untimely separation in that little church. If the servants of God could have felt the force of our Saviour’s lesson in the parable of the wheat and tares, they would not have undertaken the work they did. Before steps are taken which will give even those who are utterly unworthy the least occasion to complain of being separated from the church, the matter should always be made a subject of the most careful consideration and earnest prayer. Steps were taken in —– which created an opposition party. Some were wayside hearers, others were stony-ground hearers, and still others were of that class who received the truth while the heart had a growth of thorns which choked the good seed–these would never have perfected Christian characters. But there were a few who might have been nourished and strengthened, and have become settled and established in the truth. But the positions taken by Brethren R and S brought a premature crisis, and then there was a lack of wisdom and judgment in managing the faction.  {3T 114.1}

     If persons are as deserving of being separated from the church as Satan was of being cast out of heaven, they will have sympathizers. There is always a class who are more influenced by individuals than they are by the Spirit of God and sound principles; and, in their unconsecrated state, these are ever ready to take sides with the wrong and give their pity and sympathy to the very ones who least deserve it. These sympathizers have a powerful influence with others; things are seen

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in a perverted light, great harm is done, and many souls are ruined. Satan in his rebellion took a third part of the angels. They turned from the Father and from His Son, and united with the instigator of rebellion. With these facts before us we should move with the greatest caution. What can we expect but trial and perplexity in our connection with men and women of peculiar minds? We must bear this and avoid the necessity of rooting up the tares, lest the wheat be rooted up also.  {3T 114.2}

     “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” says Christ; but in Me ye shall have peace. The trials to which Christians are subjected in sorrow, adversity, and reproach are the means appointed of God to separate the chaff from the wheat. Our pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of worldly pleasure must all be overcome; therefore God sends us afflictions to test and prove us, and show us that these evils exist in our characters. We must overcome through His strength and grace, that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. “For our light affliction,” says Paul, “which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Afflictions, crosses, temptations, adversity, and our varied trials are God’s workmen to refine us, sanctify us, and fit us for the heavenly garner.  {3T 115.1}

     The harm done to the cause of truth by premature moves can never be fully repaired. The cause of God in —– has not advanced as it might, and will not stand in as favorable a light before the people as before this work was done. There are frequently persons among us whose influence seems to be but a cipher on the right side. Their lives seem to be useless; but let them become rebellious and combative, and they become zealous workmen for Satan. This work is more in accordance with the feelings of the natural heart. There is great need of self-examination and secret prayer. God has

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promised wisdom to those who ask Him. Missionary labor is frequently entered upon by those unprepared for the work. Outward zeal is cultivated, while secret prayer is neglected. When this is the case, much harm is done, for these laborers seek to regulate the consciences of others by their own rule. Self-control is much needed. Hasty words stir up strife. Brother S is in danger of indulging a spirit of sharp criticism. This does not become ministers of righteousness.  {3T 115.2}

     Brother S, you have much to learn. You have been inclined to charge your failures and your discouragements to Brother W, but close investigation of your motives and of your course of action would reveal other causes which exist in yourself for these discouragements. Following the inclinations of your own natural heart brings you into bondage. The severe, torturing spirit in which you sometimes indulge cuts off your influence. My brother, you have a work to do for yourself which no other person can do for you. Each must give an account of himself to God. He has given us His law as a mirror into which we may look and discover the defects in our characters. We are not to look into this mirror for the purpose of seeing our neighbor’s faults reflected, of watching to see if he comes up to the standard, but to see the defects in ourselves, that we may remove them. Knowledge is not all that we need; we must follow the light. We are not left to choose for ourselves and to obey that which is agreeable to us and to disobey when it best suits our convenience. Obedience is better than sacrifice.   {3T 116.1}

 Number Twenty-Two
Testimony for the Church

Chapter 13 – Proper Education

     It is the nicest work ever assumed by men and women to deal with youthful minds. The greatest care should be taken in the education of youth to so vary the manner of instruction as to call forth the high and noble powers of the mind. Parents and schoolteachers are certainly disqualified to properly educate children if they have not first learned the lesson of self-control, patience, forbearance, gentleness, and love. What an important position for parents, guardians, and teachers! There are very few who realize the most essential wants of the mind and how to direct the developing intellect, the growing thoughts and feelings of youth.  {3T 131.1}

     There is a time for training children and a time for educating youth, and it is essential that in school both of these be combined in a great degree. Children may be trained for the service of sin or for the service of righteousness. The early education of youth shapes their characters both in their secular and in their religious life. Solomon says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This language is positive. The training which Solomon enjoins is to direct, educate, and develop. In order for parents and teachers to do this work, they must themselves understand “the way” the child should go. This embraces more than merely having a knowledge of books. It takes in everything that is good, virtuous, righteous, and holy. It comprehends the practice of temperance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to God and to one another. In order to attain this object, the physical, mental, moral, and religious education of children must have attention.  {3T 131.2}

     The education of children, at home or at school, should not be like the training of dumb animals; for children have an intelligent will, which should be directed to control all their powers. Dumb animals need to be trained, for they have not reason and intellect. But the human mind must be taught self-control. It must be educated to rule the human being, while animals are controlled by a master and are trained to be submissive to him. The master is mind, judgment, and will for his beast. A child may be so trained as to have, like the beast, no will of his own. Even his individuality may be merged in the one who superintends his training; his will, to all intents and purposes, is subject to the will of the teacher.  {3T 132.1}

     Children who are thus educated will ever be deficient in moral energy and individual responsibility. They have not been taught to move from reason and principle; their wills have been controlled by another, and the mind has not been called out, that it might expand and strengthen by exercise. They have not been directed and disciplined with respect to their peculiar constitutions and capabilities of mind, to put forth their strongest powers when required. Teachers should not stop here, but should give special attention to the cultivation of the weaker faculties, that all the powers may be brought into exercise, and carried forward from one degree of strength to another, that the mind may attain due proportions.  {3T 132.2}

     There are many families of children who appear to be well trained while under the training discipline; but when the system which has held them to set rules is broken up, they seem to be incapable of thinking, acting, or deciding for themselves. These children have been so long under iron rule, not allowed to think and act for themselves in those things in which it was highly proper that they should, that they have no confidence in themselves to move out upon their own judgment, having an opinion of their own. And when they go out from their parents to act for themselves, they are easily led by others’ judgment in the wrong direction. They have not stability of character. They have not been thrown upon their own judgment as fast and as far as practicable, and therefore their minds have not been properly developed and strengthened. They have so long been absolutely controlled by their parents that they rely wholly upon them; their parents are mind and judgment for them.  {3T 132.3}

     On the other hand, the young should not be left to think and act independently of the judgment of their parents and teachers. Children should be taught to respect experienced judgment and to be guided by their parents and teachers. They should be so educated that their minds will be united with the minds of their parents and teachers, and so instructed that they can see the propriety of heeding their counsel. Then when they go forth from the guiding hand of their parents and teachers, their characters will not be like the reed trembling in the wind.  {3T 133.1}

     The severe training of youth, without properly directing them to think and act for themselves as their own capacity and turn of mind will allow, that by this means they may have growth of thought, feelings of self-respect, and confidence in their own ability to perform, will ever produce a class who are weak in mental and moral power. And when they stand in the world to act for themselves they will reveal the fact that they were trained like the animals, and not educated. Their wills, instead of being guided, were forced into subjection by the harsh discipline of parents and teachers.  {3T 133.2}

     Those parents and teachers who boast of having complete control of the minds and wills of the children under their care would cease their boastings could they trace out the future lives of the children who are thus brought into subjection by force or through fear. These are almost wholly unprepared to share in the stern responsibilities of life. When these youth are no longer under their parents and teachers, and are compelled to think and act for themselves, they are almost sure to take a wrong course and yield to the power of temptation. They do not make this life a success, and the same deficiencies are seen in their religious life. Could the instructors of children and youth have the future result of their mistaken discipline mapped out before them, they would change their plan of education. That class of teachers who are gratified that they have almost complete control of the wills of their scholars are not the most successful teachers, although the appearance for the time being may be flattering.  {3T 133.3}

     God never designed that one human mind should be under the complete control of another. And those who make efforts to have the individuality of their pupils merged in themselves, and to be mind, will, and conscience for them, assume fearful responsibilities. These scholars may, upon certain occasions, appear like well-drilled soldiers. But when the restraint is removed, there will be seen a want of independent action from firm principle existing in them. Those who make it their object to so educate their pupils that they may see and feel that the power lies in themselves to make men and women of firm principle, qualified for any position in life, are the most useful and permanently successful teachers. Their work may not show to the very best advantage to careless observers, and their labors may not be valued as highly as are those of the teacher who holds the minds and wills of his scholars by absolute authority; but the future lives of the pupils will show the fruits of the better plan of education.  {3T 134.1}

     There is danger of both parents and teachers commanding and dictating too much, while they fail to come sufficiently into social relation with their children or scholars. They often hold themselves too much reserved, and exercise their authority in a cold, unsympathizing manner which cannot win the hearts of their children and pupils. If they would gather the children close to them, and show that they love them, and would manifest an interest in all their efforts and even in their sports, sometimes even being a child among children, they would make the children very happy and would gain their love and win their confidence. And the children would sooner respect and love the authority of their parents and teachers.  {3T 134.2}

     The habits and principles of a teacher should be considered of even greater importance than his literary qualifications. If he is a sincere Christian he will feel the necessity of having an equal interest in the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual education of his scholars. In order to exert the right influence, he should have perfect control over himself, and his own heart should be richly imbued with love for his pupils, which will be seen in his looks, words, and acts. He should have firmness of character, and then he can mold the minds of his pupils as well as instruct them in the sciences. The early education of youth generally shapes their characters for life. Those who deal with the young should be very careful to call out the qualities of the mind, that they may better know how to direct its powers so that they may be exercised to the very best account.  {3T 135.1}

               Close Confinement at School

     The system of education carried out for generations back has been destructive to health and even life itself. Many young children have passed five hours each day in schoolrooms not properly ventilated, nor sufficiently large for the healthful accommodation of the scholars. The air of such rooms soon becomes poison to the lungs that inhale it. Little children, whose limbs and muscles are not strong, and whose brains are undeveloped, have been kept confined indoors to their injury. Many have but a slight hold on life to begin with. Confinement in school from day to day makes them nervous and diseased. Their bodies are dwarfed because of the exhausted condition of the nervous system. And if the lamp of life goes out, the parents and teachers do not consider that they had any direct influence in quenching the vital spark. When standing by the graves of their children, the afflicted parents look upon their bereavement as a special dispensation of Providence, when, by inexcusable ignorance, their own course has destroyed the lives of their children. To then charge their death to Providence is blasphemy. God wanted the little ones to live and be disciplined, that they might have beautiful characters and glorify Him in this world and praise Him in the better world.  {3T 135.2}

     Parents and teachers, in taking the responsibility of training these children, do not feel their accountability before God to become acquainted with the physical organism, that they may treat the bodies of their children and pupils in a manner to preserve life and health. Thousands of children die because of the ignorance of parents and teachers. Mothers will spend hours over needless work upon their own dresses and those of their children to fit them for display, and will then plead that they cannot find time to read up and obtain the information necessary to take care of the health of their children. They think it less trouble to trust their bodies to the doctors. In order to be in accordance with fashion and custom, many parents have sacrificed the health and lives of their children.  {3T 136.1}

     To become acquainted with the wonderful human organism, the bones, muscles, stomach, liver, bowels, heart, and pores of the skin, and to understand the dependence of one organ upon another for the healthful action of all, is a study in which most mothers take no interest. They know nothing of the influence of the body upon the mind and of the mind upon the body. The mind, which allies finite to the infinite, they do not seem to understand. Every organ of the body was made to be servant to the mind. The mind is the capital of the body. Children are allowed to eat flesh meats, spices, butter, cheese, pork, rich pastry, and condiments generally. They are also allowed to eat irregularly and between meals of unhealthful food. These things do their work of deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves to unnatural action, and enfeebling the intellect. Parents do not realize that they are sowing the seed which will bring forth disease and death. {3T 136.2}

     Many children have been ruined for life by urging the intellect and neglecting to strengthen the physical powers. Many have died in childhood because of the course pursued by injudicious parents and schoolteachers in forcing their young intellects, by flattery or fear, when they were too young to see the inside of a schoolroom. Their minds have been taxed with lessons when they should not have been called out, but kept back until the physical constitution was strong enough to endure mental effort. Small children should be left as free as lambs to run out of doors, to be free and happy, and should be allowed the most favorable opportunities to lay the foundation for sound constitutions.  {3T 137.1}

     Parents should be the only teachers of their children until they have reached eight or ten years of age. As fast as their minds can comprehend it, the parents should open before them God’s great book of nature. The mother should have less love for the artificial in her house and in the preparation of her dress for display, and should find time to cultivate, in herself and in her children, a love for the beautiful buds and opening flowers. By calling the attention of her children to their different colors and variety of forms, she can make them acquainted with God, who made all the beautiful things which attract and delight them. She can lead their minds up to their Creator and awaken in their young hearts a love for their heavenly Father, who has manifested so great love for them. Parents can associate God with all His created works. The only schoolroom for children from eight to ten years of age should be in the open air amid the opening flowers and nature’s beautiful scenery. And their only textbook should be the treasures of nature. These lessons, imprinted upon the minds of young children amid the pleasant, attractive scenes of nature, will not be soon forgotten.  {3T 137.2}

     In order for children and youth to have health, cheerfulness, vivacity, and well-developed muscles and brains, they should be much in the open air and have well-regulated employment and amusement. Children and youth who are kept at school and confined to books, cannot have sound physical constitutions. The exercise of the brain in study, without corresponding physical exercise, has a tendency to attract the blood to the brain, and the circulation of the blood through the system becomes unbalanced. The brain has too much blood and the extremities too little. There should be rules regulating their studies to certain hours, and then a portion of their time should be spent in physical labor. And if their habits of eating, dressing, and sleeping are in accordance with physical law, they can obtain an education without sacrificing physical and mental health.  {3T 137.3}

              Physical Decline of the Race

     The book of Genesis gives quite a definite account of social and individual life, and yet we have no record of an infant’s being born blind, deaf, crippled, deformed, or imbecile. There is not an instance upon record of a natural death in infancy, childhood, or early manhood. There is no account of men and women dying of disease. Obituary notices in the book of Genesis run thus: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.” “And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.” Concerning others, the record states: He lived to a good old age; and he died. It was so rare for a son to die before the father that such an occurrence was considered worthy of record: “And Haran died before his father Terah.” Haran was a father of children before his death.  {3T 138.1}

     God endowed man with so great vital force that he has withstood the accumulation of disease brought upon the race in consequence of perverted habits, and has continued for six thousand years. This fact of itself is enough to evidence to us the strength and electrical energy that God gave to man at his creation. It took more than two thousand years of crime and indulgence of base passions to bring bodily disease upon the race to any great extent. If Adam, at his creation, had not been endowed with twenty times as much vital force as men now have, the race, with their present habits of living in violation of natural law, would have become extinct. At the time of Christ’s first advent the race had degenerated so rapidly that an accumulation of disease pressed upon that generation, bringing in a tide of woe and a weight of misery inexpressible.  {3T 138.2}

     The wretched condition of the world at the present time has been presented before me. Since Adam’s fall the race has been degenerating. Some of the reasons for the present deplorable condition of men and women, formed in the image of God, were shown me. And a sense of how much must be done to arrest, even in a degree, the physical, mental, and moral decay, caused my heart to be sick and faint. God did not create the race in its present feeble condition. This state of things is not the work of Providence, but the work of man; it has been brought about by wrong habits and abuses, by violating the laws that God has made to govern man’s existence. Through the temptation to indulge appetite, Adam and Eve first fell from their high, holy, and happy estate. And it is through the same temptation that the race have become enfeebled. They have permitted appetite and passion to take the throne, and to bring into subjection reason and intellect.  {3T 139.1}

     The violation of physical law, and the consequence, human suffering, have so long prevailed that men and women look upon the present state of sickness, suffering, debility, and premature death as the appointed lot of humanity. Man came from the hand of his Creator perfect and beautiful in form, and so filled with vital force that it was more than a thousand years before his corrupt appetite and passions, and general violations of physical law, were sensibly felt upon the race. More recent generations have felt the pressure of infirmity and disease still more rapidly and heavily with every generation. The vital forces have been greatly weakened by the indulgence of appetite and lustful passion.  {3T 139.2}

     The patriarchs from Adam to Noah, with but few exceptions, lived nearly a thousand years. Since the days of Noah the length of life has been tapering. Those suffering with disease were brought to Christ from every city, town, and village for Him to heal; for they were afflicted with all manner of diseases. And disease has been steadily on the increase through successive generations since that period. Because of the continued violation of the laws of life, mortality has increased to a fearful extent. The years of man have been shortened, so that the present generation pass to the grave, even before the age at which the generations that lived the first few thousand years after the creation came upon the stage of action.  {3T 139.3}

     Disease has been transmitted from parents to children, from generation to generation. Infants in the cradle are miserably afflicted because of the sins of their parents, which have lessened their vital force. Their wrong habits of eating and dressing, and their general dissipation, are transmitted as an inheritance to their children. Many are born insane, deformed, blind, deaf, and a very large class are deficient in intellect. The strange absence of principle which characterizes this generation, and which is shown in their disregard of the laws of life and health, is astonishing. Ignorance prevails upon this subject, while light is shining all around them. With the majority, their principal anxiety is, What shall I eat? what shall I drink? and wherewithal shall I be clothed? Notwithstanding all that is said and written in regard to how we should treat our bodies, appetite is the great law which governs men and women generally.  {3T 140.1}

     The moral powers are weakened because men and women will not live in obedience to the laws of health and make this great subject a personal duty. Parents bequeath to their offspring their own perverted habits, and loathsome diseases corrupt the blood and enervate the brain. The majority of men and women remain in ignorance of the laws of their being, and indulge appetite and passion at the expense of intellect and morals, and seem willing to remain in ignorance of the result of their violation of nature’s laws. They indulge the depraved appetite in the use of slow poisons which corrupt the blood and undermine the nervous forces, and in consequence bring upon themselves sickness and death. Their friends call the result of this course the dispensation of Providence. In this they insult Heaven. They rebelled against the laws of nature and suffered the punishment for thus abusing her laws. Suffering and mortality now prevail everywhere, especially among children. How great is the contrast between this generation and those who lived during the first two thousand years!  {3T 140.2}

              Importance of Home Training

     I inquired if this tide of woe could not be prevented and something be done to save the youth of this generation from the ruin which threatens them. I was shown that one great cause of the existing deplorable state of things is that parents do not feel under obligation to bring up their children to conform to physical law. Mothers love their children with an idolatrous love and indulge their appetite when they know that it will injure their health and thereby bring upon them disease and unhappiness. This cruel kindness is manifested to a great extent in the present generation. The desires of children are gratified at the expense of health and happy tempers because it is easier for the mother, for the time being, to gratify them than to withhold that for which they clamor.  {3T 141.1}

     Thus mothers are sowing the seed that will spring up and bear fruit. The children are not educated to deny their appetites and restrict their desires. And they become selfish, exacting, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. Mothers who are doing this work will reap with bitterness the fruit of the seed they have sown. They have sinned against Heaven and against their children, and God will hold them accountable.  {3T 141.2}

     Had education for generations back been conducted upon altogether a different plan, the youth of this generation would not now be so depraved and worthless. The managers and teachers of schools should have been those who understood physiology and who had an interest, not only to educate the youth in the sciences, but to teach them how to preserve health so that they might use their knowledge to the best account after they had obtained it. There should have been connected with the schools, establishments for carrying on various branches of labor, that the students might have employment and the necessary exercise out of school hours.  {3T 141.3}

     The students’ employment and amusements should have been regulated with reference to physical law and should have been adapted to preserve to them the healthy tone of all the powers of body and mind. Then a practical knowledge of business could have been obtained while their literary education was being gained. Students at school should have had their moral sensibilities aroused to see and feel that society has claims upon them and that they should live in obedience to natural law so that they can, by their existence and influence, by precept and example, be an advantage and blessing to society. It should be impressed upon the youth that all have an influence that is constantly telling upon society to improve and elevate or to lower and debase. The first study of the young should be to know themselves and how to keep their bodies in health.  {3T 142.1}

     Many parents keep their children at school nearly the year round. These children go through the routine of study mechanically, but do not retain that which they learn. Many of these constant students seem almost destitute of intellectual life. The monotony of continual study wearies the mind, and they take but little interest in their lessons; and to many the application to books becomes painful. They have not an inward love of thought and an ambition to acquire knowledge. They do not encourage in themselves habits of reflection and investigation.  {3T 142.2}

     Children are in great need of proper education in order that they may be of use in the world. But any effort that exalts intellectual culture above moral training is misdirected. Instructing, cultivating, polishing, and refining youth and children should be the main burden with both parents and teachers. Close reasoners and logical thinkers are few for the reason that false influences have checked the development of the intellect. The supposition of parents and teachers that continual study would strengthen the intellect has proved erroneous, for in many cases it has had the opposite effect.  {3T 142.3}

     In the early education of children many parents and teachers fail to understand that the greatest attention needs to be given to the physical constitution, that a healthy condition of body and brain may be secured. It has been the custom to encourage children to attend school when they are mere babies, needing a mother’s care. When of a delicate age they are frequently crowded into ill-ventilated schoolrooms, where they sit in wrong positions upon poorly constructed benches, and as the result the young and tender frames of some have become deformed.  {3T 143.1}

     The disposition and habits of youth will be very likely to be manifested in mature manhood. You may bend a young tree into almost any shape that you choose, and if it remains and grows as you have bent it, it will be a deformed tree and will ever tell of the injury and abuse received at your hand. You may, after years of growth, try to straighten the tree, but all your efforts will prove unavailing. It will ever be a crooked tree. This is the case with the minds of youth. They should be carefully and tenderly trained in childhood. They may be trained in the right direction or in the wrong, and in their future lives they will pursue the course in which they were directed in youth. The habits formed in youth will grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength, and will generally be the same in afterlife, only continually growing stronger.  {3T 143.2}

     We are living in an age when almost everything is superficial. There is but little stability and firmness of character, because the training and education of children from their cradle is superficial. Their characters are built upon sliding sand. Self-denial and self-control have not been molded into their characters. They have been petted and indulged until they are spoiled for practical life. The love of pleasure controls minds, and children are flattered and indulged to their ruin. Children should be so trained and educated that they will expect temptations and calculate to meet difficulties and dangers. They should be taught to have control over themselves and to nobly overcome difficulties; and if they do not willfully rush into danger and needlessly place themselves in the way of temptation; if they shun evil influences and vicious society, and then are unavoidably compelled to be in dangerous company, they will have strength of character to stand for the right and preserve principle, and will come forth in the strength of God with their morals untainted. If youth who have been properly educated make God their trust, their moral powers will stand the most powerful test.  {3T 143.3}

     But few parents realize that their children are what their example and discipline have made them, and that they are responsible for the characters their children develop. If the hearts of Christian parents were in obedience to the will of Christ, they would obey the injunction of the heavenly Teacher: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” If those who profess to be followers of Christ would only do this, they would give, not only to their children, but to the unbelieving world, examples that would rightly represent the religion of the Bible.  {3T 144.1}

     If Christian parents lived in obedience to the requirements of the divine Teacher, they would preserve simplicity in eating and in dressing, and would live more in accordance with natural law. They would not then devote so much time to artificial life, in making for themselves cares and burdens that Christ has not laid upon them, but that He has positively bid them shun. If the kingdom of God and His righteousness were the first and all-important consideration with parents, but little precious time would be lost in needless outward ornamentation while the minds of their children are almost entirely neglected. The precious time devoted by many parents to dressing their children for display in their scenes of amusement would better, far better, be spent in cultivating their own minds in order that they may be competent to properly instruct their children. It is not essential to the salvation or happiness of these parents that they use the precious probationary time that God has lent them, in dressing, visiting, and gossiping.  {3T 144.2}

     Many parents plead that they have so much to do that they have no time to improve their minds, to educate their children for practical life, or to teach them how they may become lambs of Christ’s fold. Not until the final settlement, when the cases of all will be decided, and the acts of our entire lives will be laid open to our view in the presence of God and the Lamb and all the holy angels, will parents realize the almost infinite value of their misspent time. Very many will then see that their wrong course has determined the destiny of their children. Not only have they failed to secure for themselves the words of commendation from the King of glory, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” but they hear pronounced upon their children the terrible denunciation, “Depart!” This separates their children forever from the joys and glories of heaven, and from the presence of Christ. And they themselves also receive the denunciation: Depart, “thou wicked and slothful servant.” Jesus will never say “Well done” to those who have not earned the “Well done” by their faithful lives of self-denial and self-sacrifice to do others good and to promote His glory. Those who live principally to please themselves instead of to do others good will meet with infinite loss.  {3T 145.1}

     If parents could be aroused to a sense of the fearful responsibility which rests upon them in the work of educating their children, more of their time would be devoted to prayer and less to needless display. They would reflect and study and pray earnestly to God for wisdom and divine aid to so train their children that they may develop characters that God will approve. Their anxiety would not be to know how they can educate their children so that they will be praised and honored of the world, but how they can educate them to form beautiful characters that God can approve. {3T 145.2}

     Much study and earnest prayer for heavenly wisdom are needed to know how to deal with youthful minds, for very much depends upon the direction parents give to the minds and wills of their children. To balance their minds in the right direction and at the right time is a most important work, for their eternal destiny may depend on the decisions made at some critical moment. How important, then, that the minds of parents be as free as possible from perplexing, wearing care in temporal things, that they may think and act with calm consideration, wisdom, and love, and make the salvation of the souls of their children the first and highest consideration! The great object which parents should seek to attain for their dear children should be the inward adorning. Parents cannot afford to allow visitors and strangers to claim their attention, and by robbing them of time, which is life’s great capital, make it impossible for them to give their children each day that patient instruction which they must have to give right direction to their developing minds.  {3T 146.1}

     This lifetime is too short to be squandered in vain and trifling diversion, in unprofitable visiting, in needless dressing for display, or in exciting amusements. We cannot afford to squander the time given us of God in which to bless others and in which to lay up for ourselves a treasure in heaven. We have none too much time for the discharge of necessary duties. We should give time to the culture of our own hearts and minds in order that we may be qualified for our lifework. By neglecting these essential duties and conforming to the habits and customs of fashionable, worldly society, we do ourselves and our children a great wrong.  {3T 146.2}

     Mothers who have youthful minds to train and the characters of children to form should not seek the excitement of the world in order to be cheerful and happy. They have an important lifework, and they and theirs cannot afford to spend time in an unprofitable manner. Time is one of the important talents which God has entrusted to us and for which He will call us to account. A waste of time is a waste of intellect. The powers of the mind are susceptible of high cultivation. It is the duty of mothers to cultivate their minds and keep their hearts pure. They should improve every means within their reach for their intellectual and moral improvement, that they may be qualified to improve the minds of their children. Those who indulge their disposition to be in company will soon feel restless unless visiting or entertaining visitors. Such have not the power of adaptation to circumstances. The necessary, sacred home duties seem commonplace and uninteresting to them. They have no love for self-examination or self-discipline. The mind hungers for the varying, exciting scenes of worldly life; children are neglected for the indulgence of inclination; and the recording angel writes: “Unprofitable servants.” God designs that our minds should not be purposeless, but should accomplish good in this life.  {3T 146.3}

     If parents would feel that it is a solemn duty enjoined upon them of God to educate their children for usefulness in this life; if they would adorn the inner temple of the souls of their sons and daughters for the immortal life, we should see a great change in society for the better. There would not then be manifest so great indifference to practical godliness, and it would not be so difficult to arouse the moral sensibilities of children to understand the claims that God has upon them. But parents become more and more careless in the education of their children in the useful branches. Many parents allow their children to form wrong habits and to follow their own inclination, and fail to impress upon their minds the danger of their doing this and the necessity of their being controlled by principle.  {3T 147.1}

     Children frequently begin a piece of work with enthusiasm, but, becoming perplexed or wearied with it, they wish to change and take hold of something new. Thus they may take hold of several things, meet with a little discouragement, and give them up; and so they pass from one thing to another, perfecting nothing. Parents should not allow the love of change to control their children. They should not be so much engaged with other things that they will have no time to patiently discipline the developing minds. A few words of encouragement, or a little help at the right time, may carry them over their trouble and discouragement, and the satisfaction they will derive from seeing the task completed that they undertook will stimulate them to greater exertion.  {3T 147.2}

     Many children, for want of words of encouragement and a little assistance in their efforts, become disheartened and change from one thing to another. And they carry this sad defect with them in mature life. They fail to make a success of anything they engage in, for they have not been taught to persevere under discouraging circumstances. Thus the entire lifetime of many proves a failure, because they did not have correct discipline when young. The education received in childhood and youth affects their entire business career in mature life, and their religious experience bears a corresponding stamp.  {3T 148.1}

                Physical Labor for Students

     With the present plan of education a door of temptation is opened to the youth. Although they generally have too many hours of study, they have many hours without anything to do. These leisure hours are frequently spent in a reckless manner. The knowledge of bad habits is communicated from one to another, and vice is greatly increased. Very many young men who have been religiously instructed at home, and who go out to the schools comparatively innocent and virtuous, become corrupt by associating with vicious companions. They lose self-respect and sacrifice noble principles. Then they are prepared to pursue the downward path, for they have so abused their consciences that sin does not appear so exceeding sinful. These evils, which exist in the schools that are conducted according to the present plan, might be remedied in a great degree if study and labor could be combined. The same evils exist in the higher schools, only in a greater degree; for many of the youth have educated themselves in vice, and their consciences are seared.  {3T 148.2}

     Many parents overrate the stability and good qualities of their children. They do not seem to consider that they will be exposed to the deceptive influences of vicious youth. Parents have their fears as they send them some distance away to school, but flatter themselves that, as they have had good examples and religious instruction, they will be true to principle in their high-school life. Many parents have but a faint idea to what extent licentiousness exists in these institutions of learning. In many cases the parents have labored hard and suffered many privations for the cherished object of having their children obtain a finished education. And after all their efforts, many have the bitter experience of receiving their children from their course of studies with dissolute habits and ruined constitutions. And frequently they are disrespectful to their parents, unthankful, and unholy. These abused parents, who are thus rewarded by ungrateful children, lament that they sent their children from them to be exposed to temptations and come back to them physical, mental, and moral wrecks. With disappointed hopes and almost broken hearts they see their children, of whom they had high hopes, follow in a course of vice and drag out a miserable existence.  {3T 149.1}

     But there are those of firm principles who answer the expectation of parents and teachers. They go through the course of schooling with clear consciences and come forth with good constitutions and morals unstained by corrupting influences. But the number is few.  {3T 149.2}

     Some students put their whole being into their studies and concentrate their mind upon the object of obtaining an education. They work the brain, but allow the physical powers to remain inactive. The brain is overworked, and the muscles become weak because they are not exercised. When these students graduate, it is evident that they have obtained their education at the expense of life. They have studied day and night, year after year, keeping their minds continually upon the stretch, while they have failed to sufficiently exercise their muscles. They sacrifice all for a knowledge of the sciences, and pass to their graves.  {3T 149.3}

     Young ladies frequently give themselves up to study to the neglect of other branches of education even more essential for practical life than the study of books. And after having obtained their education, they are often invalids for life. They neglected their health by remaining too much indoors, deprived of the pure air of heaven and of the God-given sunlight. These young ladies might have come from their schools in health, had they combined with their studies household labor and exercise in the open air.  {3T 150.1}

     Health is a great treasure. It is the richest possession mortals can have. Wealth, honor, or learning is dearly purchased, if it be at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these attainments can secure happiness, if health is wanting. It is a terrible sin to abuse the health that God has given us; for every abuse of health enfeebles us for life and makes us losers, even if we gain any amount of education.  {3T 150.2}

     In many cases parents who are wealthy do not feel the importance of giving their children an education in the practical duties of life as well as in the sciences. They do not see the necessity, for the good of their children’s minds and morals, and for their future usefulness, of giving them a thorough understanding of useful labor. This is due their children, that, should misfortune come, they could stand forth in noble independence, knowing how to use their hands. If they have a capital of strength they cannot be poor, even if they have not a dollar. Many who in youth were in affluent circumstances may be robbed of all their riches and be left with parents and brothers and sisters dependent upon them for sustenance. Then how important that every youth be educated to labor, that they may be prepared for any emergency! Riches are indeed a curse when their possessors let them stand in the way of their sons and daughters’ obtaining a knowledge of useful labor, that they may be qualified for practical life.  {3T 150.3}

     Those who are not compelled to labor, frequently do not have sufficient active exercise for physical health. Young men, for want of having their minds and hands employed in active labor, acquire habits of indolence and frequently obtain what is most to be dreaded, a street education — lounging about stores, smoking, drinking, and playing cards.  {3T 150.4}

     Young ladies will read novels, excusing themselves from active labor because they are in delicate health. Their feebleness is the result of their lack of exercising the muscles God has given them. They may think they are too feeble to do housework, but will work at crochet and tatting, and preserve the delicate paleness of their hands and faces, while their care-burdened mothers toil hard to wash and iron their garments. These ladies are not Christians, for they transgress the fifth commandment. They do not honor their parents. But the mother is the one who is most to blame. She has indulged her daughters and excused them from bearing their share of household duties, until work has become distasteful to them, and they love and enjoy delicate idleness. They eat, and sleep, and read novels, and talk of the fashions, while their lives are useless.  {3T 151.1}

     Poverty, in many cases, is a blessing; for it prevents youth and children from being ruined by inaction. The physical as well as the mental powers should be cultivated and properly developed. The first and constant care of parents should be to see that their children have firm constitutions, that they may be sound men and women. It is impossible to attain this object without physical exercise. For their own physical health and moral good, children should be taught to work, even if there is no necessity so far as want is concerned. If they would have pure and virtuous characters they must have the discipline of well-regulated labor, which will bring into exercise all the muscles. The satisfaction that children will have in being useful, and in denying themselves to help others, will be the most healthful pleasure they ever enjoyed. Why should the wealthy rob themselves and their dear children of this great blessing?  {3T 151.2}

     Parents, inaction is the greatest curse that ever came upon youth. Your daughters should not be allowed to lie in bed late in the morning, sleeping away the precious hours lent them of God to be used for the best purpose and for which they will have to give an account to Him. The mother does her daughters great injury by bearing the burdens that they should share with her for their own present and future good. The course that many parents pursue in allowing their children to be indolent and to gratify their desire for reading romance is unfitting them for real life. Novel and storybook reading are the greatest evils in which youth can indulge. Novel and love-story readers always fail to make good, practical mothers. They are air-castle builders, living in an unreal, an imaginary world. They become sentimental and have sick fancies. Their artificial life spoils them for anything useful. They are dwarfed in intellect, although they may flatter themselves that they are superior in mind and manners. Exercise in household labor is of the greatest advantage to young girls.  {3T 151.3}

     Physical labor will not prevent the cultivation of the intellect. Far from it. The advantages gained by physical labor will balance a person and prevent the mind from being overworked. The toil will come upon the muscles and relieve the wearied brain. There are many listless, useless girls who consider it unladylike to engage in active labor. But their characters are too transparent to deceive sensible persons in regard to their real worthlessness. They simper and giggle, and are all affectation. They appear as though they could not speak their words fairly and squarely, but torture all they say with lisping and simpering. Are these ladies? They were not born fools, but were educated such. It does not require a frail, helpless, overdressed, simpering thing to make a lady. A sound body is required for a sound intellect. Physical soundness and a practical knowledge of all the necessary household duties will never be hindrances to a well-developed intellect; both are highly important for a lady.  {3T 152.1}

     All the powers of the mind should be called into use and developed in order for men and women to have well-balanced minds. The world is full of one-sided men and women who have become such because one set of their faculties was cultivated while others were dwarfed from inaction. The education of most youth is a failure. They overstudy, while they neglect that which pertains to practical business life. Men and women become parents without considering their responsibilities, and their offspring sink lower in the scale of human deficiency than they themselves. Thus the race is fast degenerating. The constant application to study, as the schools are now conducted, is unfitting youth for practical life. The human mind will have action. If it is not active in the right direction, it will be active in the wrong. In order to preserve the balance of the mind, labor and study should be united in the schools.  {3T 152.2}

     Provision should have been made in past generations for education upon a larger scale. In connection with the schools should have been agricultural and manufacturing establishments. There should also have been teachers of household labor. And a portion of the time each day should have been devoted to labor, that the physical and mental powers might be equally exercised. If schools had been established upon the plan we have mentioned, there would not now be so many unbalanced minds.  {3T 153.1}

     God prepared for Adam and Eve a beautiful garden. He provided for them everything that their wants required. He planted for them fruit-bearing trees of every variety. With a liberal hand He surrounded them with His bounties. The trees for usefulness and beauty, and the lovely flowers which sprang up spontaneously and flourished in rich profusion around them, were to know nothing of decay. Adam and Eve were rich indeed. They possessed Eden. Adam was lord in his beautiful domain. None can question the fact that he was rich. But God knew that Adam could not be happy unless he had employment. Therefore He gave him something to do; he was to dress the garden.  {3T 153.2}

     If men and women of this degenerate age have a large amount of earthly treasure, which, in comparison with that Paradise of beauty and wealth given the lordly Adam, is very insignificant, they feel themselves above labor and educate their children to look upon it as degrading. Such rich parents, by precept and example, instruct their children that money makes the gentleman and the lady. But our idea of the gentleman and the lady is measured by the intellect and the moral worth. God estimates not by dress. The exhortation of the inspired apostle Peter is: “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.” A meek and quiet spirit is exalted above worldly honor or riches.  {3T 153.3}

     The Lord illustrates how He estimates the worldly wealthy who lift up their souls unto vanity because of their earthly possessions, by the rich man who tore down his barns and built greater, that he might have room to bestow his goods. Forgetful of God, he failed to acknowledge whence all his possessions came. No grateful thanks ascended to his gracious Benefactor. He congratulated himself thus: “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” The Master, who had entrusted to him earthly riches with which to bless his fellow men and glorify his Maker, was justly angry at his ingratitude and said: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Here we have an illustration of how the infinite God estimates man. An extensive fortune, or any degree of wealth, will not secure the favor of God. All these bounties and blessings come from Him to prove, test, and develop the character of man.  {3T 154.1}

     Men may have boundless wealth; yet if they are not rich toward God, if they have no interest to secure to themselves the heavenly treasure and divine wisdom, they are counted fools by their Creator, and we leave them just where God leaves them. Labor is a blessing. It is impossible for us to enjoy health without labor. All the faculties should be called into use that they may be properly developed and that men and women may have well-balanced minds. If the young had been given a thorough education in the different branches of labor, if they had been taught labor as well as the sciences, their education would have been of greater advantage to them.  {3T 154.2}

     A constant strain upon the brain while the muscles are inactive, enfeebles the nerves, and students have an almost uncontrollable desire for change and exciting amusements. And when they are released, after being confined to study several hours each day, they are nearly wild. Many have never been controlled at home. They have been left to follow inclination, and they think that the restraint of the hours of study is a severe tax upon them; and since they do not have anything to do after study hours, Satan suggests sport and mischief for a change. Their influence over other students is demoralizing. Those students who have had the benefits of religious teaching at home, and who are ignorant of the vices of society, frequently become the best acquainted with those whose minds have been cast in an inferior mold, and whose advantages for mental culture and religious training have been very limited. And they are in danger, by mingling in the society of this class and by breathing an atmosphere that is not elevating but that tends to lower and degrade the morals, of sinking to the same low level as their companions. It is the delight of a large class of students, in their unemployed hours, to have a high time. And very many of those who leave their homes innocent and pure become corrupted by their associations at school.  {3T 155.1}

     I have been led to inquire: Must all that is valuable in our youth be sacrificed in order that they may obtain a school education? Had there been agricultural and manufacturing establishments connected with our schools, and had competent teachers been employed to educate the youth in the different branches of study and labor, devoting a portion of each day to mental improvement and a portion to physical labor, there would now be a more elevated class of youth to come upon the stage of action to have influence in molding society. Many of the youth who would graduate at such institutions would come forth with stability of character. They would have perseverance, fortitude, and courage to surmount obstacles, and such principles that they would not be swayed by a wrong influence, however popular. There should have been experienced teachers to give lessons to young ladies in the cooking department. Young girls should have been instructed to manufacture wearing apparel, to cut, make, and mend garments, and thus become educated for the practical duties of life.  {3T 155.2}

     For young men there should be establishments where they could learn different trades which would bring into exercise their muscles as well as their mental powers. If the youth can have but a one-sided education, which is of the greater consequence, a knowledge of the sciences,–with all the disadvantages to health and life,–or a knowledge of labor for practical life? We unhesitatingly answer: The latter. If one must be neglected, let it be the study of books.  {3T 156.1}

     There are very many girls who have married and have families who have but little practical knowledge of the duties devolving upon a wife and mother. They can read, and play upon an instrument of music; but they cannot cook. They cannot make good bread, which is very essential to the health of the family. They cannot cut and make garments, for they never learned how. They considered these things unessential, and in their married life they are as dependent upon someone to do these things for them as are their own little children. It is this inexcusable ignorance in regard to the most needful duties of life which makes very many unhappy families.  {3T 156.2}

     The impression that work is degrading to fashionable life has laid thousands in the grave who might have lived. Those who perform only manual labor frequently work to excess without giving themselves periods of rest; while the intellectual class overwork the brain and suffer for want of the healthful vigor the physical labor gives. If the intellectual would to some extent share the burden of the laboring class and thus strengthen the muscles, the laboring class might do less and devote a portion of their time to mental and moral culture. Those of sedentary and literary habits should take physical exercise, even if they have no need to labor so far as means are concerned. Health should be a sufficient inducement to lead them to unite physical with mental labor.  {3T 156.3}

     Moral, intellectual, and physical culture should be combined in order to have well-developed, well-balanced men and women. Some are qualified to exercise greater intellectual strength than others, while others are inclined to love and enjoy physical labor. Both of these classes should seek to improve where they are deficient, that they may present to God their entire being, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to Him, which is their reasonable service. The habits and customs of fashionable society should not gauge their course of action. The inspired apostle Paul adds: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  {3T 157.1}

     The minds of thinking men labor too hard. They frequently use their mental powers prodigally, while there is another class whose highest aim in life is physical labor. The latter class do not exercise the mind. Their muscles are exercised while their brains are robbed of intellectual strength, just as the minds of thinking men are worked while their bodies are robbed of strength and vigor by their neglect to exercise the muscles. Those who are content to devote their lives to physical labor and leave others to do the thinking for them, while they simply carry out what other brains have planned, will have strength of muscle but feeble intellects. Their influence for good is small in comparison to what it might be if they would use their brains as well as their muscles. This class fall more readily if attacked by disease; the system is vitalized by the electrical force of the brain to resist disease. {3T 157.2}

     Men who have good physical powers should educate themselves to think as well as to act, and not depend upon others to be brains for them. It is a popular error with a large class to regard work as degrading. Therefore young men are very anxious to educate themselves to become teachers, clerks, merchants, lawyers, and to occupy almost any position that does not require physical labor. Young women regard housework as demeaning. And although the physical exercise required to perform household labor, if not too severe, is calculated to promote health, yet they will seek for an education that will fit them to become teachers or clerks, or will learn some trade which will confine them indoors to sedentary employment. The bloom of health fades from their cheeks, and disease fastens upon them, because they are robbed of physical exercise and their habits are perverted generally. All this because it is fashionable! They enjoy delicate life, which is feebleness and decay.  {3T 158.1}

     True, there is some excuse for young women not choosing housework for employment, because those who hire kitchen girls generally treat them as servants. Frequently their employers do not respect them and treat them as though they were unworthy to be members of their families. They do not give them the privileges they do the seamstress, the copyist, and the teacher of music. But there can be no employment more important than that of housework. To cook well, to present healthful food upon the table in an inviting manner, requires intelligence and experience. The one who prepares the food that is to be placed in our stomachs, to be converted into blood to nourish the system, occupies a most important and elevated position. The position of copyist, dressmaker, or music teacher cannot equal in importance that of the cook.  {3T 158.2}

     The foregoing is a statement of what might have been done by a proper system of education. Time is too short now to accomplish that which might have been done in past generations; but we can do much, even in these last days, to correct the existing evils in the education of youth. And because time is short, we should be in earnest and work zealously to give the young that education which is consistent with our faith. We are reformers. We desire that our children should study to the best advantage. In order to do this, employment should be given them which will call the muscles into exercise. Daily, systematic labor should constitute a part of the education of the youth, even at this late period. Much can now be gained by connecting labor with schools. In following this plan the students will realize elasticity of spirit and vigor of thought, and will be able to accomplish more mental labor in a given time than they could by study alone. And they can leave school with their constitutions unimpaired and with strength and courage to persevere in any position in which the providence of God may place them.  {3T 158.3}

     Because time is short, we should work with diligence and double energy. Our children may never enter college, but they can obtain an education in those essential branches which they can turn to a practical use and which will give culture to the mind and bring its powers into use. Very many youth who have gone through a college course have not obtained that true education that they can put to practical use. They may have the name of having a collegiate education, but in reality they are only educated dunces.  {3T 159.1}

     There are many young men whose services God would accept if they would consecrate themselves to Him unreservedly. If they would exercise those powers of the mind in the service of God which they use in serving themselves and in acquiring property they would make earnest, persevering, successful laborers in the vineyard of the Lord. Many of our young men should turn their attention to the study of the Scriptures, that God may use them in His cause. But they do not become as intelligent in spiritual knowledge as in temporal things; therefore they fail to do the work of God which they could do with acceptance. There are but few to warn sinners and win souls to Christ, when there should be many. Our young men generally are wise in worldly matters, but not intelligent in regard to the things of the kingdom of God. They might turn their minds in a heavenly, divine channel and walk in the light, going on from one degree of light and strength to another until they could turn sinners to Christ and point the unbelieving and desponding to a bright track heavenward. And when the warfare is ended, they might be welcomed to the joy of their Lord.  {3T 159.2}

     Young men should not enter upon the work of explaining the Scriptures and lecturing upon the prophecies when they do not have a knowledge of the important Bible truths they try to explain to others. They may be deficient in the common branches of education and therefore fail to do the amount of good they could do if they had had the advantages of a good school. Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ. The truths of the divine word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve Him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.  {3T 160.1}

     We are indebted to Him who gave us existence, for all the talents which have been entrusted to us; and it is a duty we owe to our Creator to cultivate and improve upon the talents He has committed to our trust. Education will discipline the mind, develop its powers, and understandingly direct them, that we may be useful in advancing the glory of God. We need a school where those who are just entering the ministry may be taught at least the common branches of education and where they may also learn more perfectly the truths of God’s word for this time. In connection with these schools, lectures should be given upon the prophecies. Those who really have good abilities such as God will accept to labor in His vineyard would be very much benefited by only a few months’ instruction at such a school.             {3T 160.2}

Number Twenty-Three
Testimony for the Church

Chapter 27 – The Laodicean Church

     The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and is applicable to the people of God at the present time.  {3T 252.1}

     “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 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.”  {3T 252.2}

     The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message. It is not merely theoretical, but practical in every particular. The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. “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.”  {3T 252.3}

     What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.  {3T 252.4}

     It is difficult for those who feel secure in their attainments, and who believe themselves to be rich in spiritual knowledge, to receive the message which declares that they are deceived and in need of every spiritual grace. The unsanctified heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” I was shown that many are flattering themselves that they are good Christians, who have not a ray of light from Jesus. They have not a living experience for themselves in the divine life. They need a deep and thorough work of self-abasement before God before they will feel their true need of earnest, persevering effort to secure the precious graces of the Spirit.  {3T 253.1}

     God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare. It is by constant, unceasing effort that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. As a people we are triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain Scriptural testimony. But we are very much wanting in Bible humility, patience, faith, love, self-denial, watchfulness, and the spirit of sacrifice. We need to cultivate Bible holiness. Sin prevails among the people of God. The plain message of rebuke to the Laodiceans is not received. Many cling to their doubts and their darling sins while they are in so great a deception as to talk and feel that they are in need of nothing. They think the testimony of the Spirit of God in reproof is uncalled for or that it does not mean them. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge. They lack almost every qualification necessary to perfect Christian character. They have not a practical knowledge of Bible truth, which leads to lowliness of life and a conformity of their will to the will of Christ. They are not living in obedience to all God’s requirements.  {3T 253.2}

     It is not enough to merely profess to believe the truth. All the soldiers of the cross of Christ virtually obligate themselves to enter the crusade against the adversary of souls, to condemn wrong and sustain righteousness. But the message of the True Witness reveals the fact that a terrible deception is upon our people, which makes it necessary to come to them with warnings, to break their spiritual slumber, and arouse them to decided action.  {3T 254.1}

     In my last vision I was shown that even this decided message of the True Witness had not accomplished the design of God. The people slumber on in their sins. They continue to declare themselves rich and having need of nothing. Many inquire: Why are all these reproofs given? Why do the Testimonies continually charge us with backsliding and with grievous sins? We love the truth; we are prospering; we are in no need of these testimonies of warning and reproof. But let these murmurers see their hearts and compare their lives with the practical teachings of the Bible, let them humble their souls before God, let the grace of God illuminate the darkness, and the scales will fall from their eyes, and they will realize their true spiritual poverty and wretchedness. They will feel the necessity of buying gold, which is pure faith and love; white raiment, which is a spotless character made pure in the blood of their dear Redeemer; and eyesalve, which is the grace of God and which will give clear discernment of spiritual things and detect sin. These attainments are more precious than the gold of Ophir. {3T 254.2}

     I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction. Many have despised the reproofs and warnings given them. The True Witness condemns the lukewarm condition of the people of God, which gives Satan great power over them in this waiting, watching time. The selfish, the proud, and the lovers of sin are ever assailed with doubts. Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence.  {3T 255.1}

     Eternal life is of infinite value and will cost us all that we have. I was shown that we do not place a proper estimate upon eternal things. Everything worth possessing, even in this world, must be secured by effort, and sometimes by most painful sacrifice. And this is merely to obtain a perishable treasure. Shall we be less willing to endure conflict and toil, and to make earnest efforts and great sacrifices, to obtain a treasure which is of infinite value, and a life which will measure with that of the Infinite? Can heaven cost us too much?  {3T 255.2}

     Faith and love are golden treasures, elements that are greatly wanting among God’s people. I have been shown that unbelief in the testimonies of warning, encouragement, and reproof is shutting away the light from God’s people. Unbelief is closing their eyes so that they are ignorant of their true condition. The True Witness thus describes their blindness: “And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”  {3T 255.3}

     Faith in the soon coming of Christ is waning. “My Lord delayeth His coming” is not only said in the heart, but expressed in words and most decidedly in works. Stupidity in this watching time is sealing the senses of God’s people as to the signs of the times. The terrible iniquity which abounds calls for the greatest diligence and for the living testimony, to keep sin out of the church. Faith has been decreasing to a fearful degree, and it is only by exercise that it can increase.  {3T 255.4}

     In the rise of the third angel’s message those who engaged in the work of God had something to venture; they had sacrifices to make. They started this work in poverty and suffered the greatest deprivations and reproach. They met determined opposition, which drove them to God in their necessity and kept their faith alive. Our present plan of systematic benevolence amply sustains our ministers, and there is no want and no call for the exercise of faith as to a support. Those who start out now to preach the truth have nothing to venture. They have no risks to run, no special sacrifices to make. The system of truth is made ready to their hand, and publications are provided for them, vindicating the truths they advance.  {3T 256.1}

     Some young men start out with no real sense of the exalted character of the work. They have no privations, hardships, or severe conflicts to meet, which would call for the exercise of faith. They do not cultivate practical self-denial and cherish a spirit of sacrifice. Some are becoming proud and lifted up, and have no real burden of the work upon them. The True Witness speaks to these ministers: “Be zealous therefore, and repent.” Some of them are so lifted up in pride that they are really a hindrance and a curse to the precious cause of God. They do not exert a saving influence upon others. These men need to be thoroughly converted to God themselves and sanctified by the truths they present to others.  {3T 256.2}

             Pointed Testimonies in the Church

     Very many feel impatient and jealous because they are frequently disturbed with warnings and reproofs which keep their sins before them. Says the True Witness: “I know thy works.” The motives, the purposes, the unbelief, the suspicions and jealousies may be hid from men, but not from Christ. The True Witness comes as a counselor: “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, 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. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”  {3T 256.3}

     Those who are reproved by the Spirit of God should not rise up against the humble instrument. It is God, and not an erring mortal, who has spoken to save them from ruin. Those who despise the warning will be left in blindness to become self-deceived. But those who heed it, and zealously go about the work of separating their sins from them in order to have the needed graces, will be opening the door of their hearts that the dear Saviour may come in and dwell with them. This class you will ever find in perfect harmony with the testimony of the Spirit of God.  {3T 257.1}

     Ministers who are preaching present truth should not neglect the solemn message to the Laodiceans. The testimony of the True Witness is not a smooth message. The Lord does not say to them, You are about right; you have borne chastisement and reproof that you never deserved; you have been unnecessarily discouraged by severity; you are not guilty of the wrongs and sins for which you have been reproved.  {3T 257.2}

     The True Witness declares that when you suppose you are really in a good condition of prosperity you are in need of everything. It is not enough for ministers to present theoretical subjects; they should also present those subjects which are practical. They need to study the practical lessons that Christ gave His disciples and make a close application of the same to their own souls and to the people. Because Christ bears this rebuking testimony, shall we suppose that He is destitute of tender love to His people? Oh, no! He who died to redeem man from death, loves with a divine love, and those whom He loves He rebukes. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” But many will not receive the message that Heaven in mercy sends them. They cannot endure to be told of their neglect of duty and of their wrongs, their selfishness, their pride and love of the world.  {3T 257.3}

     I was shown that God has laid upon my husband and me a special work, to bear a plain testimony to His people, and to cry aloud and spare not, to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. But there is a class who will not receive the message of reproof, and they raise their hands to shield those whom God would reprove and correct. These are ever found sympathizing with those whom God would make to feel their true poverty.  {3T 258.1}

     The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it. It requires discernment to distinguish the voice of God.  {3T 258.2}

     Those who will not act when the Lord calls upon them, but who wait for more certain evidence and more favorable opportunities, will walk in darkness, for the light will be withdrawn. The evidence given one day, if rejected, may never be repeated.  {3T 258.3}

     Many are tempted in regard to our work and are calling it in question. Some, in their tempted condition, charge the difficulties and perplexities of the people of God to the testimonies of reproof that we have given them. They think the trouble is with the ones who bear the message of warning, who point out the sins of the people and correct their errors. Many are deceived by the adversary of souls. They think that the labors of Brother and Sister White would be acceptable if they were not continually condemning wrong and reproving sin. I was shown that God has laid this work upon us, and when we are hindered from meeting with His people and from bearing our testimony and counteracting the surmisings and jealousies of the unconsecrated, then Satan presses in his temptations very strongly. Those who have been ever on the questioning, doubting side feel at liberty to suggest their doubts and to insinuate their unbelief. Some have sanctimonious and apparently conscientious and very pious doubts, which they cautiously drop, but which have tenfold more power to strengthen those who are wrong, and to lessen our influence and weaken the confidence of God’s people in our work, than if they came out more frankly. These poor souls, I saw, were deceived by Satan. They flatter themselves that they are all right, that they are in favor with God and are rich in spiritual discernment, when they are poor, blind, and wretched. They are doing the work of Satan, but think they have a zeal for God.  {3T 258.4}

     Some will not receive the testimony that God has given us to bear, flattering themselves that we may be deceived and that they may be right. They think that the people of God are not in need of plain dealing and of reproof, but that God is with them. These tempted ones, whose souls have ever been at war with the faithful reproving of sin, would cry: Speak unto us smooth things. What disposition will these make of the message of the True Witness to the Laodiceans? There can be no deception here. This message must be borne to a lukewarm church by God’s servants. It must arouse His people from their security and dangerous deception in regard to their real standing before God. This testimony, if received, will arouse to action and lead to self-abasement and confession of sins. The True Witness says: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.” And again, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Then comes the promise: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.”  {3T 259.1}

     The people of God must see their wrongs and arouse to zealous repentance and a putting away of those sins which have brought them into such a deplorable condition of poverty, blindness, wretchedness, and fearful deception. I was shown that the pointed testimony must live in the church. This alone will answer to the message to the Laodiceans. Wrongs must be reproved, sin must be called sin, and iniquity must be met promptly and decidedly, and put away from us as a people.  {3T 260.1}

                 Fighting the Spirit of God

     Those who have a spirit of opposition to the work that for twenty-six years we have been pressed by the Spirit of God to do, and who would break down our testimony, I saw are not fighting against us, but against God, who has laid upon us the burden of a work that He has not given to others. Those who question and quibble, and think it a virtue to doubt, and who would discourage; those who have been the means of making our work hard and of weakening our faith, hope, and courage have been the ones to surmise evil, to insinuate suspicious charges, and to watch with jealousy for occasion against us. They take it for granted that because we have human weaknesses it is a positive evidence that we are wrong and that they are right. If they can find a semblance of anything that they can use to injure us they do it with a spirit of triumph and are ready to denounce our work of reproving wrong and condemning sin as a harsh, dictatorial spirit.  {3T 260.2}

     But while we do not accept their version of our case as the reason for our afflictions, while we maintain that God has appointed us to a more trying work than He has others, we acknowledge with humility of soul and with repentance that our faith and courage have been severely tried and that we have sometimes failed to trust wholly in Him who has appointed us our work. When we gather courage again, after sore disappointment and trials, we deeply regret that we ever distrusted God, gave way to human weaknesses, and permitted discouragement to cloud our faith and lessen our confidence in God. I have been shown that God’s ancient servants suffered disappointments and discouragements as well as we poor mortals. We were in good company; nevertheless this did not excuse us.  {3T 260.3}

     As my husband has stood by my side to sustain me in my work and has borne a plain testimony in unison with the work of the Spirit of God, many have felt that it was he personally who was injuring them, when it was the Lord who laid upon him the burden and who was, through His servant, reproving them and seeking to bring them where they would repent of their wrongs and have the favor of God.  {3T 261.1}

     Those whom God has chosen for an important work have ever been received with distrust and suspicion. Anciently, when Elijah was sent with a message from God to the people, they did not heed the warning. They thought him unnecessarily severe. They even thought that he must have lost his senses because he denounced them, the favored people of God, as sinners and their crimes as so aggravated that the judgments of God would awaken against them. Satan and his host have ever been arrayed against those who bear the message of warning and who reprove sins. The unconsecrated will also be united with the adversary of souls to make the work of God’s faithful servants as hard as possible.  {3T 261.2}

     If my husband has been pressed beyond measure and has become discouraged and desponding, if we have at times seen nothing desirable in life that we should choose it, this is nothing strange or new. Elijah, one of God’s great and mighty prophets, as he fled for his life from the rage of the infuriated Jezebel, a fugitive, weary and travel-worn, desired to die rather than to live. His bitter disappointment in regard to Israel’s faithfulness had crushed his spirits, and he felt that he could no longer put confidence in man. In the day of Job’s affliction and darkness, he utters these words: “Let the day perish wherein I was born.”  {3T 261.3}

     Those who are not accustomed to feel to the very depths, who have not stood under burdens as a cart beneath sheaves, and who have never had their interest identified so closely with the cause and work of God that it seems to be a part of their very being and dearer to them than life, cannot appreciate the feelings of my husband any more than Israel could appreciate the feelings of Elijah. We deeply regret being disheartened, whatever the circumstances may have been.  {3T 262.1}

                 Ahab’s Case a Warning

     Under the perverted rule of Ahab, Israel departed from God and corrupted their ways before Him. “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”  {3T 262.2}

     Ahab was weak in moral power. He did not have a high sense of sacred things; he was selfish and unprincipled. His union by marriage with a woman of decided character and positive temperament, who was devoted to idolatry, made them both special agents of Satan to lead the people of God into idolatry and terrible apostasy. The determined spirit of Jezebel molded the character of Ahab. His selfish nature was incapable of appreciating the mercies of God to His people and his obligation to God as the guardian and leader of Israel. The fear of God was daily growing less in Israel. The blasphemous tokens of their blind idolatry were to be seen among the Israel of God. There were none who dared to expose their lives by openly standing forth in opposition to the prevailing blasphemous idolatry. The altars of Baal, and the priests of Baal who sacrificed to the sun, moon, and stars, were conspicuous everywhere. They had consecrated temples and groves wherein the work of men’s hands was placed to be worshiped. The benefits which God gave to this people called forth from them no gratitude to the Giver. All the bounties of heaven,–the running brooks, the streams of living waters, the gentle dew, the showers of rain which refreshed the earth and caused their fields to bring forth abundantly,–these they ascribed to the favor of their gods.  {3T 262.3}

     Elijah’s faithful soul was grieved. His indignation was aroused, and he was jealous for the glory of God. He saw that Israel was plunged into fearful apostasy. And when he called to mind the great things that God had wrought for them, he was overwhelmed with grief and amazement. But all this was forgotten by the majority of the people. He went before the Lord, and, with his soul wrung with anguish, pleaded for Him to save His people if it must be by judgments. He pleaded with God to withhold from His ungrateful people dew and rain, the treasures of heaven, that apostate Israel might look in vain to their gods, their idols of gold, wood, and stone, the sun, moon, and stars, to water and enrich the earth, and cause it to bring forth plentifully. The Lord told Elijah that He had heard his prayer and would withhold dew and rain from His people until they should turn unto Him with repentance.  {3T 263.1}

             Achan’s Sin and Punishment

     God had specially guarded His people against mingling with the idolatrous nations around them, lest their hearts should be deceived by the attractive groves and shrines, temples and altars, which were arranged in the most expensive, alluring manner to pervert the senses so that God would be supplanted in the minds of the people. {3T 263.2}

     The city of Jericho was devoted to the most extravagant idolatry. The inhabitants were very wealthy, but all the riches that God had given them they counted as the gift of their gods. They had gold and silver in abundance; but, like the people before the Flood, they were corrupt and blasphemous, and insulted and provoked the God of heaven by their wicked works. God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord’s host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground. God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. These should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord. The word of the Lord to the people was: “And ye, in anywise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” “And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.”  {3T 264.1}

     God was very particular in regard to Jericho, lest the people should be charmed with the things that the inhabitants had worshiped and their hearts be diverted from God. He guarded His people by most positive commands; yet notwithstanding the solemn injunction from God by the mouth of Joshua, Achan ventured to transgress. His covetousness led him to take of the treasures that God had forbidden him to touch because the curse of God was upon them. And because of this man’s sin the Israel of God were as weak as water before their enemies.  {3T 264.2}

     Joshua and the elders of Israel were in great affliction. They lay before the ark of God in most abject humility because the Lord was wroth with His people. They prayed and wept before God. The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”  {3T 264.3}

                   Duty to Reprove Sin

     I have been shown that God here illustrates how He regards sin among those who profess to be His commandment-keeping people. Those whom He has specially honored with witnessing the remarkable exhibitions of His power, as did ancient Israel, and who will even then venture to disregard His express directions, will be subjects of His wrath. He would teach His people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to Him and are not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away.  {3T 265.1}

     The prejudice which has arisen against us because we have reproved the wrongs that God has shown me existed, and the cry that has been raised of harshness and severity, are unjust. God bids us speak, and we will not be silent. If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it.  {3T 265.2}

     The spirit of hatred which has existed with some because the wrongs among God’s people have been reproved has brought blindness and a fearful deception upon their own souls, making it impossible for them to discriminate between right and wrong. They have put out their own spiritual eyesight. They may witness wrongs, but they do not feel as did Joshua and humble themselves because the danger of souls is felt by them.  {3T 266.1}

     The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” {3T 266.2}

     Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God and who murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! Unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work and in holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, they will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of the wicked, represented by the work of the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.  {3T 267.1}

     But the general slaughter of all those who do not thus see the wide contrast between sin and righteousness, and do not feel as those do who stand in the counsel of God and receive the mark, is described in the order to the five men with slaughter weapons: “Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.”  {3T 267.2}

     In the case of Achan’s sin God said to Joshua: “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.” How does this instance compare with the course pursued by those who will not raise their voice against sin and wrong, but whose sympathies are ever found with those who trouble the camp of Israel with their sins? Said God to Joshua: “Thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.” He pronounced the punishment which would follow the transgression of His covenant.  {3T 267.3}

     Joshua then began a diligent search to find out the guilty one. He took Israel by their tribes, then by their families, and next individually; and Achan was designated as the guilty one. But that the matter might be plain to all Israel, that there should be no occasion given them to murmur and to say that the guiltless was made to suffer, Joshua used policy. He knew Achan was the transgressor and that he had concealed his sin and provoked God against His people. Joshua discreetly induced Achan to make confession of his sin, that God’s honor and justice might be vindicated before Israel. “And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.  {3T 268.1}

     “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”  {3T 268.2}

     The Lord told Joshua that Achan had not only taken the things which He had positively charged them not to take, lest they be accursed, but he had stolen and had also dissembled. The Lord said that Jericho and all its spoils should be consumed, except the gold and silver, which were to be reserved for the treasury of the Lord. The victory of taking Jericho was not obtained through warfare or the exposure of the people. The Captain of the Lord’s host had led the armies of heaven. The battle was the Lord’s; it was He who fought the battle. The children of Israel did not strike a blow. The victory and glory were the Lord’s, and the spoils were His. He directed all to be consumed except the gold and silver, which He reserved for His treasury. Achan understood well the reserve made and that the treasures of gold and silver which he coveted were the Lord’s. He stole from God’s treasury for his own benefit.  {3T 268.3}

            Covetousness Among God’s People

     I saw that many who profess to be keeping the commandments of God are appropriating to their own use the means which the Lord has entrusted to them and which should come into His treasury. They rob God in tithes and in offerings. They dissemble and withhold from Him to their own hurt. They bring leanness and poverty upon themselves and darkness upon the church because of their covetousness, their dissembling, and their robbing God in tithes and in offerings.  {3T 269.1}

     I saw that many souls will sink in darkness because of their covetousness. The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. But to deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged. All are not fitted to correct the erring. They have not wisdom to deal justly, while loving mercy. They are not inclined to see the necessity of mingling love and tender compassion with faithful reproofs. Some are ever needlessly severe, and do not feel the necessity of the injunction of the apostle: “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.”  {3T 269.2}

     There are many who do not have the discretion of Joshua and who have no special duty to search out wrongs and to deal promptly with the sins existing among them. Let not such hinder those who have the burden of this work upon them; let them not stand in the way of those who have this duty to do. Some make it a point to question and doubt and find fault because others do the work that God has not laid upon them. These stand directly in the way to hinder those upon whom God has laid the burden of reproving and correcting prevailing sins in order that His frown may be turned away from His people. Should a case like Achan’s be among us, there are many who would accuse those who might act the part of Joshua in searching out the wrong, of having a wicked, fault-finding spirit. God is not to be trifled with and His warnings disregarded with impunity by a perverse people.  {3T 270.1}

     I was shown that the manner of Achan’s confession was similar to the confessions that some among us have made and will make. They hide their wrongs and refuse to make a voluntary confession until God searches them out, and then they acknowledge their sins. A few persons pass on in a course of wrong until they become hardened. They may even know that the church is burdened, as Achan knew that Israel were made weak before their enemies because of his guilt. Yet their consciences do not condemn them. They will not relieve the church by humbling their proud, rebellious hearts before God and putting away their wrongs. God’s displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions.  {3T 270.2}

     Those who work in the fear of God to rid the church of hindrances and to correct grievous wrongs, that the people of God may see the necessity of abhorring sin and may prosper in purity, and that the name of God may be glorified, will ever meet with resisting influences from the unconsecrated. Zephaniah thus describes the true state of this class and the terrible judgments that will come upon them:  {3T 270.3}

     “And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil.” “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.”  {3T 271.1}

               Confessions Made Too Late

     When a crisis finally comes, as it surely will, and God speaks in behalf of His people, those who have sinned, those who have been a cloud of darkness and who have stood directly in the way of God’s working for His people, may become alarmed at the length they have gone in murmuring and in bringing discouragement upon the cause; and, like Achan, becoming terrified, they may acknowledge that they have sinned. But their confessions are too late and are not of the right kind to benefit themselves, although they may relieve the cause of God. Such do not make their confessions because of a conviction of their true state and a sense of how displeasing their course has been to God. God may give this class another test, another proving, and let them show that they are no better prepared to stand free from all rebellion and sin than before their confessions were made. They are inclined to be ever on the side of wrong. And when the call is made for those who will be on the Lord’s side to make a decided move to vindicate the right, they will manifest their true position. Those who have been nearly all their lives controlled by a spirit as foreign to the Spirit of God as was Achan’s will be very passive when the time comes for decided action on the part of all. They will not claim to be on either side. The power of Satan has so long held them that they seem blinded and have no inclination to stand in defense of right. If they do not take a determined course on the wrong side, it is not because they have a clear sense of the right, but because they dare not.  {3T 271.2}

     God will not be trifled with. It is in the time of conflict that the true colors should be flung to the breeze. It is then that the standard-bearers need to be firm and let their true position be known. It is then that the skill of every true soldier for the right is tested. Shirkers can never wear the laurels of victory. Those who are true and loyal will not conceal the fact, but will put heart and might into the work, and venture their all in the struggle, let the battle turn as it will. God is a sin-hating God. And those who encourage the sinner, saying, It is well with thee, God will curse.  {3T 272.1}

     Confessions of sin made at the right time to relieve the people of God will be accepted of Him. But there are those among us who will make confessions, as did Achan, too late to save themselves. God may prove them and give them another trial, for the sake of evidencing to His people that they will not endure one test, one proving of God. They are not in harmony with right. They despise the straight testimony that reaches the heart, and would rejoice to see everyone silenced who gives reproof. {3T 272.2}

                   Elijah Reproves Ahab

     The people of Israel had gradually lost their fear and reverence for God until His word through Joshua had no weight with them. “In his [Ahab’s] days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his first-born, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.”  {3T 273.1}

     While Israel was apostatizing, Elijah remained a loyal and true prophet of God. His faithful soul was greatly distressed as he saw that unbelief and infidelity were fast separating the children of Israel from God, and he prayed that God would save His people. He entreated that the Lord would not wholly cast away His sinning people, but that He would by judgments if necessary arouse them to repentance and not permit them to go to still greater lengths in sin and thus provoke Him to destroy them as a nation.  {3T 273.2}

     The message of the Lord came to Elijah to go to Ahab with the denunciations of His judgments because of the sins of Israel. Elijah traveled day and night until he reached the palace of Ahab. He solicited no admission, and waited not to be formally announced. All unexpectedly to Ahab, Elijah stands before the astonished king of Samaria in the coarse garments usually worn by the prophets. He makes no apology for his abrupt appearance, without invitation; but, raising his hands to heaven, he solemnly affirms by the living God, who made the heavens and the earth, the judgments which would come upon Israel: “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”  {3T 273.3}

     This startling denunciation of God’s judgments because of the sins of Israel fell like a thunderbolt upon the apostate king. He seemed to be paralyzed with amazement and terror; and before he could recover from his astonishment, Elijah, without waiting to see the effect of his message, disappeared as suddenly as he came. His work was to speak the word of woe from God, and he instantly withdrew. His word had locked up the treasures of heaven, and his word was the only key which could open them again.  {3T 273.4}

     The Lord knew that there was no safety for His servant among the children of Israel. He would not trust him with apostate Israel, but sent him to find an asylum among a heathen nation. He directed him to a woman who was a widow and who was in such poverty that she could barely sustain life with the most meager fare. A heathen woman living up to the best light she had was in a more acceptable state with God than the widows of Israel, who had been blessed with special privileges and great light, and yet did not live according to the light which God had given them. As the Hebrews had rejected light, they were left in darkness, and God would not trust His servant among His people, who had provoked His divine anger.  {3T 274.1}

     Now there is an opportunity for apostate Ahab and pagan Jezebel to test the power of their gods and to prove the word of Elijah false. Jezebel’s prophets are numbered by hundreds. Against them all stands Elijah, alone. His word has locked heaven. If Baal can give dew and rain, and cause vegetation to flourish; if he can cause the brooks and streams to flow on as usual, independent of the treasures of heaven in the showers of rain, then let the king of Israel worship him and the people say that he is God.  {3T 274.2}

     Elijah was a man subject to like passions as ourselves. His mission to Ahab, and the terrible denunciation to him of the judgments of God, required courage and faith. On his way to Samaria the perpetually flowing streams, the hills covered with verdure, the forests of stately, flourishing trees,–everything his eye rested upon flourishing in beauty and glory,– would naturally suggest unbelief. How can all these things in nature, now so flourishing, be burned with drought? How can these streams that water the land and that have never been known to cease their flow, become dry? But Elijah did not cherish unbelief. He went forth on his mission at the peril of his life. He fully believed that God would humble His apostate people and that through the visitation of His judgments He would bring them to humiliation and repentance. He ventured everything in the mission before him.  {3T 274.3}

     When Ahab recovers in a degree from his astonishment at the words of Elijah, the prophet is gone. He makes diligent inquiry for him, but no one has seen him or can give any information respecting him. Ahab informs Jezebel of the word of woe that Elijah has uttered in his presence, and her hatred against the prophet is expressed to the priests of Baal. They unite with her in denouncing and cursing the prophet of Jehovah. The news of the prophet’s denunciations spread throughout the land, arousing the fears of some and the wrath of many.  {3T 275.1}

     After a few months the earth, unrefreshed by dew or rain, becomes dry, and vegetation withers. The streams that have never been known to cease their flow, decrease, and the brooks dry up. Jezebel’s prophets offer sacrifices to their gods and call upon them night and day to refresh the earth by dew and rain. But the incantations and deceptions formerly practiced by them to deceive the people do not answer the purpose now. The priests have done everything to appease the anger of their gods; with a perseverance and zeal worthy of a better cause have they lingered around their pagan altars, while the flames of sacrifice burn on all the high places, and the fearful cries and entreaties of the priests of Baal are heard night after night through doomed Samaria. But the clouds do not appear in the heavens to cut off the burning rays of the sun. The word of Elijah stands firm, and nothing that Baal’s priests can do will change it.  {3T 275.2}

     An entire year passes, and another commences, and yet there is no rain. The earth is parched as though a fire had passed over it. The flourishing fields are as the scorching desert. The air becomes dry and suffocating, and the dust-storm blinds the eyes and nearly stops the breath. The groves of Baal are leafless, and the forest trees give no shade, but appear as skeletons. Hunger and thirst are telling upon man and beast with fearful mortality.  {3T 275.3}

     All this evidence of God’s justice and judgment does not awaken Israel to repentance. Jezebel is filled with insane madness. She will not bend nor yield to the God of heaven. Baal’s prophets, Ahab, Jezebel, and nearly the whole of Israel, charge their calamity upon Elijah. Ahab has sent to every kingdom and nation in search of the strange prophet and has required an oath of the kingdoms and nations of Israel that they know nothing in regard to him. Elijah had locked heaven with his word and had taken the key with him, and he could not be found.  {3T 276.1}

     Jezebel then decides that as she cannot make Elijah feel her murderous power, she will be revenged by destroying the prophets of God in Israel. No one who professed to be a prophet of God shall live. This determined, infuriated woman executes her work of madness by slaying the Lord’s prophets. Baal’s priests and nearly all Israel are so far deluded that they think that if the prophets of God were slain, the calamity under which they are suffering would be averted.  {3T 276.2}

     But the second year passes, and the pitiless heavens give no rain. Drought and famine are doing their sad work, and yet the apostate Israelites do not humble their proud, sinful hearts before God; but they murmur and complain against the prophet of God who brought this dreadful state of things upon them. Fathers and mothers see their children perish, with no power to relieve them. And yet the people are in such terrible darkness that they cannot see that the justice of God is awakened against them because of their sins and that this terrible calamity is sent in mercy to them to save them from fully denying and forsaking the God of their fathers.  {3T 276.3}

     It cost Israel suffering and great affliction to be brought to that repentance that was necessary in order to recover their lost faith and a clear sense of their responsibility to God. Their apostasy was more dreadful than drought or famine. Elijah waited and prayed in faith through the long years of drought and famine that the hearts of Israel, through their affliction, might be turned from their idolatry to allegiance to God. But notwithstanding all their sufferings, they stood firm in their idolatry and looked upon the prophet of God as the cause of their calamity. And if they could have had Elijah in their power they would have delivered him to Jezebel, that she might satisfy her revenge by taking his life. Because Elijah dared to utter the word of woe which God bade him, he made himself the object of their hatred. They could not see God’s hand in the judgments under which they were suffering because of their sins, but charged them to the man Elijah. They abhorred not the sins which had brought them under the chastening rod, but hated the faithful prophet, God’s instrument to denounce their sins and calamity.  {3T 276.4}

     “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” Elijah hesitates not to start on his perilous journey. For three years he had been hated, and hunted from city to city by the mandate of the king, and the whole nation have given their oath that he cannot be found. And now, by the word of God, he is to present himself before Ahab.  {3T 277.1}

     During the apostasy of all Israel, and while his master is a worshiper of Baal, the governor of Ahab’s house has proved faithful to God. At the risk of his own life he has preserved the prophets of God by hiding them by fifties in a cave and feeding them. While the servant of Ahab is searching throughout the kingdom for springs and brooks of water, Elijah presents himself before him. Obadiah reverenced the prophet of God, but as Elijah sends him with a message to the king, he is greatly terrified. He sees danger and death to himself and also to Elijah. He pleads earnestly that his life may not be sacrificed; but Elijah assures him with an oath that he will see Ahab that day. The prophet will not go to Ahab but as one of God’s messengers, to command respect, and he sends a message by Obadiah: “Behold, Elijah is here.” If Ahab wants to see Elijah, he now has the opportunity to come to him. Elijah will not go to Ahab.  {3T 277.2}

     With astonishment mingled with terror the king hears the message that Elijah whom he fears and hates, is coming to meet him. He has long sought for the prophet that he might destroy him, and he knows that Elijah would not expose his life to come to him unless guarded or with some terrible denunciation. He remembers the withered arm of Jeroboam and decides that it is not safe to lift up his hand against the messenger of God. And with fear and trembling, and with a large retinue and an imposing display of armies, he hastens to meet Elijah. And as he meets face to face the man whom he has so long sought, he dares not harm him. The king, so passionate, and so filled with hatred against Elijah, seems to be powerless and unmanned in his presence. As he meets the prophet he cannot refrain from speaking the language of his heart: “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Elijah, indignant, and jealous for the honor and glory of God, answers the charge of Ahab with boldness: “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord.”  {3T 278.1}

     The prophet, as God’s messenger, had reproved the sins of the people, denouncing upon them the judgments of God because of their wickedness. And now, standing alone in conscious innocence, firm in his integrity, surrounded by the train of armed men, Elijah shows no timidity, neither does he show the least reverence to the king. The man whom God has talked with, and who has a clear sense of how God regards man in his sinful depravity, has no apology to make to Ahab nor homage to give him. As God’s messenger, Elijah now commands and Ahab at once obeys as though Elijah were monarch and he the subject. {3T 278.2}

            The Sacrifice on Mount Carmel

     Elijah demands a convocation at Carmel of all Israel and also of all the prophets of Baal. The awful solemnity in the looks of the prophet gives him the appearance of one standing in the presence of the Lord God of Israel. The condition of Israel in their apostasy demands a firm demeanor, stern speech, and commanding authority. God prepares the message to fit the time and occasion. Sometimes He puts His Spirit upon His messengers to sound an alarm day and night, as did His messenger John: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” Then, again, men of action are needed who will not be swerved from duty, but whose energy will arouse and demand, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” let him come over with us. God will have a fitting message to meet His people in their varied conditions.  {3T 279.1}

     Swift messengers are sent throughout the kingdom with the message from Elijah. Representatives are sent from cities, towns, villages, and families. All seem in haste to answer the call, as though some wonderful miracle is to be performed. According to Elijah’s command, Ahab gathers the prophets of Baal at Carmel. The heart of Israel’s apostate leader is overawed, and he tremblingly follows the direction of the stern prophet of God.  {3T 279.2}

     The people assemble upon Mount Carmel, a place of beauty when the dew and rain fall upon it causing it to flourish; but now its beauty is languishing under the curse of God. Upon this mount, which was the excellency of groves and flowers, Baal’s prophets had erected altars for their pagan worship. This mountain was conspicuous; it overlooked the surrounding countries and was in sight of a large portion of the kingdom. As God had been signally dishonored by the idolatrous worship carried on here, Elijah chose this as the most conspicuous place for the display of God’s power and to vindicate His honor.  {3T 279.3}

     Jezebel’s prophets, eight hundred and fifty in number, like a regiment of soldiers prepared for battle, march out in a body with instrumental music and imposing display. But there is trembling in their hearts as they consider that at the word of this prophet of Jehovah the land of Israel has been destitute of dew and rain three years. They feel that some fearful crisis is at hand. They had trusted in their gods, but could not unsay the words of Elijah and prove him false. Their gods were indifferent to their frantic cries, prayers, and sacrifices.  {3T 279.4}

     Elijah, early in the morning, stands upon Mount Carmel, surrounded by apostate Israel and the prophets of Baal. A lone man in that vast multitude, he stands undaunted. He whom the whole kingdom has charged with its weight of woe is before them, unterrified and unattended by visible armies and imposing display. He stands, clad in his coarse garment, with awful solemnity in his countenance, as though fully aware of his sacred commission as the servant of God to execute His commands. Elijah fastens his eyes upon the highest ridge of mountains where had stood the altar of Jehovah when the mountain was covered with flourishing trees and flowers. The blight of God is now upon it; all the desolation of Israel is in full view of the neglected, torn-down altar of Jehovah, and in sight are the altars of Baal. Ahab stands at the head of the priests of Baal, and all wait in anxious, fearful expectation for the words of Elijah.  {3T 280.1}

     In the full light of the sun, surrounded by thousands,–men of war, prophets of Baal, and the monarch of Israel,–stands the defenseless man, Elijah, apparently alone, yet not alone. The most powerful host of heaven surrounds him. Angels who excel in strength have come from heaven to shield the faithful and righteous prophet. With stern and commanding voice Elijah cries: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Not one in that vast assembly dared utter one word for God and show his loyalty to Jehovah.  {3T 280.2}

     What astonishing deception and fearful blindness had, like a dark cloud, covered Israel! This blindness and apostasy had not closed about them suddenly; it had come upon them gradually as they had not heeded the word of reproof and warning which the Lord had sent to them because of their pride and their sins. And now, in this fearful crisis, in the presence of the idolatrous priests and the apostate king, they remained neutral. If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God.  {3T 280.3}

     All Israel is silent. Again the voice of Elijah is heard addressing them: “I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.”  {3T 281.1}

     The proposition of Elijah is reasonable. The people dare not evade it, and they find courage to answer: The word is good. The prophets of Baal dare not dissent or evade the matter. God has directed this trial and has prepared confusion for the authors of idolatry and a signal triumph for His name. The priests of Baal dare not do otherwise than accept the conditions. With terror and guiltiness in their hearts, while outwardly bold and defiant, they rear their altar, lay on the wood and the victim, and then begin their incantations, their chanting and bawling, characteristics of pagan worship. Their shrill cries re-echo through forests and mountains: “O Baal, hear us.” The priests gather in an army about their altars, and with leaping, and writhing, and screaming, and stamping, and with unnatural gestures, and tearing their hair, and cutting their flesh, they manifest apparent sincerity.  {3T 281.2}

     The morning passes and noon comes, and yet there is no move of their gods in pity to Baal’s priests, the deluded worshipers of idols. No voice answers their frantic cries. The priests are continually devising how, by deception, they can kindle a fire upon the altars and give the glory to Baal. But the firm eye of Elijah watches every motion. Eight hundred voices become hoarse. Their garments are covered with blood, and yet their frantic excitement does not abate. Their pleadings are mingled with cursings to their sun-god that he does not send fire for their altars. Elijah stands by, watching with eagle eye lest any deception should be practiced; for he knows that if, by any device, they could kindle their altar fire, he would be torn in pieces upon the spot. He wishes to show the people the folly of their doubting and halting between two opinions when they have the wonderful works of God’s majestic power in their behalf and innumerable evidences of His infinite mercies and loving-kindness toward them.  {3T 282.1}

     “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.”  {3T 282.2}

     How gladly would Satan, who fell like lightning from heaven, come to the help of those whom he has deceived, whose minds he has controlled, and who are fully devoted to his service. Gladly would he send the lightning and kindle their sacrifices; but Jehovah has set Satan’s bounds. He has restrained his power, and all his devices cannot convey one spark to Baal’s altars. Evening draws on. The prophets of Baal are weary, faint, and confused. One suggests one thing, and one another, until they cease their efforts. Their shrieks and curses no longer resound over Mount Carmel. With weakness and despair they retire from the contest.  {3T 282.3}

     The people have witnessed the terrible demonstrations of the unreasonable, frantic priests. They have beheld their leaping upon the altar as though they would grasp the burning rays from the sun to serve their altars. They have become tired of the exhibitions of demonism, of pagan idolatry; and they feel earnest and anxious to hear what Elijah will speak.  {3T 283.1}

     Elijah’s turn has now come. “And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the Lord God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.”  {3T 283.2}

     Elijah at the hour of evening sacrifice repairs the altar of God which the apostasy of Israel has allowed the priests of Baal to tear down. He does not call upon one of the people to aid him in his laborious work. The altars of Baal are all prepared; but he turns to the broken-down altar of God, which is more sacred and precious to him in its unsightly ruins than all the magnificent altars of Baal.  {3T 284.1}

     Elijah respects the Lord’s covenant with His people, although they have apostatized. With calmness and solemnity he repairs the broken-down altar with twelve stones, according to the number of the twelve tribes of Israel. The disappointed priests of Baal, wearied with their vain, frenzied efforts, are sitting or lying prostrate on the ground, waiting to see what Elijah will do. They are filled with fear and hatred toward the prophet for proposing a test which has exposed their weakness and the inefficiency of their gods.  {3T 284.2}

     The people of Israel stand spellbound, pale, anxious, and almost breathless with awe, while Elijah calls upon Jehovah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The people have witnessed the fanatical, unreasonable frenzy of the prophets of Baal. In contrast they are now privileged to witness the calm, awe-inspiring deportment of Elijah. He reminds the people of their degeneracy, which has awakened the wrath of God against them, and then calls upon them to humble their hearts and turn to the God of their fathers, that His curse may be removed from them. Ahab and his idolatrous priests are looking on with amazement mingled with terror. They await the result with anxious, solemn silence.  {3T 284.3}

     After the victim is laid upon the altar, he commands the people to flood the sacrifice and the altar with water, and to fill the trench round about the altar. He then reverentially bows before the unseen God, raises his hands toward heaven, and offers a calm and simple prayer, unattended with violent gestures or contortions of the body. No shrieks resound over Carmel’s height. A solemn silence, which is oppressive to the priests of Baal, rests upon all. In his prayer, Elijah makes use of no extravagant expressions. He prays to Jehovah as though He were nigh, witnessing the whole scene, and hearing his sincere, fervent, yet simple prayer. Baal’s priests have screamed, and foamed, and leaped, and prayed, very long– from morning until near evening. Elijah’s prayer is very short, earnest, reverential, and sincere. No sooner is that prayer uttered than flames of fire descend from heaven in a distinct manner, like a brilliant flash of lightning, kindling the wood for sacrifice and consuming the victim, licking up the water in the trench and consuming even the stones of the altar. The brilliancy of the blaze illumes the mountain and is painful to the eyes of the multitude. The people of the kingdom of Israel not gathered upon the mount are watching with interest those there assembled. As the fire descends, they witness it and are amazed at the sight. It resembles the pillar of fire at the Red Sea, which by night separated the children of Israel from the Egyptian host.  {3T 284.4}

     The people upon the mountain prostrate themselves in terror and awe before the unseen God. They cannot look upon the bright consuming fire sent from heaven. They fear that they will be consumed in their apostasy and sins, and cry out with one voice, which resounds over the mountain and echoes to the plains below with terrible distinctness: “The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God.” Israel is at last aroused and undeceived. They see their sin and how greatly they have dishonored God. Their anger is aroused against the prophets of Baal. With terror, Ahab and Baal’s priests witness the wonderful exhibition of Jehovah’s power. Again the voice of Elijah is heard in startling words of command to the people: “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” The people are ready to obey his word. They seize the false prophets who have deluded them, and bring them to the brook Kishon, and there, with his own hand, Elijah slays these idolatrous priests.  {3T 285.1}

     The judgments of God having been executed upon the false priests, the people having confessed their sins and acknowledged their fathers’ God, the withering curse of God is now to be withdrawn, and He is to renew His blessings unto His people and again refresh the earth with dew and rain.  {3T 286.1}

     Elijah addresses Ahab: “Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” While Ahab went up to feast, Elijah went up from the fearful sacrifice to the top of Mount Carmel to pray. His work of slaying the pagan priests had not unfitted him for the solemn exercise of prayer. He had performed the will of God. After he had, as God’s instrument, done what he could to remove the cause of Israel’s apostasy by slaying the idolatrous priests, he could do no more. He then intercedes in behalf of sinning, apostate Israel. In the most painful position, his face bowed between his knees, he most earnestly supplicates God to send rain. Six times in succession he sends his servant to see if there is any visible token that God has heard his prayer. He does not become impatient and faithless because the Lord does not immediately give the token that his prayer is heard. He continues in earnest prayer, sending his servant seven times to see if God has granted any signal. His servant returns the sixth time from his outlook toward the sea with the discouraging report that there is no sign of clouds forming in the brassy heavens. The seventh time he informs Elijah that there is a small cloud to be seen, about the size of a man’s hand. This is enough to satisfy the faith of Elijah. He does not wait for the heavens to gather blackness, to make the matter sure. In that small, rising cloud his faith hears the sound of abundance of rain. His works are in accordance with his faith. He sends a message to Ahab by his servant: “Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.” {3T 286.2}

                   Elijah’s Humility

     Here Elijah ventured something upon his faith. He did not wait for sight. “And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”  {3T 287.1}

     Elijah had passed through great excitement and labor during the day; but the Spirit of the Lord came upon him because he had been obedient and had done His will in executing the idolatrous priests. Some will be ready to say: What a hard, cruel man Elijah must have been! And anyone who defends the honor of God at any risk will bring censure and condemnation upon himself from a large class.  {3T 287.2}

     The rain began to descend. It was night, and the blinding rain prevented Ahab from seeing his course. Elijah, nerved by the Spirit and power of God, girded his coarse garment about him and ran before the chariot of Ahab, guiding his course to the entrance of the city. The prophet of God had humiliated Ahab before his people. He had slain his idolatrous priests, and now he wished to show to Israel that he acknowledged Ahab as his king. As an act of special homage he guided his chariot, running before it to the entrance of the gate of the city.  {3T 287.3}

     Here is a lesson for young men who profess to be servants of God, bearing His message, who are exalted in their own estimation. They can trace nothing remarkable in their experience, as could Elijah, yet they feel above performing duties which to them appear menial. They will not come down from their ministerial dignity to do needful service, fearing that they will be doing the work of a servant. All such should learn from the example of Elijah. His word locked the treasures of heaven, the dew and rain, from the earth three years. His word alone was the key to unlock heaven and bring showers of rain. He was honored of God as he offered his simple prayer in the presence of the king and the thousands of Israel, in answer to which fire flashed from heaven and kindled the fire upon the altar of sacrifice. His hand executed the judgment of God in slaying eight hundred and fifty priests of Baal; and yet, after the exhausting toil and most signal triumph of the day, he who could bring clouds and rain and fire from heaven was willing to perform the service of a menial and run before the chariot of Ahab in the darkness and in the wind and rain to serve the sovereign whom he had not feared to rebuke to his face because of his sins and crimes. The king passed within the gates. Elijah wrapped himself in his mantle and lay upon the bare earth.  {3T 287.4}

                 Elijah in Despondency

     After Elijah had shown such undaunted courage in a contest between life and death, after he had triumphed over the king, the priests, and the people, we would naturally suppose that he would never give way to despondency or be awed into timidity.  {3T 288.1}

     After his first appearance to Ahab, denouncing upon him the judgments of God because of his and Israel’s apostasy, God directed his course from Jezebel’s power to a place of safety in the mountains, by the brook Cherith. There He honored Elijah by sending food to him morning and evening by an angel of heaven. Then, as the brook became dry, He sent him to the widow of Sarepta, and wrought a miracle daily to keep the widow’s family and Elijah in food. After he had been blessed with evidences of such love and care from God, we would suppose that Elijah would never distrust Him. But the apostle tells us that he was a man of like passions as we, and subject, as we are, to temptations.  {3T 288.2}

     Ahab related to his wife the wonderful events of the day and the marvelous exhibitions of the power of God showing that Jehovah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, was God; also that Elijah had slain the prophets of Baal. At this, Jezebel, who was hardened in sin, became infuriated. Bold, defiant, and determined in her idolatry, she declared to Ahab that Elijah should not live.  {3T 288.3}

     That night a messenger aroused the weary prophet and delivered the word of Jezebel, given in the name of her pagan gods, that she would, in the presence of Israel, do to Elijah as he had done to the priests of Baal. Elijah should have met this threat and oath of Jezebel with an appeal for protection to the God of heaven, who had commissioned him to do the work he had done. He should have told the messenger that the God in whom he trusted would be his protector against the hatred and threats of Jezebel. But the faith and courage of Elijah seem to forsake him. He starts up from his slumbers bewildered. The rain is pouring from the heavens, and darkness is on every side. He loses sight of God and flees for his life as though the avenger of blood were close behind him. He leaves his servant behind him on the way, and in the morning he is far from the habitations of men, upon a dreary desert alone.  {3T 289.1}

     “And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” {3T 289.2}

     Elijah should have trusted in God, who had warned him when to flee and where to find an asylum from the hatred of Jezebel, secure from the diligent search of Ahab. The Lord had not warned him at this time to flee. He had not waited for the Lord to speak to him. He moved rashly. Had he waited with faith and patience, God would have shielded His servant and would have given him another signal victory in Israel by sending His judgments upon Jezebel.  {3T 290.1}

     Weary and prostrate, Elijah sits down to rest. He is discouraged and feels like murmuring. He says. “Now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” He feels that life is no more desirable. He expected after the signal display of God’s power in the presence of Israel that they would be true and faithful to God. He expected that Jezebel would no longer have influence over the mind of Ahab and that there would be a general revolution in the kingdom of Israel. And when the threatening message from Jezebel was delivered to him, he forgot that God was the same all-powerful and pitiful God that He was when he prayed to Him for fire from heaven, and it came, and for rain, and it came. God had granted every request; yet Elijah is a fugitive far from the homes of men, and he wishes never to look upon man again.  {3T 290.2}

     How did God look upon His suffering servant? Did He forsake him because despondency and despair had seized him? Oh, no. Elijah was prostrated with discouragement. All day had he toiled without food. When he guided the chariot of Ahab, running before it to the gate of the city, he was strong of courage. He had high hopes that Israel as a nation would return to their allegiance to God and be reinstated in His favor. But the reaction which frequently follows elevation of faith and marked and glorious success, was pressing upon Elijah. He was exalted to Pisgah’s top, to be humiliated to the lowliest valley in faith and feeling. But God’s eye was still upon His servant. He loved him no less when he felt brokenhearted and forsaken of God and man than when, in answer to his prayer, fire flashed from heaven illuminating Carmel. {3T 290.3}

     Those who have not borne weighty responsibilities, or who have not been accustomed to feel very deeply, cannot understand the feelings of Elijah and are not prepared to give him the tender sympathy he deserves. God knows and can read the heart’s sore anguish under temptation and sore conflict.  {3T 291.1}

     As Elijah sleeps under the juniper tree, a soft touch and pleasant voice arouse him. He starts at once in his terror, as if to flee, as though the enemy who was in pursuit of his life had indeed found him. But in the pitying face of love bending over him he sees, not the face of an enemy, but of a friend. An angel has been sent with food from heaven to sustain the faithful servant of God. His voice says to Elijah: “Arise and eat.” After Elijah had partaken of the refreshment prepared for him, he again slumbered. A second time the angel of God ministers to the wants of Elijah. He touches the weary, exhausted man, and in pitying tenderness says to him: “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” Elijah was strengthened and pursued his journey to Horeb. He was in a wilderness. At night he lodged in a cave for protection from the wild beasts.  {3T 291.2}

     Here God, through one of His angels, met with Elijah, and inquired of him: “What doest thou here, Elijah?” I sent you to the brook Cherith, I sent you to the widow of Sarepta, I sent you to Samaria with a message to Ahab, but who sent you this long journey into the wilderness? And what errand have you here? Elijah mourns out the bitterness of his soul to the Lord: “And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”  {3T 291.3}

     Then the Lord manifests Himself to Elijah, showing him that quiet trust and firm reliance upon God will ever find Him a present help in time of need.  {3T 292.1}

     I have been shown that my husband has erred in giving way to despondency and distrust of God. Time and again has God revealed Himself to him by remarkable evidences of His care, love, and power. But when he has seen that his interest and jealousy for God and His cause have not been understood or appreciated, he has at times given way to discouragement and to despair. God has given my husband and me a special and important work to do in His cause, to reprove and counsel His people. When we see our reproofs slighted and are repaid with hatred instead of sympathy, then we have frequently let go our faith and trust in the God of Israel; and, like Elijah, we have yielded to despondency and despair. Here has been the great error in the life of my husband–his becoming discouraged because his brethren have brought trials upon him instead of helping him. And when his brethren see, in the sadness and despondency of my husband, the effect of their unbelief and lack of sympathy, some are prepared to triumph over him and take advantage of his discouraged state, and feel that, after all, God cannot be with Brother White or he would not manifest weakness in this direction. I refer such to the work of Elijah and to his despondency and discouragements. Elijah, although a prophet of God, was a man subject to like passions as we are. We have the frailties of mortal feelings to contend with. But if we trust in God, He will never leave nor forsake us. Under all circumstances we may have firm trust in God, that He will never leave nor forsake us while we preserve our integrity.  {3T 292.2}

     My husband may take courage in his affliction, that he has a pitying heavenly Father who reads the motives and understands the purposes of the soul. Those who stand in the front of the conflict, and who are reined up by the Spirit of God to do a special work for Him, will frequently feel a reaction when the pressure is removed, and despondency may sometimes press them hard and shake the most heroic faith and weaken the most steadfast minds. God understands all our weaknesses. He can pity and love when the hearts of men may be as hard as flint. To wait patiently and trust in God when everything looks dark is the lesson that my husband must learn more fully. God will not fail him in his integrity.   {3T 293.1}

Chap. 28 – Moses and Aaron

     Upon Mount Hor Aaron died and was buried. Moses, Aaron’s brother, and Eleazar, his son, accompanied him to the mount. The painful duty was laid upon Moses to remove from his brother Aaron the sacerdotal robes and place them upon Eleazar, for God had said that he should succeed Aaron in the priesthood. Moses and Eleazar witnessed the death of Aaron, and Moses buried him in the mount. This scene upon Mount Hor carries our minds back to some of the most striking events in the life of Aaron.  {3T 293.2}

     Aaron was a man of amiable disposition, whom God selected to stand with Moses and speak for him; in short, to be mouthpiece for Moses. God might have chosen Aaron as leader; but He who is acquainted with hearts, who understands character, knew that Aaron was yielding and lacked moral courage to stand in defense of the right under all circumstances, irrespective of consequences. Aaron’s desire to have the good will of the people sometimes led him to commit great wrongs. He too frequently yielded to their entreaties, and in so doing dishonored God. The same lack of firmness for the right in his family resulted in the death of two of his sons. Aaron was eminent for piety and usefulness, but he neglected to discipline his family. Rather than perform the task of requiring respect and reverence of his sons, he allowed them to follow their inclinations. He did not discipline them in self-denial, but yielded to their wishes. They were not disciplined to respect and reverence parental authority. The father was the proper ruler of his own family as long as he lived. His authority was not to cease, even after his children were grown up and had families of their own. God Himself was the monarch of the nation, and from the people He claimed obedience and honor.  {3T 293.3}

     The order and prosperity of the kingdom depended upon the good order of the church. And the prosperity, harmony, and order of the church depended upon the good order and thorough discipline of families. God punishes the unfaithfulness of parents, to whom He has entrusted the duty of maintaining the principles of parental government, which lie at the foundation of church discipline and the prosperity of the nation. One undisciplined child has frequently marred the peace and harmony of a church, and incited a nation to murmuring and rebellion. In a most solemn manner the Lord has enjoined upon children their duty to affectionately respect and honor their parents. And on the other hand He requires parents to train up their children and with unceasing diligence to educate them with regard to the claims of His law and to instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. These injunctions which God laid upon the Jews with so much solemnity, rest with equal weight upon Christian parents. Those who neglect the light and instruction which God has given in His word in regard to training their children and commanding their households after them, will have a fearful account to settle. Aaron’s criminal neglect to command the respect and reverence of his sons resulted in their death. {3T 294.1}

     God distinguished Aaron by choosing him and his male posterity for the priesthood. His sons ministered in the sacred office. Nadab and Abihu failed to reverence the command of God to offer sacred fire upon their censers with the incense before Him. God had forbidden them, upon pain of death, to present the common fire before Him with the incense.  {3T 295.1}

     But here is seen the result of loose discipline. As these sons of Aaron had not been educated to respect and reverence the commands of their father, as they disregarded parental authority, they did not realize the necessity of explicitly following the requirements of God. When indulging their appetite for wine and while under its exciting stimulus, their reason was clouded, and they could not discern the difference between the sacred and the common. Contrary to God’s express direction, they dishonored Him by offering common instead of sacred fire. God visited them with His wrath; fire went forth from His presence and destroyed them.  {3T 295.2}

     Aaron bore his severe affliction with patience and humble submission. Sorrow and keen agony wrung his soul. He was convicted of his neglect of duty. He was priest of the most high God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. He was priest of his household, yet he had been inclined to pass over the folly of his children. He had neglected his duty to train and educate them to obedience, self-denial, and reverence for parental authority. Through feelings of misplaced indulgence, he failed to mold their characters with high reverence for eternal things. Aaron did not see, any more than many Christian parents now see, that his misplaced love and the indulgence of his children in wrong was preparing them for the certain displeasure of God and for His wrath to break forth upon them to their destruction. While Aaron neglected to exercise his authority, the justice of God awakened against them. Aaron had to learn that his gentle remonstrance, without a firm exercise of parental restraint, and his imprudent tenderness toward his sons were cruelty in the extreme. God took the work of justice into His own hands and destroyed the sons of Aaron. {3T 295.3}

     When God called for Moses to come up into the mount, it was six days before he was received into the cloud, into the immediate presence of God. The top of the mountain was all aglow with the glory of God. And yet even while the children of Israel had this glory in their very sight, unbelief was so natural to them that they began to murmur with discontent because Moses was absent. While the glory of God signified His sacred presence upon the mountain, and their leader was in close converse with God, they should have been sanctifying themselves by close searching of heart, humiliation, and godly fear. God had left Aaron and Hur to take the place of Moses. In his absence the people were to consult and advise with these men of God’s appointment.  {3T 296.1}

     Here Aaron’s deficiency as a leader or governor of Israel is seen. The people beset him to make them gods to go before them into Egypt. Here was an opportunity for Aaron to show his faith and unwavering confidence in God, and with firmness and decision to meet the proposition of the people. But his natural desire to please and to yield to the people led him to sacrifice the honor of God. He requested them to bring their ornaments to him, and he wrought out for them a golden calf and proclaimed before the people: “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” And to this senseless god he made an altar and proclaimed on the morrow a feast to the Lord. All restraint seemed to be removed from the people. They offered burnt offerings to the golden calf, and a spirit of levity took possession of them. They indulged in shameful rioting and drunkenness; they ate, they drank, and rose up to play.  {3T 296.2}

     A few weeks only had passed since they had made a solemn covenant with God to obey His voice. They had listened to the words of God’s law, spoken in awful grandeur from Sinai’s mount, amid thunderings and lightnings and earthquakes. They had heard the declaration from the lips of God Himself: “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.”  {3T 296.3}

     Aaron and also his sons had been exalted by being called into the mount to there witness the glory of God. “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in His clearness.”  {3T 297.1}

     God had appointed Nadab and Abihu to a most sacred work, therefore He honored them in a most wonderful manner. He gave them a view of His excellent glory, that the scenes they should witness in the mount would abide with them and the better qualify them to minister in His service and render to Him that exalted honor and reverence before the people which would give them clearer conceptions of His character and awaken in them due obedience and reverence for all His requirements.  {3T 297.2}

     Before Moses left his people for the mount, he read to them the words of the covenant that God had made with them, and they with one voice answered: “All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient.” How great must have been the sin of Aaron, how aggravated in the sight of God!  {3T 297.3}

     While Moses was receiving the law of God in the mount, the Lord informed him of the sin of rebellious Israel and requested him to let them go, that He might destroy them. But Moses pleaded before God for the people. Although Moses was the meekest man that lived, yet when the interests of the people over whom God had appointed him as leader were at stake, he lost his natural timidity and with singular persistency and wonderful boldness pleaded with God for Israel. He would not consent that God should destroy His people, although God promised that in their destruction He would exalt Moses and raise up a better people than Israel.  {3T 297.4}

     Moses prevailed. God granted his earnest petition not to blot out His people. Moses took the tables of the covenant, the law of Ten Commandments, and descended from the mount. The boisterous, drunken revelry of the children of Israel reached his ears long before he came to the camp. When he saw their idolatry, and that they had broken in a most marked manner the words of the covenant, he became overwhelmed with grief and indignation at their base idolatry. Confusion and shame on their account took possession of him, and he there threw down the tables and broke them. As they had broken their covenant with God, Moses, in breaking the tables, signified to them that so also God had broken His covenant with them. The tables whereupon was written the law of God were broken.  {3T 298.1}

     Aaron, with his amiable disposition, so very mild and pleasing, sought to conciliate Moses, as though no very great sin had been committed by the people, over which he should feel thus deeply. Moses asked in anger: “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” Aaron would have Moses think that some wonderful miracle had transformed their golden ornaments into the shape of a calf. He did not relate to Moses that he, with other workmen, had wrought out this image.  {3T 298.2}

     Aaron had thought that Moses had been too unyielding to the wishes of the people. He thought that if Moses had been less firm, less decided at times, and that if he had made a compromise with the people and gratified their wishes, he would have had less trouble, and there would have been more peace and harmony in the camp of Israel. He, therefore, had been trying this new policy. He carried out his natural temperament by yielding to the wishes of the people, to save dissatisfaction and preserve their good will, and thereby prevent a rebellion, which he thought would certainly come if he did not yield to their wishes. But had Aaron stood unwaveringly for God; had he met the intimation of the people for him to make them gods to go before them to Egypt with the just indignation and horror that their proposition deserved; had he cited them to the terrors of Sinai, where God had spoken His law in such glory and majesty; had he reminded them of their solemn covenant with God to obey all that He should command them; had he told them that he would not, at the sacrifice of his life, yield to their entreaties, he would have had influence with the people to prevent a terrible apostasy. But when, in the absence of Moses, his influence was required to be used in the right direction, when he should have stood as firm and unyielding as did Moses, to prevent the people from pursuing a course of sin, his influence was exerted on the wrong side. He was powerless to make his influence felt in vindication of God’s honor in keeping His holy law. But on the wrong side he swayed a powerful influence. He directed, and the people obeyed.  {3T 298.3}

     When Aaron took the first step in the wrong direction, the spirit which had actuated the people imbued him, and he took the lead and directed as a general, and the people were singularly obedient. Here Aaron gave decided sanction to the most aggravated sins, because it was less difficult than to stand in vindication of the right. When he swerved from his integrity in giving sanction to the people in their sins he seemed inspired with a decision, earnestness, and zeal new to him. His timidity seemed suddenly to disappear. With a zeal that he had never manifested in standing in defense of the honor of God against wrong he seized the instruments to work out the gold into the image of a calf. He ordered an altar to be built, and, with assurance worthy of a better cause, he proclaimed to the people that on the morrow there would be a feast to the Lord. The trumpeters took the word from the mouth of Aaron and sounded the proclamation from company to company of the armies of Israel.  {3T 299.1}

     Aaron’s calm assurance in a wrong course gave him greater influence with the people than Moses could have had in leading them in a right course and in subduing their rebellion. What terrible spiritual blindness had come upon Aaron that he should put light for darkness and darkness for light! What presumption in him to proclaim a feast to the Lord over their idolatrous worship of a golden image! Here is seen the power that Satan has over minds that are not fully controlled by the Spirit of God. Satan had set up his banner in the midst of Israel, and it was exalted as the banner of God.  {3T 300.1}

     “These,” said Aaron without hesitation or shame, “be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Aaron influenced the children of Israel to go to greater lengths in idolatry than had entered their minds. They were no longer troubled lest the burning glory like flaming fire upon the mount had consumed their leader. They thought they had a general who just suited them, and they were ready to do anything that he suggested. They sacrificed to their golden god; they offered peace offerings, and gave themselves up to pleasure, rioting, and drunkenness. They were then decided in their own minds that it was not because they were wrong that they had so much trouble in the wilderness; but the difficulty, after all, was with their leader. He was not the right kind of man. He was too unyielding and kept their sins continually before them, warning, reproving, and threatening them with God’s displeasure. A new order of things had come, and they were pleased with Aaron and pleased with themselves. They thought: If Moses had only been as amiable and mild as Aaron, what peace and harmony would have prevailed in the camp of Israel! They cared not now whether Moses ever came down from the mount or not.  {3T 300.2}

     When Moses saw the idolatry of Israel and his indignation was so aroused at their shameful forgetfulness of God that he threw down the tables of stone and broke them, Aaron stood meekly by, bearing the censure of Moses with commendable patience. The people were charmed with Aaron’s lovely spirit and were disgusted with the rashness of Moses. But God seeth not as man sees. He condemned not the ardor and indignation of Moses against the base apostasy of Israel.  {3T 300.3}

     The true general then takes his position for God. He has come direct from the presence of the Lord, where he pleaded with Him to turn away His wrath from His erring people. Now he has another work to do, as God’s minister, to vindicate His honor before the people, and let them see that sin is sin, and righteousness is righteousness. He has a work to do to counteract the terrible influence of Aaron. “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother, that He may bestow upon you a blessing this day.”  {3T 301.1}

     Here Moses defines genuine consecration as obedience to God, to stand in vindication of the right and to show a readiness to carry out the purpose of God in the most unpleasant duties, showing that the claims of God are higher than the claims of friends or the lives of the nearest relatives. The sons of Levi consecrated themselves to God to execute His justice against crime and sin.  {3T 301.2}

     Aaron and Moses both sinned in not giving glory and honor to God at the waters of Meribah. They were both wearied and provoked with the continual complaining of Israel, and, at a time when God was to mercifully display His glory to the people, to soften and subdue their hearts and lead them to repentance, Moses and Aaron claimed the power of opening the rock for them. “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” Here was a golden opportunity to sanctify the Lord in the midst of them, to show them the long-suffering of God and His tender pity for them. They had murmured against Moses and Aaron because they could not find water. Moses and Aaron took these murmurings as a great trial and dishonor to themselves, forgetting that it was God whom the people were grieving. It was God whom they were sinning against and dishonoring, not those who were appointed of God to carry out His purpose. They were insulting their best Friend in charging their calamities upon Moses and Aaron; they were murmuring at God’s providence.  {3T 301.3}

     This sin of these noble leaders was great. Their lives might have been illustrious to the close. They had been greatly exalted and honored; yet God does not excuse sin in those in exalted positions any sooner than He does in those in more humble positions. Many professed Christians look upon men who do not reprove and condemn wrong, as men of piety and Christians indeed, while they think that those who stand boldly in defense of the right, and will not yield their integrity to unconsecrated influences, lack piety and a Christian spirit.  {3T 302.1}

     Those who stand in defense of the honor of God and maintain the purity of truth at any cost will have manifold trials, as did our Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. While those who have yielding temperaments, who have not courage to condemn wrong, but keep silent when their influence is needed to stand in defense of the right against any pressure, may avoid many heartaches and escape many perplexities, they will also lose a very rich reward, if not their own souls. Those who are in harmony with God, and who through faith in Him receive strength to resist wrong and stand in defense of the right, will always have severe conflicts and will frequently have to stand almost alone. But precious victories will be theirs while they make God their dependence. His grace will be their strength. Their moral sensibility will be keen and clear, and their moral powers will be able to withstand wrong influences. Their integrity, like that of Moses, will be of the purest character.  {3T 302.2}

     The mild and yielding spirit of Aaron, and his desire to please the people, blinded his eyes to their sins and to the enormity of the crime that he was sanctioning. His course in giving influence to wrong and sin in Israel cost the lives of three thousand men. In what contrast with this is the course of Moses. After he had evidenced to the people that they could not trifle with God with impunity; after he had shown them the just displeasure of God because of their sins, by giving the terrible decree to slay friends or relatives who persisted in their apostasy; after the work of justice to turn away the wrath of God, irrespective of their feelings of sympathy for loved friends and relatives who continued obstinate in their rebellion–after this, Moses was prepared for another work. He proved who was the true friend of God and the friend of the people.  {3T 303.1}

     “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou has written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of My book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, Mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the Lord plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”  {3T 303.2}

     Moses supplicated God in behalf of sinning Israel. He did not try to lessen their sin before God; he did not excuse them in their sin. He frankly acknowledged that they had sinned a great sin and had made them gods of gold. Then he loses his timidity, and the interest of Israel is so closely interwoven with his life that he comes with boldness to God and prays for Him to forgive His people. If their sin, he pleads, is so great that God cannot forgive them, if their names must be blotted from His book, he prays the Lord to blot out his name also. When the Lord renewed His promise to Moses, that His Angel should go before him in leading the people to the Promised Land, Moses knew that his request was granted. But the Lord assured Moses that if He was provoked to visit the people for their transgressions, He would surely punish them for this grievous sin also. But if they were henceforth obedient, He would blot this great sin out of His book.   {3T 303.3}

Chap. 32 – Appeal to the Young

     Dear Youth: From time to time the Lord has given me testimonies of warning for you. He has given you encouragement if you would yield your hearts’ best and holiest affections to Him. As these warnings revive distinctly before me, I feel a sense of your danger that I know you do not feel. The school located in Battle Creek brings together many young people of different mental organizations. If these youth are not consecrated to God and obedient to His will, and do not walk humbly in the way of His commandments, the location of a school in Battle Creek will prove a means of great discouragement to the church. This school may be made a blessing or a curse. I entreat you who have named the name of Christ to depart from all iniquity and develop characters that God can approve.  {3T 362.1}

     I inquire: Do you believe that the testimonies of reproof which have been given you are of God? If you really believe that the voice of God has spoken to you, pointing out your dangers, do you heed the counsels given? Do you keep these testimonies of warning fresh in your minds by reading them often with prayerful hearts? The Lord has spoken to you, children and youth, again and again; but you have been slow to heed the warnings given. If you have not rebelliously braced your hearts against the views that God has given of your characters and your dangers, and against the course

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marked out for you to pursue, some of you have been inattentive in regard to the things required of you that you might gain spiritual strength and be a blessing in the school, in the church, and to all with whom you associate.  {3T 362.2}

     Young men and women, you are accountable to God for the light that He has given you. This light and these warnings, if not heeded, will rise up in the judgment against you. Your dangers have been plainly stated; you have been cautioned and guarded on every side, hedged in with warnings. In the house of God you have listened to the most solemn, heart-searching truths presented by the servants of God in demonstration of the Spirit. What weight do these solemn appeals have upon your hearts? What influence do they have upon your characters? You will be held responsible for every one of these appeals and warnings. They will rise up in the judgment to condemn those who pursue a life of vanity, levity, and pride.  {3T 363.1}

     Dear young friends, that which you sow, you will also reap. Now is the sowing time for you. What will the harvest be? What are you sowing? Every word you utter, every act you perform, is a seed which will bear good or evil fruit and will result in joy or sorrow to the sower. As is the seed sown, so will be the crop. God has given you great light and many privileges. After this light has been given, after your dangers have been plainly presented before you, the responsibility becomes yours. The manner in which you treat the light that God gives you will turn the scale for happiness or woe. You are shaping your destinies for yourselves.  {3T 363.2}

     You all have an influence for good or for evil on the minds and characters of others. And just the influence which you exert is written in the book of records in heaven. An angel is attending you and taking record of your words and actions. When you rise in the morning, do you feel your helplessness and your need of strength from God? and do you humbly, heartily make known your wants to your heavenly Father? If so, angels mark your prayers, and if these prayers have not gone forth out of feigned lips, when you are in danger of

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unconsciously doing wrong and exerting an influence which will lead others to do wrong, your guardian angel will be by your side, prompting you to a better course, choosing your words for you, and influencing your actions.  {3T 363.3}

     If you feel in no danger, and if you offer no prayer for help and strength to resist temptations, you will be sure to go astray; your neglect of duty will be marked in the book of God in heaven, and you will be found wanting in the trying day. There are some around you who have been religiously instructed, and some who have been indulged, petted, flattered, and praised until they have been literally spoiled for practical life. I am speaking in regard to persons that I know. Their characters are so warped by indulgence, flattery, and indolence that they are useless for this life. And if useless so far as this life is concerned, what may we hope for that life where all is purity and holiness, and where all have harmonious characters? I have prayed for these persons; I have addressed them personally. I could see the influence that they would exert over other minds in leading them to vanity, love of dress, and carelessness in regard to their eternal interests. The only hope for this class is for them to take heed to their ways, humble their proud, vain hearts before God, make confession of their sins, and be converted.  {3T 364.1}

     Vanity in dress as well as the love of amusement is a great temptation for the youth. God has sacred claims upon us all. He claims the whole heart, the whole soul, the whole affections. The answer which is sometimes made to this statement is: “Oh, I do not profess to be a Christian!” What if you do not? Has not God the same claims upon you that He has upon the one who professes to be His child? Because you are bold in your careless disregard of sacred things, is your sin of neglect and rebellion passed over by the Lord? Every day that you disregard the claims of God, every opportunity of offered mercy that you slight, is charged to your account and will swell the list of sins against you in the day when the accounts of every soul will be investigated. I address you, young men and women, professors or nonprofessors: God calls for your

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affections, for your cheerful obedience and devotion to Him. You now have a short time of probation, and you may improve this opportunity to make an unconditional surrender to God.  {3T 364.2}

     Obedience and submission to God’s requirements are the conditions given by the inspired apostle by which we become children of God, members of the royal family. Every child and youth, every man and woman, has Jesus rescued by His own blood from the abyss of ruin to which Satan was compelling them to go. Because sinners will not accept of the salvation freely offered them, are they released from their obligations? Their choosing to remain in sin and bold transgression does not lessen their guilt. Jesus paid a price for them, and they belong to Him. They are His property; and if they will not yield obedience to Him who has given His life for them, but devote their time and strength and talents to the service of Satan, they are earning their wages, which is death. Immortal glory and eternal life is the reward that our Redeemer offers to those who will be obedient to Him. He has made it possible for them to perfect Christian character through His name and to overcome on their own account as He overcame in their behalf. He has given them an example in His own life, showing them how they may overcome. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  {3T 365.1}

     The claims of God are equally binding upon all. Those who choose to neglect the great salvation offered to them freely, who choose to serve themselves and remain enemies of God, enemies of the self-sacrificing Redeemer, are earning their wages. They are sowing to the flesh and will of the flesh reap corruption.  {3T 365.2}

     Those who have put on Christ by baptism, by this act showing their separation from the world and that they have covenanted to walk in newness of life, should not set up idols in their hearts. Those who have once rejoiced in the evidence of sins forgiven, who have tasted a Saviour’s love and who then persist in uniting with the foes of Christ, rejecting the

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perfect righteousness that Jesus offers them and choosing the ways that He has condemned, will be more severely judged than the heathen who have never had the light and have never known God or His law. Those who refuse to follow the light which God has given them, choosing the amusements, vanities, and follies of the world, and refusing to conform their conduct to the just and holy requirements of God’s law, are guilty of the most aggravating sins in the sight of God. Their guilt and their wages will be proportionate to the light and privileges which they have had.  {3T 365.3}

     We see the world absorbed in their own amusements. The first and highest thoughts of the larger portion, especially of women, are of display. Love of dress and pleasure is wrecking the happiness of thousands. And some of those who profess to love and keep the commandments of God ape this class as near as they possibly can and retain the Christian name. Some of the young are so eager for display that they are even willing to give up the Christian name if they can only follow out their inclination for vanity of dress and love of pleasure. Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, abstaining from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind, is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements? If so, we should be of that class who shun everything that gives sanction to this spirit which takes possession of the minds and hearts of those who live for this world only and who have no thought or care for the next.  {3T 366.1}

     Christian youth, I have seen in some of you a love for dress and display which has pained me. In some who have been well instructed, who have had religious privileges from their babyhood, and who have put on Christ by baptism, thus professing to be dead to the world, I have seen a vanity in dress and a levity in conduct that have grieved the dear Saviour and have been a reproach to the cause of God. I have marked with pain your religious declension and your disposition to trim and ornament your apparel. Some have been so

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unfortunate as to come into possession of gold chains or pins, or both, and have shown bad taste in exhibiting them, making them conspicuous to attract attention. I can but associate these characters with the vain peacock, that displays his gorgeous feathers for admiration. It is all this poor bird has to attract attention, for his voice and form are anything but attractive.  {3T 366.2}

     The young may endeavor to excel in seeking for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, a jewel of inestimable value that may be worn with heavenly grace. This adorning will possess attractions for many in this world, and will be esteemed of great price by the heavenly angels, and above all by our heavenly Father, and will fit the wearers to be welcome guests in the heavenly courts.  {3T 367.1}

     The youth have faculties that, with proper cultivation, would qualify them for almost any position of trust. If they had made it their object in obtaining an education to so exercise and develop the powers that God has given them that they might be useful and prove a blessing to others, their minds would not be dwarfed to an inferior standard. They would show depth of thought and firmness of principle, and would command influence and respect. They might have an elevating influence upon others, which would lead souls to see and acknowledge the power of an intelligent Christian life. Those who have greater care to ornament their persons for display than to educate the mind and exercise their powers for the greatest usefulness, that they may glorify God, do not realize their accountability to God. They will be inclined to be superficial in all they undertake and will narrow their usefulness and dwarf their intellect.  {3T 367.2}

     I feel deeply pained at heart for the fathers and mothers of these youth, as well as for the children. There has been a lack in the training of these children, which leaves a heavy responsibility somewhere. Parents who have petted and indulged their children instead of from principle judiciously restraining them, can see the characters they have formed. As the training has been, so the character inclines.  {3T 367.3}

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                  Faithful Abraham

     My mind goes back to faithful Abraham, who, in obedience to the divine command given him in a night vision at Beersheba, pursues his journey with Isaac by his side. He sees before him the mountain which God had told him He would signalize as the one upon which he was to sacrifice. He removes the wood from the shoulder of his servant and lays it upon Isaac, the one to be offered. He girds up his soul with firmness and agonizing sternness, ready for the work which God requires him to do. With a breaking heart and unnerved hand, he takes the fire, while Isaac inquires: Father, here is the fire and the wood; but where is the offering? But, oh, Abraham cannot tell him now! Father and son build the altar, and the terrible moment comes for Abraham to make known to Isaac that which has agonized his soul all that long journey, that Isaac himself is the victim. Isaac is not a lad; he is a full-grown young man. He could have refused to submit to his father’s design had he chosen to do so. He does not accuse his father of insanity, nor does he even seek to change his purpose. He submits. He believes in the love of his father and that he would not make this terrible sacrifice of his only son if God had not bidden him do so. Isaac is bound by the trembling, loving hands of his pitying father because God has said it. The son submits to the sacrifice because he believes in the integrity of his father. But when everything is ready, when the faith of the father and the submission of the son are fully tested, the angel of God stays the uplifted hand of Abraham that is about to slay his son and tells him that it is enough. “Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me.”  {3T 368.1}

     This act of faith in Abraham is recorded for our benefit. It teaches us the great lesson of confidence in the requirements of God, however close and cutting they may be; and it teaches children perfect submission to their parents and to God. By Abraham’s obedience we are taught that nothing is too precious for us to give to God.  {3T 368.2}

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     Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God would impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to man. In order to do this, and make the truth a reality to him as well as to test his faith, He required him to slay his darling Isaac. All the sorrow and agony that Abraham endured through that dark and fearful trial were for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man. He was made to understand in his own experience how unutterable was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His own Son to die to rescue man from utter ruin. To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the divine command to sacrifice his son.  {3T 369.1}

     God gave His Son to a life of humiliation, self-denial, poverty, toil, reproach, and to the agonizing death of crucifixion. But there was no angel to bear the joyful message: “It is enough; You need not die, My well-beloved Son.” Legions of angels were sorrowfully waiting, hoping that, as in the case of Isaac, God would at the last moment prevent His shameful death. But angels were not permitted to bear any such message to God’s dear Son. The humiliation in the judgment hall and on the way to Calvary went on. He was mocked, derided, and spit upon. He endured the jeers, taunts, and revilings of those who hated Him, until upon the cross He bowed His head and died.  {3T 369.2}

     Could God give us any greater proof of His love than in thus giving His Son to pass through this scene of suffering? And as the gift of God to man was a free gift, His love infinite, so His claims upon our confidence, our obedience, our whole heart, and the wealth of our affections are correspondingly infinite. He requires all that it is possible for man to give. The submission on our part must be proportionate to the gift of God; it must be complete and wanting in nothing. We are all debtors to God. He has claims upon us that we cannot meet without giving ourselves a full and willing sacrifice. He claims prompt and willing obedience, and nothing short of this will He accept. We have opportunity now to

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secure the love and favor of God. This year may be the last year in the lives of some who read this. Are there any among the youth who read this appeal who would choose the pleasures of the world before that peace which Christ gives the earnest seeker and the cheerful doer of His will?  {3T 369.3}

     God is weighing our characters, our conduct, and our motives in the balances of the sanctuary. It will be a fearful thing to be pronounced wanting in love and obedience by our Redeemer, who died upon the cross to draw our hearts unto Him. God has bestowed upon us great and precious gifts. He has given us light and a knowledge of His will, so that we need not err or walk in darkness. To be weighed in the balance and found wanting in the day of final settlement and rewards will be a fearful thing, a terrible mistake which can never be corrected. Young friends, shall the book of God be searched in vain for your names?  {3T 370.1}

     God has appointed you a work to do for Him which will make you colaborers with Him. All around you there are souls to save. There are those whom you can encourage and bless by your earnest efforts. You may turn souls from sin to righteousness. When you have a sense of your accountability to God you will feel the need of faithfulness in prayer and faithfulness in watching against the temptations of Satan. You will, if you are indeed Christians, feel more like mourning over the moral darkness in the world than indulging in levity and pride of dress. You will be among those who are sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. You will resist the temptations of Satan to indulge in vanity and in trimmings and ornaments for display. The mind is narrowed and the intellect dwarfed that can be gratified with these frivolous things to the neglect of high responsibilities.  {3T 370.2}

     The youth in our day may be workers with Christ if they will; and in working, their faith will strengthen and their knowledge of the divine will will increase. Every true purpose and every act of right doing will be recorded in the book of life. I wish I could arouse the youth to see and feel the

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sinfulness of living for their own gratification and dwarfing their intellects to the cheap, vain things of this life. If they would elevate their thoughts and words above the frivolous attractions of this world and make it their aim to glorify God, His peace, which passeth all understanding, would be theirs.  {3T 370.3}

                   Humiliation of Christ

     Did not our Exemplar tread a hard, self-denying, self-sacrificing, humble path on our account in order to save us? He encountered difficulties, experienced disappointments, and suffered reproach and affliction in His work of saving us. And shall we refuse to follow where the King of glory has led the way? Shall we complain of hardship and trial in the work of overcoming on our own account, when we remember the sufferings of our Redeemer in the wilderness of temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on Calvary? All these were endured to show us the way and to bring us the divine help that we must have or perish. If the youth would win eternal life, they need not expect that they can follow their own inclinations. The prize will cost them something, yes, everything. They can now have Jesus or the world. How many dear youth will suffer privation, weariness, toil, and anxiety in order to serve themselves and gain an object in this life! They do not think of complaining of the hardships and difficulties they encounter in order to serve their own interest. Why, then, should they shrink from conflict, self-denial, or any sacrifice in order to obtain eternal life?  {3T 371.1}

     Christ came from the courts of glory to this sin-polluted world and humbled Himself to humanity. He identified Himself with our weaknesses and was tempted in all points like as we are. Christ perfected a righteous character here upon the earth, not on His own account, for His character was pure and spotless, but for fallen man. His character He offers to man if he will accept it. The sinner, through repentance of his sins, faith in Christ, and obedience to the perfect law of God, has the righteousness of Christ imputed to him; it becomes

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his righteousness, and his name is recorded in the Lamb’s book of life. He becomes a child of God, a member of the royal family.  {3T 371.2}

     Jesus paid an infinite price to redeem the world, and the race was given into His hands; they became His property. He sacrificed His honor, His riches, and His glorious home in the royal courts and became the son of Joseph and Mary. Joseph was one of the humblest of day laborers. Jesus also worked; he lived a life of hardship and toil. When His ministry commenced, after His baptism, He endured an agonizing fast of nearly six weeks. It was not merely the gnawing pangs of hunger which made His sufferings inexpressibly severe, but it was the guilt of the sins of the world which pressed so heavily upon Him. He who knew no sin was made sin for us. With this terrible weight of guilt upon Him because of our sins He withstood the fearful test upon appetite, and upon love of the world and of honor, and pride of display which leads to presumption. Christ endured these three great leading temptations and overcame in behalf of man, working out for him a righteous character, because He knew man could not do this of himself. He knew that upon these three points Satan was to assail the race. He had overcome Adam, and he designed to carry forward his work till he completed the ruin of man. Christ entered the field in man’s behalf to conquer Satan for him because He saw that man could not overcome on his own account. Christ prepared the way for the ransom of man by His own life of suffering, self-denial, and self-sacrifice, and by His humiliation and final death. He brought help to man that he might, by following Christ’s example, overcome on his own account, as Christ has overcome for him.  {3T 372.1}

     “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple

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of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  {3T 372.2}

     How graciously and tenderly our heavenly Father deals with His children! He preserves them from a thousand dangers to them unseen and guards them from the subtle arts of Satan, lest they should be destroyed. Because the protecting care of God through His angels is not seen by our dull vision, we do not try to contemplate and appreciate the ever-watchful interest that our kind and benevolent Creator has in the work of His hands; and we are not grateful for the multitude of mercies that He daily bestows upon us.  {3T 373.1}

     The young are ignorant of the many dangers to which they are daily exposed. They can never fully know them all; but if they are watchful and prayerful, God will keep their consciences sensitive and their perceptions clear, that they may discern the workings of the enemy and be fortified against his attacks. But many of the young have so long followed their own inclinations that duty is a meaningless word to them. They do not realize the high and holy duties which they may have to do for the benefit of others and for the glory of God; and they utterly neglect to perform them.  {3T 373.2}

     If the youth could only awake to deeply feel their need of strength from God to resist the temptations of Satan, precious victories would be theirs, and they would obtain a valuable experience in the Christian warfare. How few of the young

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think of the exhortation of the inspired apostle Peter: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith.” In the vision given to John he saw the power of Satan over men and exclaimed: “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.”  {3T 373.3}

     The only safety for the young is in unceasing watchfulness and humble prayer. They need not flatter themselves that they can be Christians without these. Satan conceals his temptations and his devices under a cover of light, as when he approached Christ in the wilderness. He was then in appearance as one of the heavenly angels. The adversary of our souls will approach us as a heavenly guest, and the apostle recommends sobriety and vigilance as our only safety. The young who indulge in carelessness and levity, and who neglect Christian duties, are continually falling under the temptations of the enemy, instead of overcoming as Christ overcame.  {3T 374.1}

     The service of Christ is not drudgery to the fully consecrated soul. Obedience to our Saviour does not detract from our happiness and true pleasure in this life, but it has a refining, elevating power upon our characters. The daily study of the precious words of life found in the Bible strengthens the intellect and furnishes a knowledge of the grand and glorious works of God in nature. Through the study of the Scriptures we obtain a correct knowledge of how to live so as to enjoy the greatest amount of unalloyed happiness. The Bible student is also furnished with Scripture arguments so that he can meet the doubts of unbelievers and remove them by the clear light of truth. Those who have searched the Scriptures may ever be fortified against the temptations of Satan; they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works and prepared to give to every man that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them.  {3T 374.2}

     The impression is too frequently left upon minds that religion is degrading and that it is a condescension for sinners to

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accept of the Bible standard as their rule of life. They think that its requirements are unrefined, and that, in accepting it, they must relinquish all their tastes for, and enjoyment of, that which is beautiful, and instead must accept of humiliation and degradation. Satan never fastens a greater deception upon minds than this. The pure religion of Jesus requires of its followers the simplicity of natural beauty and the polish of natural refinement and elevated purity, rather than the artificial and false.  {3T 374.3}

     While pure religion is looked upon as exacting in its demands and, with the young especially, is unfavorably contrasted with the false glitter and tinsel of the world, the Bible requirements are regarded as humiliating, self-denying tests, which take from them all the enjoyment of life. But the religion of the Bible ever has a tendency to elevate and refine. And had the professed followers of Christ carried out the principles of pure religion in their lives, the religion of Christ would be acceptable to more refined minds. The religion of the Bible has nothing in it which would jar upon the finest feelings. It is, in all its precepts and requirements, as pure as the character of God and as elevated as His throne.  {3T 375.1}

     The Redeemer of the world has warned us against the pride of life, but not against its grace and natural beauty. He pointed to all the glowing beauty of the flowers of the field and to the lily reposing in its spotless purity upon the bosom of the lake and said: “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.” Here He shows that notwithstanding persons may have great care, and may toil with weariness to make themselves objects of admiration by their outward decorations, all their artificial adornments, which they value so highly, will not bear comparison with the simple flowers of the field for natural loveliness. Even these simple flowers, with God’s adornment, would outvie in loveliness the gorgeous apparel of Solomon. “Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”  {3T 375.2}

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     Here is an important lesson for every follower of Christ. The Redeemer of the world speaks to the youth. Will you listen to His words of heavenly instruction? He presents before you themes for thought that will ennoble, elevate, refine, and purify, but which will never degrade or dwarf the intellect. His voice is speaking to you: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” If the light of God be in you, it will shine forth to others. It can never be concealed.  {3T 376.1}

     Dear youth, a disposition in you to dress according to the fashion, and to wear lace and gold and artificials for display, will not recommend to others your religion or the truth that you profess. People of discernment will look upon your attempts to beautify the external as proof of weak minds and proud hearts. Simple, plain, unpretending dress will be a recommendation to my youthful sisters. In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment. You may show to all that, in comparison with eternal things, you place a proper estimate upon the things of this life.  {3T 376.2}

     Now is your golden opportunity to form pure and holy characters for heaven. You cannot afford to devote these precious moments to trimming and ruffling and beautifying the external to the neglect of the inward adorning. “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.”  {3T 376.3}

     God, who created everything lovely and beautiful that the eye rests upon, is a lover of the beautiful. He shows you how He estimates true beauty. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is in His sight of great price. Shall we not seek earnestly to gain that which God estimates as more valuable than costly dress or pearls or gold? The inward adorning, the

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grace of meekness, a spirit in harmony with the heavenly angels, will not lessen true dignity of character or make us less lovely here in this world.  {3T 376.4}

     Religion, pure and undefiled, ennobles its possessor. You will ever find with the true Christian a marked cheerfulness, a holy, happy confidence in God, a submission to His providences, that is refreshing to the soul. By the Christian, God’s love and benevolence can be seen in every bounty he receives. The beauties in nature are a theme for contemplation. In studying the natural loveliness surrounding us, the mind is carried up through nature to the Author of all that is lovely. All the works of God are speaking to our senses, magnifying His power, exalting His wisdom. Every created thing has in it charms which interest the child of God and mold his taste to regard these precious evidences of God’s love above the work of human skill.  {3T 377.1}

     The prophet, in words of glowing fervor, magnifies God in His created works: “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth! I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvelous works.”  {3T 377.2}

     It is absence of religion that makes the path of so many professors of religion shadowy. There are those who may pass for Christians but who are unworthy the name. They have not Christian characters. When their Christianity is put to the test, its falsity is too evident. True religion is seen in the daily deportment. The life of the Christian is characterized by earnest, unselfish working to do others good and to glorify God. His path is not dark and gloomy. An inspired writer has said: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”  {3T 377.3}

     And shall the young live vain and thoughtless lives of fashion and frivolity, dwarfing their intellect to the matter

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of dress and consuming their time in sensual pleasure? When they are all unready, God may say to them: “This night your folly shall end.” He may permit mortal sickness to come upon those who have borne no fruit to His glory. While facing the realities of eternity, they may begin to realize the value of time and of the life they have lost. They may then have some sense of the worth of the soul. They see that their lives have not glorified God in lighting the path of others to heaven. They have lived to glorify self. And when racked with pain and with anguish of soul they cannot have clear conceptions of eternal things. They may review their past lives, and in their remorse may each cry out: “I have done nothing for Jesus, who has done everything for me. My life has been a terrible failure.”  {3T 377.4}

     While you pray, dear youth, that you may not be led into temptation, remember that your work does not end with the prayer. You must then answer your own prayer as far as possible by resisting temptation, and leave that which you cannot do for yourselves for Jesus to do for you. You cannot be too guarded in your words and in your deportment, lest you invite the enemy to tempt you. Many of our youth, by their careless disregard of the warnings and reproofs given them, open the door wide for Satan to enter. With God’s word for our guide and Jesus as our heavenly Teacher we need not be ignorant of His requirements or of Satan’s devices and be overcome by his temptations. It will be no unpleasant task to be obedient to the will of God when we yield ourselves fully to be directed by His Spirit.  {3T 378.1}

     Now is the time to work. If we are children of God, as long as we live in the world He will give us our work. We can never say that we have nothing to do so long as there remains a work undone. I wish that all the young could see, as I have seen, the work that they can do and that God will hold them responsible for neglecting. The greatest work that was ever accomplished in the world was done by Him who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. A frivolous-minded person will never accomplish good.  {3T 378.2}

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     The spiritual weakness of many young men and women in this age is deplorable because they could be powerful agents for good if they were consecrated to God. I mourn greatly the lack of stability with the young. This we should all deplore. There seems to be a lack of power to do right, a lack of earnest effort to obey the calls of duty rather than those of inclination. There seems to be with some but little strength to resist temptation. The reason why they are dwarfs in spiritual things is because they do not by exercise grow spiritually strong. They stand still when they should be going forward. Every step in the life of faith and duty is a step toward heaven. I want greatly to hear of a reformation in many respects such as the young have never heretofore realized. Every inducement that Satan can invent is pressed upon them to make them indifferent and careless in regard to eternal things. I suggest that special efforts be made by the youth to help one another to live faithful to their baptismal vows and that they pledge themselves solemnly before God to withdraw their affections from dress and display.  {3T 379.1}

     I would remind the youth who ornament their persons and wear feathers upon their hats that, because of their sins, our Saviour’s head wore the shameful crown of thorns. When you devote precious time to trimming your apparel, remember that the King of glory wore a plain, seamless coat. You who weary yourselves in decorating your persons, please bear in mind that Jesus was often weary from incessant toil and self-denial and self-sacrifice to bless the suffering and needy. He spent whole nights in prayer upon the lonely mountains, not because of His weakness and His necessities, but because He saw, He felt, the weakness of your natures to resist the temptations of the enemy upon the very points where you are now overcome. He knew that you would be indifferent in regard to your dangers and would not feel your need of prayer. It was on our account that He poured out His prayers to His Father with strong cries and tears. It was to save us from the very pride and love of vanity and pleasure which we now indulge, and which crowds out the love of Jesus,

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that those tears were shed and that our Saviour’s visage was marred with sorrow and anguish more than any of the sons of men.  {3T 379.2}

     Will you, young friends, arise and shake off this dreadful indifference and stupor which has conformed you to the world? Will you heed the voice of warning which tells you that destruction lies in the path of those who are at ease in this hour of danger? God’s patience will not always wait for you, poor, trifling souls. He who holds our destinies in His hands will not always be trifled with. Jesus declares to us that there is a greater sin than that which caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is the sin of those who have the great light of truth in these days and who are not moved to repentance. It is the sin of rejecting the light of the most solemn message of mercy to the world. It is the sin of those who see Jesus in the wilderness of temptation, bowed down as with mortal agony because of the sins of the world, and yet are not moved to thorough repentance. He fasted nearly six weeks to overcome, in behalf of men, the indulgence of appetite and vanity, and the desire for display and worldly honor. He has shown them how they may overcome on their own account as He overcame; but it is not pleasant to their natures to endure conflict and reproach, derision and shame, for His dear sake. It is not agreeable to deny self and to be ever seeking to do good to others. It is not pleasant to overcome as Christ overcame, so they turn from the pattern which is plainly given them to copy and refuse to imitate the example that the Saviour came from the heavenly courts to leave them.  {3T 380.1}

     It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have had the privileges and the great light which shines in our day, but who have neglected to follow the light and to give their hearts fully to God.  {3T 380.2}

Chap. 33 – Tithes and Offerings

     The mission of the church of Christ is to save perishing sinners. It is to make known the love of God to men and to win them to Christ by the efficacy of that love. The truth for this time must be carried into the dark corners of the earth, and this work may begin at home. The followers of Christ should not live selfish lives; but, imbued with the Spirit of Christ, they should work in harmony with Him.  {3T 381.1}

     There are causes for the present coldness and unbelief. The love of the world and the cares of life separate the soul from God. The water of life must be in us, and flowing out from us, springing up into everlasting life. We must work out what God works in. If the Christian would enjoy the light of life, he must increase his efforts to bring others to the knowledge of the truth. His life must be characterized by exertion and sacrifices to do others good; and then there will be no complaints of lack of enjoyment.  {3T 381.2}

     Angels are ever engaged in working for the happiness of others. This is their joy. That which selfish hearts would consider humiliating service, ministering to those who are wretched and in every way inferior in character and rank, is the work of the pure, sinless angels in the royal courts of heaven. The spirit of Christ’s self-sacrificing love is the spirit which pervades heaven and is the very essence of its bliss.  {3T 381.3}

     Those who feel no special pleasure in seeking to be a blessing to others, in working, even at a sacrifice, to do them good, cannot have the spirit of Christ or of heaven; for they have no union with the work of heavenly angels and cannot participate in the bliss that imparts elevated joy to them. Christ has said: “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” If the joy of angels is to see sinners repent, will it not be the joy of sinners, saved by the blood of Christ, to see others repent and turn to Christ through their instrumentality? In working in harmony with Christ and the holy angels we shall experience a joy that cannot be realized aside from this work.  {3T 381.4}

     The principle of the cross of Christ brings all who believe under heavy obligations to deny self, to impart light to others, and to give of their means to extend the light. If they are in connection with heaven they will be engaged in the work in harmony with the angels.  {3T 382.1}

     The principle of worldlings is to get all they can of the perishable things of this life. Selfish love of gain is the ruling principle in their lives. But the purest joy is not found in riches nor where covetousness is always craving, but where contentment reigns and where self-sacrificing love is the ruling principle. There are thousands who are passing their lives in indulgence and whose hearts are filled with repining. They are victims of selfishness and discontent in the vain effort to satisfy their minds with indulgence. But unhappiness is stamped upon their very countenances, and behind them is a desert, because their course is not fruitful in good works.  {3T 382.2}

     In proportion as the love of Christ fills our hearts and controls our lives, covetousness, selfishness, and love of ease will be overcome, and it will be our pleasure to do the will of Christ, whose servants we claim to be. Our happiness will then be proportionate to our unselfish works, prompted by the love of Christ.  {3T 382.3}

     Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence, in all its branches, twice blessed. He that gives to the needy blesses others, and is blessed himself in a still greater degree. God could have reached His object in saving sinners without the aid of man; but He knew that man could not be happy without acting a part in the great work in which he would be cultivating self-denial and benevolence.  {3T 382.4}

     That man might not lose the blessed results of benevolence, our Redeemer formed the plan of enlisting him as His co-worker. By a chain of circumstances which would call forth his charities, He bestows upon man the best means of cultivating benevolence and keeps him habitually giving to help the poor and to advance His cause. He sends His poor as the representatives of Himself. By their necessities a ruined world are drawing forth from us talents of means and of influence to present to them the truth, of which they are in perishing need. And as we heed these calls by labor and by acts of benevolence we are assimilated to the image of Him who for our sakes became poor. In bestowing we bless others, and thus accumulate true riches.  {3T 382.5}

     There has been a great lack of Christian benevolence in the church. Those who were the best able to do for the advancement of the cause of God have done but little. God has mercifully brought a class to the knowledge of the truth, that they might appreciate its priceless value in comparison with earthly treasures. Jesus has said to these: “Follow Me.” He is testing them with an invitation to the supper which He has prepared. He is watching to see what characters they will develop, whether their own selfish interests will be considered of greater value than eternal riches. Many of these dear brethren are now by their actions framing the excuses mentioned in the following parable:  {3T 383.1}

     “Then said He unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: and sent his servant at suppertime to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”  {3T 383.2}

     This parable correctly represents the condition of many professing to believe the present truth. The Lord has sent them an invitation to come to the supper which He has prepared for them at great cost to Himself; but worldly interests look to them of greater importance than the heavenly treasure. They are invited to take part in things of eternal value; but their farms, their cattle, and their home interests seem of so much greater importance than obedience to the heavenly invitation that they overpower every divine attraction, and these earthly things are made the excuse for their disobedience to the heavenly command, “Come; for all things are now ready.” These brethren are blindly following the example of those represented in the parable. They look at their worldly possessions, and say: No, Lord, I cannot follow Thee; “I pray Thee have me excused.”  {3T 383.3}

     The very blessings which God has given to these men to prove them, to see if they will render “unto God the things that are God’s,” they use as an excuse that they cannot obey the claims of truth. They have grasped their earthly treasure in their arms and say, “I must take care of these things; I must not neglect the things of this life; these things are mine.” Thus the hearts of these men have become as unimpressible as the beaten highway. They close the door of their hearts to the heavenly messenger, who says, “Come; for all things are now ready,” and throw it open, inviting the entrance of the world’s burden and business cares, and Jesus knocks in vain for admittance.  {3T 384.1}

     Their hearts are so overgrown with thorns and with the cares of this life that heavenly things can find no place in them. Jesus invites the weary and heavy-laden with promises of rest if they will come to Him. He invites them to exchange the galling yoke of selfishness and covetousness, which makes them slaves to mammon, for His yoke, which He declares is easy, and His burden, which is light. He says: “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” He would have them lay aside the heavy burdens of worldly care and perplexity, and take His yoke, which is self-denial and sacrifice for others. This burden will prove to be light. Those who refuse to accept the relief which Christ offers them, and continue to wear the galling yoke of selfishness, tasking their souls to the utmost in plans to accumulate money for selfish gratification, have not experienced the peace and rest found in bearing the yoke of Christ and lifting the burdens of self-denial and disinterested benevolence which Christ has borne in their behalf.  {3T 384.2}

     When the love of the world takes possession of the heart and becomes a ruling passion, there is no room left for adoration to God; for the higher powers of the mind submit to the slavery of mammon, and cannot retain thoughts of God and of heaven. The mind loses its remembrance of God and is narrowed and dwarfed to the accumulation of money.  {3T 385.1}

     Because of selfishness and love of the world, these men have been passing on with less and less sense of the magnitude of the work for these last days. They have not educated their minds to make a business of serving God. They have not an experience in that direction. Their property has absorbed their affections and eclipsed the magnitude of the plan of salvation. While they are improving and enlarging their worldly plans, they see no necessity for the enlargement and extension of the work of God. They invest their means in temporal but not in eternal things. Their hearts are ambitious for more means. God has made them depositaries of His law, that they might let the light so graciously given them shine forth to others. But they have so increased their cares and anxieties that they have no time to bless others with their influence, to converse with their neighbors, to pray with and for them, and to seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth.  {3T 385.2}

     These men are responsible for the good they might do, but from which they excuse themselves because of worldly cares and burdens, which engross their minds and absorb their affections. Souls for whom Christ died might be saved by their personal effort and godly example. Precious souls are perishing for the light which God has given to men to be reflected upon the pathway of others. But the precious light is hid under a bushel, and it gives no light to those who are in the house.  {3T 385.3}

     Every man is a steward of God. To each the Master has committed His means, but man claims that means as his own. Christ says: “Occupy till I come.” A time is coming when Christ will require His own with usury. He will say to each of His stewards: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” Those who have hid their Lord’s money in a napkin in the earth, instead of putting it out to the exchangers, and those who have squandered their Lord’s money by expending it for needless things, instead of putting it out to usury by investing it in His cause, will not receive approval from the Master, but decided condemnation. The unprofitable servant in the parable brought back the one talent to God, and said: “I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” His Lord takes up his words: “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.”  {3T 385.4}

     This unprofitable servant was not ignorant of God’s plans, but he set himself firmly to thwart the purpose of God, charging Him with unfairness in requiring improvement upon the talents entrusted to him. This very complaint and murmuring is made by a large class of wealthy men professing to believe the truth. Like the unfaithful servant they are afraid that the increase of the talent that God has lent them will be called for to advance the spread of truth; therefore they tie it up by investing it in earthly treasures and burying it in the world, thus making it so fast that they have nothing, or next to nothing, to invest in the cause of God. They have buried it, fearing that God would call for some of the principal or increase. When, at the demand of their Lord, they bring the amount given them, they come with ungrateful excuses for not having put the means lent them by God out to the exchangers, by investing it in His cause to carry on His work. {3T 386.1}

     He who embezzles his Lord’s goods not only loses the talent lent him of God, but loses eternal life. Of him it is said: “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” The faithful servant, who invests his money in the cause of God to save souls, employs his means to the glory of God and will receive the commendation of the Master: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” What will be this joy of our Lord? It will be the joy of seeing souls saved in the kingdom of glory. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  {3T 387.1}

     The idea of stewardship should have a practical bearing upon all the people of God. The parable of the talents, rightly understood, will bar out covetousness, which God calls idolatry. Practical benevolence will give spiritual life to thousands of nominal professors of the truth who now mourn over their darkness. It will transform them from selfish, covetous worshipers of mammon to earnest, faithful co-workers with Christ in the salvation of sinners.  {3T 387.2}

     The foundation of the plan of salvation was laid in sacrifice. Jesus left the royal courts and became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. All who share this salvation, purchased for them at such an infinite sacrifice by the Son of God, will follow the example of the true Pattern. Christ was the chief Cornerstone, and we must build upon this Foundation. Each must have a spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice. The life of Christ upon earth was unselfish; it was marked with humiliation and sacrifice. And shall men, partakers of the great salvation which Jesus came from heaven to bring them, refuse to follow their Lord and to share in His self-denial and sacrifice? Says Christ: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches.” “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” The very vital principle, the sap which flows through the vine, nourishes the branches, that they may flourish and bear fruit. Is the servant greater than his Lord? Shall the world’s Redeemer practice self-denial and sacrifice on our account, and the members of Christ’s body practice self-indulgence? Self-denial is an essential condition of discipleship.  {3T 387.3}

     “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” I lead the way in the path of self-denial. I require nothing of you, My followers, but that of which I, your Lord, give you an example in My own life.  {3T 388.1}

     The Saviour of the world conquered Satan in the wilderness of temptation. He overcame to show man how he may overcome. He announced in the synagogue of Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”  {3T 388.2}

     The great work which Jesus announced that He came to do was entrusted to His followers upon the earth. Christ, as our head, leads out in the great work of salvation and bids us follow His example. He has given us a world-wide message. This truth must be extended to all nations, tongues, and people. Satan’s power was to be contested, and he was to be overcome by Christ and also by His followers. An extensive war was to be maintained against the powers of darkness. And in order to do this work successfully, means were required. God does not propose to send means direct from heaven, but He gives into the hands of His followers talents of means to use for the very purpose of sustaining this warfare.  {3T 388.3}

     He has given His people a plan for raising sums sufficient to make the enterprise self-sustaining. God’s plan in the tithing system is beautiful in its simplicity and equality. All may take hold of it in faith and courage, for it is divine in its origin. In it are combined simplicity and utility, and it does not require depth of learning to understand and execute it. All may feel that they can act a part in carrying forward the precious work of salvation. Every man, woman, and youth may become a treasurer for the Lord and may be an agent to meet the demands upon the treasury. Says the apostle: “Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.”  {3T 388.4}

     Great objects are accomplished by this system. If one and all would accept it, each would be made a vigilant and faithful treasurer for God, and there would be no want of means with which to carry forward the great work of sounding the last message of warning to the world. The treasury will be full if all adopt this system, and the contributors will not be left the poorer. Through every investment made they will become more wedded to the cause of present truth. They will be “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  {3T 389.1}

     As the persevering, systematic workers see that the tendency of their benevolent efforts is to nourish love to God and their fellow men, and that their personal efforts are extending their sphere of usefulness, they will realize that it is a great blessing to be co-workers with Christ. The Christian church, as a general thing, are disowning the claims of God upon them to give alms of the things which they possess to support the warfare against the moral darkness which is flooding the world. Never can the work of God advance as it should until the followers of Christ become active, zealous workers.  {3T 389.2}

     Every individual in the church should feel that the truth which he professes is a reality, and all should be disinterested workers. Some rich men feel like murmuring because the work of God is extending and there is a demand for money. They say that there is no end to the calls for means. One object after another is continually arising, demanding help. To such we would say that we hope the cause of God will so extend that there will be greater occasion, and more frequent and urgent calls, for supplies from the treasury to prosecute the work.  {3T 389.3}

     If the plan of systematic benevolence were adopted by every individual and fully carried out, there would be a constant supply in the treasury. The income would flow in like a steady stream constantly supplied by overflowing springs of benevolence. Almsgiving is a part of gospel religion. Does not the consideration of the infinite price paid for our redemption leave upon us solemn obligations pecuniarily, as well as lay claim upon all our powers to be devoted to the work of the Master?  {3T 389.4}

     We shall have a debt to settle with the Master by and by, when He shall say: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” If men prefer to set aside the claims of God and to grasp and selfishly retain all that He gives them, He will hold His peace at present and continue frequently to test them by increasing His bounties by letting His blessings flow on, and these men may pass on receiving honor of men and without censure in the church; but by and by He will say: “Give an account of thy stewardship.” Says Christ: “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price,” and are under obligation to glorify God with your means as well as in your body and in your spirit, which are His. “Ye are bought with a price,” not “with corruptible things, as silver and gold,” “but with the precious blood of Christ.” He asks a return of the gifts that He has entrusted to us, to aid in the salvation of souls. He has given His blood; He asks our silver. It is through His poverty that we are made rich; and will we refuse to give back to Him His own gifts?  {3T 390.1}

     God is not dependent upon man for the support of His cause. He could have sent means direct from heaven to supply His treasury, if His providence had seen that this was best for man. He might have devised means whereby angels would have been sent to publish the truth to the world without the agency of men. He might have written the truth upon the heavens, and let that declare to the world His requirements in living characters. God is not dependent upon any man’s gold or silver. He says: “Every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is Mine, and the fullness thereof.” Whatever necessity there is for our agency in the advancement of the cause of God, He has purposely arranged for our good. He has honored us by making us co-workers with Him. He has ordained that there should be a necessity for the co-operation of men, that they may keep in exercise their benevolence.  {3T 390.2}

     God has in His wise providence placed the poor always with us, that while we should witness the various forms of want and suffering in the world, we should be tested and proved, and brought into positions to develop Christian character. He has placed the poor among us to call out from us Christian sympathy and love.  {3T 391.1}

     Sinners, who are perishing for lack of knowledge, must be left in ignorance and darkness unless men carry to them the light of truth. God will not send angels from heaven to do the work which He has left for man to do. He has given all a work to do, for the very reason that He might prove them and that they might reveal their true character. Christ places the poor among us as His representatives. “I was an hungered,” He says, “and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink.” Christ identifies Himself with suffering humanity in the persons of the suffering children of men. He makes their necessities His own and takes to His bosom their woes.  {3T 391.2}

     The moral darkness of a ruined world pleads to Christian men and women to put forth individual effort, to give of their means and of their influence, that they may be assimilated to the image of Him who, though He possessed infinite riches, yet for our sakes became poor. The Spirit of God cannot abide with those to whom He has sent the message of His truth but who need to be urged before they can have any sense of their duty to be co-workers with Christ. The apostle enforces the duty of giving from higher grounds than merely human sympathy because the feelings are moved. He enforces the principle that we should labor unselfishly with an eye single to the glory of God.  {3T 391.3}

     Christians are required by the Scriptures to enter upon a plan of active benevolence which will keep in constant exercise an interest in the salvation of their fellow men. The moral law enjoined the observance of the Sabbath, which was not a burden except when that law was transgressed and they were bound by the penalties involved in breaking it. The tithing system was no burden to those who did not depart from the plan. The system enjoined upon the Hebrews has not been repealed or relaxed by the One who originated it. Instead of being of no force now, it was to be more fully carried out and more extended, as salvation through Christ alone should be more fully brought to light in the Christian age.  {3T 391.4}

     Jesus made known to the lawyer that the condition of his having eternal life was to carry out in his life the special requirements of the law, which consisted in his loving God with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself. When the typical sacrifices ceased at the death of Christ, the original law, engraved in tables of stone, stood immutable, holding its claims upon man in all ages. And in the Christian age the duty of man was not limited, but more especially defined and simply expressed.  {3T 392.1}

     The gospel, extending and widening, required greater provisions to sustain the warfare after the death of Christ, and this made the law of almsgiving a more urgent necessity than under the Hebrew government. Now God requires, not less, but greater gifts than at any other period of the world. The principle laid down by Christ is that the gifts and offerings should be in proportion to the light and blessings enjoyed. He has said: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”  {3T 392.2}

     The blessings of the Christian Age were responded to by the first disciples in works of charity and benevolence. The outpouring of the Spirit of God, after Christ left His disciples and ascended to heaven, led to self-denial and self-sacrifice for the salvation of others. When the poor saints at Jerusalem were in distress, Paul wrote to the Gentile Christians in regard to works of benevolence, and said: “Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” Here benevolence is placed by the side of faith, love, and Christian diligence. Those who think that they can be good Christians and close their ears and hearts to the calls of God for their liberalities, are in a fearful deception. There are those who abound in professions of great love for the truth, and, so far as words are concerned, have an interest to see the truth advance, but who do nothing for its advancement. The faith of such is dead, not being made perfect by works. The Lord never made such a mistake as to convert a soul and leave it under the power of covetousness.  {3T 392.3}

     The tithing system reaches back beyond the days of Moses. Men were required to offer to God gifts for religious purposes before the definite system was given to Moses, even as far back as the days of Adam. In complying with God’s requirements, they were to manifest in offerings their appreciation of His mercies and blessings to them. This was continued through successive generations, and was carried out by Abraham, who gave tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. The same principle existed in the days of Job. Jacob, when at Bethel, an exile and penniless wanderer, lay down at night, solitary and alone, with a rock for his pillow, and there promised the Lord: “Of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.” God does not compel men to give. All that they give must be voluntary. He will not have His treasury replenished with unwilling offerings.  {3T 393.1}

     The Lord designed to bring man into close relationship with Himself and into sympathy and love with his fellow men by placing upon him responsibilities in deeds that would counteract selfishness and strengthen his love for God and man. The plan of system in benevolence God designed for the good of man, who is inclined to be selfish and to close his heart to generous deeds. The Lord requires gifts to be made at stated times, being so arranged that giving will become habit and benevolence be felt to be a Christian duty. The heart, opened by one gift, is not to have time to become selfishly cold and to close before the next is bestowed. The stream is to be continually flowing, thus keeping open the channel by acts of benevolence.  {3T 393.2}

     As to the amount required, God has specified one tenth of the increase. This is left to the conscience and benevolence of men, whose judgment in this tithing system should have free play. And while it is left free to the conscience, a plan has been laid out definite enough for all. No compulsion is required.  {3T 394.1}

     God called for men in the Mosaic dispensation to give the tenth of all their increase. He committed to their trust the things of this life, talents to be improved and returned to Him. He has required a tenth, and this He claims as the very least that man should return to Him. He says: I give you nine tenths, while I require one tenth; that is Mine. When men withhold the one tenth, they rob God. Sin offerings, peace offerings, and thank offerings were also required in addition to the tenth of the increase.  {3T 394.2}

     All that is withheld of that which God claims, the tenth of the increase, is recorded in the books of heaven against the withholders, as robbery. Such defraud their Creator; and when this sin of neglect is brought before them, it is not enough for them to change their course and begin to work from that time upon the right principle. This will not correct the figures made in the heavenly record for embezzling the property committed to them in trust to be returned to the Lender. Repentance for unfaithful dealing with God, and for base ingratitude, is required.  {3T 394.3}

     “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” A promise is here given that, if all the tithes are brought into the storehouse, a blessing from God will be poured upon the obedient. {3T 394.4}

     “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” If all who profess the truth will come up to the claims of God in giving the tenth, which God says is His, the treasury will be abundantly supplied with means to carry forward the great work for the salvation of man.  {3T 395.1}

     God gives man nine tenths, while He claims one tenth for sacred purposes, as He has given man six days for his own work and has reserved and set apart the seventh day to Himself. For, like the Sabbath, a tenth of the increase is sacred; God has reserved it for Himself. He will carry forward His work upon the earth with the increase of the means that He has entrusted to man.  {3T 395.2}

     God required of His ancient people three yearly gatherings. “Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which He shall choose; in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which He hath given thee.” No less than one third of their income was devoted to sacred and religious purposes.  {3T 395.3}

     Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty. But when they robbed God in tithes and in offerings they were made to realize that they were not only robbing Him but themselves, for He limited His blessings to them just in proportion as they limited their offerings to Him. {3T 395.4}

     Some will pronounce this one of the rigorous laws binding upon the Hebrews. But this was not a burden to the willing heart that loved God. It was only when their selfish natures were strengthened by withholding that men lost sight of eternal considerations and valued their earthly treasures above souls. There are even more urgent necessities upon the Israel of God in these last days than were upon ancient Israel. There is a great and important work to be accomplished in a very short time. God never designed that the law of the tithing system should be of no account among His people; but, instead of this, He designed that the spirit of sacrifice should widen and deepen for the closing work.  {3T 396.1}

     Systematic benevolence should not be made systematic compulsion. It is freewill offerings that are acceptable to God. True Christian benevolence springs from the principle of grateful love. Love to Christ cannot exist without corresponding love to those whom He came into the world to redeem. Love to Christ must be the ruling principle of the being, controlling all the emotions and directing all the energies. Redeeming love should awaken all the tender affection and self-sacrificing devotion that can possibly exist in the heart of man. When this is the case, no heart-stirring appeals will be needed to break through their selfishness and awaken their dormant sympathies, to call forth benevolent offerings for the precious cause of truth.  {3T 396.2}

     Jesus has purchased us at an infinite sacrifice. All our capabilities and our influence are indeed our Saviour’s, and should be dedicated to His service. By doing this we show our gratitude that we have been ransomed from the slavery of sin by the precious blood of Christ. Our Saviour is ever working for us. He has ascended on high and pleads in behalf of the purchase of His blood. He pleads before His Father the agonies of the crucifixion. He raises His wounded hands and intercedes for His church, that they may be kept from falling under temptation.  {3T 396.3}

     If our perceptions could be quickened to take in this wonderful work of our Saviour for our salvation, love, deep and ardent, would burn in our hearts. Our apathy and cold indifference would then alarm us. Entire devotion and benevolence, prompted by grateful love, will impart to the smallest offering, the willing sacrifice, a divine fragrance, making the gift of priceless value. But, after willingly yielding to our Redeemer all that we can bestow, be it ever so valuable to us, if we view our debt of gratitude to God as it really is, all that we may have offered will seem to us very insufficient and meager. But angels take these offerings, which to us seem poor, and present them as a fragrant offering before the throne, and they are accepted.  {3T 396.4}

     We do not, as followers of Christ, realize our true position. We do not have correct views of our responsibilities as hired servants of Christ. He has advanced us the wages in His suffering life and spilled blood, to bind us in willing servitude to Himself. All the good things we have are a loan from our Saviour. He has made us stewards. Our smallest offerings, our humblest services, presented in faith and love, may be consecrated gifts to win souls to the service of the Master and to promote His glory. The interest and prosperity of Christ’s kingdom should be paramount to every other consideration. Those who make their pleasure and selfish interest the chief objects of their lives are not faithful stewards.  {3T 397.1}

     Those who deny self to do others good, and who devote themselves and all they have to Christ’s service, will realize the happiness which the selfish man seeks for in vain. Said our Saviour: “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Charity “seeketh not her own.” This is the fruit of that disinterested love and benevolence which characterized the life of Christ. The law of God in our hearts will bring our own interests in subordination to high and eternal considerations. We are enjoined by Christ to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. This is our first and highest duty. Our Master expressly warned His servants not to lay up treasures upon the earth; for in so doing their hearts would be upon earthly rather than heavenly things. Here is where many poor souls have made shipwreck of faith. They have gone directly contrary to the express injunction of our Lord, and have allowed the love of money to become the ruling passion of their lives. They are intemperate in their efforts to acquire means. They are as much intoxicated with their insane desire for riches as is the inebriate with his liquor.  {3T 397.2}

     Christians forget that they are servants of the Master; that they themselves, their time, and all that they have belong to Him. Many are tempted, and the majority are overcome, by the delusive inducements which Satan presents to invest their money where it will yield them the greatest profit in dollars and cents. There are but few who consider the binding claims that God has upon them to make it their first business to meet the necessities of His cause and let their own desires be served last. There are but few who invest in God’s cause in proportion to their means. Many have fastened their money in property which they must sell before they can invest it in the cause of God and thus put it to a practical use. They make this an excuse for doing but little in their Redeemer’s cause. They have as effectually buried their money in the earth as had the man in the parable. They rob God of the tenth, which He claims as His own, and in robbing Him they rob themselves of the heavenly treasure.  {3T 398.1}

     The plan of systematic benevolence does not press heavily upon any one man. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.” The poor are not excluded from the privilege of giving. They, as well as the wealthy, may act a part in this work. The lesson that Christ gave in regard to the widow’s two mites shows us that the smallest willing offerings of the poor, if given from a heart of love, are as acceptable as the largest donations of the rich.  {3T 398.2}

     In the balances of the sanctuary the gifts of the poor, made from love to Christ, are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the love which prompts the sacrifice. The promises of Jesus will as surely be realized by the liberal poor man, who has but little to offer, but who gives that little freely, as by the wealthy man who gives of his abundance. The poor man makes a sacrifice of his little, which he really feels. He really denies himself of some things that he needs for his own comfort, while the wealthy man gives of his abundance, and feels no want, denies himself nothing that he really needs. Therefore there is a sacredness in the poor man’s offering that is not found in the rich man’s gift, for the rich give of their abundance. God’s providence has arranged the entire plan of systematic benevolence for the benefit of man. His providence never stands still. If God’s servants follow His opening providence, all will be active workers.  {3T 398.3}

     Those who withhold from the treasury of God and hoard their means for their children, endanger the spiritual interest of their children. They place their property, which is a stumbling block to themselves, in the pathway of their children, that they may stumble over it to perdition. Many are making a great mistake in regard to the things of this life. They economize, withholding from themselves and others the good they might receive from a right use of the means which God has lent them, and become selfish and avaricious. They neglect their spiritual interests and become dwarfs in religious growth, all for the sake of accumulating wealth which they cannot use. They leave their property to their children, and nine times out of ten it is even a greater curse to their heirs than it has been to themselves. Children, relying upon the property of their parents, often fail to make a success of this life, and generally utterly fail to secure the life to come. The very best legacy which parents can leave their children is a knowledge of useful labor and the example of a life characterized by disinterested benevolence. By such a life they show the true value of money, that it is only to be appreciated for the good that it will accomplish in relieving their own wants and the necessities of others, and in advancing the cause of God. {3T 399.1}

     Some are willing to give according to what they have, and feel that God has no further claims upon them, because they have not a great amount of means. They have no income that they can spare from the necessities of their families. But there are many of this class who might ask themselves the question: Am I giving according to what I might have had? God designed that their powers of body and mind should be put to use. Some have not improved to the best account the ability that God has given them. Labor is apportioned to man. It was connected with the curse, because made necessary by sin. The physical, mental, and moral well-being of man makes a life of useful labor necessary. “Be . . . not slothful in business,” is the injunction of the inspired apostle Paul.  {3T 400.1}

     No person, whether rich or poor, can glorify God by a life of indolence. All the capital that many poor men have is time and physical strength, and this is frequently wasted in love of ease and in careless indolence so that they have nothing to bring to their Lord in tithes and in offerings. If Christian men lack wisdom to labor to the best account and to make a judicious appropriation of their physical and mental powers, they should have meekness and lowliness of mind to receive advice and counsel of their brethren, that their better judgment may supply their own deficiencies. Many poor men who are now content to do nothing for the good of their fellow men and for the advancement of the cause of God might do much if they would. They are as accountable to God for their capital of physical strength as is the rich man for his capital of money.  {3T 400.2}

     Some who ought to put means into the treasury of God will be receivers from it. There are those who are now poor who might improve their condition by a judicious use of their time, by avoiding patent rights, and by restraining their inclination to engage in speculations in order to obtain means in some easier way than by patient, persevering labor. If those who have not made life a success were willing to be instructed, they could train themselves to habits of self-denial and strict economy, and have the satisfaction of being distributors, rather than receivers, of charity. There are many slothful servants. If they would do what it is in their power to do they would experience so great a blessing in helping others that they would indeed realize that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”  {3T 400.3}

     Rightly directed benevolence draws upon the mental and moral energies of men, and excites them to most healthful action in blessing the needy and in advancing the cause of God. If those who have means should realize that they are accountable to God for every dollar that they expend, their supposed wants would be much less. If conscience were alive, she would testify of needless appropriations to the gratification of appetite, of pride, vanity, and love of amusements, and would report the squandering of the Lord’s money, which should have been devoted to His cause. Those who waste their Lord’s goods will by and by have to give an account of their course to the Master.  {3T 401.1}

     If professed Christians would use less of their wealth in adorning the body and in beautifying their own houses, and would consume less in extravagant, health-destroying luxuries upon their tables, they could place much larger sums in the treasury of God. They would thus imitate their Redeemer, who left heaven, His riches, and His glory, and for our sakes became poor, that we might have eternal riches. If we are too poor to faithfully render to God the tithes and offerings that He requires, we are certainly too poor to dress expensively and to eat luxuriously; for we thus waste our Lord’s money in hurtful indulgences to please and glorify ourselves. We should inquire diligently of ourselves: What treasure have we secured in the kingdom of God? Are we rich toward God?  {3T 401.2}

     Jesus gave His disciples a lesson upon covetousness. “And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  {3T 401.3}

     The length and happiness of life does not consist in the amount of our earthly possessions. This foolish rich man in his supreme selfishness had laid up for himself treasures that he could not use. He had lived only for himself. He had over-reached in trade, had made sharp bargains, and had not exercised mercy or the love of God. He had robbed the fatherless and widow, and defrauded his fellow men, to add to his increasing stock of worldly possessions. He might have laid up his treasure in heaven in bags that wax not old; but through his covetousness he lost both worlds. Those who humbly use to the glory of God the means that He has entrusted to them will receive their treasure by and by from the Master’s hand with the benediction: “Well done, good and faithful servant: . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”  {3T 402.1}

     When we consider the infinite sacrifice made for the salvation of men we are lost in amazement. When selfishness clamors for the victory in the hearts of men, and they are tempted to withhold their due proportion in any good work, they should strengthen their principles of right by the thought that He who was rich in heaven’s priceless treasure turned away from it all and became poor. He had not where to lay His head. And all this sacrifice was in our behalf, that we might have eternal riches.  {3T 402.2}

     Christ set His own feet in the path of self-denial and sacrifice which all His disciples must travel if they would be exalted with Him at last. He took to His own heart the sorrows which man must suffer. The minds of worldly men frequently become gross. They can see only earthly things, which eclipse the glory and value of heavenly things. Men will compass land and sea for earthly gain, and endure privation and suffering to obtain their object, yet will turn away from heaven’s attractions and not regard eternal riches. Men who are in comparative poverty are usually the ones who do the most to sustain the cause of God. They are generous with their little. They have strengthened their generous impulses by continual liberalities. When their expenditures pressed close upon the income, their passion for earthly riches had no room or chance to strengthen.  {3T 402.3}

     But many, when they begin to gather earthly riches, commence to calculate how long it will be before they can be in possession of a certain sum. In their anxiety to amass wealth for themselves they fail to become rich toward God. Their benevolence does not keep pace with their accumulation. As their passion for riches increases, their affections are bound up with their treasure. The increase of their property strengthens the eager desire for more, until some consider that their giving to the Lord a tenth is a severe and unjust tax. Inspiration has said: “If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” Many have said: “If I were as rich as such a one, I would multiply my gifts to the treasury of God. I would do nothing else with my wealth but use it for the advancement of the cause of God.” God has tested some of these by giving them riches, but with the riches came the fiercer temptation, and their benevolence was far less than in the days of their poverty. A grasping desire for greater riches absorbed their minds and hearts, and they committed idolatry.  {3T 403.1}

     He who presents to men infinite riches and an eternal life of blessedness in His kingdom as the reward of faithful obedience, will not accept a divided heart. We are living amid the perils of the last days, where there is everything to divert the mind and allure the affections from God. Our duty will only be discerned and appreciated when viewed in the light which shines from the life of Christ. As the sun rises in the east and passes toward the west, filling the world with light, so the true follower of Christ will be a light unto the world. He will go out into the world as a bright and shining light, that those who are in darkness may be lightened and warmed by the rays shining forth from him. Christ says of His followers: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”  {3T 403.2}

     Our great Exemplar was self-denying, and shall the course of His professed followers be in such marked contrast to His? The Saviour gave all for a perishing world, not withholding even Himself. The church of God are asleep. They are enfeebled by inaction. Voices come to us from every part of the world, “Come over and help us;” but there is no answering movement. There is a feeble effort now and then; a few show that they would be co-workers with their Master; but such are frequently left to toil almost alone. There is but one missionary from our people in all the wide field in foreign countries.  {3T 404.1}

     The truth is mighty, but it is not carried into practice. It is not sufficient to lay money alone upon the altar. God calls for men, volunteers, to carry the truth to other nations and tongues and people. It is not our numbers nor our wealth that will give us a signal victory; but it is devotion to the work, moral courage, ardent love for souls, and untiring, unflagging zeal.  {3T 404.2}

     There are many who have looked upon the Jewish nation as a people to be pitied because they were constantly taxed for the support of their religion; but God, who created man and provided him with all the blessings he enjoys, knew what was for his best good. And through His blessing He made their nine tenths worth more to them than the entire amount without His blessing. If any, through selfishness, robbed God or brought to Him an offering not perfect, disaster and loss were sure to follow them. God reads the motives of the heart. He is acquainted with the purposes of men and will mete out to them in His own good time as they have merited.  {3T 404.3}

     The special system of tithing was founded upon a principle which is as enduring as the law of God. This system of tithing was a blessing to the Jews, else God would not have given it them. So also will it be a blessing to those who carry it out to the end of time. Our heavenly Father did not originate the plan of systematic benevolence to enrich Himself, but to be a great blessing to man. He saw that this system of beneficence was just what man needed.  {3T 404.4}

     Those churches who are the most systematic and liberal in sustaining the cause of God are the most prosperous spiritually. True liberality in the follower of Christ identifies his interest with that of his Master. In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income. The plan of salvation was laid by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. The light of the gospel shining from the cross of Christ rebukes selfishness and encourages liberality and benevolence. It is not to be a lamented fact that there are increasing calls to give. God in His providence is calling His people out from their limited sphere of action to enter upon greater enterprises. Unlimited effort is demanded at this time when moral darkness is covering the world. Worldliness and covetousness are eating out the vitals of God’s people. They should understand that it is His mercy which multiplies the demands for their means. The angel of God places benevolent acts close beside prayer. He said to Cornelius: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”  {3T 405.1}

     In the teachings of Christ He said: “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” The spiritual health and prosperity of the church is dependent in a great degree upon her systematic benevolence. It is like the lifeblood which must flow through the whole being, vitalizing every member of the body. It increases love for the souls of our fellow men; for by self-denial and self-sacrifice we are brought into a closer relation to Christ, who for our sakes became poor. The more we invest in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, the closer to our hearts will they be brought. Were our numbers half as large, and all of these devoted workers, we should have a power that would make the world tremble. To the active workers Christ has addressed these words: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”  {3T 405.2}

     We shall meet opposition arising from selfish motives and from bigotry and prejudice; yet, with undaunted courage and living faith, we should sow beside all waters. The agents of Satan are formidable; we shall meet them and must combat them. Our labors are not to be confined to our own country. The field is the world; the harvest is ripe. The command given by Christ to the disciples just before He ascended was: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  {3T 406.1}

     We feel pained beyond measure to see some of our ministers hovering about the churches, apparently putting forth some little effort, but having next to nothing to show for their labors. The field is the world. Let them go out into the unbelieving world and labor to convert souls to the truth. We refer our brethren and sisters to the example of Abraham going up to Mount Moriah to offer his only son at the command of God. Here was obedience and sacrifice. Moses was in kingly courts, and a prospective crown was before him. But he turned away from the tempting bribe, and “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.”  {3T 406.2}

     The apostles counted not their lives dear unto themselves, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. Paul and Silas suffered the loss of all things. They suffered scourging, and were in no gentle manner thrown upon the cold floor of a dungeon in a most painful position, their feet elevated and fastened in the stocks. Did repinings and complaints then reach the ear of the jailer? Oh, no! From the inner prison, voices broke the silence of midnight with songs of joy and praise to God. These disciples were cheered by a deep and earnest love for the cause of their Redeemer, for which they suffered.  {3T 406.3}

     As the truth of God fills our hearts, absorbs our affections, and controls our lives, we also will count it joy to suffer for the truth’s sake. No prison walls, no martyr’s stake, can then daunt or hinder us in the great work.  {3T 406.4}

              Come, O my soul, to Calvary.

Mark the humble life of the Son of God. He was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Behold His ignominy, His agony in Gethsemane, and learn what self-denial is. Are we suffering want? so was Christ, the Majesty of heaven. But His poverty was for our sakes. Are we ranked among the rich? so was He. But He consented for our sakes to become poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. In Christ we have self-denial exemplified. His sacrifice consisted not merely in leaving the royal courts of heaven, in being tried by wicked men as a criminal and pronounced guilty, and in being delivered up to die as a malefactor, but in bearing the weight of the sins of the world. The life of Christ rebukes our indifference and coldness. We are near the close of time, when Satan has come down, having great wrath, knowing that his time is short. He is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. The warfare has been left in our hands by our great Leader for us to carry forward with vigor. We are not doing a twentieth part of what we might do if we were awake. The work is retarded by love of ease and a lack of the self-denying spirit of which our Saviour has given us an example in His life.

     Co-workers with Christ, men who feel the need of extended effort, are wanted. The work of our presses should not be lessened, but doubled. Schools should be established in different places to educate our youth preparatory to their laboring to advance the truth.  {3T 407.1}

     Already a great deal of time has been wasted, and angels bear to heaven the record of our neglects. Our sleepy and unconsecrated condition has lost to us precious opportunities which God has sent us in the persons of those who were qualified to help us in our present need. Oh, how much we need our Hannah More to aid us at this time in reaching other nations! Her extensive knowledge of missionary fields would give us access to those of other tongues whom we cannot now approach. God brought this gift among us to meet our present emergency; but we prized not the gift, and He took her from us. She is at rest from her labors, but her self-denying works follow her. It is to be deplored that our missionary work should be retarded for the want of knowledge how to gain access to the different nations and localities in the great harvest field.  {3T 407.2}

     We feel anguish of spirit because some gifts are lost to us that we might now have if we had only been awake. Laborers have been kept back from the whitening harvest. It becomes the people of God to humble their hearts before Him, and in the deepest humiliation to pray the Lord to pardon our apathy and selfish indulgence, and to blot out the shameful record of duties neglected and privileges unimproved. In contemplation of the cross of Calvary the true Christian will abandon the thought of restricting his offerings to that which costs him nothing and will hear in trumpet tones:

                 Go, labor in My vineyard;

                 There’s resting by and by.  {3T 408.1}

     When Jesus was about to ascend on high, He pointed to the harvest fields and said to His followers: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel.” “Freely ye have received, freely give.” Shall we deny self that the wasting harvest may be gathered?  {3T 408.2}

     God calls for talents of influence and of means. Shall we refuse to obey? Our heavenly Father bestows gifts and solicits a portion back, that He may test us whether we are worthy to have the gift of everlasting life.   {3T 408.3}

Chap. 34 – Systematic Benevolence

     Should all whom God has prospered with earth’s riches carry out His plan by faithfully giving a tenth of all their increase, and should they not withhold their trespass offerings and their thank offerings, the treasury would be constantly replenished. The simplicity of the plan of systematic benevolence does not detract from its merits, but extols the wisdom of God in its arrangement. Everything bearing the divine stamp unites simplicity with utility. If systematic benevolence were universally adopted according to God’s plan, and the tithing system carried out as faithfully by the wealthy as it is by the poorer classes, there would be no need of repeated and urgent calls for means at our large religious gatherings. There has been a neglect in the churches of keeping up the plan of systematic benevolence, and the result has been an impoverished treasury and a backslidden church.  {3T 408.4}

     “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.”  {3T 409.1}

     God has been robbed in tithes and offerings. It is a fearful thing to be guilty of withholding from the treasury or of robbing God. Ministers who preach the word at our large gatherings feel the sinfulness of neglecting to render to God the things that are His. They know that God will not bless His people while they are disregarding His plan of benevolence. They seek to arouse the people to their duty by pointed, practical discourses, showing the danger and sinfulness of selfishness and covetousness. Conviction fastens upon minds, and the icy chill of selfishness is broken. And when the call is made for donations to the cause of God, some, under the stirring influence of the meetings, are aroused to give who otherwise would do nothing. As far as this class is concerned, good results have been realized. But under pressing calls many feel the deepest who have not had their hearts frozen up with selfishness. They have conscientiously kept their means flowing out to advance the cause of God. Their whole being is stirred by the earnest appeals made, and the very ones respond who may have given all that their circumstances in life would justify.  {3T 409.2}

     But these liberal, wholehearted believers, prompted by a zealous love for the cause and a desire to act promptly, judge themselves capable of doing more than God requires them to do, for their usefulness is crippled in other directions. These willing ones sometimes pledge to raise money when they know not from what source it is coming, and some are placed in distressing circumstances to meet their pledges. Some are obliged to sell their produce at great disadvantage, and some have actually suffered for the conveniences and necessities of life in order to meet their pledges.  {3T 410.1}

     There was a time at the commencement of our work when such sacrifice would have been justified, when God would have blessed all who thus ventured out to do for His cause. The friends of truth were few and their means very limited. But the work has been widening and strengthening until there is means enough in the hands of believers to amply sustain the work in all its departments without embarrassing any, if all would bear their proportional part. The cause of God need not be crippled in the slightest degree. The precious truth has been made so plain that many have taken hold of it who have in their hands means which God has entrusted to them to use in advancing the interests of the truth. If these men of means do their duty, there need not be a pressure brought upon the poorer brethren.  {3T 410.2}

     We are in a world of plenty. If the gifts and offerings were proportionate to the means which each has received of God, there would be no need of urgent calls for means at our large gatherings. I am fully convinced that it is not the best plan to bring a pressure upon the point of means at our camp meetings. Men and women who love the cause of God as they do their lives will pledge upon these occasions, when their families must suffer for the very means that they have promised to give to advance the cause. Our God is not a taskmaster and does not require the poor man to give means to the cause that belongs to his family and that should be used to keep them in comfort and above pinching want.  {3T 410.3}

     The calls for means at our large camp meetings have hitherto been attended with apparently good results so far as the wealthy are concerned. But we fear the result of a continued effort to thus replenish the treasury. We fear that there will be a reaction. Greater effort should be put forth by responsible men in the different churches to have all follow the plan of God’s arrangement. If systematic benevolence is carried out, the urgent calls at the camp meetings for means for various enterprises will not be necessary.  {3T 411.1}

     God has devised a plan by which all may give as He has prospered them, and which will make giving a habit without waiting for special calls. Those who can do this, but will not because of their selfishness, are robbing their Creator, who has bestowed upon them means to invest in His cause to advance its interests. Until all shall carry out the plan of systematic benevolence, there will be a failure in coming up to the apostolic rule. Those who minister in word and doctrine should be men of discrimination. They should, while they make general appeals, become acquainted with the ability of those who respond to their appeals, and should not allow the poor to pay large pledges. After a man has once consecrated a certain sum to the Lord, he feels that it is sacred, consecrated to a holy use. This is true, and therefore our preaching brethren should be well informed of whom they accept pledges.  {3T 411.2}

     Each member of the different families in our churches who believes the truth may act a part in its advancement by cheerfully adopting systematic benevolence. “Let every one of you lay by him in store [by himself at home], . . . that there be no gatherings when I come.” The burden of urging and pressing individuals to give of their means was not designed to be the work of God’s ministers. The responsibility should rest upon every individual who enjoys the belief of the truth. “Let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him.” Every member of the family, from the oldest down to the youngest, may take part in this work of benevolence.  {3T 411.3}

     The offerings of little children may be acceptable and pleasing to God. In accordance with the spirit that prompts the gifts will be the value of the offering. The poor, by following the rule of the apostle and laying by a small sum every week, help to swell the treasury, and their gifts are wholly acceptable to God; for they make just as great, and even greater, sacrifices than their more wealthy brethren. The plan of systematic benevolence will prove a safeguard to every family against temptations to spend means for needless things, and especially will it prove a blessing to the rich by guarding them from indulging in extravagances.  {3T 412.1}

     Every week the demands of God upon each family are brought to mind by each of its members fully carrying out the plan; and as they have denied themselves some superfluity in order to have means to put into the treasury, lessons of value in self-denial for the glory of God have been impressed upon the heart. Once a week each is brought face to face with the doings of the past week–the income that he might have had if he had been economical and the means that he does not have because of indulgence. His conscience is reined up, as it were, before God, and either commends or accuses him. He learns that if he retains peace of mind and the favor of God he must eat and drink and dress to His glory.  {3T 412.2}

     Systematic and liberal giving in accordance with the plan keeps the channel of the heart open. We place ourselves in connection with God, that He may use us as channels through which His gifts may flow to others. The poor will not complain of systematic benevolence, for it touches them lightly. They are not neglected and passed by, but are favored with acting a part in being co-workers with Christ, and will receive the blessing of God as well as the wealthy. In the very process of laying aside the littles as they can spare them they are denying self and cultivating liberality of heart. They are educating themselves to good works, and are as effectually meeting the design of God in the plan of systematic benevolence as are the more wealthy who give of their abundance.  {3T 412.3}

     In the days of the apostles, men went everywhere preaching the word. New churches were raised up. Their love and zeal for Christ led them to acts of great denial and sacrifice. Many of these Gentile churches were very poor, yet the apostle declares that their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality. Their gifts were extended beyond their ability to give. Men periled their lives and suffered the loss of all things for the truth’s sake.  {3T 413.1}

     The apostle suggests the first day of the week as a proper time to review the course of Providence and the prosperity experienced, and in the fear of God, with true gratitude of heart for the blessings He has bestowed, to decide how much, according to His own devised plan, shall be rendered back to Him.  {3T 413.2}

     God designs that the exercise of benevolence shall be purely voluntary, not having recourse even to eloquent appeals to excite sympathy. “God loveth a cheerful giver.” He is not pleased to have His treasury replenished with forced supplies. The loyal hearts of His people, rejoicing in the saving truth for this time, will, through love and gratitude to Him for this precious light, be earnest and anxious to aid with their means in sending the truth to others. The very best manner in which to give expression to our love for our Redeemer is to make offerings to bring souls to the knowledge of the truth. The plan of redemption was entirely voluntary on the part of our Redeemer, and it is the purpose of Christ that all our benevolence should be freewill offerings.  {3T 413.3}

Chap. 36 – Unity in the Church

     In my last vision I was shown the introduction of the truth, and the progress of the cause of God, upon the Pacific Coast. I saw that good work had been wrought for many in California, but that there were many who professed the truth who were not ready to take hold of the work of God at the right time and to move as the opening providence of God indicates their duty. A great work may be done on this coast in bringing souls to the knowledge of the truth if there is united action.  {3T 434.3}

     If all who have influence felt the necessity of co-operation and would seek to answer the prayer of Christ, that they may be one as He is one with the Father, the cause of present truth would be a power upon this coast. But the people of

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God are asleep, and do not see the wants of the cause for this time. They do not feel the importance of concentrated action. Satan is ever seeking to divide the faith and hearts of God’s people. He well knows that union is their strength, and division their weakness. It is important and essential that all of Christ’s followers understand Satan’s devices and with a united front meet his attacks and vanquish him. They need to make continual efforts to press together even if it be at some sacrifice to themselves.  {3T 434.4}

     The people of God, with various temperaments and organizations, are brought together in church capacity. The truth of God, received into the heart, will do its work of refining, elevating, and sanctifying the life and overcoming the peculiar views and prejudices of each. All should labor to come as near to one another as possible. All who love God and keep His commandments in truth will have influence with unbelievers and will win souls to Christ, to swell the glad songs of triumph and victory before the great white throne. Selfishness will be overcome, and overflowing love for Christ will be manifested in the burden they feel to save souls for whom He died.  {3T 435.1}

     I was shown many families who are not living as Jesus would have them; they have a work to do at home before they can make advancement in the divine life. I was shown the case of Brother B and was pointed back to the time when he first accepted the truth. It then had a transforming influence upon his life. Self was in a measure lost in the interest he felt for the truth. He sought to show his faith by his works, and his personal interests were made secondary. He loved the work of the Lord and cheerfully sought to advance the interest of His cause; the Lord accepted his efforts to serve Him, and the hand of the Lord prospered him.  {3T 435.2}

     I was shown that Brother B displeased God and brought great darkness upon himself when he set up his judgment in opposition to that of his brethren in regard to the true way to observe the Sabbath. Brother B’s interest was at stake, and he refused to see the correct bearing of the question

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under consideration. He never would have taken the course he did when he returned from the East, if he had been in the light. I was then carried to another point in his history and saw him journeying. While among unbelievers he did not let his light so shine before men that they by seeing his good works would glorify our Father which is in heaven. He was forgetful of God and of his duty to rightly represent his Saviour in every place and upon all occasions.  {3T 435.3}

     Brother B is especially weak upon some points; he loves praise and flattery; he loves pleasure and distinction. He exalted himself and talked much and prayed little, and God left him to his own weakness; for he did not bear fruit to the glory of God. On that journey he had an opportunity to do a great amount of good, but he did not realize that he was accountable to God for his talents and that as a steward of God he would be called to an account whether he had used his ability to please himself or to glorify God. If Brother B had felt the power of the love of Christ in his own heart, he would have felt an interest for the salvation of those with whom he was brought in contact, that he might speak to them words which would cause them to reflect in regard to their eternal interest.  {3T 436.1}

     He had an opportunity to sow the seed of truth, but he did not improve it as he should. He should have carried his religion with him while among his relatives. His holy profession and the truth of God should have blended with all his thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Christ commands His followers to walk in the light. Walking means moving onward, exerting ourselves, exercising our ability, being actively engaged. Unless we exercise ourselves in the good work to which our Saviour has called us, and feel the importance of personal effort in this work, we shall have a sickly, stunted religion. We gain new victories by our experience in working. We gain activity and strength by walking in the light, that we may have energy to run in the way of God’s commandments. We may gain an increase of strength at every step we advance heavenward. God will bless His people only

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when they try to be a blessing to others. Our graces are matured and developed by exercise.  {3T 436.2}

     I was shown that while Brother B was at Battle Creek he was weak in moral power. He had not been seeking to cling to God and preserve his soul in purity of thought and action, and he was left to follow his own mind and to receive impressions that were detrimental to his spiritual interest. He met those who perverted the truth and was led by them to believe things that were untrue; and as he had opened the door to the enemy and received him as an angel of light, he was readily overcome by temptation.  {3T 437.1}

     He became wickedly prejudiced and was suspicious of the very ones in whom God would have him have confidence. He saw things in a perverted light, and the meetings, which should have been to him a great source of strength, were an injury. This was as Satan would have it, that Brother B might lose confidence in the men whom God had appointed to lead out in this work. He became at variance with them and with the heart of the work. He was like a vessel at sea without an anchor or a rudder. If he could not have confidence in those at the head of the work he would have confidence in no one.  {3T 437.2}

     Brother B has but little reverence or respect for his brethren; he thinks that his judgment and his knowledge and abilities are superior to theirs; therefore he will not receive anything from them, nor trust to their judgment, nor seek to counsel with them, unless he can lead and teach them. He will act according to his own judgment, irrespective of his brethren’s feelings, their griefs, or entreaties. When he separated his confidence from the heart of the work, Satan knew that, unless this confidence could be restored, he was sure of him. Brother B’s eternal interest depends upon his accepting and respecting the helps and governments which God has been pleased to place in the church. If he follows a course of his own choosing he will eventually find out that he has been altogether upon a wrong track and that he has deceived himself to his ruin. He will take first one turn, then another, and yet after all miss the true and only path which leads to heaven.  {3T 437.3}

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     There are thousands who are traveling the road of darkness and error, the broad road which leads to death, who flatter themselves that they are in the path to happiness and heaven; but they will never find the one nor reach the other. Brother B needs the helps that God has placed in the church, for he cannot constitute a church of himself, and yet his course shows that he would be satisfied to be a complete church, subject to none. Brother B long since lost his consecration to God; he did not guard the avenue of his soul against the suggestions of Satan. I saw that angels of God were writing his words and actions. He was going further and further from the light of heaven. When the grace of God does not especially control you, Brother B, you are a hard man to connect with. You have great self-confidence and firmness, which are felt in your family and in the church. You have but little reverence and respect for anyone. You do not possess the grace of humility.  {3T 438.1}

     Brother B returned to this coast in great darkness; he had lost his love for the truth and his love for God. His natural feelings controlled him, and he was proud. He loved himself, and he loved money better than he loved the truth and his Redeemer. I was shown that his course after he returned to the coast was a dishonor to the Christian name. I saw him joining hands with the gay lovers of pleasure. He grieved his brethren and wounded his Saviour and put Him to open shame before unbelievers. I saw that from this time he did not take pleasure in the service of God or in the advancement of the truth. He seemed to possess a zeal to search the Scriptures and different authors, not that he might become established upon important points of present truth which the providence of God had furnished him through men of His choice, but to find a new position and to advance new views in opposition to the established faith of the body. His researches were not made for the glory of God, but to promote self.  {3T 438.2}

     When Brother B once takes a position on the wrong side, it is not according to his nature to see his error and confess

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his wrong, but to fight it out to the last, whatever may be the consequences. This spirit is ruinous to the church and ruinous in his family. He needs to soften his heart and let in tenderness, humility, and love. He needs benevolence and noble generosity. In short, he needs to be thoroughly converted, to be a new man in Christ Jesus. Then his influence in the church will be all right and he will be just the help they need. He will have the respect and love of his family and will command his household after him. Duty and love like twin sisters, will be his helps in the management of his children.  {3T 438.3}

     I saw that Sister B had much to grieve over in the course that her husband had pursued toward her; that her life had been very sad, when he was able to make it happy. She seemed to be dispirited and to keenly feel that she was neglected and unloved by her husband. In his absence she at times felt nearly distracted and became jealous and distrustful in regard to him. Satan was present with his temptations, and she looked upon some things in an exaggerated light. All this might have been saved had Brother B preserved his consecration to God. I was carried on still further and saw that he was walking in unbelief and darkness while he was flattering himself that he alone had the true light. The further he separated from God the less love did he have for his brethren and for the truth.  {3T 439.1}

     I was shown Brother B questioning one after another of the points of our faith which have brought us out from the world and made us a separate and distinct people, looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His unbelief and darkness have not moved the main pillars of our faith. The truth of God is not made of none effect by him. It remains the truth still, but he has had some influence upon the minds of his brethren. The reports of lying lips in regard to my husband and me, which he brought from the East, had an influence to create suspicions and doubts in the minds of others. Those unacquainted with us could not stand in our defense. The church in —–, I saw, might have numbered three times as

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many as it now does, and might have had tenfold greater strength, had not Brother B played himself into the hands of the enemy. In his blind unbelief he has done all that he could to discourage and scatter the believers in the truth. In his blindness he has not realized that his course was grievous in the sight of God. The discouragement and darkness which he has caused have made the labors of Brother C doubly hard, for his influence has not only been felt by the church in —–, but by other churches.  {3T 439.2}

     Brother B has strengthened unbelief and an opposing influence which Brother C has had to meet. I saw that we would meet the same and that it would take time to eradicate the old root of bitterness whereby many have been defiled; that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent; that when God should lay upon us the burden to speak we should not hesitate, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear; and that we should press the matter through if it left some outside the church and outside the truth. God has a great and important work for somebody to do in —–, and at the right time it will be done, and truth will triumph.  {3T 440.1}

     Those of our brethren who had not obtained an experience for themselves in present truth could not answer the arguments of Brother B, and although they could not receive the views advocated by him, they were more or less affected by his talk and reasoning. Some have felt no spirit of freedom when they met for worship. They were afraid upon the Sabbath to speak out their real feelings and faith, expecting that he would criticize what they would say. There has been death in the meetings and but little freedom.  {3T 440.2}

     Brother B desires that others should look up to him as a man who can explain the Scriptures, but I was shown that he is deceived and does not understand them. He has started upon a wrong track in seeking to get up a new faith, an original theory of faith. He would uproot and misplace those waymarks which show us our correct bearings, that we are near the close of this earth’s history. He may flatter himself that he is being led of the Lord, but it is surely another spirit.

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Unless he changes his course entirely, and is willing to be led and to learn, he will be left to follow his own ways and make entire shipwreck of faith.  {3T 440.3}

     Some have been so blinded by their own unbelief that they could not discern the spirit of Brother B. They might have been helped by him if he had been standing in the counsel of God. He could have led them to the light instead of increasing their confusion of faith and their perplexities. But he has been a stumbling block, a blind leader of the blind. Had he made straight paths for his feet, the lame would not have been turned out of the way, but would have been healed. He has refused to walk in the light of truth which God has given His people, and those who would walk in the light he has hindered.  {3T 441.1}

     He feels that it is an honor to suggest doubts and unbelief in regard to the established faith of God’s commandment-keeping people. The truth that he once rejoiced in is now darkness to him, and, unless he changes his course, he will fall back into a mixture of the views of the different denominations, but will agree in the whole with none of them; he will be a distinct church of himself, but not under the control of the great Head of the church. By bringing his views in opposition to the faith of the body, he is disheartening and discouraging the church. He sees that if the body of Sabbathkeepers have the truth he is in darkness, and this he cannot admit. The truth condemns him, and instead of seeking to bring his soul into harmony with it, surrendering to its claims and dying to self, he is seeking a position where he will not be under condemnation.  {3T 441.2}

     I was shown that if he continues in his present course, blinded to his real condition, he will be glad after a while to find some pretext for giving up the Sabbath. Satan is surely leading him, as he has led many others, away from the body in a course of deception and error. How much safer for Brother B to bring his soul into harmony with the truth than to misinterpret Scripture to bring it into harmony with his ideas and actions. If he would bring his actions into harmony with the principles of God’s law he has a task on his hands

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of which he has scarcely dreamed. The carnal heart is at enmity with God. It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  {3T 441.3}

     The insinuations and open speeches of those who are our enemies in Battle Creek were received by Brother B while on his journey East, and he returned with bitter and wicked feelings in his heart against those at the heart of the work and especially against me and my work. He had no good reason for the feelings he cherished and the views he expressed in regard to my labors and testimonies. The unbelief and prejudice which had corrupted his own soul he sought to instill into the minds of others. He did this with considerable effect. At first, many were influenced by his sophistry and darkness, for he can make assertions and draw inferences as though he were handling positive facts. He knows how to press matters and is of ready speech. His words had influence with some who were unconsecrated and who wished to have it just as he represented in regard to our work and our calling. He had influence and excited prejudice in the minds of some whom we could have helped, had he not closed our way so that we could not gain access to them. Of this class were Brother and Sister D.  {3T 442.1}

     In this Brother B may see the fruits of his course, and there are others who were influenced in the same way, with the same results, so far as their faith and confidence in the truth are concerned. As soon as Brother B or any others decide that the men who have had the most to do in bringing the cause of present truth up to its present condition are not led of God, but are scheming and designing men, deceiving the people, then the course for them to pursue in order to be consistent is to renounce the entire work as a delusion, a fraud. In order to be consistent, they must throw all overboard. This Brother B has almost imperceptibly to himself been doing, and this others have done. He will at some future time, if not now, review his work with different feelings than he now has. He will see the work which he has been doing during the past few years as God sees it, and will not

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view it with the satisfaction he now feels. When he sees the miserable work in which he has been engaged for a few years past, his proud boasting of wisdom and superior knowledge will have an end, and he will repent in bitterness of soul, for the blood of souls is on his garments.  {3T 442.2}

     If Brother B had wanted to view things correctly and had felt the possibility of being deceived, he would have come to Brother and Sister White with the reports injurious to their reputation and would have given them an opportunity to speak for themselves. The reports which he brought away across the plains to the Pacific Coast bear false witness, thus breaking the law of God. He will one day meet the hard speeches, as well as the deceptive sophistry instigated by Satan, which he has instilled into minds to injure the influence of my husband and myself. This matter lies not between Brother B and me, but between him and God.  {3T 443.1}

     God has given us our work, and if He has given us a message to bear to His people, those who would hinder us in the work and weaken the faith of the people in its truth and verity are not fighting against the instrument, but against God, and they must answer to Him for the result of their words and actions. All who have spiritual discernment may judge of the tree by its fruits. Brother B stands forth as one enlightened by God to undeceive the people in regard to our work and mission. All may see, if they will, the fruit growing upon this tree. Brother B, is it to eternal life, or is it to death?  {3T 443.2}

     After Brother B received from Battle Creek this special knowledge, which led him to take a course to belittle our work and mission, he felt at liberty to join with the unbelieving in the dissipation of pleasure, and by his levity of conduct he brought reproach upon the cause of Christ and great suffering upon his wife. Was he so blinded that he had no conviction that he was seeking to tear down what God was building up? Had he no thoughts that he might be fighting against God? The work which he has been doing angels have recorded in heaven, and he will have to answer for it when

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every work shall be brought into judgment to bear the inspection of the infinite God. In his blindness Brother B has been lifting his puny arm to fight against God while flattering his deceived soul that he was doing God service. Every man’s work is to be tried by the fire of the last day, and only gold, silver, and precious stones will stand the test.  {3T 443.3}

     God will not be trifled with. He may bear long with men, but He will visit their transgressions and render to every man as his works have been. Although men may talk boastingly and pride themselves upon their wisdom, one breath from the lips of God can bring their honor and glorying to the dust. I was shown that Brother B will be inexcusable in the day of God, when every case is weighed in the balances of the sanctuary. He knows better than to do as he has done. He has had sufficient evidence to determine the character of the work which God has committed to us. The fruits of this work are before him, which he can see and understand if he will.  {3T 444.1}

     Brother B’s self-confidence is most wonderful, and is a fearful snare to him. If he does not overcome this dangerous trait in his character, it will prove his ruin. He is in his natural element when he is battling and controverting points of doctrine; he will question and quibble and be at variance with his brethren until Satan so controls his mind that he really thinks that he has the truth and his brethren are in error. He does not stand in the light and has not the blessing of God, for it constitutes a part of his religion to oppose the settled points of God’s commandment-keeping people. Are all these deceived? and is Brother B the only man to whom God has given correct truth? Is not God just as willing to give His devoted, self-sacrificing servants a correct understanding of the Scriptures as to give it to Brother B for them?  {3T 444.2}

     Does Brother B try his course by this simple test: “Does this light and knowledge that I have found, and which places me at variance with my brethren, draw me more closely to Christ? does it make my Saviour more precious to me and make my character more closely resemble His?” It is a natural, but not a pleasing, trait in our characters to be keen in

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our perceptions, and tenacious in our remembrance, of the faults and failings of others.  {3T 444.3}

     Brother B does not try to be in union with his brethren; his self-confidence has led him to feel no special necessity for union. He feels that their minds have been cast in a mold inferior to his own and that to receive their opinions and counsel as worthy of attention would be a great condescension. This self-confidence has shut him away from the love and sympathy of his brethren and from union with them. He feels that he is too wise and experienced to need the precautions which are indispensable to many. He has so high an opinion of his own abilities and such a reliance upon his own attainments that he believes himself prepared for any emergency. Said the heavenly angels, pointing to Brother B: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Self-confidence leads to neglect of watchfulness and of humble, penitential prayer. There are outward temptations to be shunned and inward foes and perplexities to be overcome, for Satan adapts his temptations to the different characters and temperaments of individuals.  {3T 445.1}

     The church of Christ is in constant peril. Satan is seeking to destroy the people of God, and one man’s mind, one man’s judgment, is not sufficient to be trusted. Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves. Union and confidence are essential to the prosperity of the church. If each member of the church feels at liberty to move independently of the others, taking his own peculiar course, how can the church be in any safety in the hour of danger and peril? The prosperity and very existence of a church depend upon the prompt, united action and mutual confidence of its members. When, at a critical time, one sounds the alarm of danger, there is need of prompt and active work, without stopping to question and canvass the whole subject from end to end, thus letting the enemy gain every advantage by delay, when united action might save many souls from perdition.  {3T 445.2}

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     God wants His people to be united in the closest bonds of Christian fellowship; confidence in our brethren is essential to the prosperity of the church; union of action is important in a religious crisis. One imprudent step, one careless action, may plunge the church into difficulties and trials from which it may not recover for years. One member of the church filled with unbelief may give an advantage to the great foe that will affect the prosperity of the entire church, and many souls may be lost as the result. Jesus would have His followers subject one to another; then God can use them as instruments to save one another; for one may not discern the dangers which another’s eye is quick to perceive; but if the undiscerning will in confidence obey the warning, they may be saved great perplexities and trials.  {3T 446.1}

     As Jesus was about to leave His disciples, He prayed for them in a most touching, solemn manner that they all might be one “as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” The apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians exhorts them to unity: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  {3T 446.2}

     God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes

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his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinions of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren?  {3T 446.3}

     God is leading out a people and establishing them upon the one great platform of faith, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. He has given His people a straight chain of Bible truth, clear and connected. This truth is of heavenly origin and has been searched for as for hidden treasure. It has been dug out through careful searching of the Scriptures and through much prayer.  {3T 447.1}

     Brother B is doubting point after point of our faith. If he is right in his new theories, the body of Sabbathkeepers is wrong. Shall the established faith in the strong points of our position, which has led us out from the world and united us a distinct and peculiar people, be given up as erroneous? Shall we receive the faith of this one man, with the evidences he gives us of the fruits of his religious character? Or will Brother B yield his judgment and opinions, and come to the body? If he had not blinded his soul by receiving prejudice, and by cherishing wicked opposition to the work of God, he would not have been left to such darkness and deception.  {3T 447.2}

     He is a ready talker and will persistently urge his opinions and will not yield to the weight of evidence against him. It is cruel for him to stand in the way of the prosperity of the church, as he has done. The world is large; he has all the privileges that he can ask of going out among unbelievers and converting them to his theories; and when he can present a well-organized body that he has been the means of converting from sin to righteousness, then, and not before, should he press his peculiar views upon the church of God, which is

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pained and disheartened with his darkness and error. He has no right to build upon another man’s foundation his wood, hay, and stubble to be consumed by the fires of the last day.  {3T 447.3}

     I was shown that the only safe position for Brother B is to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn the way of life more perfectly. His doctrine shall drop as the rain, and His speech shall distill as the dew, upon the heart of the humble and teachable. Brother B must obtain a teachable disposition. He is not to sit as a judge, but as a learner; not to cavil, but to believe; not to question and find fault and oppose, but to listen. Pride must give way to humility, and prejudice must be exchanged for candor, or the gracious words of Christ will be in vain to him. My brother, you may reason with your blind judgment and unsanctified mind until the day of God and not advance a step toward heaven; you may debate and investigate and search learned authors, and even the Scriptures, and yet grow more and more self-deceived, and become darker and darker, as did the Jews in reference to Christ. What was their fault? They rejected the light which God had already given them and were seeking for some new light by which they might so interpret the Scriptures as to sustain their actions.  {3T 448.1}

     You are doing the same; you pass over the light that God has seen fit to give you in the publications upon present truth and in His word, and are seeking doctrines of your own, theories which cannot be sustained by the word of God. When you become as a little child, willing to be led, and when your understanding is sanctified and your will and prejudices surrendered, such a light will be shed abroad in your heart as will illumine the Scriptures and show you present truth in its beautiful harmony. It will appear like a golden chain, link joined to link in a perfect whole. “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” “Learn of Me,” says Christ; “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”  {3T 448.2}

     If you have indeed entered the school of Christ, He expects you to manifest in your character and deportment the

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lowliness which is so beautifully exemplified in His character. Christ will not undertake to teach the self-righteous, self-conceited, and self-willed. If such come to Him with the inquiry, What is truth? He gives them no answer. It is only the meek that He will guide in judgment; the meek will He teach His way. Solomon was naturally endowed with good judgment and large reasoning powers, but he acknowledged himself before God as a little child. He sought for wisdom from God with humility, and he sought not in vain. If you really search for the truth with the right motive you will come with the body, for they have the truth. If you are searching the Scriptures and different authors that you may find doctrines which will coincide with your own preconceived opinions, and if you have already settled your faith, then you will be boastful, self-confident, and unyielding.  {3T 448.3}

                 Self-Confidence a Snare

     Brother B, with your present self-willed, stubborn spirit, you will go further and further from the truth; and unless you are converted you will prove to be a great hindrance to the cause of God in any place where you have any influence. You are persistent to carry your points. Your self-sufficient spirit must be yielded before you can see anything clearly. You have led your wife to think that you knew the truth better than any of our ministers; you have taken the key of knowledge into your own hands, so far as she is concerned, and have kept her in darkness. God has given His church men of judgment, experience, and faith. They know the way of truth and salvation, for they have searched for it in agony of spirit because of the opposition they had to meet from men who turned the truth of God into a lie; and the benefit of the labor of these faithful servants of God is given to the world.  {3T 449.1}

     There are very few who realize the exalted nature of the work of God in comparison with the temporal business cares of life. Jesus, the heavenly Teacher, has given us lessons of

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instruction through His disciples. When He sent out the twelve, He instructed them that into whatever city or town they should enter they must inquire who in it was worthy of their attention and visits; and if a suitable place was found where the people would esteem the blessing sent them,–the privilege of entertaining the messengers of Christ,–there they were to abide and there let their peace rest until they left that city. They were not instructed to visit any and every house indiscriminately, urging their presence upon the people whether they were welcome or not; but if they were not welcomed, if their peace could not rest in the house, they were to leave it and seek a house where the members were worthy and where their spirit could rest.  {3T 449.2}

     When the messengers of Christ who go forth to teach the truth to others are rejected and their words find no place in the heart, Christ is rejected and His word despised in the messengers of truth whom He has chosen and sent. This has just as full an application in this age of the world as it had when Christ gave the instruction to His chosen messengers.  {3T 450.1}

     When Christ was upon the earth, there were men who had no respect or reverence for God’s messengers and no more regard for their warning than for their own judgment; also in this age of the world there are those who do not respect the testimony of God’s chosen servants so highly as their own opinions. Such cannot be benefited by the labors of God’s servants, and time should not be lost in degrading the work of God to meet such minds. Christ said to the servants whom He sent forth: “He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.”  {3T 450.2}

     Christ gives power to the voice of the church. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” No such thing is countenanced as one man’s starting out upon his own individual responsibility and advocating what views he chooses, irrespective of the judgment

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of the church. God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.  {3T 450.3}

     God has given to His church men who have an experience, those who have fasted and wept and prayed, even through the entire night, for the Lord to open the Scriptures to their minds. In humility these men have given the world the benefit of their mature experience. Is this light of heaven, or of men? Is it of any value, or is it worthless? Brother B is doing a work in disseminating erroneous views of Bible truth that he will one day wish to undo; but it will be in vain. He may repent, he may yet be saved as by fire; but, oh, how much precious time will have been lost that never can be redeemed! How much seed has he sown that has borne only briers and thorns! How many souls have been lost that might have been saved had he tried as earnestly to let the true light shine as he has to scatter his darkness! What might he not have done had he been consecrated, sanctified through the truth! Brother B feels too self-sufficient, too rich and increased with goods, to see his need of anything. The True Witness pointed to him and said: “Unless ye become converted as a little child, ye cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” The light of truth so carefully brought out in books and papers he does not respect; but he exalts his own judgment above the most precious light, and this light will rise up in the judgment to condemn him.  {3T 451.1}

     I saw that he would question the men upon whom God has seen fit to lay the responsibility of His work. He would exalt his own opinions and views above the light which God had given through them, and would boast of his knowledge; and he would be an accuser of his brethren, not excepting the ambassadors of Christ. All this overbearing influence to belittle the judgment of the servants of God and to accuse them of weaknesses and errors, exalting his own opinions above theirs, if not repented of, will be found written against him in the books, which he will see with shame in the day of God.  {3T 451.2}

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     God will hold up His servants, will preserve His favored ones; but woe unto him who would make of none effect the words of Christ’s ambassadors, who receive the word from the mouth of God to speak to the people and who would tell the people that the sword is coming and warn them to prepare for the great day of God. Brother B will find that it is no light or trivial work in which he has been engaged; it is a work which will roll back upon his soul with crushing weight. He has brought his spirit in opposition to God. He has a hard work before him. Said Christ: “It must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.”  {3T 452.1}

     Brother B, the course that you have been pursuing was shown me three years ago. I saw that you were wrong in almost every action, and yet you tried to gauge the truth to your actions instead of gauging them to the truth. You were not a light to the people of God, but a terrible burden. You will not lift when there is lifting to be done, and you discourage others from union of action. You are ever finding fault and talking of your brethren, and while you have been questioning the course of others, a rank growth of poisonous weeds has flourished and taken deep root in your own heart. These roots of bitterness springing up have defiled many and will defile many more unless you see them and root them out.  {3T 452.2}

     I was shown that a harsh, pharisaical spirit would grow upon Brother B and control him unless he sees the terrible defects in his character and obtains grace from God to correct the evil. Before he embraced the truth, his hand seemed to be against everyone; his combative spirit would strengthen at any provocation, and his self-esteem would be injured; he was a hard man, getting into and making trouble. The truth of God wrought a reformation in him. God accepted him, and His hand held him up. But since Brother B has lost the spirit of consecration, his old, turbulent spirit, at variance with others, has been strengthening and seeking to gain the mastery. When he dies to self and humbles his proud heart before God he will find how weak is his strength; he will

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feel the need of heavenly succor and will cry: “Unclean, unclean, before Thee, O God.” All his proud boasting in self will have an end.  {3T 452.3}

     Life in this stormy world, where moral darkness triumphs over truth and virtue, will be to the Christian a continual conflict. He will find that he must keep the armor on, for he will have to fight against forces that never tire and foes that never sleep. We shall find ourselves beset with countless temptations, and we must find strength in Christ to overcome them or be overcome by them and lose our souls. We have a great and solemn work to do, and how terrible will be our loss if we fail. If the work which our Master has left us be found undone, we cannot have a second probation granted us. It must remain undone forever.  {3T 453.1}

     I was shown the life of Brother B in his family. Angels wept as they viewed his course at home, as they viewed the unloved wife, who receives no respect from him whose duty it is to love and cherish her as his own body, even as Christ has loved and cherished the church. He takes pains to make her defects apparent and to exalt his own wisdom and judgment and to make her feel her inferiority in company and alone. Notwithstanding she is illiterate, her spirit is far more acceptable to God than the spirit of her husband. God looks upon Sister B with feelings of the deepest pity. She lives out the principles of truth, as far as she has light, much better than her husband. She will not be answerable for the light and knowledge that her husband has had but which she has not had. He could be a light and comfort and blessing to her, but his influence is used in a wrong way. He reads to her what he pleases, that which will give strength to his views and his ideas, while he keeps back essential light which he does not want her to hear.  {3T 453.2}

     He does not respect his wife, and he allows his children to show her disrespect. Like Eli’s sons, these children are left to come up. They are not restrained, and all this neglect will by and by rebound upon himself. That which Brother B is now sowing he will most assuredly reap. Sister B, in

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many respects, is nearer the kingdom of heaven than her husband. These unruly, disobedient children, that are not educated to self-control, will plant thorns in the hearts of their parents that they cannot prevent; and then in the judgment God will call the parents to account for bringing children into the world and letting them come up untrained, unloving, and unloved. These children cannot be saved in the kingdom of heaven without a great change in their characters.  {3T 453.3}

     Brother B seeks to have his wife believe as he believes, and he would have her think that all he does is right and that he knows more than any of the ministers and is wise above all men. I was shown that in his boasted wisdom he is dealing with the bodies of his children as he is with the soul of his wife. He has been following a course according to his own wisdom, which is ruining the health of his child. He flatters himself that the poison which he has introduced into her system keeps her alive. What a mistake! He should reason how much better she might have been had he let her alone and not abused nature. This child can never have a sound constitution, for her bones and the current of blood in her veins have been poisoned. The shattered constitutions of his children and their aches and distressing pains will cry out against his boasted wisdom, which is folly.  {3T 454.1}

     But what is more deplorable than all the rest is that he has, as it were, left the door to perdition wide open for his children to enter and be lost. The natures of his children will have to be changed, their characters transformed and made over new, or there can be no hope for them. Can angels look lovingly upon your family, Brother B? Can they delight to dwell in your house? The building is good, but the house does not make the happiness within. Those who live within the walls make it a heaven or a hell. You do not respect the mother of your children. You permit in them disobedience and disrespect.  {3T 454.2}

     You may say: “Why does Sister White come to me with this? I have no faith in the visions.” I knew this before I attempted to write, but I feel that the time has come for me

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to set these things before you. I must tell you the truth, for I expect to meet in the judgment what I have here imperfectly written. I have waited, hoping that I might say something that would reach your heart and soften it for the very words I have here written. But I have lost all hope in that direction, for you are fortified with an armor as impenetrable as steel. You will not accept of anything that does not meet your mind. I was shown that it would have been better for the cause of present truth if you had never embraced the Sabbath. Your conscience is not a very sensitive one; you are blinded by the enemy.  {3T 454.3}

     I have given up all hope of doing anything for the church in —– while you are a stumbling block to them. You once loved the truth, and had you followed on in the pathway of truth and holiness you would now have been an ambassador for Christ. You will have a fearful account to give in the great day of God for your talents which have been unimproved. You had good abilities. God lent these talents to you for you to put to good account, but you have abused these gifts. Had you used the ability that God had given you, on the right side, you would have done much in winning souls to Christ, and you would see in the kingdom of heaven souls saved through your instrumentality. But you have scattered abroad instead of gathering with Christ. Your brethren have been discouraged from trying to rise and advance, because you, like an opposing body, counteract the good they would do.  {3T 455.1}

     The heart of God never yearned toward His earthly children with deeper love and more compassionate tenderness than now. There never was a time when God was ready and waiting to do more for His people than now. And He will instruct and save all who choose to be saved in His appointed way. Those who are spiritual can discern spiritual things and see tokens of the presence and work of God everywhere. Satan, by his skillful and wicked strategy, led our first parents from the Garden of Eden–from their innocence and purity into sin and unspeakable wretchedness. He has not ceased to destroy; all the forces which he can command are

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diligently employed by him in these last days to compass the ruin of souls. He seizes every artifice that he can use to deceive, perplex, and confuse the people of God.  {3T 455.2}

     He has used you as his agent to scatter darkness and confusion, and he finds that you work admirably in his hands. You are the very instrument that he can handle with good effect to hurt, discourage, and tear down. You are not zealous to put your shoulder under the load with the people of God; but when they would move, you throw yourself as an additional load to prevent them from doing what they might do in advancing in the right direction. Satan is at work with those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. The most bitter hatred exists within him against all who are loyal to God and who obey His commandments. He sleeps not; he does not abate his vigilance for one moment. Would that God’s professed followers were half as wise, diligent, and persevering in the work of God as Satan is in his work.  {3T 456.1}

     Had you, Brother B, followed on when you first set your hand to the plow, and not looked back, you would now have been a messenger of light to bear the truth to those in darkness. But God could not use you to His glory until you should learn to counsel with your brethren and not to think you knew all that was worth knowing. Satan has succeeded in keeping you from doing good. You did run well for a season, but Satan’s temptations overcame you. You loved to be first and to be flattered. You loved the power which money gives. Satan understands the weakness of men. He has the knowledge which he has accumulated for ages and is an experienced hand at his work. His cunning and devices are well matured, and are too often successful because God’s people are not as wise as serpents.  {3T 456.2}

     Satan frequently appears as an angel of light, arrayed in the livery of heaven; he assumes friendly airs, manifesting great sanctity of character and high regard for his victims, the souls whom he means to deceive and destroy. Perils lie in the path which he invites souls to travel, but he succeeds

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in concealing these and presents the attractions only. The great Captain of our salvation has conquered in our behalf, that through Him we might conquer, if we would, in our own behalf. But Christ saves none against their choice; He compels none to obedience. He made the infinite sacrifice that they might overcome in His name and His righteousness be imputed unto them.  {3T 456.3}

     But in order to be saved you must accept the yoke of Christ and lay off the yoke which you have fashioned for your neck. The victory that Jesus gained in the wilderness is a pledge to you of the victory that you may gain through His name. Your only hope and salvation is in overcoming as Christ overcame. The wrath of God now hangs over you. You love the attractions of the world above the heavenly treasure. The lust of the eye and the pride of life have separated you from God. Your confidence in your own poor, weak, faulty self must be broken. You must feel your weakness before you will drop, with your burden, into the hands of God. The soul that trusts fully and entirely in God will never be confounded.  {3T 457.1}

     God would not have us consult our own convenience in obeying Him. Christ pleased not Himself when He was a man among men. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The Majesty of heaven had not where to lay His head, no place that He could claim as His own. He became poor for our sakes, that through Him we might be rich indeed. Let us not talk of sacrifice, for we know not what it is to sacrifice for the truth. As yet we have scarcely lifted the cross for Christ’s dear sake. Let us not seek for a way which is easier than the path our Redeemer has traveled before us. How incompetent are you, with all your boasted wisdom, to guide yourself! How liable are you to follow the dictates of a deceived conscience, to run in the way of error, and drag others with you!  {3T 457.2}

     Your natural temperament is such that submission and obedience to God’s requirements are very hard. Your unbounded self-confidence, your prejudices, and your feelings

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easily lead you to choose a wrong path. Christ will be to you an infallible guide if you will choose Him before your own blind judgment. In your business you have not had an eye single to the glory of God. You have had many perplexities and many difficulties to encounter, and if you had trusted to the True Counselor instead of to your own judgment, you would ever have been guided out of your perplexities in your business transactions.  {3T 457.3}

     You have an important work before you which you can never do without the special help of God. You are capable of securing the companionship of angels and of being an heir of God, a joint heir with Jesus Christ; and for you to labor to confine the range of hope and desire within the narrow compass of your own convenience would be a lifelong mistake. It is a terrible mistake to live only for this world. You look back and feel the condemnation of your own wrong course, and seek to justify yourself by finding fault with others. Whatever course others may pursue, or however wrong they may be, their errors will never cover one of your mistakes; and in the day of final reckoning you will not dare to plead this before God as a palliation for your neglect of duty.  {3T 458.1}

     God proposes to accept you as His child and make you a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King, upon conditions that you come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. The Monarch of heaven would have you possess and enjoy all that can ennoble, expand, and exalt your being and fit you to dwell with Him forever, your existence measuring with the life of God. What a prospect is the life which is to come! What charms it possesses! How broad and deep and measureless is the love of God manifested to man! No words can describe this love; it surpasses all thought and imagination, but it is a reality that you may learn by experience; you may rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory.  {3T 458.2}

     With such a prospect before you, how can you narrow your mind to the compass of worldly thoughts and to the

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range of worldly occupations, seeking gain and yielding one point after another of present truth. Truth, principle, and conscience are desirable for you to retain. The favor of God is better than houses of silver and of gold. The deepest joy of the heart comes from the deepest humiliation. Trust and submission to God work out strength and nobleness of character. Tears are not in every case evidences of weakness. In order for you to build up a character which is symmetrical in the sight of a pure and holy God you must begin at the foundation. The heart must be broken before God, and true repentance for sin must be shown, till you meet the demands of truth and duty. Then you will have true respect for yourself and true confidence in God. You will have tenderness of feeling. All that braggadocio spirit will be gone. In the place of harshness will be great tenderness blended with firmness of purpose to stand for the truth at all events. You will then see much in the world and in your own heart to make you weep.   {3T 458.3}

Chap. 44 – Leadership

     Brother A, your experience in reference to leadership two years ago was for your own benefit and was highly essential to you. You had very marked, decided views in regard to individual independence and right to private judgment. These views you carry to extremes. You reason that you must have light and evidence for yourself in reference to your duty.  {3T 492.1}

     I have been shown that no man’s judgment should be surrendered to the judgment of any one man. But when the judgment of the General Conference, which is the highest authority that God has upon the earth, is exercised, private independence and private judgment must not be maintained, but be surrendered. Your error was in persistently maintaining your private judgment of your duty against the voice of the highest authority the Lord has upon the earth. After you had taken your own time, and after the work had been much hindered by your delay, you came to Battle Creek in answer to the repeated and urgent calls of the General Conference. You firmly maintained that you had done right in following your own convictions of duty. You considered it a virtue in you to persistently maintain your position of independence. You did not seem to have a true sense of the power that God has given to His church in the voice of the General Conference. You thought that in responding to the call made to you by the General Conference you were submitting to the judgment and mind of one man. You accordingly manifested an independence, a set, willful spirit, which was all wrong.  {3T 492.2}

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     God gave you a precious experience at that time which was of value to you, and which has greatly increased your success as a minister of Christ. Your proud, unyielding will was subdued. You had a genuine conversion. This led to reflection and to your position upon leadership. Your principles in regard to leadership are right, but you do not make the right application of them. If you should let the power in the church, the voice and judgment of the General Conference, stand in the place you have given my husband, there could then be no fault found with your position. But you greatly err in giving to one man’s mind and judgment that authority and influence which God has invested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference.  {3T 493.1}

     When this power which God has placed in the church is accredited to one man, and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds, then the true Bible order is changed. Satan’s efforts upon such a man’s mind will be most subtle and sometimes overpowering, because through this mind he thinks he can affect many others. Your position on leadership is correct, if you give to the highest organized authority in the church what you have given to one man. God never designed that His work should bear the stamp of one man’s mind and one man’s judgment.  {3T 493.2}

     The great reason why Brethren B and C are at this time deficient in the experience they should now have is because they have not been self-reliant. They have shunned responsibilities because in assuming them their deficiencies would be brought to the light. They have been too willing to have my husband lead out and bear responsibilities, and have allowed him to be mind and judgment for them. These brethren are weak where they should be strong. They have not dared to follow their own independent judgment, lest they should make mistakes and be blamed for it, while they have stood ready to be tempted and to make my husband responsible if they thought they could see mistakes in his course. They have not lifted the burdens with him.  They have referred continually to my husband, making him bear the responsibilities

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which they should have shared with him, until they are weak in those qualifications wherein they should be strong. They are weak in moral power when they might be giants, qualified to stand as pillars in the cause of God.  {3T 493.3}

     These brethren have not self-reliance, or confidence that God will indeed lead them if they follow the light He has given them. God never intended that strong, independent men of superior intellect should cling to others for support as the ivy clings to the oak. All the difficulties, the backsets, the hardships, and the disappointments which God’s servants will meet in active labor will only strengthen them in the formation of correct characters. By putting their own energies of mind to use, the obstacles they meet will prove to them positive blessings. They will gain mental and spiritual muscle to be used upon important occasions with the very best results. They will learn self-reliance and will gain confidence in their own experience that God is really leading and guiding them. And as they meet peril and have real anguish of spirit they are obliged to meditate and are made to feel the necessity of prayer in their effort to move understandingly and work to advantage in the cause of God; they find that conflict and perplexity call for the exercise of faith and trust in God, and for that firmness which develops power. Necessities are constantly arising for new ways and means to meet emergencies. Faculties are called into use that would lie dormant were it not for these pressing necessities in the work of God. This gives a varied experience so that there will be no use for men of one idea and those who are only half developed.  {3T 494.1}

     Men of might and power in this cause, whom God will use to His glory, are those who have been opposed, baffled, and thwarted in their plans. Brethren B and C might have turned their own failures into important victories; but, instead of this, they have shunned the responsibilities which would make liability to mistakes possible. These precious brethren have failed to gain that education which is strengthened by experience

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and which reading and study and all the advantages otherwise gained will never give them.  {3T 494.2}

     You, Brother A, have had strength to bear some responsibilities. God has accepted your energetic labors and blessed your efforts. You have made some mistakes, but because of some failures you should in nowise misjudge your capabilities nor distrust the strength that you may find in God. You have not been willing and ready to assume responsibilities. You are naturally inclined to shun them and to choose an easier position, to write and exercise the mind where no special, vital interests are involved. You make a mistake in relying upon my husband to tell you what to do. This is not the work God has given my husband. You should search out what is to be done and lift the disagreeable burdens yourself. God will bless you in so doing. You must bear burdens in connection with the work of God according to your best judgment. But you must be guarded, lest your judgment shall be influenced by the opinions of others. If it is apparent that you have made mistakes, it is your privilege to turn these failures into victories by avoiding the same in the future. By being told what to do you will never gain the experience necessary for any important position.  {3T 495.1}

     The same is applicable to all who are standing in the different positions of trust in the various offices at Battle Creek. They are not to be coaxed and petted and helped at every turn, for this will not make men competent for important positions. It is obstacles that make men strong. It is not helps, but difficulties, conflicts, rebuffs, that make men of moral sinew. Too much ease and avoiding responsibility have made weaklings and dwarfs of those who ought to be responsible men of moral power and strong spiritual muscle.  {3T 495.2}

     Men who ought to be as true in every emergency as the needle to the pole, have become inefficient by their efforts to shield themselves from censure and by evading responsibilities for fear of failure. Men of giant intellect are babes in discipline

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because they are cowardly in regard to taking and bearing the burdens they should. They are neglecting to become efficient. They have too long trusted one man to plan for them and to do the thinking which they are highly capable of doing themselves in the interest of the cause of God. Mental deficiencies meet us at every point. Men who are content to let others plan and do their thinking for them are not fully developed. If they were left to plan for themselves they would be found judicious, close-calculating men. But when brought into connection with God’s cause, it is entirely another thing to them; they lose this faculty almost altogether. They are content to remain as incompetent and inefficient as though others must do the planning and much of the thinking for them. Some men appear to be utterly unable to hew out a path for themselves. Must they ever rely upon others to do their planning and their studying, and to be mind and judgment for them? God is ashamed of such soldiers. He is not honored by their having any part to act in His work while they are mere machines.  {3T 495.3}

     Independent men of earnest endeavor are needed, not men as impressible as putty. Those who want their work made ready to their hand, who desire a fixed amount to do and a fixed salary, and who wish to prove an exact fit without the trouble of adaptation or training, are not the men whom God calls to work in His cause. A man who cannot adapt his abilities to almost any place if necessity requires is not the man for this time. Men whom God will connect with His work are not limp and fiberless, without muscle or moral force of character. It is only by continued and persevering labor that men can be disciplined to bear a part in the work of God. These men should not become discouraged if circumstances and surroundings are the most unfavorable. They should not give up their purpose as a complete failure until they are convinced beyond a doubt that they cannot do much for the honor of God and the good of souls.  {3T 496.1}

     There are men who flatter themselves that they might do something great and good if they were only circumstanced differently, while they make no use of the faculties they already

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have by working in the positions where Providence has placed them. Man can make his circumstances, but circumstances should never make the man. Man should seize circumstances as his instruments with which to work. He should master circumstances, but should never allow circumstances to master him. Individual independence and individual power are the qualities now needed. Individual character need not be sacrificed, but it should be modulated, refined, elevated.  {3T 496.2}

     I have been shown that it is my husband’s duty to lay off the responsibilities which others would be glad to have him bear because it excuses them from many difficulties. My husband’s ready judgment and clear discernment, which have been gained through training and exercise, have led him to take on many burdens which others should have borne.  {3T 497.1}

     Brother A, you are too slow. You should cultivate opposite qualities. The cause of God demands men who can see quickly and act instantaneously at the right time and with power. If you wait to measure every difficulty and balance every perplexity you meet you will do but little. You will have obstacles and difficulties to encounter at every turn, and you must with firm purpose decide to conquer them, or they will conquer you.  {3T 497.2}

     Sometimes various ways and purposes, different modes of operation in connection with the work of God, are about evenly balanced in the mind; but it is at this very point that the nicest discrimination is necessary. And if anything is accomplished to the purpose it must be done at the golden moment. The slightest inclination of the weight in the balance should be seen and should determine the matter at once. Long delays tire the angels. It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position, to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another. More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily.  {3T 497.3}

     I have been shown that the most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God

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requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage. My brother, you need to reform. The timing of things may tell much in favor of truth. Victories are frequently lost through delays. There will be crises in this cause. Prompt and decisive action at the right time will gain glorious triumphs, while delay and neglect will result in great failures and positive dishonor to God. Rapid movements at the critical moment often disarm the enemy, and he is disappointed and vanquished, for he had expected time to lay plans and work by artifice.  {3T 497.4}

     God wants men connected with His work in Battle Creek whose judgment is at hand, whose minds, when it is necessary, will act like the lightnings. The greatest promptness is positively necessary in the hour of peril and danger. Every plan may be well laid to accomplish certain results, and yet a delay of a very short time may leave things to assume an entirely different shape, and the great objects which might have been gained are lost through lack of quick foresight and prompt dispatch. Much may be done in training the mind to overcome indolence. There are times when caution and great deliberation are necessary; rashness would be folly. But even here, much has been lost by too great hesitancy. Caution, up to a certain point, is required; but hesitancy and policy on particular occasions have been more disastrous than would have been a failure through rashness.  {3T 498.1}

     My brother, you need to cultivate promptness. Away with your hesitating manner. You are slow and neglect to seize the work and accomplish it. You must get out of this narrow manner of labor, for it is of the wrong order. When unbelief takes hold of your soul, your labor is of such a hesitating, halting, balancing kind that you accomplish nothing yourself and hinder others from doing. You have just enough interest to see difficulties and start doubts, but have not the interest or courage to overcome the difficulties or dispel the doubts. At such times you need to surrender to God. You need force

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of character and less stubbornness and set willfulness. This slowness, this sluggishness of action, is one of the greatest defects in your character and stands in the way of your usefulness.  {3T 498.2}

     Your slowness of decision in connection with the cause and work of God is sometimes painful. It is not at all necessary. Prompt and decisive action may accomplish great results. You are generally willing to work when you feel just like it, ready to do when you can see clearly what is to be done; but you fail to be that benefit to the cause that you might be if you were prompt and decisive at the critical moment, and would overcome the habit of hesitation and delay which has marked your character and which has greatly retarded the work of God. This defect, unless overcome, will prove, in instances of great crises, disastrous to the cause and fatal to your own soul. Punctuality and decisive action at the right time must be acquired, for you have not these qualities. In the warfare and battles of nations there is often more gained by good management in prompt action than in earnest, dead encounter with the enemy.  {3T 499.1}

     The ability to do business with dispatch, and yet do it thoroughly, is a great acquisition. My brother, you have really felt that your cautious, hesitating course was commendable, rather a virtue than a wrong. But from what the Lord has shown me in this matter, these sluggish movements on your part have greatly hindered the work of God and caused many things to be left undone which in justice ought to have been done with promptness. It will be difficult now for you to make the changes in your character which God requires you to make, because it was difficult for you to be punctual and prompt of action in youth. When the character is formed, the habits fixed, and the mental and moral faculties have become firm, it is most difficult to unlearn wrong habits, to be prompt in action. You should realize the value of time. You are not excusable for leaving the most important, though unpleasant work, hoping to get rid of doing it altogether, or thinking that it will become less unpleasant, while you occupy your time upon pleasant matters not really taxing. You should first do

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the work which must be done and which involves the vital interests of the cause, and only take up the less important matters after the more essential are accomplished. Punctuality and decision in the work and cause of God are highly essential. Delays are virtually defeats. Minutes are golden and should be improved to the very best account. Earthly relations and personal interests should ever be secondary. Never should the cause of God be left to suffer, in a single particular, because of our earthly friends or dearest relatives.  {3T 499.2}

     “And He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  {3T 500.1}

     No earthly ties, no earthly considerations, should weigh one moment in the scale against duty to the cause and work of God. Jesus severed His connection from everything to save a lost world, and He requires of us a full and entire consecration. There are sacrifices to be made for the interests of God’s cause. The sacrifice of feeling is the most keen that is required of us; yet after all it is a small sacrifice. You have plenty of friends, and if the feelings are only sanctified, you need not feel that you are making a very great sacrifice. You do not leave your wife among heathen. You are not called to tread the burning African desert or to face prisons and encounter trial at every step. Be careful how you appeal to your sympathies and let human feelings and personal considerations mingle with your efforts and labors for the cause of God. He demands unselfish and willing service. You can render this and yet do all your duties to your family; but hold this as a secondary matter.  {3T 500.2}

     My husband and myself have made mistakes in consenting to take responsibilities that others should carry. In the commencement of this work a man was needed to propose, to execute

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with determination, and to lead out battling with error and surmounting obstacles. My husband bore the heaviest burden and met the most determined opposition. But when we became a fully organized body, and several men were chosen to act in responsible positions, then it was the proper time for my husband to cease to act longer as one man to stand under the responsibilities and carry the heavy burdens. This labor devolved on more than one. Here is where the mistake has been made by his brethren in urging him, and by himself in consenting, to stand under the burdens and responsibilities that he had borne alone for years. He should have laid down these burdens years ago, and they should have been divided with other men chosen to act in behalf of the people Satan would be pleased to have one man’s mind and one man’s judgment control the minds and judgment of those who believe the present truth.  {3T 500.3}

     My husband has frequently been left almost alone to see and feel the wants of the cause of God and to act promptly. His leading brethren were not deficient in intellect, but they lacked a willing mind to stand in the position which my husband has occupied. They have inconsistently allowed a paralytic to bear the burdens and responsibilities of this work, which no one of them alone could endure with their strong nerves and firm muscles. He has sometimes used apparent severity and has spoken so as to give offense. When he has seen others who might have shared his burdens avoiding responsibilities, it has grieved him to the heart, and he has spoken impulsively. He has not been placed in this unreasonable position by the Lord, but by his brethren. His life has been but little better than a species of slavery. The constant trial, the harassing care, the exhausting brainwork, have not been valued by his brethren. He has led an unenjoyable life, and he has increased his unhappiness by complaining of his brother ministers who neglected to do what they might have done. Nature has been outraged time and again. While his brethren have found fault with him for doing so much, they have not come up to take their share of the responsibility, but have been too

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willing to make him responsible for everything. You came nobly up to bear responsibilities when there were no others who would lift them. If his brethren in the ministry had cultivated a willingness to lift the burdens they should have borne, my husband would not have seen and done so much work which needed to be done and which he thought must not be neglected.  {3T 501.1}

     God has not suffered the life of my husband to end ingloriously. He has sustained him. But the man who performs double labor, who crowds the work of two years into one, is burning his candle at both ends. There is yet a work for my husband to do which he should have done years ago. He should now have less of the strife, perplexity, and responsibility of life, and be ripening, softening, and elevating for his last change. He should now husband his strength. He should not allow the responsibilities of the cause to rest upon him so heavily, but should stand free, where the prejudices and suspicions of his brethren will not disturb his peace.  {3T 502.1}

     God has permitted the precious light of truth to shine upon His word and illuminate the mind of my husband. He may reflect the rays of light from the presence of Jesus upon others by his preaching and writing. But while serving tables, doing business in connection with the cause, he has been deprived, to a great degree, of the privilege of using his pen and of preaching to the people.  {3T 502.2}

     He has felt that he was called of God to stand in defense of the truth, and to reprove, sometimes severely, those who were not doing justice to the work. The pressure of care and the affliction of disease have often thrown him into discouragement, and he has sometimes viewed matters in an exaggerated light. His brethren have taken advantage of his words, and of his prompt manners, which have been in marked contrast with their tardy labor and narrow plans of operation. They have accredited to my husband motives and feelings which were not his due. The wide contrast between themselves and him seemed like a gulf; but this might easily have been bridged, had these men of intellect put their undivided interests

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and whole hearts into the work of building up and advancing the precious cause of God.  {3T 502.3}

     We might exert a constant influence in this place, at the head of the work, which would advance the prosperity of our institutions. But the course of others who do not do what they might, who are subject to temptation, and who, if their track is crossed, would reflect upon our most earnest efforts for the prosperity of God’s cause, compels us to seek an asylum elsewhere where we may work to better advantage with less danger of being crushed under burdens. God has given us great freedom and power with His people at Battle Creek. When we came to this place last summer, our work commenced in earnest, and it has continued ever since. One perplexity and difficulty has followed closely upon another, calling forth taxing labor to set things right.  {3T 503.1}

     When the Lord showed that Brother D might be the man for the place, if he remained humble and relied upon His strength, He did not make a blunder and select the wrong man. For a time Brother D had a true interest and acted as a father at the Health Institute. But he became self-exalted, self-sufficient. He pursued a wrong course. He yielded to temptation. The excuses which the directors have made for their neglect of duty are all wrong. Their shifting responsibilities upon Brother and Sister White is marked against them. They simply neglected their duty because it was unpleasant.  {3T 503.2}

     I saw that help was needed upon the Pacific Coast. But God would not have us take the responsibilities or bear the perplexities which belong to others. We may stand as counselors and help them with our influence and our judgment. We may do much if we will not be induced to get under the load and bear the weight which others should bear, and which it is important for them to bear in order to gain a necessary experience. We have important matter to write out which the people greatly need. We have precious light on Bible truth which we should speak to the people.  {3T 503.3}

     I was shown that God did not design that my husband should bear the burdens he has borne for the last five months.

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The working part in connection with the cause has been left to fall upon him. This has brought perplexity, weariness, and nervous debility, which have resulted in discouragement and depression. From the commencement of the cause there has been a lack of harmonious action on the part of his brethren. His brethren in the ministry have loved freedom. They have not borne the responsibilities which they might, and have failed to gain the experience which they might have had to enable them to stand in the most responsible positions relative to the vital interests of the cause of God at the present time. They have excused their neglect to bear responsibilities on the ground that they feared being reflected upon afterward.  {3T 503.4}

     The religion we profess is colored by our natural dispositions and temperaments; therefore it is of the highest importance that the weak points in our character be strengthened by exercise and that the strong, unfavorable points be weakened by working in an opposite direction and by strengthening opposite qualities. But some brethren have not done what they might and should have done, and which would have given my husband sufficient encouragement and help to continue to bear some responsibilities at the head of the work. His fellow laborers did not move independently, looking to God for light and for duty for themselves; they did not follow in His opening providence and consult together upon plans of operation and unite in their plans and manner of labor.  {3T 504.1}

     Since coming to Michigan last summer, the Lord has especially blessed the labors of my husband. He has been sustained in a most remarkable manner to do work that so much needed to be done. Had those associated with him been awake to see and understand the wants of the cause of God at our last Michigan camp meeting, the many things not done might have been accomplished. There was a failure to meet the wants of the occasion. Had Brother A stood cheerful in God, walking in the light, ready to see what was to be done, and executing the work with dispatch, we should now be months advanced in our work, and we might long ago have been working to establish the press upon the Pacific Coast.

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God cannot be glorified by our falling into singular gloom and then remaining under the cloud. The light does shine, although we may not realize its blessing; but if we make all diligence to press to the light, and if we move ahead just as though the light did shine, we shall soon pass out of the darkness and find light all around us.  {3T 504.2}

     At our last camp meeting the angels of God in a special manner came with their power to lighten, to heal, and to bless both my husband and Brother Waggoner. A precious victory was there gained which should never lose its influence. I have been shown that God had in a most marked manner given my husband tokens of His love and care, and also of His sustaining grace. He has regarded his zeal and devotion to His cause and work. This should ever lead to humility and gratitude on the part of my husband.  {3T 505.1}

     God wants minutemen. He will have men who, when important decisions are to be made, are as true as the needle to the pole; men whose special and personal interests are swallowed up, as were our Saviour’s, in the one great general interest for the salvation of souls. Satan plays upon the human mind wherever a chance has been left for him to do so; and he seizes upon the very time and place where he can do the most service to himself and the greatest injury to the cause of God. A neglect to do what we might do, and what God requires us to do in His cause, is a sin which cannot be palliated with excuses of circumstances or conditions, for Jesus has made provision for all in every emergency.  {3T 505.2}

     My brother, in doing the work of God you will be placed in a variety of circumstances which will require self-possession and self-control, but which will qualify you to adapt yourself to circumstances and the peculiarities of the situation. Then you can act yourself unembarrassed. You should not place too low an estimate upon your ability to act your part in the various callings of practical life. Where you are aware of deficiencies, go to work at once to remedy those defects. Do not trust to others to supply your deficiencies, while you go on indifferently, as though it were a matter of course that your

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peculiar organization must ever remain so. Apply yourself earnestly to cure these defects, that you may be perfect in Christ Jesus, wanting in nothing.  {3T 505.3}

     If you form too high an opinion of yourself, you will think that your labors are of more real consequence than they are, and you will plead individual independence which borders on arrogance. If you go to the other extreme and form too low an opinion of yourself, you will feel inferior and will leave an impression of inferiority which will greatly limit the influence that you might have for good. You should avoid either extreme. Feeling should not control you; circumstances should not affect you. You may form a correct estimate of yourself, one which will prove a safeguard from both extremes. You may be dignified without vain self-confidence; you may be condescending and yielding without sacrificing self-respect or individual independence, and your life may be of great influence with those in the higher as well as the lower walks of life.  {3T 506.1}

     Brother A, your danger now is of being affected by reports. Your labors are decidedly practical, close, and cutting. You rein up the people to very close tests and requirements. This is necessary at times; but your labors are getting to be too much of this character, and will lose their force unless mingled with more of the softening, encouraging grace of the Spirit of God. You allow the words of your relatives and special friends to influence your propositions and affect your decisions. You credit them too readily and incorporate their views into your own ideas and are too often led astray. You need to be guarded. The families in —– which are so closely related have had an influence. Your judgment, your feelings, your views, influence them, and, in turn, they influence you; and a strong current will be set flowing in a wrong direction unless you are all humble and thoroughly consecrated to God. All the elements of these family connections are naturally independent and conscientious, and, unless especially balanced and controlled by the Spirit of God, are inclined to extremes.  {3T 506.2}

     Never, never be influenced by reports. Never let your

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conduct be influenced by your dearest relatives. The time has come when the greatest wisdom needs to be exercised in reference to the cause and work of God. Judgment is needed to know when to speak and when to keep silent. Hunger for sympathy frequently leads to imprudence of a grave character in opening the feelings to others. Your appearance frequently claims sympathy when it would be better for you if you did not receive it. It is an important duty for all to become familiar with the tenor of their conduct from day to day and the motives which prompt their actions. They need to become acquainted with the particular motives which prompt particular actions. Every action of their lives is judged, not by the external appearance, but from the motive which dictated the action.  {3T 506.3}

     All should guard the senses, lest Satan gain victory over them; for these are the avenues to the soul. We may be as severe as we like in disciplining ourselves, but we must be very cautious not to push souls to desperation. Some feel that Brother White is altogether too severe in speaking in a decided manner to individuals, in reproving what he thinks is wrong in them. He may be in danger of not being so careful in his manner of reproving as to give no occasion for reflection; but some of those who complain of his manner of reproving use the most cutting, reproving, condemnatory language, too indiscriminating to be spoken to a congregation, and they feel that they have relieved their souls and done a good work. But the angels of God do not always approve such labor. If Brother White makes one individual feel that he is not doing right, if he is too severe toward that one and needs to be taught to modify his manners, to soften his spirit, how much more necessary for his ministering brethren to feel the inconsistency of making a large congregation suffer from cutting reproofs and strong denunciations, when the really innocent must suffer with the guilty.  {3T 507.1}

     It is worse, far worse, to give expression to the feelings in a large gathering, firing at anyone and everyone, than to go to the individuals who may have done wrong and

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personally reprove them. The offensiveness of this severe, overbearing, denunciatory talk in a large gathering is of as much more grave a character in the sight of God than giving personal, individual reproof as the numbers are greater and the censure more general. It is ever easier to give expression to the feelings before a congregation, because there are many present, than to go to the erring and, face to face with them, openly, frankly, plainly state their wrong course. But bringing into the house of God strong feelings against individuals, and making all the innocent as well as the guilty suffer, is a manner of labor which God does not sanction and which does harm rather than good. It has too often been the case that criticizing and denunciatory discourses have been given before a congregation. These do not encourage a spirit of love in the brethren. They do not tend to make them spiritually minded and lead them to holiness and heaven, but a spirit of bitterness is aroused in hearts. These very strong sermons that cut a man all to pieces are sometimes positively necessary to arouse, alarm, and convict. But unless they bear the especial marks of being dictated by the Spirit of God they do far more injury than they can do good.  {3T 507.2}

     I was shown that my husband’s course has not been perfect. He has erred sometimes in murmuring and in giving too severe reproof. But from what I have seen, he has not been so greatly at fault in this respect as many have supposed and as I have sometimes feared. Job was not understood by his friends. He flings back upon them their reproaches. He shows them that if they are defending God by avowing their faith in Him and their consciousness of sin, he has a more deep and thorough knowledge of it than they ever had. “Miserable comforters are ye all,” is the answer he makes to their criticisms and censures. “I also,” says Job, “could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.” But he declares that he would not do this. “I,” he says, “would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should assuage your grief.”  {3T 508.1}

                                                                           509

     Brethren and sisters who are well meaning, but who have narrow conceptions and look only at externals, may attempt to help matters of which they have no real knowledge. Their limited experience cannot fathom the feelings of a soul who has been urged out by the Spirit of God, who has felt to the depths that earnest and inexpressible love and interest for the cause of God and for souls that they have never experienced, and who has borne burdens in the cause of God that they have never lifted.  {3T 509.1}

     Some shortsighted, short-experienced friends cannot, with their narrow vision, appreciate the feelings of one who has been in close harmony with the soul of Christ in connection with the salvation of others. His motives are misunderstood and his actions misconstrued by those who would be his friends, until, like Job, he sends forth the earnest prayer: Save me from my friends. God takes the case of Job in hand Himself. His patience has been severely taxed; but when God speaks, all his pettish feelings are changed. The self-justification which he felt was necessary to withstand the condemnation of his friends is not necessary toward God. He never misjudges; He never errs. Says the Lord to Job, “Gird up now thy loins like a man;” and Job no sooner hears the divine voice than his soul is bowed down with a sense of his sinfulness, and he says before God, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”  {3T 509.2}

     When God has spoken, my husband has hearkened to His voice; but to bear the condemnation and reflection of his friends who do not seem to discriminate has been a great trial. When his brethren shall have stood under the same circumstances, and borne the responsibilities that he has borne with as little encouragement and help as he has had, then they may be able to understand how to sustain, how to comfort, how to bless, without torturing his feelings by reflections and censures which he in no way deserves.  {3T 509.3}

Chap. 46 – Duty to the Unfortunate

     I have been shown some things in reference to our duty to the unfortunate which I feel it my duty to write at this time.  {3T 511.1}

     I saw that it is in the providence of God that widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and persons afflicted in a variety of ways, have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our sympathy, love, and disinterested benevolence. This is God’s test of our character. If we have the true religion of the Bible we shall feel that a debt of love, kindness, and interest is due to Christ in behalf of His brethren; and we can do no less than to show our gratitude for His immeasurable love to us while we were sinners unworthy of His grace, by having a deep interest and unselfish love for those who are our brethren and who are less fortunate than ourselves.  {3T 511.2}

     The two great principles of the law of God are supreme love to God and unselfish love to our neighbor. The first four commandments and the last six hang upon, or grow out of, these two principles. Christ explained to the lawyer who his neighbor was in the illustration of the man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho and who fell among thieves and was robbed and beaten and left half dead. The priest and the Levite saw this man suffering, but their hearts did not respond to his wants. They avoided him by passing by on the other side. The Samaritan came that way, and when he saw the stranger’s need of help he did not question whether he was a relative or was of his country or creed; but he went to work to help the sufferer because there was work which needed to be done. He relieved him as best he could, put him upon his own beast, and carried him to an inn and made provision for his wants at his own expense. This Samaritan, said Christ, was neighbor to him who fell among thieves. The Levite and the priest represent a class in the church who manifest an indifference to the very ones who need their sympathy and help. This class, notwithstanding their position in the church, are commandment breakers. The Samaritan represents a class who are true helpers with Christ and who are imitating His example in doing good.  {3T 511.3}

     Those who have pity for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the afflicted, the widows, the orphans, and the needy, Christ represents as commandment keepers, who shall have eternal life. There is in —– a great lack of personal religion and of a sense of individual obligation to feel for others’ woes and to work with disinterested benevolence for the prosperity of the unfortunate and afflicted. Some have no experience in these duties. They have all their lives been like the Levite and the priest, who passed by on the other side. There is a work for the church to do, which, if left undone, will bring darkness upon them. The church as a whole and individually should bring their motives under faithful examination and compare their lives with the life and teachings of the only correct Pattern. Christ regards all acts of mercy, benevolence, and thoughtful consideration for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the sick, the widow, and the orphan as done to Himself; and these works are preserved in the heavenly records and will be rewarded. On the other hand, a record will be written in the book against those who manifest the indifference of the priest and the Levite to the unfortunate, and those who take any advantage of the misfortunes of others and increase their affliction in order to selfishly advantage themselves. God will surely repay every act of injustice and every manifestation of careless indifference to and neglect of the afflicted among us. Everyone will finally be rewarded as his works have been.  {3T 512.1}

     I was shown in regard to Brother E that he has not been dealt justly with by his brethren. Brethren F, G, and others pursued a course toward him which was displeasing to God. Brother F had no special interest in Brother E, only so far as he thought he could advantage himself through him. I was shown that some looked upon Brother E as being penurious and dishonest. God is displeased with this judgment. Brother E would have had no trouble and would have had means to abundantly sustain himself had it not been for the selfish course of his brethren who had eyesight and property, and who worked against him by seeking to turn his abilities to their own selfish interest. Those who take advantage of the hard study of a blind man and seek to benefit themselves with his inventions, commit robbery and are virtually commandment breakers.  {3T 513.1}

     There are some in the church who profess to be keeping the law of Jehovah, but who are transgressors of that law. There are men who do not discern their own defects. They possess a selfish, penurious spirit and blind their own eyes to their sin of covetousness, which the Bible defines as idolatry. Men of this character may have been esteemed by their brethren as most exemplary Christians; but the eye of God reads the heart and discerns the motives. He sees that which man cannot see in the thoughts and character. In His providence He brings these persons into positions which will in time reveal the defects in their character, that if they wish to see and correct them they can do so. There are some who have all their lives studied their own interest and been swallowed up in their own selfish plans and who have been anxious to advantage themselves without much thought whether others would be distressed or perplexed by any plans or actions of theirs. Selfish interest overbears mercy and the love of God. The Lord sometimes permits this class to go on in their selfish course in spiritual blindness until their defects are apparent to all who have spiritual discernment and they evidence by their works that they are not genuine Christians.  {3T 513.2}

     Men who have property and a measure of health, and who enjoy the inestimable blessing of sight, have every advantage over a blind man. Many ways are open to them in their business career that are closed to a man who has lost his sight. Persons enjoying the use of all their faculties should not look to their own selfish interest and deprive a blind brother of one iota of his opportunity to gain means. Brother E is a poor man. He is a feeble man; he is also a blind man. He has had an earnest desire to help himself, and, although living under a weight of discouraging infirmities, his affliction has not dried up the generous impulses of his soul. In his limited circumstances he has had a heart to do and has done more in the sight of God for those who were in need of help than many of his brethren who are blessed with sight and who have a good property. Brother E has a capital in his business calculation and inventive faculty. He has worked earnestly with high hopes of inventing a business by which he might support himself and not be dependent upon his brethren.  {3T 514.1}

     I wish that we might all see as God sees. I wish all could realize how God looks upon those men who profess to be followers of Christ, who have the blessing of sight and the advantage of means in their favor, and who yet envy the little prosperity enjoyed by a poor blind man and would benefit themselves, increase their stock of means, at the disadvantage of their afflicted brother. This is regarded of God as the most criminal selfishness and robbery, and is an aggravating sin, which He will surely punish. God never forgets. He does not look upon these things with human eyes and with cold, unfeeling, human judgment. He views things, not from the worldling’s standpoint, but from the standpoint of mercy, pity, and infinite love.  {3T 514.2}

     Brother H tried to help Brother E, but not with unselfish motives. At first his pity was excited. He saw that Brother E needed help. But soon he lost his interest, and selfish feelings gathered strength, until the course of his brethren resulted in Brother E’s being disadvantaged rather than benefited. These things have greatly discouraged Brother E and have had a tendency to shake his confidence in his brethren. They have resulted in involving him in debts which he could not pay. As he has realized the selfish feelings exercised toward him by some of his brethren, it has grieved him and sometimes stirred him. His feelings at times have been almost uncontrollable as he has realized his helpless condition, without sight, without means, without health, and with some of his brethren working against him. This has added greatly to his affliction and told fearfully upon his health.  {3T 515.1}

     I was shown that Brother E has some good qualities of mind which would be better appreciated if he had greater power of self-control and would not become excited. Every exhibition of impatience and fretfulness tells against him, and is made the most of by some who are guilty of much more grievous sins in the sight of God, Brother E’s principles are good. He has integrity. He is not a dishonest man. He would not knowingly defraud any man. But he has faults and sins which must be overcome. He, as well as other men, has to deal with human nature. He is too often impatient and is sometimes overbearing. He should cherish a more kindly, courteous spirit and should cultivate gratitude of heart toward those who have felt an interest in his case. Naturally he has an impetuous temper when suddenly aroused or unreasonably provoked. But, notwithstanding this, he has a heart to do right, and he feels sincere repentance toward God when he reflects upon his wrongs.  {3T 515.2}

     If he sees his brethren inclined to do him justice he will be generous to forgive and humble enough to desire peace, even if he has to make great sacrifices to obtain it. But he is easily excited; he is of a nervous temperament. He has need of the subduing influence of the Spirit of God. If those who are ready to censure him would consider their own wrongs and kindly overlook his faults as generously as they should, they would manifest the spirit of Christ. Brother E has a work to do to overcome. His words and deportment to others should be gentle, kind, and pleasant. He should strictly guard against everything which savors of a dictatorial spirit or of overbearing manners or words.  {3T 515.3}

     While God is a friend to the blind and the unfortunate, He does not excuse their sins. He requires them to overcome and to perfect Christian character in the name of Jesus, who overcame in their behalf. But Jesus pities our weakness, and He is ready to give strength to bear up in trial and to resist the temptations of Satan, if we will cast our burden upon Him. Angels are sent to minister to the children of God who are physically blind. Angels guard their steps and save them from a thousand dangers, which, unknown to them, beset their path. But His Spirit will not attend them unless they cherish a spirit of kindness and seek earnestly to have control over their natures and to bring their passions and every power into submission to God. They must cultivate a spirit of love and control their words and actions.  {3T 516.1}

     I was shown that God requires His people to be far more pitiful and considerate of the unfortunate than they are. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Here genuine religion is defined. God requires that the same consideration which should be given to the widow and fatherless be given to the blind and to those suffering under the affliction of other physical infirmities. Disinterested benevolence is very rare in this age of the world.  {3T 516.2}

     I was shown, in Brother E’s case, that those who would in any way deal unjustly with him and discourage him in his efforts to help himself, or who, coveting the poor blind man’s prosperity, would advantage themselves to his disadvantage, will bring upon themselves the curse of God, who is the blind man’s friend. Special injunctions were given to the children of Israel in reference to the blind: “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning. Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.”  {3T 516.3}

     It is strange that professed Christian men should disregard the plain, positive teachings of the word of God and feel no compunctions of conscience. God places upon them the responsibility of caring for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the widow, and the fatherless; but many make no effort to regard it. In order to save such, God frequently brings them under the rod of affliction and places them in positions similar to those occupied by the persons who were in need of their help and sympathy, but who did not receive it at their hands.  {3T 517.1}

     God will hold the church at —– responsible, as a body, for the wrong course of its members. If a selfish and unsympathizing spirit is allowed to exist in any of its members toward the unfortunate, the widow, the orphan, the blind, the lame, or those who are sick in body or mind, He will hide His face from His people until they do their duty and remove the wrong from among them. If any professing the name of Christ so far misrepresent their Saviour as to be unmindful of their duty to the afflicted, or if they in any way seek to advantage themselves to the injury of the unfortunate and thus rob them of means, the Lord holds the church accountable for the sin of its members until they have done all they can to remedy the existing evil. He will not hearken to the prayer of His people while the orphan, the fatherless, the lame, the blind, and the sick are neglected among them.  {3T 517.2}

     There is more meant by “being on the Lord’s side” than merely saying so in meeting. The Lord’s side is ever the side of mercy, pity, and sympathy for the suffering, as will be seen by the example given us in the life of Jesus. We are required to imitate His example. But there are some who are not on the Lord’s side in regard to these things; they are on the side of the enemy. In giving to His hearers an illustration of this subject, Jesus said:  {3T 518.1}

     “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”  {3T 518.2}

     Here in His sermon Christ identifies Himself with suffering humanity and plainly impresses upon us all that indifference or injustice done to the least of His saints is done to Him. Here is the Lord’s side, and whoever will be on the Lord’s side, let him come over with us. The dear Saviour is wounded when we wound one of His humble saints.  {3T 518.3}

     Righteous job moans because of his afflictions and pleads his own cause when unjustly accused by one of his comforters. He says: “I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out. And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.”  {3T 518.4}

     The sin of one man discomfited the entire army of Israel. A wrong course pursued by one toward his brother will turn the light of God from His people until the wrong is searched out and the cause of the oppressed is vindicated. God requires His people to be tender in their feelings and discriminations, while their hearts should be enlarged, their feelings should be broad and deep, not narrow, selfish, and penurious. Noble sympathy, largeness of soul, and disinterested benevolence are needed. Then can the church triumph in God. But just as long as the church suffer selfishness to dry up kindly sympathy and tender, thoughtful love and interest for their brethren, every virtue will be corroded. Isaiah’s fast should be studied and close self-examination made with a spirit to discern whether there is in them the principles which God’s people are required to possess in order that they may receive the rich blessings promised.  {3T 519.1}

     God requires that His people should not allow the poor and afflicted to be oppressed. If they break every yoke and release the oppressed, and are unselfish and kindly considerate of the needy, then shall the blessings promised be theirs. If there are those in the church who would cause the blind to stumble, they should be brought to justice; for God has made us guardians of the blind, the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless. The stumbling block referred to in the word of God does not mean a block of wood placed before the feet of the blind to cause him to stumble, but it means much more than this. It means any course that may be pursued to injure the influence of their blind brother, to work against his interest, or to hinder his prosperity.  {3T 519.2}

     A brother who is blind and poor and diseased, and who is making every exertion to help himself that he may not be dependent, should be encouraged by his brethren in every way possible. But those who profess to be his brethren, who have the use of all their faculties, who are not dependent, but who so far forget their duty to the blind as to perplex and distress and hedge up his way, are doing a work which will require repentance and restoration before God will accept their prayers. And the church of God who have permitted their unfortunate brother to be wronged will be guilty of sin until they do all in their power to have the wrong righted.  {3T 519.3}

     All are doubtless familiar with Achan’s case. It is recorded in sacred history for all generations, but more especially for those upon whom the ends of the world are come. Joshua lay moaning upon his face before God because the people were obliged to make a disgraceful retreat before their enemies. The Lord bade Joshua arise: “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?” Have I humbled without cause by removing My presence from thee? Does God forsake His people without a cause? No; He tells Joshua that there is a work for him to do before his prayer can be answered. “Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also.” He declares: “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.”  {3T 520.1}

     Here in this example we have some idea of the responsibility resting upon the church and the work that God requires them to do in order to have His presence. It is a sin in any church not to search for the cause of their darkness and of the afflictions which have been in the midst of them. The church in —– cannot be a living, prosperous church until they are more awake to the wrongs among them, which hinder the blessing of God from coming upon them. The church should not suffer their brethren in affliction to be wronged. These are the very ones that should awaken the sympathy of all hearts and call into exercise noble, benevolent feelings from all the followers of Christ. The true disciples of Christ will work in harmony with Him and, following His example will help those who need help. Brother E’s blindness is a terrible affliction, and all should seek to be eyes for the blind and thus make him feel his loss as little as possible. There are some who improve their eyes by watching opportunities to work for their own advantage to get gain, but God may bring confusion upon them in a manner they do not expect.  {3T 520.2}

     If God in His mercy has given the blind man inventive faculties that he can use for his own good, God forbid that anyone should grudge him this privilege and rob him of the benefits he might derive from God’s gift to him. The blind man has disadvantages to meet on every side in the loss of his sight. That heart in which pity and sympathy are not excited at seeing a blind man groping his way in a world clothed to him in darkness, is hard indeed and must be softened by the grace of God. Not a face can the blind man look upon and there read kindly sympathy and true benevolence. He cannot look upon the beauties of nature and trace the finger of God in His created works. Their cheering gladness does not speak to him to comfort and to bless when despondency broods over him. How quickly would he exchange his blindness and every temporal blessing for the blessing of sight. But he is shut up to a world of darkness, and his God-given rights have been trampled upon that others might get gain.   {3T 521.1}

Chap. 47 – Man’s Duty to His Fellow Men

     I have been shown some things in regard to Brother I’s family which have pressed upon my mind so strongly since I have been in this place that I venture to write them out. I have been shown, Brother I, that there exists in your family an element of selfishness which clings to you like the leprosy. This selfishness must be seen and overcome, for it is a grievous sin in the sight of God. As a family you have so long consulted your own wishes, your own pleasure and convenience, that you do not feel that others have claims upon you. Your thoughts, plans, and efforts are for yourselves. You live for self; you do not cultivate disinterested benevolence, which, if exercised, would increase and strengthen until it would be your delight to live for others’ good. You would feel that you had an object in life, a purpose that would bring you returns of greater value than money. You need to have a more special interest for humanity, and in so doing you would bring your souls into closer connection with Christ and would be so imbued with His Spirit and would cleave to Him with so firm a tenacity that nothing could separate you from His love.  {3T 521.2}

     Christ is the living Vine and if you are branches of that Vine, the life nourishment which flows through it will nourish you, that you will not be barren or unfruitful. You have, as a family and as individuals, professedly connected yourselves with the service of Christ; and yet you are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. All of you need to have an entire transformation before you can do those things which unselfish, devoted Christians should do. Nothing but a thorough conversion can give you a correct sense of your defects of character. You all have the spirit and love of the world to a great extent. Says the apostle John: “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Your selfish spirit narrows and dwarfs your minds to your own interests. You need pure and undefiled religion. The simplicity of the truth will lead you to feel a sympathy for others’ woes. There are those who need your sympathy and love. To exercise these traits of character is a part of the life-work which Christ has given us all to do.  {3T 522.1}

     God will not excuse you for not taking up the cross and practicing self-denial in doing good to others with unselfish motives. If you will take the trouble to make the self-denial required of Christians, you may, by the grace of God, be qualified to win souls to Christ. God has claims upon you to which you have never responded. There are many all around us who hunger for sympathy and love. But, like many others, you have been nearly destitute of that humble love which naturally flows out in pity and sympathy for the destitute, the suffering, and the needy. The human countenance itself is a mirror of the soul, read by others, and having a telling influence upon them for good or evil. God does not call upon any of us to watch our brethren and to repent of their sins. He has left us a work to do, and He calls upon us to do it resolutely, in His fear, with an eye single to His glory.  {3T 522.2}

     Everyone, whether he is faithful or otherwise, must give to God an account of himself, not of others. Seeing faults in other professors and condemning their course will not excuse or offset one error of ours. We should not make others our criterion nor excuse anything in our course because others have done wrong. God has given us consciences for ourselves. Great principles have been laid down in His word, which are sufficient to guide us in our Christian walk and general deportment. You, my dear friends, as a family, have not kept the principles of the law of God. You have never felt the burden of the duty devolving upon man to his fellow men.  {3T 523.1}

     “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said,  {3T 523.2}

     “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”  {3T 523.3}

     Here the conditions of inheriting eternal life are plainly stated by our Saviour in the most simple manner. The man who was wounded and robbed represents those who are subjects of our interest, sympathy, and charity. If we neglect the cases of the needy and the unfortunate that are brought under our notice, no matter who they may be, we have no assurance of eternal life; for we do not answer the claims that God has upon us. We are not compassionate and pitiful to humanity, because they may not be kith or kin to us. You have been found transgressors of the second great commandment, upon which the last six commandments depend. Whosoever offendeth in one point, is guilty of all. Those who do not open their hearts to the wants and sufferings of humanity will not open their hearts to the claims of God as stated in the first four precepts of the Decalogue. Idols claim the heart and affections, and God is not honored and does not reign supreme.  {3T 524.1}

     You have, as a family, made a sad failure. You are not, in the strictest sense, commandment keepers. You may be quite exact in some things, yet neglect the weightier matters –judgment, mercy, and the love of God. Although the customs of the world are no criterion for us, yet I have been shown that the pitying sympathy and the benevolence of the world for the unfortunate in many cases shame the professed followers of Christ. Many manifest indifference toward those whom God has thrown among them for the purpose of testing and proving them, and developing what is in their hearts. God reads. He marks every act of selfishness, every act of indifference toward the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless; and He writes against their names: “Guilty, wanting, lawbreakers.” We shall be rewarded as our works have been. Any neglect of duty to the needy and to the afflicted is a neglect of duty to Christ in the person of His saints.  {3T 524.2}

     When the cases of all come in review before God, the question, What did they profess? will not be asked, but, What have they done? Have they been doers of the word? Have they lived for themselves, or have they been exercised in works of benevolence, in deeds of kindness and love, preferring others before themselves, and denying themselves that they might bless others? If the record shows that this has been their life, that their characters have been marked with tenderness, self-denial, and benevolence, they will receive the blessed assurance and benediction from Christ: “Well done” “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Christ has been grieved and wounded by your marked selfish love and your indifference to the woes and needs of others.  {3T 525.1}

     Many times our efforts for others may be disregarded and apparently lost. But this should be no excuse for us to become weary in well-doing. How often has Jesus come to find fruit upon the plants of His care and found nothing but leaves! We may be disappointed as to the result of our best efforts, but this should not lead us to be indifferent to others’ woes and to do nothing. “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” How often is Christ disappointed in those who profess to be His children! He has given them unmistakable evidences of His love. He became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. He died for us, that we might not perish, but have eternal life. What if Christ had refused to bear our iniquity because He was rejected by many and because so few appreciated His love and the infinite blessings He came to bring them? We need to encourage patient, painstaking efforts. Courage is now wanted, not lazy despondency and fretful murmuring. We are in this world to do work for the Master and not to study our inclination and pleasure, to serve and glorify ourselves. Why, then, should we be inactive and discouraged because we do not see the immediate results we desire?  {3T 525.2}

     Our work is to toil in the vineyard of the Lord, not merely for ourselves, but for the good of others. Our influence is a blessing or a curse to others. We are here to form perfect characters for heaven. We have something to do besides repining and murmuring at God’s providences, and writing bitter things against ourselves. Our adversary will not allow us to rest. If we are indeed God’s children we shall be harassed and sorely beset, and we need not expect that Satan or those under his influence will treat us well. But there are angels who excel in strength who will be with us in all our conflicts if we will only be faithful. Christ conquered Satan in our behalf in the wilderness of temptation. He is mightier than Satan, and He will shortly bruise him under our feet.  {3T 526.1}

     You have, as a family and as individuals, excused yourselves from earnest, active service in your Master’s cause. You have been too indolent and have left others to carry many of the heavier burdens which you could and should have borne. Your spiritual strength and blessing will be proportionate to the labor of love and the good works which you perform. The injunction of the apostle Paul is: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Keeping the commandments of God requires of us good works, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and devotion for the good of others, not that our good works alone can save us, but that we surely cannot be saved without good works. After we have done all that we are capable of doing, we are then to say: We have done no more than our duty, and at best are unprofitable servants, unworthy of the smallest favor from God. Christ must be our righteousness and the crown of our rejoicing.  {3T 526.2}

     Self-righteousness and carnal security have closed you about as a wall. As a family you possess a spirit of independence and pride. This element separates you from God. It is a fault, a defect which must be seen and overcome. It is almost impossible for you to see your errors and wrongs. You have too good an opinion of yourselves, and it is difficult for you to see and remove by confession the mistakes in your lives. You are inclined to justify and defend your course in almost everything, whether it be right or wrong. While it is not too late for wrongs to be righted, bring your hearts near to Jesus by humiliation and prayer, and seek to know yourselves. You must be lost unless you arouse yourselves and work with Christ. You encase yourselves in a cold, unfeeling, unsympathizing armor. There is but little life and warmth in your association with others. You live for yourselves, not for Christ. You are careless and indifferent to the needs and conditions of others less fortunate than yourselves. All around you there are those who have soul hunger and who long for love expressed in words and deeds. Friendly sympathy and real feelings of tender interest for others would bring to your souls blessings that you have never yet experienced and would bring you into close relation to our Redeemer, whose advent to the world was for the purpose of doing good and whose life we are to copy. What are you doing for Christ? “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”  {3T 526.3}

                Love and Sympathy at Home

     There are many in our world who are starving for the love and sympathy which should be given them. Many men love their wives, but are too selfish to manifest it. They have a false dignity and pride, and will not show their love by words and deeds. There are many men who never know how starved is the heart of the wife for words of tender appreciation and affection. They bury their loved ones from their sight and murmur at the providence of God that has deprived them of their companions, when, could they look into the inner life of those companions, they would see that their own course was the cause of their premature death. The religion of Christ will lead us to be kind and courteous and not so tenacious of our opinions. We should die to self and esteem others better than ourselves.  {3T 527.1}

     God’s word is our standard, but how far have His professed people departed from it! Our religious faith must be not only theoretical, but practical. Pure and undefiled religion will not allow us to trample upon the rights of the least of God’s creatures, much less of the members of His body and the members of our own family. God is love, and whoso dwelleth in Him dwelleth in love. The influence of worldly selfishness, which is carried about by some like a cloud, chilling the very atmosphere that others breathe, causes sickness of soul and frequently chills to death.  {3T 528.1}

     It will be a great cross for you to cultivate pure, unselfish love and disinterested benevolence. To yield your opinions and ideas, to give up your judgment, and to follow the counsel of others will be a great cross to you. The several members of your family now have families of their own. But the same spirit which existed to a greater or less extent in their father’s home is carried to their own firesides and is felt by those outside of their family circles. They lack sweet simplicity, Christlike tenderness, and unselfish love. They have a work to do to overcome these selfish traits of character in order to be fruitful branches of the True Vine. Said Christ: “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” You need to bring Jesus near to you, to have Him in your homes and in your hearts. You should not only have a knowledge of what is right, but should practice it from right motives, having an eye single to the glory of God. You may be helps, if you will comply with the conditions given in the word of God.  {3T 528.2}

     The religion of Christ is something more than talk. The righteousness of Christ consists in right actions and good works from pure, unselfish motives. Outside righteousness, while the inward adorning is wanting, will be of no avail. “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If we have not the light and love of God we are not His children. If we gather not with Christ we scatter abroad. We all have an influence, and that influence is telling upon the destiny of others for their present and future good or for their eternal loss.  {3T 528.3}

     J and K both lack sympathy and love for those outside of their own families. They are in danger of watching to see defects in others while greater evils exist undiscerned in themselves. If these dear souls ever enter heaven, they must die to self and obtain an experience in well-doing. They have lessons to learn in the school of Christ in order to perfect Christian characters and have a oneness with Christ. Said Christ to His disciples: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” He explained His meaning to them. He did not wish them to become children in understanding, but in malice. Little children do not manifest feelings of superiority and aristocracy. They are simple and natural in their appearance. Christ would have His followers cultivate unaffected manners, that their whole bearing may be humble and Christlike. He has made it our duty to live for others’ good. He came from the royal courts of heaven to this world to show how great an interest He had in man, and the infinite price paid for the redemption of man shows that man is of so great value that Christ could sacrifice His riches and honor in the royal courts to lift him from the degradation of sin.  {3T 529.1}

     If the Majesty of heaven could do so much to show His love for man, what ought not men to be willing to do to help one another out of the pit of darkness and suffering! Said Christ, “Love one another, as I have loved you;” not with a greater love; for “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Our love is frequently selfish, for we confine it to prescribed limits. When we come into close union and fellowship with Christ, our love and sympathy and our works of benevolence will reach down deeper and will widen and strengthen with exercise. The love and interest of Christ’s followers must be as broad as the world. Those who live merely for “me and mine” will fail of heaven. God calls upon you as a family to cultivate love, to become less sensitive in regard to yourselves and more sensitive to the griefs and trials of others. This selfish spirit that you have cherished all your lives is correctly represented by the priest and the Levite who passed by the unfortunate on the other side. They saw that he needed help, but purposely avoided him.  {3T 529.2}

     Each one of you needs to awake and face square about to get out of the cart rut of selfishness. Improve the short, probationary time given you by working with your might to redeem the failures of your past life. God has placed you in a world of suffering to prove you, to see if you will be found worthy of the gift of eternal life. There are those all around you who have woes, who need words of sympathy, love, and tenderness, and our humble, pitying prayers. Some are suffering under the iron hand of poverty, some with disease, and others with heartaches, despondency, and gloom. Like Job, you should be eyes to the blind and feet to the lame, and you should inquire into the cause which you know not and search it out with the object in view to relieve their necessities and help just where they most need help.  {3T 530.1}

     L needs to cultivate love for his wife, love that will find expression in words and deeds. He should cultivate tender affection. His wife has a sensitive, clinging nature and needs to be cherished. Every word of tenderness, every word of appreciation and affectionate encouragement, will be remembered by her and will reflect back in blessings upon her husband. His unsympathizing nature needs to be brought into close contact with Christ, that that stiffness and cold reserve may be subdued and softened by divine love. It will not be weakness or a sacrifice of manhood and dignity to give his wife expressions of tenderness and sympathy in words and acts; and let it not end with the family circle, but extend to those outside the family. L has a work to do for himself that no one can do for him. He may grow strong in the Lord by bearing burdens in His cause. His affection and love should be centered upon Christ and heavenly things, and he should be forming a character for everlasting life.  {3T 530.2}

     Dear K has very limited ideas of what constitutes a Christian. She has freed herself from burdens which Christ has borne for her. She is not willing to bear His cross and has not exercised to the best account the ability, the talents, given her of God. She has not grown strong in moral fortitude and courage, nor felt the weight of individual responsibility. She has not loved to bear reproach for Christ’s sake, considering the promise: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.” “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” The Master has a work for each to do. None can be idle, none can be careless and selfish, and yet perfect Christian character. He wants all of your family to unclose their hearts to the benign influence of His love and grace, that their compassion for others may overflow the boundaries of self and the enclosures of family walls, as did the Samaritan’s to the poor, suffering stranger who was neglected and left to die by the priest and the Levite. I was shown that there are many who need our sympathy and advice; and when we consider that we can pass through this world but once, that we can never return to repair the errors and mistakes we have made, how important that we go through it as we ought!  {3T 531.1}

     Some time ago I was shown the case of J. Her errors and wrongs were faithfully portrayed before her; but in the last view given me I saw that the wrongs still existed, that she was cold and unsympathizing with her husband’s children. Correction and reproof are not given by her for grave offenses merely, but for trivial matters that should be passed by unnoticed. Constant faultfinding is wrong, and the Spirit of Christ cannot abide in the heart where it exists. She is disposed to pass over the good in her children without a word of approval, but is ever ready to bear down with censure if any wrong is seen. This ever discourages children and leads to habits of heedlessness. It stirs up the evil in the heart and causes it to cast up mire and dirt. In children who are habitually censured there will be a spirit of “I don’t care,” and evil passions will frequently be manifested regardless of consequences.  {3T 531.2}

     Whenever the mother can speak a word of commendation for the good conduct of her children, she should do so. She should encourage them by words of approval and looks of love. These will be as sunshine to the heart of a child and will lead to the cultivation of self-respect and pride of character. Sister J should cultivate love and sympathy. She should manifest tender affection for the motherless children under her care. This would be a blessing to these children of God’s love and would be reflected back upon her in affection and love.  {3T 532.1}

     Children have sensitive, loving natures. They are easily pleased and easily made unhappy. By gentle discipline in loving words and acts, mothers may bind their children to their hearts. To manifest severity and to be exacting with children are great mistakes. Uniform firmness and unimpassioned control are necessary to the discipline of every family. Say what you mean calmly, move with consideration, and carry out what you say without deviation.  {3T 532.2}

     It will pay to manifest affection in your association with your children. Do not repel them by lack of sympathy in their childish sports, joys, and griefs. Never let a frown gather upon your brow or a harsh word escape your lips. God writes all these words in His book of records. Harsh words sour the temper and wound the hearts of children, and in some cases these wounds are difficult to heal. Children are sensitive to the least injustice, and some become discouraged under it and will neither heed the loud, angry voice of command nor care for threatenings of punishment. Rebellion is too frequently established in the hearts of children through the wrong discipline of the parents, when if a proper course had been taken, the children would have formed good and harmonious characters. A mother who does not have perfect control of herself is unfit to have the management of children.  {3T 532.3}

     Brother M is molded by the positive temperament of his wife. He has become in a degree selfish like her. His mind is almost completely occupied by “me and mine,” to the exclusion of other things of infinitely more importance. He does not take his position in his family as father of his flock and, unprejudiced and uninfluenced, pursue a uniform course with his children. His wife is not, and without a transformation never can be, a true mother to his motherless children. Brother M, as a father to his children, has not stood in the position that God would have him. These motherless children are God’s little ones, precious in His sight. Naturally Brother M has a tender, refined, loving, generous, sensitive nature, while his wife is exactly the opposite. Instead of his molding and softening the character of his wife, she is transforming him.  {3T 533.1}

     He thinks that in order to have peace he must let things pass which trouble his mind. He has learned that submission and the yielding of her opinion are not to be expected. She will rule; she will carry out her ideas at any cost. Unless they are both in earnest in their efforts to reform, they will not obtain eternal life. They have had light, but have neglected to follow it. Selfish love of the world has blinded their perceptions and hardened their hearts. J needs to see that unless she lays aside her selfishness, and overcomes her will and her temper, she cannot have heaven. She would mar all heaven with these elements in her character. I warn Sister J to repent. I call upon her in the name of my Master to arouse quickly from her stupid indifference, to heed the counsel of the True Witness, and zealously repent; for she is imperiling her soul.  {3T 533.2}

     God is merciful. He will now accept the offering of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Will Sister J excuse herself as did the Levite and the priest, for not seeing and feeling others’ woes, and pass by on the other side? God holds her accountable for neglect of duty in not exercising sympathy and tenderness for the unfortunate. She does not keep the commandments of God which plainly show her duty to her neighbor. Said Christ to the lawyer: “This do, and thou shalt live.” Thus a neglect of duty to our neighbor will result in our loss of eternal life.  {3T 533.3}

                  Family Exclusiveness

     K, poor child, like many others, has a work to do that she has never dreamed of. She has backslidden from God. Her thoughts are too much upon herself, and she seeks to please the world, not by disinterested love for souls and by seeking to turn them to Christ, but by her lack of spirituality, and her conformity to the world in spirit and works. She should die to self and obtain an experience in well-doing. She is cold and unsympathizing. She needs to have all this icy, unapproachable spirit subdued, melted away by the sunshine of Christ’s love. She is very much shut up to herself. God saw that she was a poor dwarfed plant, bearing no fruit, nothing but leaves. Her thoughts were almost exclusively occupied with “me and mine.” In mercy He has been pruning this plant of His love, lopping off the branches, that the roots might strike down deeper. He has been seeking to draw this child to Himself. Her religious life has been almost entirely without fruit. She is accountable for the talent God has given her. She may be useful; she may be a co-worker with Christ if she will break down the wall of selfishness which has shut her away from God’s light and love.  {3T 534.1}

     There are many who need our sympathy and advice, but not that advice which implies superiority in the giver and inferiority in the receiver. K needs the softening, melting love of God in her heart. The looks and tones of the voice should be modulated by thoughtful consideration and tender, respectful love. Every look and every tone of voice that implies, “I am superior,” chills the atmosphere of her presence and is more like an icicle than a ray of light that gives warmth. My sister, your influence is positive. You mold those with whom you associate, or else you cannot agree with them. You have not the least thought of being molded yourself by the better influence of others and of yielding your judgment and your opinions to them. You will reason for your way and justify your ideas and your course. If you do not convince others you will recur again and again to the same point. This trait in your character will be a valuable one if sanctified to God and controlled by His Holy Spirit; but if not, it will prove a curse to you and a curse to others. Assertions and advice which savor of a dictatorial spirit are not good fruit. You need the softening, melting love of Christ in your heart, which will be reflected in all your acts toward your family and to all who are brought under your influence.  {3T 534.2}

     I fear, greatly fear, that J will fail of heaven. She loves the world and the things of the world so well that she has no love to spare for Jesus. She is so incrusted in selfishness that the illuminating light from heaven cannot penetrate the cold, dark walls of self-love and self-esteem which she has been building up for a lifetime. Love is the key to open hearts, but the precious plant of love has not been cherished. J has so long blinded her eyes to her selfishness that she cannot now discern it. She has had so little experimental religion that in heart she is of the world, and I fear that this world is all the heaven she will ever have. Her influence over her husband is not good. He is swayed by it and does not see the necessity of being fortified by the grace of God to stand for the right with true moral courage. Not only does she fail to realize and do the work that God requires of her, but she exerts an overpowering influence to hold her husband and tie his hands. And she has succeeded to a great extent. He is blinded.  {3T 535.1}

     Brother M should consider that God has claims upon him which are above every earthly relationship. He needs the eye-salve, the white raiment, and the gold, that he may have a symmetrical character and an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. Nothing short of an entire conversion can ever open the soul of his wife to see her errors and to confess her wrongs. She has great changes to make, which she has not made because she did not realize her true condition and could not see the necessity of reform. So far from being willing to learn of the heavenly Teacher, who was meek and lowly of heart, she considers meekness servility; and a becoming spirit, lowliness of mind to esteem others better than herself, she regards as degrading and humiliating.  {3T 535.2}

     J has a positive, imperious, proud, self-willed spirit. She does not see anything particularly desirable in a meek and quiet spirit that she should covet it. This valuable ornament possesses so little value for her that she cannot consent to wear it. She has, too frequently, a spirit of resentment which is as opposite to the Spirit of God as the east is to the west. True gentleness is a gem of great value in the sight of God. A meek and quiet spirit will not be ever looking out for happiness for itself, but will seek for self-forgetfulness and find sweet content and true satisfaction in making others happy.  {3T 536.1}

     In the providence of God, Sister N has been separated from her father’s family. Although, with others, she shares the characteristics of the family association, bearing grave responsibilities has led her out of herself and has given her an interest in others’ woes. She has, in a measure, opened her heart in sympathy and love for God’s family, taking an interest in others. The work and cause of God have engaged her attention. She has felt, in some degree, that poor fallen mortals are one great brotherhood. She has had to educate herself to think for others, do for others, and forget self; and yet she has not cultivated as thoroughly as she should the interest, sympathy, and affection for others that are necessary for the followers of Christ. She needs to have greater sympathy and less tense, rigid justice. As she has given her interest and time to the great subject of health reform she has reached out beyond self. As she has done this she has been blessed. The more she does for others’ good, the more she sees to do and the more she feels inclined to do.  {3T 536.2}

     Her work for others frequently brings her where the exercise of faith is necessary to bring her through hard and trying positions. But answers to earnest prayers are realized, and faith, love, and confidence in God are strengthened. Through oft repeated perplexities and trials, experience is obtained. God is molding the heart into something more like Himself. And yet self clamors constantly for the victory. Sister N needs to cultivate more tenderness and thoughtful care in her daily connection with others. She needs to study to subdue self. If she is indeed a Christian she will feel that she must devote the best part, and if need be the whole, of her life to unselfish, patient toil and thus show her love for the Master. Without this experience she would fall far short of perfection of Christian character.  {3T 537.1}

     Sister N has taken some advance steps, and the family feel that she has left them, and this is a crucifixion to them. They do not feel that she now has the same interest and affections and objects in life as themselves. They feel that they can no longer enjoy, as formerly, the society of their sister. They feel that she is to blame, that she has changed, and that her sympathy is no longer one with theirs. The reason for this lack of assimilation of feeling is that Sister N has been advancing in feeling for others’ woes, while they have been slothful servants, not doing the work God has given them to do on earth. Consequently they have been retrograding. The family have selfishly shut up their interest and affection to themselves and the love of the world.  {3T 537.2}

     N has been a worker in a good cause. The health reform has been to her a subject of great importance, for her experience has shown her its necessity. Her father’s family have not seen the necessity of health reform. They have not seen the part that it acts in the closing work of these last days, because they have not been inclined to see. They have dropped into the cart rut of custom, and it is a difficult work to make the effort required to get out. They would rather be let alone. It is a terrible thing to rust from inaction. But this family will surely be weighed in the balances and found wanting unless they begin at once to do something. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” This is close language. Who can stand the test? The word of God is to us a daguerreotype of the mind of God and of Christ, also of man fallen, and of man renewed after the image of Christ, possessing the divine mind. We may compare our thoughts, feelings, and intentions with the picture of Christ. We have no relationship with Him unless we are willing to work the works of Christ.  {3T 537.3}

     Christ came to do His Father’s will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. We should appropriate the lessons of His life to our lives. Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Here is the work of self-denial upon which we must enter with cheerfulness, in imitation of the example of our Redeemer. The Christian’s life must be one of conflict and of sacrifice. The path of duty should be followed, not the path of inclination and choice.  {3T 538.1}

     When the family of Brother I see the work before them, and do the work God has left them to do, they will not be so widely separated from Brother and Sister O and Sister N, and those who are working in union with the Master. It may take time to attain perfect submission to God’s will, but we can never stop short of it and be fitted for heaven. True religion will lead its possessor on to perfection. Your thoughts, your words, and your actions, as well as your appetites and passions, must be brought into subjection to the will of God. You must bear fruit unto holiness. Then you will be led to defend the poor, the fatherless, the motherless, and the afflicted. You will do justice to the widow and will relieve the needy. You will deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before God.  {3T 538.2}

     We must let Christ into our hearts and homes if we would walk in the light. Home should be made all that the word implies. It should be a little heaven upon earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivation of love, sympathy, and true courtesy to one another. The reason there are so many hardhearted men and women in our world is that true affection has been regarded as weakness and has been discouraged and repressed. The better part of the nature of persons of this class was perverted and dwarfed in childhood, and unless rays of divine light can melt away their coldness and hardhearted selfishness, the happiness of such is buried forever. If we would have tender hearts, such as Jesus had when He was upon the earth, and sanctified sympathy, such as the angels have for sinful mortals, we must cultivate the sympathies of childhood, which are simplicity itself. Then we shall be refined, elevated, and directed by heavenly principles.  {3T 539.1}

     A cultivated intellect is a great treasure; but without the softening influence of sympathy and sanctified love, it is not of the highest value. We should have words and deeds of tender consideration for others. We can manifest a thousand little attentions in friendly words and pleasant looks, which will be reflected upon us again. Thoughtless Christians manifest by their neglect of others that they are not in union with Christ. It is impossible to be in union with Christ and yet be unkind to others and forgetful of their rights. Many long intensely for friendly sympathy. God has given each of us an identity of our own, which cannot be merged in that of another; but our individual characteristics will be much less prominent if we are indeed Christ’s and His will is ours. Our lives should be consecrated to the good and happiness of others, as was our Saviour’s. We should be self-forgetful, ever looking out for opportunities, even in little things, to show gratitude for the favors we have received of others, and watching for opportunities to cheer others and lighten and relieve their sorrows and burdens by acts of tender kindness and little deeds of love. These thoughtful courtesies, that, commencing in our families, extend outside the family circle, help make up the sum of life’s happiness; and the neglect of these little things makes up the sum of life’s bitterness and sorrow.  {3T 539.2}

     It is the work that we do or do not do that tells with tremendous power upon our lives and destinies. God requires us to improve every opportunity for usefulness that is offered us. Neglect to do this is perilous to our spiritual growth. We have a great work to do. Let us not pass in idleness the precious hours that God has given us in which to perfect characters for heaven. We must not be inactive or slothful in this work, for we have not a moment to spend without a purpose or object. God will help us to overcome our wrongs if we will pray and believe on Him. We can be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. When the short life in this world is ended, and we see as we are seen and know as we are known, how short in duration and how small will the things of this world appear to us in comparison with the glory of the better world! Christ would never have left the royal courts and taken humanity, and become sin for the race, had He not seen that man might, with His help, become infinitely happy and obtain durable riches and a life that would run parallel with the life of God. He knew that without His help sinful man could not attain these things.  {3T 540.1}

     We should have a spirit of progress. We must guard continually against being fixed in our views, feelings, and actions. The work of God is onward. Reforms must be carried on, and we must take hold and help move on the car of reform. Energy, tempered with patience and ambition, and balanced by wisdom, is now needed by every Christian. The work of saving souls is yet left to us, the disciples of Christ. Not one of us is excused. Many have become dwarfed and stunted in their Christian life because of inaction. We should employ our time diligently while in this world. How earnestly should we improve every opportunity of doing good, of bringing others to a knowledge of the truth! Our motto should ever be, “Onward, higher,” surely, steadily onward to duty and to victory.  {3T 540.2}

     I have been shown in regard to the individuals mentioned that God loves them and would save them if they would be saved in His appointed way. “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” This is the process, the refining, purifying process, which is to be carried on by the Lord of hosts. The work is most trying to the soul, but it is only through this process that the rubbish and defiling impurities can be removed. Our trials are all necessary to bring us close to our heavenly Father, in obedience to His will, that we may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness. To each whose name is here mentioned, God has given capabilities, talents to improve. You each need a new and living experience in the divine life in order to do the will of God. No amount of past experience will suffice for the present nor strengthen us to overcome the difficulties in our path. We must have new grace and fresh strength daily in order to be victorious.  {3T 541.1}

     We are seldom, in all respects, placed in the same circumstances twice. Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, and many others were all sorely tried, but not in the same way. Everyone has his individual tests and trials in the drama of life, but the very same trials seldom come twice. Each has his own experience, peculiar in its character and circumstances, to accomplish a certain work. God has a work, a purpose, in the life of each of us. Every act, however small, has its place in our life experience. We must have the continual light and experience that come from God. We all need these, and God is more than willing that we should have them if we will take them. He has not closed the windows of heaven to your prayers, but you have felt satisfied to pass on without the divine help you so much need.  {3T 541.2}

     How little you know the bearing of your daily acts upon the history of others. You may think that what you do or say is of little consequence, when the most important results for good or evil are the consequence of our words and actions. The words and actions looked upon as so small and unimportant are links in the long chain of human events. You have not felt the need of God’s manifesting His will to us in all the acts of our daily life. With our first parents the desire for a single gratification of appetite opened the floodgate of woe and sin upon the world. Would that you, my dear sisters, might feel that every step you take may have a lasting and controlling influence upon your own lives and the characters of others. Oh, how much need, then, of communion with God! What need of divine grace to direct every step and show us how to perfect Christian characters!  {3T 542.1}

     Christians will have new scenes and new trials to pass through where past experience cannot be a sufficient guide. We have greater need to learn of the divine Teacher now than at any other period of our lives. And the more experience we gain, the nearer we draw toward the pure light of heaven, the more shall we discern in ourselves that needs reforming. We may all do a good work in blessing others if we will seek counsel of God and follow on in obedience and faith. The path of the just is progressive, from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and from glory to glory. The divine illumination will increase more and more, corresponding with our onward movements, qualifying us to meet the responsibilities and emergencies before us.  {3T 542.2}

     When trials press you, when despondency and dark unbelief control your thoughts, when selfishness molds your actions, you do not see your need of God and of a deep and thorough knowledge of His will. You know not the will of God, neither can you know it while you live for self. You rely upon your good intentions and resolutions, and the principal sum of life is composed of resolutions made and resolutions broken. What you all need is to die to self, cease clinging to self, and surrender to God. Gladly would I comfort you if I could. Gladly would I praise your good qualities, good purposes, and good acts; but God was not pleased to show me these. He presented before me the hindrances to your gaining the noble, elevated character of holiness needful for you to have that you may not lose the heavenly rest and immortal glory He would have you attain. Look away from yourselves to Jesus. He is all and in all. The merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour will avail to cleanse from the least and greatest sin. In trusting faith commit the keeping of your souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. Be not continually in fear and apprehension that God will leave you. He never will unless you depart from Him. Christ will come in and dwell with you if you will open the door of your hearts to Him. There may be perfect harmony between you and the Father and His Son if you will die to self and live unto God.  {3T 542.3}

     How few are aware that they have darling idols, that they have cherished sins! God sees these sins to which you may be blinded, and He works with His pruning knife to strike deep and separate these cherished sins from you. You all want to choose for yourselves the process of purification. How hard it is for you to submit to the crucifixion of self; but when the work is all submitted to God, to Him who knows our weakness and our sinfulness, He takes the very best way to bring about the desired results. It was through constant conflict and simple faith that Enoch walked with God. You may all do the same. You may be thoroughly converted and transformed, and be indeed children of God, enjoying not only the knowledge of His will, but, by your example, leading others in the same path of humble obedience and consecration. Real godliness is diffusive and communicative. The psalmist says: “I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy loving-kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.” Wherever the love of God is, there is always a desire to express it.  {3T 543.1}

     May God help you all to make earnest efforts to gain everlasting life and to lead others in the path of holiness.   {3T 544.1}

                                      Chap. 50 – Parents as Reformers

     January 3, 1875, I was shown that none of us realize the perils that attend us at every step. We have a vigilant foe, and yet we are not awake and in earnest in our efforts to resist the temptations of Satan and to overcome his devices. {3T 560.3}

     God has permitted the light of health reform to shine upon us in these last days, that by walking in the light we may escape many dangers to which we will be exposed. Satan’s temptations are powerful upon the human family to lead them to indulge appetite, gratify inclination, and live a life of heedless folly. He presents attractions in a life of personal enjoyment, and in seeking to gratify the animal instinct. Licentiousness prevails to an alarming extent and is ruining constitutions for life; and not only this, but the moral powers are sacrificed. Intemperate indulgences are reducing the vital energies of both body and mind. They place the one that is overcome upon the enemy’s ground, where Satan can tempt, annoy, and finally control the will at pleasure.  {3T 561.1}

     Those who have been overcome on the point of appetite and are using tobacco freely are debasing their mental and moral powers and bringing them into servitude to the animal. And when the appetite for spirituous liquor is indulged, the man voluntarily places to his lips the draft which debases below the level of the brute him who was made in the image of God. Reason is paralyzed, the intellect is benumbed, the animal passions are excited, and then follow crimes of the most debasing character. If men would become temperate in all things, if they would touch not, taste not, handle not, spirituous liquors and narcotics, reason would hold the reigns of government in her hands and control the animal appetites and passions. In this fast age the less exciting the food the better. Temperance in all things and firm denial of appetite is the only path of safety.  {3T 561.2}

     Satan comes to man, as he came to Christ, with his overpowering temptations to indulge appetite. He well knows his power to overcome man upon this point. He overcame Adam and Eve in Eden upon appetite, and they lost their blissful home. What accumulated misery and crime have filled our world in consequence of the fall of Adam. Entire cities have been blotted from the face of the earth because of the debasing crimes and revolting iniquity that made them a blot upon the universe. Indulgence of appetite was the foundation of all their sins. Through appetite, Satan controlled the mind and being. Thousands who might have lived, have prematurely passed into their graves, physical, mental, and moral wrecks. They had good powers, but they sacrificed all to indulgence of appetite, which led them to lay the reins upon the neck of lust. Our world is a vast hospital. Vicious habits are increasing.  {3T 561.3}

     It is unpleasant, if not dangerous, to remain in a railroad car or in a crowded room that is not thoroughly ventilated, where the atmosphere is impregnated with the properties of liquor and tobacco. The occupants give evidence by the breath and emanations from the body that the system is filled with the poison of liquor and tobacco. Tobacco using is a habit which frequently affects the nervous system in a more powerful manner than does the use of alcohol. It binds the victim in stronger bands of slavery than does the intoxicating cup; the habit is more difficult to overcome. Body and mind are, in many cases, more thoroughly intoxicated with the use of tobacco than with spirituous liquors, for it is a more subtle poison.  {3T 562.1}

     Intemperance is increasing everywhere, notwithstanding the earnest efforts made during the past year [THIS TESTIMONY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1875.] to stay its progress. I was shown that the giant power of intemperance will not be controlled by any such efforts as have been made. The work of temperance must begin in our families, at our tables. Mothers have an important work to do that they may give to the world, through correct discipline and education, children who will be capable of filling almost any position, and who can also honor and enjoy the duties of domestic life.  {3T 562.2}

     The work of the mother is very important and sacred. She should teach her children from the cradle to practice habits of self-denial and self-control. If her time is mostly occupied with the follies of this degenerate age, if dress and parties engage her precious time, her children fail to receive that education which it is essential they should have in order that they may form correct characters. The anxiety of the Christian mother should not be in regard to the external merely, but that her children may have healthy constitutions and good morals.  {3T 562.3}

     Many mothers who deplore the intemperance which exists everywhere do not look deep enough to see the cause. They are daily preparing a variety of dishes and highly seasoned food which tempt the appetite and encourage overeating. The tables of our American people are generally prepared in a manner to make drunkards. Appetite is the ruling principle with a large class. Whoever will indulge appetite in eating too often, and food not of a healthful quality, is weakening his power to resist the clamors of appetite and passion in other respects in proportion as he has strengthened the propensity to incorrect habits of eating. Mothers need to be impressed with their obligation to God and to the world to furnish society with children having well-developed characters. Men and women who come upon the stage of action with firm principles will be fitted to stand unsullied amid the moral pollutions of this corrupt age. It is the duty of mothers to improve their golden opportunities to correctly educate their children for usefulness and duty. Their time belongs to their children in a special sense. Precious time should not be devoted to needless work upon garments for display, but should be spent in patiently instructing and carefully teaching their children the necessity of self-denial and self-control.  {3T 563.1}

     The tables of many professed Christian women are daily set with a variety of dishes which irritate the stomach and produce a feverish condition of the system. Flesh meats constitute the principal article of food upon the tables of some families, until their blood is filled with cancerous and scrofulous humors. Their bodies are composed of what they eat. But when suffering and disease come upon them, it is considered an affliction of Providence.  {3T 563.2}

     We repeat: Intemperance commences at our tables. The appetite is indulged until its indulgence becomes second nature. By the use of tea and coffee an appetite is formed for tobacco, and this encourages the appetite for liquors. {3T 563.3}

     Many parents, to avoid the task of patiently educating their children to habits of self-denial and teaching them how to make a right use of all the blessings of God, indulge them in eating and drinking whenever they please. Appetite and selfish indulgence, unless positively restrained, grow with the growth and strengthen with the strength. When these children commence life for themselves and take their place in society, they are powerless to resist temptation. Moral impurity and gross iniquity abound everywhere. The temptation to indulge taste and to gratify inclination has not lessened with the increase of years, and youth in general are governed by impulse and are slaves to appetite. In the glutton, the tobacco devotee, the winebibber, and the inebriate we see the evil results of defective education.  {3T 564.1}

     When we hear the sad lamentations of Christian men and women over the terrible evils of intemperance, the questions at once arise in the mind: Who have educated the youth and given them their stamp of character? Who have fostered in them the appetites they have acquired? Who have neglected the most solemn responsibility of molding their minds and forming their characters for usefulness in this life, and for the society of the heavenly angels in the next? A large class of the human beings we everywhere meet are a living curse to the world. They live for no other purpose than to indulge appetite and passion, and to corrupt soul and body by dissolute habits. This is a terrible rebuke to mothers who are the votaries of fashion, who have lived for dress and show, who have neglected to beautify their own minds and to form their own characters after the divine Pattern, and who have also neglected the sacred trust committed to them, to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  {3T 564.2}

     I saw that Satan, through his temptations, is instituting ever-changing fashions and attractive parties and amusements, that mothers may be led to devote their God-given probationary time to frivolous matters so that they can have but little opportunity to educate and properly train their children. Our youth want mothers who will teach them from their very cradles to control passion, to deny appetite, and to overcome selfishness. They need line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.  {3T 564.3}

     Direction was given to the Hebrews how to train their children to avoid the idolatry and wickedness of the heathen nations: “Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  {3T 565.1}

     We have an earnest desire that woman shall fill the position which God originally designed, as her husband’s equal. We so much need mothers who are mothers not merely in name, but in every sense that the word implies. We may safely say that the dignity and importance of woman’s mission and distinctive duties are of a more sacred and holy character than the duties of man.  {3T 565.2}

     There are speculations as to woman’s rights and duties in regard to voting. Many are in no way disciplined to understand the bearing of important questions. They have lived lives of present gratification because it was the fashion. Women who might develop good intellects and have true moral worth are now mere slaves to fashion. They have not breadth of thought nor cultivated intellect. They can talk understandingly of the latest fashion, the styles of dress, this or that party or delightful ball. Such women are not prepared to intelligently take a prominent position in political matters. They are mere creatures of fashion and circumstance. Let this order of things be changed. Let woman realize the sacredness of her work and, in the strength and fear of God, take up her life mission. Let her educate her children for usefulness in this world and for a fitness for the better world.  {3T 565.3}

     We address Christian mothers. We entreat that you feel your responsibility as mothers and that you live not to please yourselves, but to glorify God. Christ pleased not Himself, but took upon Him the form of a servant. He left the royal courts and condescended to clothe His divinity with humanity, that by His condescension and His example of self-sacrifice He might teach us how we may become elevated to the position of sons and daughters of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. But what are the conditions of these sacred, elevated blessings? “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  {3T 565.4}

     Christ humbled Himself from the highest authority, from the position of one equal with God, to the lowest place, that of a servant. His home was in Nazareth, which was proverbial for its wickedness. His parents were among the lowly poor. His trade was that of a carpenter, and He labored with His hands to do His part in sustaining the family. For thirty years He was subject to His parents. Here the life of Christ points us to our duty to be diligent in labor and to provide for and to train the weak and the ignorant. In His lessons of instruction to His disciples Jesus taught them that His kingdom was not a worldly kingdom, where all were striving for the highest position.  {3T 566.1}

     Woman is to fill a more sacred and elevated position in the family than the king upon his throne. Her great work is to make her life a living example which she would wish her children to copy. By precept as well as example she is to store their minds with useful knowledge and lead them to self-sacrificing labor for the good of others. The great stimulus to the toiling, burdened mother should be that every child who is trained aright, and who has the inward adorning, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, will have a fitness for heaven and will shine in the courts of the Lord.  {3T 566.2}

     How few see anything attractive in the true humility of Christ! His humility did not consist in a low estimate of His own character and qualifications, but in His humbling Himself to fallen humanity in order to raise them up with Him to a higher life. Worldlings try to exalt themselves to the position of those above them or to become superior to them. But Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself to elevate man; and the true follower of Christ will seek to meet men where they are in order to elevate them.  {3T 566.3}

     Will mothers of this generation feel the sacredness of their mission and not try to vie with their wealthy neighbors in appearances, but seek to excel them in faithfully performing the work of instructing their children for the better life? If children and youth were trained and educated to habits of self-denial and self-control, if they were taught that they eat to live instead of living to eat, there would be less disease and less moral corruption. There would be little necessity for temperance crusades, which amount to so little, if in the youth who form and fashion society, right principles in regard to temperance could be implanted. They would then have moral worth and moral integrity to resist, in the strength of Jesus, the pollutions of these last days.  {3T 567.1}

     It is a most difficult matter to unlearn the habits which have been indulged through life and have educated the appetite. The demon of intemperance is not easily conquered. It is of giant strength and hard to overcome. But let parents begin a crusade against intemperance at their own firesides, in their own families, in the principles they teach their children to follow from their very infancy, and they may hope for success. It will pay you, mothers, to use the precious hours which are given you of God in forming, developing, and training the characters of your children, and in teaching them to strictly adhere to the principles of temperance in eating and drinking.  {3T 567.2}

     Parents may have transmitted to their children tendencies to appetite and passion, which will make more difficult the work of educating and training these children to be strictly temperate and to have pure and virtuous habits. If the appetite for unhealthy food and for stimulants and narcotics has been transmitted to them as a legacy from their parents, what a fearfully solemn responsibility rests upon the parents to counteract the evil tendencies which they have given to their children! How earnestly and diligently should the parents work to do their duty, in faith and hope, to their unfortunate offspring!  {3T 567.3}

     Parents should make it their first business to understand the laws of life and health, that nothing shall be done by them in the preparation of food, or through any other habits, which will develop wrong tendencies in their children. How carefully should mothers study to prepare their tables with the most simple, healthful food, that the digestive organs may not be weakened, the nervous forces unbalanced, and the instruction which they should give their children counteracted by the food placed before them. This food either weakens or strengthens the organs of the stomach and has much to do in controlling the physical and moral health of the children, who are God’s blood-bought property. What a sacred trust is committed to parents to guard the physical and moral constitutions of their children so that the nervous system may be well balanced and the soul not be endangered! Those who indulge the appetite of their children, and do not control their passions, will see the terrible mistake they have made, in the tobacco-loving, liquor-drinking slave, whose senses are benumbed and whose lips utter falsehoods and profanity.  {3T 568.1}

     When parents and children meet at the final reckoning, what a scene will be presented! Thousands of children who have been slaves to appetite and debasing vice, whose lives are moral wrecks, will stand face to face with the parents who made them what they are. Who but the parents must bear this fearful responsibility? Did the Lord make these youth corrupt? Oh, no! He made them in His image, a little lower than the angels. Who, then, has done the fearful work of forming the life character? Who changed their characters so that they do not bear the impress of God, and must be forever separated from His presence as too impure to have any place with the pure angels in a holy heaven? Were the sins of the parents transmitted to the children in perverted appetites and passions? And was the work completed by the pleasure-loving mother in neglecting to properly train them according to the pattern given her? All these mothers will pass in review before God just as surely as they exist. Satan is ready to do his work and to present temptations which they have no will or moral power to resist.  {3T 568.2}

     Our people are constantly retrograding upon health reform. Satan sees that he cannot have such a controlling power over them as he could if appetite were indulged. Under the influence of unhealthful food the conscience becomes stupefied, the mind becomes darkened, and its susceptibility to impressions is blunted. But because violated conscience is benumbed and becomes insensible, the guilt of the transgressor is not lessened.  {3T 569.1}

     Satan is corrupting minds and destroying souls through his subtle temptations. Will our people see and feel the sin of indulging perverted appetite? Will they discard tea, coffee, flesh meats, and all stimulating food, and devote the means expended for these hurtful indulgences to spreading the truth? These stimulants do only harm, and yet we see that a large number of those who profess to be Christians are using tobacco. These very men will deplore the evil of intemperance, and while speaking against the use of liquors will eject the juice of tobacco. While a healthy state of mind depends upon the normal condition of the vital forces, what care should be exercised that neither stimulants nor narcotics be used.  {3T 569.2}

     Tobacco is a slow, insidious poison, and its effects are more difficult to cleanse from the system than those of liquor. What power can the tobacco devotee have to stay the progress of intemperance? There must be a revolution in our world upon the subject of tobacco before the ax is laid at the root of the tree. We press the subject still closer. Tea and coffee are fostering the appetite which is developing for stronger stimulants, as tobacco and liquor. And we come still closer home, to the daily meals, the tables spread in Christian households. Is temperance practiced in all things? Are the reforms which are essential to health and happiness carried out there? Every true Christian will have control of his appetite and passions. Unless he is free from the bondage and slavery of appetite he cannot be a true, obedient servant of Christ. It is the indulgence of appetite and passion which makes the truth of none effect upon the heart. It is impossible for the spirit and power of the truth to sanctify a man, soul, body, and spirit, when he is controlled by appetite and passion.   {3T 569.3}

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