If our ministers realized how soon the inhabitants of the world are to be arraigned before the judgment seat of God, to answer for the deeds done in the body, how earnestly they would work together with God to present the truth! How untiringly they would labor to advance God’s cause in the world, proclaiming in word and deed: “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7).
“Prepare to meet thy God” is the message we are everywhere to proclaim. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. Clearly and distinctly the warning is to ring out: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen....Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:2-4). The words of this scripture are to be fulfilled. Soon the last test is to come to all the inhabitants of the earth. At that time prompt decisions will be made. Those who have been convicted under the presentation of the word will range themselves under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. They will see and understand as never before they have missed many opportunities for doing the good they ought to have done. They will realize that they have not worked as zealously as they should, to seek and save the lost, to snatch them, as it were, out of the fire.
God’s servants are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Listlessness and inefficiency are not piety. When we realize that we are working for God we shall have a higher sense than we have ever had before of the sacredness of spiritual service. This realization will put life and vigilance and persevering energy into the discharge of every duty.
Religion, pure, undefiled religion, is intensely practical. Nothing but earnest, wholehearted labor will avail in the saving of souls. We are to make our everyday duties acts of devotion, constantly increasing in usefulness, because we see our work in the light of eternity.
Our work has been marked out for us by our heavenly Father. We are to take our Bibles and go forth to warn the world. We are to be God’s helping hands in saving souls—channels through which His love is day by day to flow to the perishing. The realization of the great work in which he has the privilege of taking part ennobles and sanctifies the true worker. He is filled with the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Nothing is drudgery to the one who submits to the will of God. “Doing it unto the Lord” is a thought that throws a charm over whatever work God gives him to do.
Carry on all your work on strictly religious principles. Let your earnest inquiry be: “What can I do to please the Master?” Visit places where the believers need encouragement and help. At every step ask: “Is this the way of the Lord? Am I, in spirit, in word, in action, in harmony with His will?” If you labor for God with an eye single to His glory, your work will bear the divine mold, and you will be carrying out the Lord’s purposes.
In your study of the Word of God, penetrate deeper and still deeper beneath the surface. Lay hold by faith on divine power and sound the depths of inspiration. Bring into your ministry the power of God, remembering that the Lord is behind you. Let His love shine through all you do and say. Let the truth, the precious, simple truth of the Word of God, shine out in full brightness. Humble self before God. Christ will be your efficiency. He has appointed you as rulers over His household, to give meat in due season. Christ’s laborers are very near His heart of love. He desires to perfect His household through the perfection of His ministers.
Christ is the sympathetic, compassionate Redeemer. In His sustaining power, men and women become strong to resist evil. As the convicted sinner looks at sin, it becomes to him exceeding sinful. He wonders that he did not come to Christ before. He sees that his faults must be overcome and that his appetites and passions must be subjected to God’s will, that he must be a partaker of the divine nature, having overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Having repented of his transgression of God’s law, he strives earnestly to overcome sin. He seeks to reveal the power of Christ’s grace, and he is brought into personal touch with the Saviour.
Constantly he keeps Christ before him. Praying, believing, receiving the blessings he needs, he comes nearer and nearer to God’s standard for him.
New virtues are revealed in his character as he denies self and lifts the cross, following where Christ leads the way. He loves the Lord Jesus with his whole heart, and Christ becomes his wisdom, his righteousness, his sanctification, and his redemption.
Christ is our example, our inspiration, our exceeding great reward. “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9). God is the Master Builder, but man has a part to act. He is to cooperate with God. “We are laborers together with God” (verse 9). Never forget the words: “together with God.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13). The miracle-working power of Christ’s grace is revealed in the creation in man of a new heart, a higher life, a holier enthusiasm. God says: “A new heart also will I give you” (Eze. 36:26). Is not this, the renewal of man, the greatest miracle that can be performed? What cannot the human agent do who by faith takes hold of the divine power?
Remember that in working with Christ as your personal Saviour lies your strength and your victory. This is the part all are to act. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. He declares: “Without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). And the repentant, believing soul responds: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This selection was taken from Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, pp. 149-152.
Editors’ note: The words of three Adventist pioneers, Joseph Bates, Ellen White, and James White, are all part of this feature. We begin with a report from Bates, on a meeting and vision at Dorchester in 1848, given in his pamphlet “The Sealing Message.”
Joseph Bates: “A small company of brethren and sisters assembled in meeting in Dorchester.” “Before the meeting commenced, some of us were examining some of the points in the sealing message; some difference of opinion existed.”
James White: “We all felt like uniting to ask wisdom from God. . . . We had an exceedingly powerful meeting. Ellen was again taken off in vision. She then began to describe the Sabbath light, which was the sealing truth. Said she: ‘It arose from the rising of the sun. It arose back there in weakness, but light after light has shone upon it until the Sabbath truth is clear, weighty, and mighty.’“
It was after this vision that Mrs. White informed her husband of his duty to publish, and that as he should advance by faith, success would attend his efforts (see Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 116, note 1).
Ellen White: “After coming out of vision, I said to my husband; ‘I have a message for you. You must begin to print a little paper and send it out to the people. Let it be small at first; but as the people read, they will send you means with which to print, and it will be a success from the first. From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world.’
“While we were in Connecticut in the summer of 1849, my husband was deeply impressed that the time had come for him to write and publish the present truth. He was greatly encouraged and blessed as he decided to do this. But again he would be in doubt and perplexity, as he was penniless. There were those who had means, but they chose to keep it. He at length gave up in discouragement, and decided to look for a field of grass to mow....
“One day in July, my husband brought home from Middletown a thousand copies of the first number of his paper. Several times, while the matter was being set, he had walked to Middletown, eight miles, and back, but this day he had borrowed Brother Belden’s horse and buggy with which to bring home the papers.
“The precious printed sheets were brought into the house and laid upon the floor, and then a little group of interested ones were gathered in, and we knelt around the papers, and with humble hearts and many tears besought the Lord to let His blessing rest upon these printed messengers of truth.
“When we had folded the papers, and my husband had wrapped and addressed copies to all those who he thought would read them, he put them into a carpetbag, and carried them on foot to the Middletown post office. . . .
“With the beginning of this work of publishing, we did not cease our labors in preaching the truth, but traveled from place to place, proclaiming the doctrines which had brought so great light and joy to us, encouraging the believers, correcting errors, and setting things in order in the church. In order to carry forward the publishing enterprise, and at the same time continue our labors in different parts of the field, the paper was from time to time moved to different places. . . .
“During the months of October and November, while we were traveling, the paper had been sus- pended; but my husband still felt a burden upon him to write and publish. We rented a house in Oswego. . . . There my husband wrote, published, and preached.” [Nos. 5 and 6 of Present Truth were issued from Oswego, New York, in December 1849; nos. 7 to 10, from the same place, in March to May 1850.]
“From Oswego we went to Centerport, . . . where we published a monthly magazine called the Advent Review.” [The Advent Review, printed in Auburn, New York, during the summer of 1850, should not be confused with the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, the first number of which was issued in Paris, Maine, November 1850. The Advent Review was issued between nos. 10 and 11 of Present Truth.]
The following note, on the purpose of his mag- azine, appears in White’s first page introduction to the 48-page pamphlet edition of the Advent Review:
James White: “Our design in this review is to cheer and refresh the true believer, by showing the ful- fillment of prophecy in the past wonderful work of God, in calling out, and separating from the world and nominal church, a people who are looking for the second advent of our dear Saviour.”
Ellen White: “In November,1850, the paper was issued at Paris, Maine. Here it was enlarged, and its name changed to . . . the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. We boarded in Brother A.’s family. We were willing to live cheaply, that the paper might be sustained. The friends of the cause were few in number and poor in worldly wealth, and we were still compelled to struggle with poverty and great discouragement. We had much care, and often sat up as late as midnight, and sometimes until two or three in the morning, to read proof sheets. . . .
“We were too much troubled to sleep or rest. The hours in which we should have been refreshed with sleep were often spent in answering long communications occasioned by envy. Many hours, while others were sleeping, we spent in agonizing tears, and mourning before the Lord. At length my husband said: ‘Wife, it is of no use to try to struggle on any longer. These things are crushing me, and will soon carry me to the grave. I cannot go any farther. I have written a note for the paper, stating that I shall publish no more.’ As he stepped out of the door to carry the note to the printing office, I fainted. He came back and prayed for me. His prayer was answered, and I was relieved.
“The next morning, while at family prayer, I was taken off in vision and was instructed concerning these matters. I saw that my husband must not give up the paper, for Satan was trying to drive him to take just such a step, and was working through agents to do this. I was shown that we must continue to publish, and the Lord would sustain us. . . .
“We tarried at Ballston Spa a number of weeks, until we became settled in regard to publishing at Saratoga Springs. Then we rented a house and sent for Brother and Sister Stephen Belden and Sister Bonfoey, who was then in Maine taking care of little Edson, and with borrowed household stuff began housekeeping. Here my husband published the second volume of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald.”
Joseph Bates, Ellen G. White, and James White were principal founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. The material for this article was excerpted from the book Publishing Ministry (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), pp. 15-22.
While at St. Louis a year ago, as I knelt in prayer, these words were presented to me as if written with a pen of fire: “All ye are brethren.” The Spirit of God rested upon me in a wonderful manner, and matters were opened to me in regard to the church at St. Louis and in other places. The spirit and words of some in regard to members of the church were an offense to God. They were closing the door of their hearts to Jesus. Among those in St. Louis who believe the truth there are colored people who are true and faithful, precious in the sight of the God of heaven, and they should have just as much respect as any [other] of God’s children. Those who have spoken harshly to them or have despised them have despised the purchase of the blood of Christ, and they need the transforming grace of Christ in their own hearts, that they may have the pitying tenderness of Jesus toward those who love God with all the fervor of which they themselves are capable. The color of the skin does not determine character in the heavenly courts.. . .
“Who,” says Paul, “maketh thee to differ?” The God of the white man is the God of the black man, and the Lord declares that His love for the least of His children exceeds that of a mother for her beloved child. Look at that mother: the sick child, the one afflicted, the one born a cripple, or with some other physical infirmity—how the mother labors to give him every advantage! . . .The Lord’s eye is upon all His creatures; He loves them all, and makes no difference between white and black, except that Hehas a special, tender pity for those who are called to bear a greater burden than others. Those who love God and believe on Christ as their Redeemer, while they must meet the trials and the difficulties that lie in their path, should yet with a cheerful spirit accept their life as it is, considering that God above regards these things, and for all that the world neglects to bestow, He will Himself make up to them in the best of favors. . . .
When the sinner is converted he receives the Holy Spirit, that makes him a child of God and fits him for the society of the redeemed and the angelic host. He is made a joint heir with Christ. Whoever of the human family give themselves to Christ, whoever hear the truth and obey it, become children of one family. The igno rant and the wise, the rich and the poor, the heathen and the slave, white or black—Jesus paid the purchase money for their souls. If they believe on Him, His cleansing blood is applied to them. The black man’s name is written in the book of life beside the white man’s. All are one in Christ. Birth, station, nationality, or color cannot elevate or degrade men. The character makes the man. If a red man, a Chinaman, or an African gives his heart to God, in obedience and faith, Jesus loves him none the less for his color. He calls him His well-beloved brother. The day is coming when the kings and the lordly men of the earth would be glad to exchange places with the humblest African who has laid hold on the hope of the gospel. To all who are overcomers through the blood of the Lamb, the invitation will be given, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”. . .
Among what are called the higher classes, there is a demand for a form of Christianity suited to their fine tastes; but this class will not grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ until they know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. The heavenly intelligences rejoice to do the will of God in preaching the gospel to the poor. In the announcement which the Saviour made in the synagogue at Nazareth, He put a stern rebuke upon those who attach so much importance to color or caste, and refuse to be satisfied with such a type of Christianity as Christ accepts. The same price was paid for the salvation of the colored man as for that of the white man, and the slights put upon the colored people by many who claim to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and who therefore acknowledge themselves debtors to Christ, misrepresent Jesus, and reveal that selfishness, tradition, and prejudice pollute the soul. They are not sanctified through the truth. Those who slight a brother because of his color are slighting Christ. . . .
Men may have both hereditary and cultivated prejudices, but when the love of Jesus fills the heart, and they become one with Christ, they will have the same spirit that He had. If a colored brother sits by their side, they will not be offended or despise him. They are journeying to the same heaven, and will be seated at the same table to eat bread in the kingdom of God. If Jesus is abiding in our hearts we cannot despise the colored man who has the same Saviour abiding in his heart. When these unchristian prejudices are broken down, more earnest effort will be put forth to do missionary work among the colored race. . . .
God cares no less for the souls of the African race that might be won to serve Him than He cared for Israel. He requires far more of His people than they have given Him in missionary work among the people of the South of all classes, and especially among the colored race. Are we not under even greater obligation to labor for the colored people than for those who have been more highly favored? Who is it that held these people in servitude? Who kept them in ignorance, and pursued a course to debase and brutalize them, forcing them to disregard the law of marriage, breaking up the family relation, tearing wife from husband, and husband from wife? If the race is degraded, if they are repulsive in habits and manners, who made them so? Is there not much due to them from the white people? After so great a wrong has been done them, should not an earnest effort be made to lift them up? The truth must be carried to them. They have souls to save as well as we.
At the General Conference of 1889, resolutions were presented in regard to the color line. Such action is not called for. Let not men take the place of God, but stand aside in awe, and let God work upon human hearts, both white and black, in His own way. He will adjust all these perplexing questions. We need not prescribe a definite plan of working. Leave an opportunity for God to do something. We should be careful not to strengthen prejudices that ought to have died just as soon as Christ redeemed the soul from the bondage of sin.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This excerpt was taken from A Place Called Oakwood (Huntsville, Ala.: Oakwood College, 2007), pp. 166-169.
Adventists have been blessed by the guidance and counsel of Ellen White. While her writings have been used to amplify our understanding of the Bible, some have used them as weapons to silence opposition or win arguments. The following excerpts indicate that Ellen White understood that searching for truth will always be a useful vocation.—Editors.
Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His Word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God’s Word and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative and seek to avoid discussion.
The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. . . . When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition and worship they know not what. . . .
When God’s people are at ease and satisfied with their present enlightenment, we may be sure that He will not favor them. It is His will that they should be ever moving forward to receive the increased and ever-increasing light which is shining on them. The present attitude of the church is not pleasing to God. There has come in a self-confidence that has led them to feel no necessity for more truth and greater light. . . . God wills that a voice shall be heard arousing His people to action.1
We do not claim that in the doctrines sought out by those who have studied the word of truth, there may not be some error, for no man that lives is infallible; but if God has sent light, we want it; and God has sent light, and let every man be careful how he treats it.2
The truth of God is progressive; it is always onward, going from strength to a greater strength, from light to a greater light. We have every reason to believe that the Lord will send us increased truth, for a great work is yet to be done. . . .
Much has been lost because our ministers and people have concluded that we have had all the truth essential for us as a people; but such a conclusion is erroneous and in harmony with the deceptions of Satan; for truth will be constantly unfolding.3
Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the Word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God.4
Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. . . . However long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written Word, they should be discarded. Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed. . . .
We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed.5
There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.6
We must not for a moment think that there is no more light, no more truth, to be given us. We are in danger of becoming careless, by our indifference losing the sanctifying power of truth, and composing ourselves with the thought, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ [Rev. 3:17.] While we must hold fast to the truths which we have already received, we must not look with suspicion upon any new light that God may send.7
In every age there is a new development of truth, a message of God to the people of that generation. The old truths are all essential; new truth is not independent of the old, but an unfolding of it. It is only as the old truths are understood that we can comprehend the new. When Christ desired to open to His disciples the truth of His resurrection, He began “at Moses and all the prophets” and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27. But it is the light which shines in the fresh unfolding of truth that glorifies the old. He who rejects or neglects the new does not really possess the old. For him it loses its vital power and becomes but a lifeless form.8
If it were possible for us to attain to a full understanding of God and His Word, there would be for us no further discovery of truth, no greater knowledge, no further development. God would cease to be supreme, and man would cease to advance. Thank God, it is not so. Since God is infinite, and in Him are all the treasures of wisdom, we may to all eternity be ever searching, ever learning, yet never exhaust the riches of His wisdom, His goodness, or His power.9
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.
There is no reason for discouragement. The good seed is being sown. God will watch over it, causing it to spring up and bring forth an abundant harvest. Remember that many of the enterprises for soul saving have, at the beginning, been carried forward amidst great difficulty.
I am instructed to say to you: Move guardedly, doing always that which the Lord commands. Move forward courageously, assured that the Lord will be with those who love and serve Him.
He will work in behalf of His covenant-keeping people. He will not suffer them to become a reproach. He will purify all who yield themselves to Him, and will make them a praise in the earth. Nothing else in this world is so dear to God as His church. He will work with mighty power through humble, faithful men. Christ is saying to you today: “I am with you, cooperating with your faithful, trusting efforts, and giving you precious victories. I will strengthen you as you sanctify yourselves to My service. I will give you success in your efforts to arouse souls dead in trespasses and sins.”
Unswerving faith and unselfish love will overcome the difficulties that arise in the path of duty to hinder aggressive warfare. As those inspired by this faith go forward in the work of saving souls, they will run and not be weary, will walk and not faint. . . .
Remember that prayer is the source of your strength. A worker cannot gain success while he hurries through his prayers and rushes away to look after something that he fears may be neglected or forgotten. He gives only a few hurried thoughts to God; he does not take time to think, to pray, to wait upon the Lord for a renewal of physical and spiritual strength. He soon becomes weary. He does not feel the uplifting, inspiring influence of God’s Spirit. He is not quickened by fresh life. His jaded frame and tired brain are not soothed by personal contact with Christ.
Should not the church on earth be full of praise? Should not Christians publish throughout the world the joy of serving Christ?
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Psalm 27:14; Lamentations 3:26. There are those who work all day and far into the night to do what seems to them must be done. The Lord looks pityingly upon these weary, heavy-laden burden bearers and says to them: “Come unto me, . . . and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
God’s workers will meet with turmoil, discomfort, and weariness. At times, uncertain and distracted, they are almost in despair. When this restless nervousness comes, let them remember Christ’s invitation: “Come ye yourselves apart, . . . and rest awhile.” The Saviour “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29.
Difficulties will arise that will try your faith and patience. Face them bravely. Look on the bright side. If the work is hindered, be sure that it is not your fault, and then go forward, rejoicing in the Lord.
Heaven is full of joy. It resounds with the praises of Him who made so wonderful a sacrifice for the redemption of the human race. Should not the church on earth be full of praise? Should not Christians publish throughout the world the joy of serving Christ? Those who in heaven join with the angelic choir in their anthem of praise must learn on earth the song of heaven, the keynote of which is thanksgiving.
Never let your courage fail. Never talk unbelief because appearances are against you. As you work for the Master you will feel pressure for want of means, but the Lord will hear and answer your petitions for help. Let your language be: “The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” Isaiah 50:7. If you make a mistake, turn your defeat into victory.
The lessons that God sends will always, if well learned, bring help in due time. Put your trust in God. Pray much, and believe. Trusting, hoping, believing, holding fast the hand of Infinite Power, you will be more than conquerors.
True workers walk and work by faith. Sometimes they grow weary with watching the slow advance of the work when the battle wages strong between the powers of good and evil. But if they refuse to fail or be discouraged they will see the clouds breaking away and the promise of deliverance fulfilling. Through the mist with which Satan has surrounded them, they will see the shining of the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
Work in faith, and leave results with God. Pray in faith, and the mystery of His providence will bring its answer. At times it may seem that you cannot succeed. But work and believe, putting into your efforts faith, hope, and courage. After doing what you can, wait for the Lord, declaring His faithfulness, and He will bring His word to pass. Wait, not in fretful anxiety, but in undaunted faith and unshaken trust.
“If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This excerpt was taken from Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif., Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1902), vol. 7, pp. 242-245.
Jacob’s experience during that night of wrestling and anguish represents the trial through which the people of God must pass just before Christ’s second coming. The prophet Jeremiah, in holy vision looking down to this time, said, “We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:5-7.
When Christ shall cease His work as mediator in [humanity’s] behalf, then this time of trouble will begin. Then the case of every soul will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to cleanse from sin. When Jesus leaves His position as [humanity’s] intercessor before God, the solemn announcement is made, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.
Then the restraining Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth. As Jacob was threatened with death by his angry brother, so the people of God will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to destroy them. And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for deliverance from the enemies that surround them.
Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming the right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon Esau to march against him; and during the patriarch’s long night of wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his guilt, in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God.
When in his distress Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and made supplication with tears, the heavenly Messenger, in order to try his faith, also reminded him of his sin, and endeavored to escape from him.
But Jacob would not be turned away. He had learned that God is merciful, and he cast himself upon His mercy. He pointed back to his repentance for his sin, and pleaded for deliverance. As he reviewed his life, he was driven almost to despair; but he held fast the Angel, and with earnest, agonizing cries urged his petition until he prevailed.
Such will be the experience of God’s people in their final struggle with the powers of evil. God will test their faith, their perseverance, their confidence in His power to deliver them. Satan will endeavor to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless; that their sins have been too great to receive pardon. They will have a deep sense of their shortcomings, and as they review their lives their hopes will sink.
Jacob’s history is an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been betrayed into sin.
But remembering the greatness of God’s mercy, and their own sincere repentance, they will plead His promises made through Christ to helpless, repenting sinners. Their faith will not fail because their prayers are not immediately answered. They will lay hold of the strength of God, as Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and the language of their souls will be, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.”
Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the birthright by fraud, God could not have heard his prayer and mercifully preserved his life. So in the time of trouble, if the people of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed; despair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence to plead with God for deliverance.
But while they have a deep sense of their unworthiness, they will have no concealed wrongs to reveal. Their sins will have been blotted out by the atoning blood of Christ, and they cannot bring them to remembrance.
Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their unfaithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in His dealing with Jacob that He can in no wise sanction or tolerate evil. All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. The more exalted their profession, and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more grievous is their course in the sight of God, and the more certain the triumph of the great adversary.
Yet Jacob’s history is an assurance that God will not cast off those who have been betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto Him with true repentance. It was by self-surrender and confiding faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in his own strength. God thus taught His servant that divine power and grace alone could give him the blessing he craved.
Thus it will be with those who live in the last days. As dangers surround them, and despair seizes upon the soul, they must depend solely upon the merits of the atonement. We can do nothing of ourselves. In all our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. None will ever perish while they do this. The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies is before the eye of the Infinite. The register is complete; none of our offenses are forgotten. But He who listened to the cries of His servants of old will hear the prayer of faith and pardon our transgressions. He has promised, and He will fulfill His word.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This passage was excerpted from the book Patriarch and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890, 1908), pp. 201-203.
More clearly than we do we need to understand the issues at stake in the great conflict in which we are engaged. We need to understand more fully the value of the truths of the word of God and the danger of allowing our minds to be diverted from them by the great deceiver.
The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.
As the sacrifice in our behalf was complete, so our restoration from the defilement of sin is to be complete. No act of wickedness will the law of God excuse; no unrighteousness can escape its condemnation. The ethics of the gospel acknowledge no standard but the perfection of the divine character. The life of Christ was a perfect fulfillment of every precept of the law. He said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” His life is our example of obedience and service. God alone can renew the heart. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” But we are bidden, “Work out your own salvation.” John 15:10; Philippians 2:13, 12.
Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in conduct be made by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Character building is the work, not of a day, nor of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.
The strongest evidence of [humanity’s] fall from a higher state is the fact that it costs so much to return. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, hour by hour. In one moment, by a hasty, unguarded act, we may place ourselves in the power of evil; but it requires more than a moment to break the fetters and attain to a holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun; but its accomplishment will require toil, time, perseverance, patience, and sacrifice.
We cannot allow ourselves to act from impulse. We cannot be off guard for a moment. Beset with temptations without number, we must resist firmly or be conquered. Should we come to the close of life with our work undone, it would be an eternal loss.
Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.
The life of the apostle Paul was a constant conflict with self. He said, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his nature.
At the close of his life of conflict, looking back over its struggles and triumphs, he could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.” 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.
The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.
No one will be borne upward without stern, persevering effort in his own behalf. All must engage in this warfare for themselves; no one else can fight our battles. Individually we are responsible for the issues of the struggle; though Noah, Job, and Daniel were in the land they could deliver neither son nor daughter by their righteousness.
There is a science of Christianity to be mastered—a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil must be overcome. Often the education and training of a lifetime must be discarded, that one may become a learner in the school of Christ.
Our hearts must be educated to become steadfast in God. We are to form habits of thought that will enable us to resist temptation. We must learn to look upward. The principles of the Word of God—principles that are as high as heaven, and that compass eternity—we are to understand in their bearing upon our daily life. Every act, every word, every thought, is to be in accord with these principles. All must be brought into harmony with, and subject to, Christ.
The precious graces of the Holy Spirit are not developed in a moment. Courage, fortitude, meekness, faith, unwavering trust in God’s power to save, are acquired by the experience of years. By a life of holy endeavor and firm adherence to the right the children of God are to seal their destiny.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. These passages were excerpted from her book The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), pp. 451-454.
During a series of meetings in Salamanca, New York, in November 1890, Ellen White was addressing large groups. But she became weak, having caught a severe cold on the trip to the city.
After one of the meetings she left for her room discouraged and sick. She intended to pour out her soul before God and plead for His mercy, and for health and strength. She knelt by her chair and, in her own words:
“I had not uttered a word when the whole room seemed filled with a soft, silvery light, and my pain of disappointment and discouragement was removed. I was filled with comfort and hope—the peace of Christ.”
Then she was given a vision. Afterward she didn’t feel like sleeping. She was healed, rested.
In the morning she had to decide: should she go on to where the next meetings were to be held, or should she go back to her home in Battle Creek?
A. T. Robinson, who had charge of the work, and William White, Ellen White’s son, called on her in her room to get her answer. They found her dressed and well. She was ready to go. She told of the healing. She told of receiving a vision. She said, “There are some things presented to me last night concerning the work in Battle Creek.” Then she began to talk about other matters and she did not relate the vision.
Ellen White continued on her journey in the eastern states, but would later describe what had been shown her that evening about plans being made for the church’s religious liberty journal, then called The American Sentinel.
“In the night season I was present in several councils, and there I heard words repeated by influential men to the effect that if The American Sentinel would drop the words ‘Seventh-day Adventist’ from its column, and would say nothing about the sabbath, the great men of the world would patronize it; it would become popular, and do a larger work. This looked very pleasing.
“I saw their countenances brighten, and they began to work on a policy to make the Sentinel a popular success. The whole matter was introduced by men who needed the truth in the chambers of the mind and soul.”
When the General Conference session opened the following year, March 1891, Ellen White was asked to speak to the workers at 5:30 each morning and address the whole conference of 4,000 attendees on Sabbath afternoon.
Her text on Sabbath afternoon was “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16, KJV). The entire discourse was an appeal to Seventh-day Adventists to hold forth the distinctive features of their faith.
Two or three times during the meeting she started to tell of the Salamanca vision, but each time she held back. The events of the vision would simply leave her mind, so she said, “Of this, I shall have more to say later.” All those assembled had noticed that she was unable to call the vision to mind. The president of the General Conference came and asked if she would take the morning meeting.
“No,” she replied, “I’m weary; I’ve borne my testimony. You must make other plans for the morning meeting.”
As Ellen White returned to her home, she told members of her family that she would not be attending the morning meeting. She was tired; she was going to have a good rest. She planned to sleep in on Sunday morning.
That night, after the close of the General Conference session, a small group of men met in one of the offices in the Review and Herald building. At the meeting were representatives of the publishing house that issued The American Sentinel. Also present were representatives of the Religious Liberty Association. They met to discuss and settle a vexing question: the editorial policy of The American Sentinel. The door was locked, and all agreed that the door would stay locked until the question was settled.
A little before 3:00 on Sunday morning the meeting ended in a deadlock, with those representing religious liberty insisting that unless Pacific Press agrees to their demands and drops the terms “Seventh-day Adventist” and “the Sabbath” from the columns of that paper, they would no longer use it as the mouthpiece of the Religious Liberty Association. That meant the paper would cease to exist. Their meeting at a stalemate, they unlocked the door, and the men went to their rooms.
Ellen White wrote that God “has often permitted matters to come to a crisis, that His interference might become marked.”
Meanwhile, at 3:00 a.m.
God sent His angel messenger to Ellen White’s room at 3:00 a.m. She was aroused from sleep and instructed that she must go to the workers’ meeting at 5:30 and present what was shown to her at Salamanca.
She arose quickly and wrote for about two hours what had been shown to her at Salamanca. The ministers were just getting up from prayer in the tabernacle as Ellen White came in the door with a bundle of manuscripts under her arm. The General Conference president was the speaker, and he addressed her:
“Sister White,” he said, “we are happy to see you. Do you have a message for us?”
“Indeed I do,” she said, and stepped to the front. Then she began right where she had left off the day before. She told them that at 3:00 that morning she had been aroused from her sleep and instructed to go to the workers’ meeting and present what had been shown to her at Salamanca.
“In the vision,” she said, “I seemed to be in Battle Creek. I was taken to the Review and Herald office, and the angel messenger bade me, ‘Follow me.’ I was taken to a room where a group of men were earnestly discussing a matter. There was a zeal manifest, but not according to knowledge.”
She told how they were discussing the editorial policy of The American Sentinel. She said, “I saw one of the men take a copy of the Sentinel, hold it high over his head, and say, ‘Unless these articles on the Sabbath and the Second Advent come out of this paper, we can no longer use it as the organ of the Religious Liberty Association.’”
Ellen White spoke for an hour, describing the meeting that had been shown to her in vision months before, and giving counsel based on that revelation. Then she sat down.
The General Conference president didn’t know what to think of her comments. He had never heard of any such meeting. But they didn’t have to wait long for an explanation. A man stood in the back of the room and began to speak:
“I was in that meeting last night.”
“Last night!” Ellen White exclaimed, “Last night? I thought that meeting took place months ago, when it was shown to me in vision.”
“I was in that meeting last night,” he said, “and I am the man who made the remarks about the articles in the paper, while holding it over my head. I’m sorry to say that I was on the wrong side, but I take this opportunity to place myself on the right side.” Then he sat down.
Another man stood to speak, the president of the Religious Liberty Association. Note his words: “I was in that meeting. Last night after the close of the conference some of us met in my office, where we locked ourselves in and there discussed the questions and the matter presented to us this morning. We remained in that room until 3:00 this morning. If I should begin to give a description of what took place and the personal attitude of those in the room, I could not give it as exactly and as correctly as it has been given by Sister White. I now see that I was in error and that the position that I took was not correct. From the light given this morning, I acknowledge that I was wrong.”
Others spoke that day. Everyone in the meeting the night before stood and bore his testimony, saying that Ellen White had accurately described the meeting and the attitude of those in the room.
Before that meeting closed that Sunday morning, the Religious Liberty group gathered together and rescinded the action they had taken only a few hours before.
Had Ellen White not been restrained, and had she related the vision on Sabbath afternoon, her message would not have served the purpose that God had intended, for the meeting had not yet taken place.
Somehow the men did not apply the general counsel given Sabbath afternoon. They thought they knew better. Maybe they reasoned, as some do today, “Perhaps Ellen White did not understand,” or “We live in a different day now.”
The thoughts that Satan whispers to us in these days are the same with which he tempted our ministers in 1891. God, in His own time and in His own way, made it clear that it was His work; He was guiding; He was guarding; He had His hand upon the wheel.
Ellen White wrote that God “has often permitted matters to come to a crisis, that His interference might become marked. Then He has made it manifest that there is a God in Israel.”
This story is adapted from an account written by trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate. It is found in the book Counsels for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1991), pp. 25-29.
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4:14, KJV.
Many are suffering from maladies of the soul far more than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they come to Christ, the wellspring of life. . . . Christ is the mighty Healer of the sin-sick soul (Counsels on Health, p. 502).
If we let go of Jesus we have nothing to hold on to. . . . Perpetual grace in ever-flowing streams is blessing those who will, if athirst, come unto Him and drink (letter 2, 1889).
He who seeks to quench his thirst at the fountains of this world will drink only to thirst again. Everywhere [men and women] are unsatisfied. They long for something to supply the need of the soul. Only One can meet that want. The need of the world, “the desire of all nations,” is Christ. The divine grace which He alone can impart is as living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul. . . .
He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. The riches, honors, and pleasures of the world do not attract him. The constant cry of his heart is, More of Thee. And He who reveals to the soul its necessity is waiting to satisfy its hunger and thirst. Every human resource and dependence will fail. The cisterns will be emptied, the pools become dry; but our Redeemer is an inexhaustible fountain.
Life is mysterious and sacred. It is the manifestation of God Himself, the source of all life.
We may drink, and drink again, and ever find a fresh supply. He in whom Christ dwells has within himself the fountain of blessing—“a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs (The Desire of Ages, p. 187).
He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life (The Desire of Ages, p. 195).
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. Ps. 36:9, KJV.
All created beings live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of God. From the highest seraph to the humblest animate being, all are replenished from the Source of life (The Desire of Ages, p. 785).
The youth need to understand the deep truth underlying the Bible statement that with God “is the fountain of life.” Not only is He the originator of all, but He is the life of everything that lives. It is His life that we receive in the sunshine, in the pure, sweet air, in the food which builds up our bodies and sustains our strength. It is by His life that we exist, hour by hour, moment by moment. Except as perverted by sin, all His gifts tend to life, to health and joy (Education, pp. 197, 198). . . .
The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. . . . The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds.
Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same—a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe (Education, pp. 99, 100). . . .
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them. Eccl. 12:1, KJV.
Life is mysterious and sacred. It is the manifestation of God Himself, the source of all life. Precious are its opportunities, and earnestly should they be improved. Once lost, they are gone forever.
Before us God places eternity, with its solemn realities, and gives us a grasp on immortal, imperishable themes. He presents valuable, ennobling truth, that we may advance in a safe and sure path, in pursuit of an object worthy of the earnest engagement of all our capabilities. . . .
He desires that we shall constantly be growing in holiness, in happiness, in usefulness. All have capabilities which they must be taught to regard as sacred endowments, to appreciate as the Lord’s gifts, and rightly to employ. He desires the youth to cultivate every power of their being, and to bring every faculty into active exercise. He desires them to enjoy all that is useful and precious in this life, to be good and to do good, laying up a heavenly treasure for the future life.
It should be their ambition to excel in all things that are unselfish, high, and noble. Let them look to Christ as the pattern after which they are to be fashioned. The holy ambition that He revealed in His life they are to cherish—an ambition to make the world better for their having lived in it. This is the work to which they are called (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 397, 398).
Only one lease of life is granted us; and the inquiry with everyone should be, How can I invest my life so that it will yield the greatest profit? How can I do most for the glory of God and the benefit of [humanity]? (Temperance, p. 137).
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. These passages were excerpted from The Faith I Live By (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958), pp. 99, 164, 167.
Written in different ages, by men who differed widely in rank and occupation, and in mental and spiritual endowments, the books of the Bible present a wide contrast in style, as well as a diversity in the nature of the subjects unfolded. Different forms of expression are employed by different writers; often the same truth is more strikingly presented by one than by another.
And as several writers present a subject under varied aspects and relations, there may appear, to the superficial, careless, or prejudiced reader, to be discrepancy or contradiction, where the thoughtful, reverent student, with clearer insight, discerns the underlying harmony.
As presented through different individuals, the truth is brought out in its varied aspects. One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all. And the truths thus revealed unite to form a perfect whole, adapted to meet the wants of [men and women] in all the circumstances and experiences of life.
God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was entrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, nonetheless, from Heaven.
The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.
The Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.
In His word, God has committed to [humanity] the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, RV.*
Yet the fact that God has revealed His will to [humanity] through His word has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour, to open the word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings. And since it was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the word.
The Spirit was not given—nor can it ever be bestowed—to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. Says the apostle John, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1. And Isaiah declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20.
Great reproach has been cast upon the work of the Holy Spirit by the errors of a class that, claiming its enlightenment, profess to have no further need of guidance from the word of God. They are governed by impressions which they regard as the voice of God in the soul. But the spirit that controls them is not the Spirit of God.
This following of impressions, to the neglect of the Scriptures, can lead only to confusion, to deception and ruin. It serves only to further the designs of the evil one.
Since the ministry of the Holy Spirit is of vital importance to the church of Christ, it is one of the devices of Satan, through the errors of extremists and fanatics, to cast contempt upon the work of the Spirit and cause the people of God to neglect this source of strength which our Lord Himself has provided.
In harmony with the word of God, His Spirit was to continue its work throughout the period of the gospel dispensation. During the ages while the Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testament were being given, the Holy Spirit did not cease to communicate light to individual minds, apart from the revelations to be embodied in the Sacred Canon.
The Bible itself relates how, through the Holy Spirit, men received warning, reproof, counsel, and instruction, in matters in no way relating to the giving of the Scriptures. And mention is made of prophets in different ages, of whose utterances nothing is recorded. In like manner, after the close of the canon of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit was still to continue its work, to enlighten, warn, and comfort the children of God.
Jesus promised His disciples, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: . . . and he will shew you things to come.” John 14:26; 16:13.
Scripture plainly teaches that these promises, so far from being limited to apostolic days, extend to the church of Christ in all ages. The Saviour assures His followers, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20.
* Bible texts credited to RV are from The Holy Bible, Revised Version. Oxford University Press, 1911.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White, 1827-1915, exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This passage was excerpted from The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. vi-viii.