Do not look to men nor hang your hopes upon them, feeling that they are infallible; but look to Jesus constantly. Say nothing that would cast a reproach upon our faith. Confess your secret sins alone before your God. Acknowledge your heart wanderings to Him who knows perfectly how to treat your case. If you have wronged your neighbor, acknowledge to him your sin and show fruit of the same by making restitution. Then claim the blessing. Come to God just as you are, and let Him heal all your infirmities. Press your case to the throne of grace; let the work be thorough. Be sincere in dealing with God and your own soul. If you come to Him with a heart truly contrite, He will give you the victory. Then you may bear a sweet testimony of freedom, showing forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. He will not misapprehend or misjudge you. Your fellow men cannot absolve you from sin or cleanse you from iniquity. Jesus is the only one who can give you peace. He loved you and gave Himself for you. His great heart of love is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities?” What sins are too great for Him to pardon? what soul too dark and sin-oppressed for Him to save? He is gracious, not looking for merit in us, but of His own boundless goodness healing our backslidings and loving us freely, while we are yet sinners. He is “slow to anger, and of great kindness;” “long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Do not seek to get wound up to a high pitch of excitement; but go to work for others, and patiently instruct them. You will be inclined now to conjecture that everyone has a load of evil to confess, and you will be in danger of making this the point of attack. You will want to bring everyone over the same ground that you have been over, and you will feel that nothing can be done until all have gone through the same work of confession. You will not be disposed to take up the labor of helping others with the Spirit of God resting upon you, your
own hearts softened and subdued by the deep-wrought work of cleansing. You will be in great danger of marring the work of God by exercising your own spirit. If you work for souls with humble, trustful dependence upon God, if the radiance of His Spirit is reflected from you in a Christlike character, if sympathy, kindness, forbearance, and love are abiding principles in your life, you will be a blessing to all around you. You will not criticize others or manifest a harsh, denunciatory spirit toward them; you will not feel that their ideas must be made to meet your standard; but the love of Jesus and the peaceable fruits of righteousness will be revealed in you.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. . . . And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
The enemy will seek to intrude himself even amid your religious exercises. Every avenue will need to be faithfully guarded lest selfishness and pride become interwoven with your work. If self has really been crucified, with the affections and lusts, the fruit will appear in good works to the glory of God. I entreat you, in the fear of God, not to let your works degenerate. Be consistent, symmetrical Christians. When the heart has given its affections to Christ, old things have passed away, and all things have become new.
Our religion must be intelligent. The wisdom from above must strengthen, establish, and settle us. We must go on and on, forward and upward, from light to still greater light, and God will still reveal His glory to us as He doth not unto the world.
Battle Creek, Michigan, Jan. 6, 1889.
Chap. 81 – God’s Presence a Reality
Dear Brother Q: I am glad you are today in —–, and if you make good your trust you will be the right man in the right place. Keep self out of sight; let it not come in to mar the work, though this will be natural. Walk humbly with God. Let us work for the Master with disinterested energy, keeping before us a sense of the constant presence of God. Think of Moses, what endurance and patience characterized his life. Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, says: “For he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” The character that Paul thus ascribes to Moses does not mean simply passive resistance of evil, but perseverance in the right. He kept the Lord ever before him, and the Lord was ever at his right hand to help him.
Moses had a deep sense of the personal presence of God. He was not only looking down through the ages for Christ to be made manifest in the flesh, but he saw Christ in a special manner accompanying the children of Israel in all their travels. God was real to him, ever present in his thoughts. When misunderstood, when called upon to face danger and to bear insult for Christ’s sake, he endured without retaliation. Moses believed in God as one whom he needed and who would help him because of his need. God was to him a present help.
Much of the faith which we see is merely nominal; the real, trusting, persevering faith is rare. Moses realized in his own experience the promise that God will be a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. He had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Here is another point in regard to faith which we wish to study: God will reward the man of faith and obedience. If this faith is brought into the life experience, it will enable everyone who fears and loves God to endure trials. Moses was full of confidence in God because he had appropriating
faith. He needed help, and he prayed for it, grasped it by faith, and wove into his experience the belief that God cared for him. He believed that God ruled his life in particular. He saw and acknowledged God in every detail of his life and felt that he was under the eye of the All-seeing One, who weighs motives, who tries the heart. He looked to God and trusted in Him for strength to carry him uncorrupted through every form of temptation. He knew that a special work had been assigned to him, and he desired as far as possible to make that work thoroughly successful. But he knew that he could not do this without divine aid, for he had a perverse people to deal with. The presence of God was sufficient to carry him through the most trying situations in which a man could be placed.
Moses did not merely think of God; he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him; he never lost sight of His face. He saw Jesus as his Saviour, and he believed that the Saviour’s merits would be imputed to him. This faith was to Moses no guesswork; it was a reality. This is the kind of faith we need, faith that will endure the test. Oh, how often we yield to temptation because we do not keep our eye upon Jesus! Our faith is not continuous because, through self-indulgence, we sin, and then we cannot endure “as seeing Him who is invisible.”
My brother, make Christ your daily, hourly companion, and you will not complain that you have no faith. Contemplate Christ. View His character. Talk of Him. The less you exalt self, the more you will see in Jesus to exalt. God has a work for you to do. Keep the Lord ever before you. Brother and Sister Q, reach up higher and still higher for clearer views of the character of Christ. When Moses prayed, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory,” the Lord did not rebuke him, but He granted his prayer. God declared to His servant: “I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the
name of the Lord before thee.” We keep apart from God, and this is why we do not see the revealings of His power.
The Presence of Christ in the Schoolroom
My brother, my sister, may the Lord impart wisdom to you both, that you may know how to deal with minds. May the Lord teach you how great things He can do if you will only believe. Carry Jesus with you, as your companion, into the schoolroom. Keep Him before you when you speak, that the law of kindness may proceed from your lips. Do not permit anyone to mold you in this matter. Allow the children under your care to have an individuality, as well as yourselves. Ever try to lead them, but never drive them.
I see some things here in Switzerland that I think are worthy of imitation. The teachers of the schools often go out with their pupils while they are at play and teach them how to amuse themselves and are at hand to repress any disorder or wrong. Sometimes they take their scholars out and have a long walk with them. I like this; I think there is less opportunity for the children to yield to temptation. The teachers seem to enter into the sports of the children and to regulate them. I cannot in any way sanction the idea that children must feel that they are under a constant distrust and cannot act as children. But let the teachers join in the amusements of the children, be one with them, and show that they want them to be happy, and it will give the children confidence. They may be controlled by love, but not by following them at their meals and in their amusements with a stern, unbending severity.
Let me say here that those who have never had children of their own are not usually the best qualified to manage wisely the varied minds of children and youth. They are apt to make one law, from which there can be no appeal. Teachers must remember that they themselves were once children. They
should adapt their teaching to the minds of the children, placing themselves in sympathy with them; then the children can be instructed and benefited both by precept and example.
May the spirit of Jesus come in to mold your hearts, to fashion your characters, to elevate and ennoble your souls! Christ said to His disciples: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” There is need of laying aside these cast-iron rules, of coming down from these stilts, to the humbleness of the child. Oh, that some of the spirit of severity may change to a spirit of love, that happiness and sunshine may take the place of discouragement and grief!
Chap. 82 – The Nature and Influence of the “Testimonies”
As the end draws near and the work of giving the last warning to the world extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel’s message from its very rise. In the following pages are given extracts from what I have written during the last forty years, relating to my own early experience in this special work, and also presenting what God has shown me concerning the nature and importance of the Testimonies, the manner in which they are given, and how they should be regarded.
“It was not long after the passing of the time in 1844 that my first vision was given me. I was visiting a dear sister in Christ, whose heart was knit with mine; five of us, all women, were kneeling quietly at the family altar. While we were praying, the power of God came upon me as I had never felt it
before. I seemed to be surrounded with light, and to be rising higher and higher from the earth.” [TESTIMONIES FOR THE CHURCH, VOL. 1, P. 58.] At this time I had a view of the experience of the advent believers, the coming of Christ, and the reward to be given to the faithful.
“In a second vision, which soon followed the first, I was shown the trials through which I must pass, and that it was my duty to go and relate to others what God had revealed to me. It was shown me that my labors would meet with great opposition and that my heart would be rent with anguish, but that the grace of God would be sufficient to sustain me through all. The teaching of this vision troubled me exceedingly, for it pointed out my duty to go out among the people and present the truth.”
“One great fear that oppressed me was that if I obeyed the call of duty and went out declaring myself to be one favored of the Most High with visions and revelations for the people, I might yield to sinful exaltation and be lifted above the station that was right for me to occupy, bring upon myself the displeasure of God, and lose my own soul. I had before me several cases such as I have here described, and my heart shrank from the trying ordeal.
“I now entreated that if I must go and relate what the Lord had shown me, I should be preserved from undue exaltation. Said the angel: ‘Your prayers are heard and shall be answered. If this evil that you dread threatens you, the hand of God will be stretched out to save you; by affliction He will draw you to Himself and preserve your humility. Deliver the message faithfully. Endure unto the end, and you shall eat the fruit of the tree of life and drink of the water of life.'” [VOL. 1, PP. 62, 64, 65.]
At this time there was fanaticism among some of those who had been believers in the first message. Serious errors in doctrine and practice were cherished, and some were ready to condemn all who would not accept their views. God revealed
these errors to me in vision and sent me to His erring children to declare them; but in performing this duty I met with bitter opposition and reproach.
“It was a great cross for me to relate to the erring what had been shown me concerning them. It caused me great distress to see others troubled or grieved. And when obliged to declare the messages I would often soften them down and make them appear as favorable for the individual as I could and then would go by myself and weep in agony of spirit. I looked upon those who had only their own souls to care for and thought if I were in their condition I would not murmur. It was hard to relate the plain, cutting testimonies given me of God. I anxiously watched the result, and if the persons reproved rose up against the reproof, and afterward opposed the truth, these queries would arise in my mind: Did I deliver the message just as I should? Could there not have been some way to save them? And then such distress pressed upon my soul that I often felt that death would be a welcome messenger, and the grave a sweet resting place.
“I did not realize the danger and sin of such a course until in vision I was taken into the presence of Jesus. He looked upon me with a frown and turned His face from me. It is not possible to describe the terror and agony I then felt. I fell upon my face before Him, but had no power to utter a word. Oh, how I longed to be covered and hid from that dreadful frown! Then could I realize, in some degree, what the feelings of the lost will be when they cry: ‘Mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’
“Presently an angel bade me rise, and the sight that met my eyes can hardly be described. Before me was a company whose hair and garments were torn, and whose countenances were the very picture of despair and horror. They came close to me and rubbed their garments upon mine. As I looked at my garments
I saw that they were stained with blood. Again I fell like one dead at the feet of my accompanying angel. I could not plead one excuse and longed to be away from that holy place. The angel raised me to my feet and said: ‘This is not your case now, but this scene has passed before you to let you know what your situation must be if you neglect to declare to others what the Lord has revealed to you.'” [VOL. 1, PP. 73, 74.] With this solemn warning before me I went out to speak to the people the words of reproof and instruction given me of God.
The messages given me for different individuals I often wrote out for them, in many cases doing this at their urgent request. As my work extended, this became an important and taxing part of my labors. Before the publication of Testimony 15 many requests for written testimonies were sent me by those whom I had counseled or reproved; but I was in a state of great exhaustion from wearing labor, and I shrank from the task, especially since I knew that many of these persons were very unworthy, and there seemed little hope that the warnings given would work any decided change in them. At that time I was greatly encouraged by the following dream:
“A person brought to me a web of white cloth, and bade me cut it into garments for persons of all sizes and all descriptions of character and circumstances in life. I was told to cut them out and hang them up all ready to be made when called for. I had the impression that many for whom I was required to cut garments were unworthy. I inquired if that was the last piece of cloth I should have to cut and was told that it was not; that as soon as I had finished this one, there were others for me to take hold of. I felt discouraged at the amount of work before me and stated that I had been engaged in cutting garments for others for more than twenty years, and my labors
had not been appreciated, neither did I see that my work had accomplished much good. I spoke to the person who brought the cloth to me, of one woman in particular, for whom he had told me to cut a garment. I stated that she would not prize the garment and that it would be a loss of time and material to present it to her. She was very poor, of inferior intellect, and untidy in her habits, and would soon soil it.
“The person replied: ‘Cut out the garments. That is your duty. The loss is not yours, but mine. God sees not as man sees. He lays out the work that He would have done, and you do not know which will prosper, this or that.’ . . .
“I then held up my hands, calloused as they were with long use of the shears, and stated that I could but shrink at the thought of pursuing this kind of labor. The person again repeated:
“‘Cut out the garments. Your release has not yet come.’
“With feelings of great weariness I arose to engage in the work. Before me lay new, polished shears, which I commenced using. At once my feelings of weariness and discouragement left me, the shears seemed to cut with hardly an effort on my part, and I cut out garment after garment with comparative ease.” [VOL. 2, PP. 10-12 (FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1868).]
There are many dreams arising from the common things of life with which the Spirit of God has nothing to do. “There are also false dreams, as well as false visions, which are inspired by the spirit of Satan. But dreams from the Lord are classed in the word of God with visions and are as truly the fruits of the spirit of prophecy as visions. Such dreams, taking into the account the persons who have them, and the circumstances under which they are given, contain their own proofs of their genuineness.” [VOL. 1, P. 569 (1867).]
Since the warning and instruction given in testimony for individual cases applied with equal force to many others who
had not been specially pointed out in this manner, it seemed to be my duty to publish the personal testimonies for the benefit of the church. In Testimony 15, speaking of the necessity for doing this, I said: “I know of no better way to present my views of general dangers and errors, and the duty of all who love God and keep His commandments, than by giving these testimonies. Perhaps there is no more direct and forcible way of presenting what the Lord has shown me.” [VOL. 2, P. 9 (1868).]
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 pp. 649-658