For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
Order should be maintained in our different institutions at—–. Insubordination should be overruled. None should be retained in the office who have been instructed by Sabbath-keeping parents and have been privileged to hear the truth yet rebel against its teachings. No persons should be connected with the sacred work of God who speak lightly of it or treat our holy faith with disrespect. Those who have been connected with the office for quite a length of time and have had ample opportunity to become acquainted with our faith, yet manifest opposition to the truth, should no longer be retained in the office. Their influence is against the truth if they continue to neglect the light and slight salvation. This very indifference has a chilling influence upon the faith of others to draw them away from God. These impenitent, unimpressible ones should not occupy positions that might be filled by persons who will respect the truth and yield to the influence of the Spirit of God by being so closely connected with this sacred work.
The influence of our young people in the office is not what it should be. A and B have virtually worked against the cause. The influence of their conversation and deportment has been such as to disgust unbelievers and turn them from our faith and from Christ. The young who heed not the warnings of the word of God and slight the Testimonies of His Spirit can only be a living curse to the office and should be separated from it.
The youth whose influence is demoralizing should have no connection with our college. Those who are possessed of a lovesick sentimentalism, and make their attendance at school an opportunity for courting and exchanging improper attentions, should be brought under the closest restrictions. Authority must be maintained. Justice and Mercy are twin sisters, standing side by side.
If no efforts are made to correct the state of things existing at—–, it will soon be a place for the encouragement of immorality and dissipation. Will parents and those in charge of our institutions sleep while Satan is taking possession of the minds of the children? God abhors the sins that are fostered and concealed by the church, cherished in the office, and sheltered under the paternal roof. Let parents, and those in authority, earnestly take hold of the work and purge this evil from among them.
We are living in the last days. John exclaims: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Christ is the only refuge in these perilous times. Satan is at work in secrecy and darkness. Cunningly he draws away the followers of Christ from the cross and brings them into self-indulgence and wickedness.
Vital interests are located at—–, and Satan is opposed to everything that will strengthen the cause of Christ and weaken his own power. He is diligently laying plans to undermine the work of God. He never rests for a moment when he sees that the right is gaining the ascendancy. He has legions of evil angels that he sends to every point where light from heaven is shining upon the people. Here he stations his pickets to seize every unguarded man, woman, or child and press them into his service.
The great heart of the work is at—–; and, as the human heart throws its living current of blood into all parts of the body, so does the management at this place, the headquarters of our church, affect the whole body of believers. If the physical heart is healthy, the blood that is sent from it through the system is also healthy; but if this fountain is impure, the whole organism becomes diseased by the poison of the vital fluid. So it is with us. If the heart of the work becomes corrupt, the whole church, in its various branches and interests, scattered abroad over the face of the earth, suffers in consequence.
Satan’s chief work is at the headquarters of our faith. He spares no pains to corrupt men in responsible positions and to persuade them to be unfaithful to their several trusts. He insinuates his suspicions and jealousies into the minds of those whose business it is to do God’s work faithfully. While God is testing and proving these helpers, and fitting them for their posts, Satan is doing his utmost to deceive and allure them, that they may not only be destroyed themselves, but may influence others to do wrong and to injure the great work. He seeks by all the means in his power to shake the confidence of God’s people in the voice of warning and reproof through which God designs to purify the church and prosper His cause.
It is Satan’s plan to weaken the faith of God’s people in the Testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction.
Satan has gained marked advantage in —– because the people of God have not guarded the outposts. The very men whose labors God has signified that He would accept if they were fully consecrated have been the ones to be deceived, to fail in their duties, and to prove a terrible burden and discouragement, instead of the help and blessing that they should have been. These men who have been trusted to keep the fort have well-nigh betrayed it into the hands of the enemy. They have opened the gates to a wily foe, who has sought to destroy them.
Men of experience have seen stealthy hands slipping the bolts that Satan might enter; yet they have held their peace with apparent indifference as to the results. Some have been glad to see this, as it seemed an extenuation of their past neglect, which made it a necessity to call for others to fill the posts of responsibility that they had abused or neglected. This lack of watchfulness on the part of these newer incumbents seemed to excuse the former for their own want of faithfulness, as it showed that others were fully as derelict in duty. These persons do not realize that God holds them responsible for every advantage gained by the foe who is admitted to the fort. The desolation and ruin following lie at the door of the unfaithful sentinels, who, by their neglect, become agents in the hands of the adversary to win souls to destruction. Men in responsible positions should seek wisdom and guidance of God, and not trust to their own judgment and knowledge. Like Solomon they should earnestly pray for faith and light, and God will give them freely of His abundant supply.
God would have His work done intelligently, not in a haphazard manner. He would have it done with faith and careful exactness, that He may place the sign of His approval upon it. Those who love Him, and walk with fear and humility before Him, He will bless and guide and connect with heaven. If the workers rely upon Him, He will give them wisdom and correct their infirmities, so that they will be able to do the work of the Lord with perfection.
We must put on the armor and be prepared to successfully resist all the attacks of Satan. His malignity and cruel power are not sufficiently estimated. When he finds himself foiled upon one point he takes new ground and fresh tactics, and tries again, working wonders in order to deceive and destroy the children of men. The youth should be carefully warned against his power and patiently and prayerfully directed how to endure the trials sure to come upon them in this life. They should be led to cling to the word of God and give attention to counsel and advice.
Living faith in the merits of a crucified Redeemer will carry them through the fiery furnace of affliction and trial. The form of the Fourth will be with them in the fierce heat of the furnace, which will not leave even the smell of fire upon their garments. Children should be encouraged to become Bible students and to have firm religious principles that will stand the test of the perils sure to be experienced by all who live upon the earth during the last days in the closing history of the world.
Chap. 19 – Entire Consecration
The following testimony was written in January, 1875, and its truthfulness was acknowledged by Brother C, who said that it gave him light and hope.
Brother C, you are backslidden from God. Your views of God’s requirements have never been too well defined nor too strict. It is no excuse for you to become remiss in duty and less vigilant because the course of so many professed Christians is wrong. You have not been consecrated to God. You have not felt your dependence upon Him to keep you, and therefore you have been overcome and brought into the slavery of doubt; the bondage of unbelief has chained your soul. You do not glorify God in your life. Our faith sometimes looks to you very questionable. The reason of this is in yourself. In the world, truth and falsehood are so mixed that one is not always clearly discerned from the other. But why has one who professes the truth so little strength? Because he understands not his own ignorance and his own weakness. If he knew this, if he were distrustful of himself, he would feel the importance of divine help to preserve him from the wiles of the enemy. We need to be active, working Christians, unselfish in heart and life, having an eye single to the glory of God. Oh, what wrecks we meet everywhere! what silent lips and fruitless lives! “This,” said the angel, “is because of falling under temptation. Nothing mars the peace of the soul like sinful unbelief.”
You should not give up in despair, thinking you must live and die in the bondage of doubt and unbelief. In the Lord we have righteousness and strength. Lean upon Him; and through His power you may quench all the fiery darts of the adversary and come off more than conqueror. You may yet become sanctified through the truth; or you may, if you choose, walk in the darkness of unbelief, lose heaven, and lose all. By walking in the light and working out the will of God, you may overcome your selfish nature.
You have been ready to give of your means, but have withheld yourself. You have not felt called upon to make sacrifices which would involve care; you have not had a willingness to do any work for Christ, be it ever so humble. God will bring you over the ground again and again until with humble heart and subdued mind you bear the test that He inflicts and are wholly sanctified to His service and work. Then you may win immortal life. You may be a fully developed man in Christ Jesus, or you may be a spiritual dwarf, gaining no victories. My brother, which will you choose? Will you live a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, doing your work with cheerfulness and joy, perfecting Christian character, and pressing on for the immortal reward? or will you live for yourself and lose heaven? God will not be trifled with; Christ accepts no divided service. He asks for all. It will not do to withhold anything. He has purchased you with an infinite price, and He requires that all you have shall be yielded to Him a willing offering. If you are fully consecrated to Him in heart and life, faith will take the place of doubts, and confidence the place of distrust and unbelief.
My brother, you are in positive danger through neglecting to carry out health reform more strictly in your own life and in your family. Your blood is impure, and you are still corrupting and inflaming it by the gratification of taste. Never be betrayed into indulging in the use of stimulants; for this will result not only in reaction and loss of physical strength, but in a benumbed intellect. Strictly temperate habits in eating and drinking, with firm trust in God, will improve your physical, mental, and moral health. You are of a highly excitable temperament. You have but little self-control and under excitement frequently say and do things which you afterward regret. You should call a determined will to your aid in the warfare against your own inclinations and propensities. You need to keep the avenues of your soul open to the reception of light and truth. But when something occurs to test and prove you, prejudice frequently comes in, and you rise at once against what you deem a restriction of your liberty or an infringement upon your rights.
The word of God plainly presents before us this truth, that our physical natures will be brought into warfare with the spiritual. The apostle charges us to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Every perverted appetite becomes a warring lust. Appetite indulged to the injury of physical strength causes disease of the soul. The lust which the apostle mentions is not confined to the violation of the seventh commandment, but every indulgence of the taste which lessens physical vigor is a warring lust. The apostle declares that he who would gain special victories and make higher attainments in righteousness must be “temperate in all things.” Temperance in eating and drinking at our tables, as well as the exercise of temperance in every other respect, is essential if we would overcome as Christ overcame. God has given us light, not to be treated indifferently, but to be our guide and help.
You need to cultivate self-control. The lesson you should have learned in your youth should be mastered now. Discipline yourself to die to self, to bring your will in subjection to the will of Christ. A deep and thorough conversion is essential, or you, my dear brother, will fail of eternal life. Your service in the cause of God must be more hearty, full, and thorough. You cannot perfect a Christian character by serving God when you feel inclined to do so and neglecting it when you please. A decided change must take place in your life, and you must obtain a different experience from any you have yet had, or your service will not be accepted of God.
Our heavenly Father has been very gracious to you. He has dealt tenderly with you. Sickness and disease came upon you when you were unprepared to die, for you had not perfected a Christian character and had not a moral fitness for heaven. Satan stood by your side to afflict and destroy, that you might be numbered with the transgressors. Fervent and effectual prayer prevailed in your behalf. Angels were sent to wait and watch about you, to guard and protect you from Satan’s power and preserve your life. God has, in His matchless love, granted you another trial. Not because of any goodness or virtue in you but, because of His mercy, He has answered the prayers of faith. Your probation has been lengthened that you may have an opportunity to redeem the past, overcome the defects in your character, and show in your life that devotion to God which He claims from you. You have had emotions of gratitude, but you have not experienced that heartfelt thankfulness and becoming humility that should have been kindled by His unsurpassed love.
You have not sufficiently felt your obligations to God for sparing your life. You have, for pettish reasons of your own, excused yourself time and again from religious duties which devolve upon us at all times and under all circumstances. Feelings of discouragement are no apology before God for the neglect of a single duty. You are not your own; you have been purchased by the blood of Christ. He claims all that you are capable of doing; your time and strength are not your own.
God indicated that you could be educated to act a part in His cause, but it was necessary that your mind should be trained and disciplined to work in harmony with the plan of God. You could gain the required experience if you would; you had the privilege presented before you of denying your inclination, as your Saviour had given you an example in His life. But you have not placed yourself in a position to learn all that you could and all that it was important for you to learn in order to become a correct worker in the cause of God. There were some things to reform in yourself before the Lord could use you effectually as His instrument.
Brother C, it was a sacrifice for you to leave your farm; you enjoyed your life there. You did not come to —– from choice. You had no knowledge of the work in connection with the publishing interest. But you were determined to do the best you could, and in many respects you have done well. But many things have arisen as stumbling blocks in your way. The course of Brother F was wrong in many respects; but you did not preserve your consecration to God; you united with him in spirit, and did not stand free; you displeased God in many things and separated your soul from Him. Satan was obtaining great power over you; your steps had well-nigh slipped; you were almost gone in unbelief, when sickness arrested your course. It was in great mercy that God spared you and gave you a new lease of life. But you have not made an entire surrender to Him; your stubborn will has not been subdued and softened; you need a new conversion. You have been easily fretted and annoyed; you have braced yourself to resist everything that you thought reflected upon you; your feelings have arisen like a flash when anything has touched your pride. Now, my dear brother, this is all wrong. This you must over come, or the enemy will gain the victory over you.
You have felt sick at heart because you did not love the work in —–. You have looked back toward —–, for your heart is there, and your body should be where your heart is. God has been testing and proving you; how have you borne the test? You needed to be planed and polished, to have the rough and jagged points of your character removed, that you might become refined for the kingdom of heaven. How hard it is for human nature to deny inclination; how hard for men to leave flattering worldly inducements and, through love of their Saviour and their fellow men, to deny their own pleasure in order to engage more directly in the service of God.
Brother C, you do not enter heart and soul into the work. You have never made it a direct personal interest, and it is not agreeable to you. Had you been so disposed you could have trained your mind to better understand the work; but you have, in a measure, held aloof from it; you have not connected yourself closely with it and tried to become familiar with its various branches.
You are not as social and courteous as you should be, and your cold, unapproachable manner is not pleasing to God. You allow your feelings to be easily excited. No man can properly fill a position in connection with the work of God who is controlled by feeling and moves from impulse. Your mind must come in closer connection with God, and in sympathy and interest you must be more closely identified with those who are engaged in His work, or you can be of no use in advancing the cause in —–. You are too independent and exclusive; you need to soften and assimilate your disposition to the mind and feelings of others. You can, as a businessman and as a Christian, do much valuable service for the cause of God if you will only surrender your will and your way to the Lord. You need to be sanctified by the truth, having your mind elevated above every personal consideration and every selfish interest.
I point you to the life of Jesus as a perfect pattern. His life was characterized by disinterested benevolence. Precious Saviour! What sacrifices has He made for us that we should not perish, but have everlasting life! Heaven will be cheap enough if we resign every selfish interest to obtain it. Can we afford to have our own way, and take ourselves out of the hands of God, because it is more pleasing to the natural heart? God requires perfect submission and perfect obedience. Eternal life is worth everything to us. You may come in close connection with God if you will agonize to enter in at the strait gate.
You could never be aware of your deficiencies unless you were brought where these deficiencies were developed by circumstances. You have not felt as you should since you have come to —–. You have not entered freely and heartily into the work and made it your chief interest. You have cherished an independence that could not be maintained if you realized your true position–that you are an apprentice, learning how to work in the very best manner for the prosperity of God’s cause; that you are a scholar, seeking to obtain knowledge concerning that with which you are unacquainted.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4 pp. 209-218