You place yourself in the way of temptation, on Satan’s battleground, and will, unless constantly guarded, be overcome by his devices. There are persons who have for some time made a profession of religion, who are, to all intents and purposes, without God and without a sensitive conscience. They are vain and trifling; their conversation is of a low order. Courtship and marriage occupy the mind to the exclusion of higher and nobler thoughts.
The associations chosen by the workers are determining their destiny for this world and the next. Some who were once conscientious and faithful have sadly changed, they have disconnected from God, and Satan has allured them to his side. They are now irreligious and irreverent, and they have an influence upon others who are easily molded. Evil associations are deteriorating character; principle is being undermined. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
The young are in danger; but they are blind to discern the tendencies and result of the course they are pursuing. Many of them are engaged in flirtation. They seem to be infatuated. There is nothing noble, dignified, or sacred in these attachments; as they are prompted by Satan, the influence is such as to please him. Warnings to these persons fall unheeded. They are headstrong, self-willed, defiant. They think the warning, counsel, or reproof does not apply to them. Their course gives them no concern. They are continually separating themselves from the light and love of God. They lose all discernment of sacred and eternal things, and while they may keep up a dry form of Christian duties they have no heart in these religious exercises. All too late these deceived souls will learn that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Words and actions and motives are recorded; but how little do these light, superficial heads and hard hearts realize that an angel of God stands writing down the manner in which their precious moments are employed. God will bring to light every word and every action. He is in every place. His messengers, although unseen, are visitors in the workroom and in the sleeping apartment. The hidden works of darkness will be brought to light. The thoughts, the intents and purposes of the heart, will stand revealed. All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
The workers should take Jesus with them in every department of their labor. Whatever is done should be done with an exactness and thoroughness that will bear inspection. The heart should be in the work. Faithfulness is as essential in life’s common duties as in those involving greater responsibility. Some may receive the idea that their work is not ennobling; but this is just as they choose to make it. They alone are capable of degrading or elevating their employment. We wish that every drone might be compelled to toil for his daily bread, for work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor will keep us from many of the snares of Satan, who “finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.”
None of us should be ashamed of work, however small and servile it may appear. Labor is ennobling. All who toil with head or hands are workingmen or workingwomen. And all are doing their duty and honoring their religion as much while working at the washtub or washing the dishes as they are in going to meeting. While the hands are engaged in the most common labor, the mind may be elevated and ennobled by pure and holy thoughts. When any of the workers manifest a lack of respect for religious things, they should be separated from the work. Let none feel that the institution is dependent upon them.
Those who have long been employed in our institutions should now be responsible workers, reliable in every place, as faithful to duty as the compass to the pole. Had they rightly improved their opportunities, they might now have symmetrical characters and a deep, living experience in religious things. But some of these workers have separated from God. Religion is laid aside. It is not an inwrought principle, carefully cherished wherever they go, into whatever society they are thrown, proving as an anchor to the soul. I wish all the workers carefully to consider that success in this life and success in gaining the future life depend largely upon faithfulness in little things. Those who long for higher responsibilities should manifest faithfulness in performing the duties just where God has placed them.
The perfection of God’s work is as clearly seen in the tiniest insect as in the king of birds. The soul of the little child that believes in Christ is as precious in His sight as are the angels about His throne. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” As God is perfect in His sphere, so man may be perfect in his sphere. Whatever the hand finds to do should be done with thoroughness and dispatch. Faithfulness and integrity in little things, the performance of little duties and little deeds of kindness, will cheer and gladden the pathway of life; and when our work on earth is ended, every one of the little duties performed with fidelity will be treasured as a precious gem before God.
Chap. 60 – The Tract Societies
In my last vision I was pointed back to the rise and progress of the cause of present truth. When our publishing house at Battle Creek was first established, the friends of the cause were few, and our people generally were poor. But when calls for help were made many came nobly forward and aided the cause by taking stock in the publishing work. The Lord was well pleased with the spirit of sacrifice manifested.
Twenty-six years have passed since that time, and in the providence of God the light of truth has been shining everywhere. The beginning was small, and it was necessary that great sacrifices should be made by the early friends of the cause. At every step great obstacles had to be met and overcome. Our brethren who invested their means in the Review office were doing the very work which the Lord would have them do. He had given them means to be used for the very purpose of advancing His cause.
The lapse of time has brought great changes. Light has increased and has become widespread. While the people who are anxious for truth have been calling, “Watchman, what of the night?” the answer has been given intelligently, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” By a thorough investigation of the prophecies we understand where we are in this world’s history; and we know for a certainty that the second coming of Christ is near. The result of these investigations must be brought before the world through the press. And as the work has enlarged and increased, greater facilities have been demanded from year to year; improvements have gone steadily forward. It has been a cause of wonder to the world that with this unpopular truth such prosperity should attend the work. But with increased light and confirmed truth, and greater advantages in every way for the advancement of the cause, our works do not correspond with our faith.
If it was right for brethren to take stock in our publishing house when our work was small and our influence narrow, is it not of more consequence today when a much larger work is going forward and a corresponding increase of means is needed? The evidences of our position have been increasing with every year. We have been receiving fresh assurance that we have the truth as revealed in the word of God, that in accepting the third angel’s message we have not given heed to fables, but to the “sure word of prophecy.” We are now living in the full blaze of the light of Bible truth.
The Lord calls upon His people to arouse and to show their faith by their works. In times past, when our numbers were few, when those who were able felt it their duty to take stock in our publishing house, their prayers and their alms, the fruit of persevering, self-denying effort, came before God as a sweet savor. Our brethren and sisters who have received the precious bread of life brought to them in our publications should be even more willing to give of their means to support the cause than were those who loved the truth in former years.
Brethren, God would bless you in showing your interest in our houses of publication by making them your property. Those who own no stock in these institutions have the privilege of investing their means in this good work. We need your sympathy, your prayers, and your means. We need your hearty co-operation. We hope that all whose hearts the Lord shall make willing will come forward with their means to invest in these institutions. Is it indeed true that we have the last message of mercy to be given to the world? Is it true that our work will soon close? Thus saith the word of God. The end of all things is at hand. Then the warning should be sent to all parts of the earth.
Our houses of publication have become a power in the world. A great change has taken place. With our increased facilities to make the clear light shine forth to those who are in darkness, it is not now so hard as it once was to see and accept the truth. Those who first led out in the work were objects of the combined assaults of evil men and evil angels. The enmity of Satan, working through men as his instruments, was strikingly developed. On the other hand, the believers, though few in number, were earnest and zealous to vindicate the honor of God in exalting His law which had been made void, and to press back the workings of Satan revealed in every form of destructive error.
From the first, Satan has set himself against this work. He has been determined to bring all his power to bear to silence and sweep from the earth those who were laboring for the advancement of light and truth. He has ever had a measure of success. Calumny and the fiercest opposition have been brought to bear to crush out the precious truth by discouraging its advocates. The great adversary has employed his hellish deceptions in various ways, and every effort made has brought to his side one or more of the professed followers of Christ. Those whose hearts are carnal, who are more in harmony with the archdeceiver than with Christ, have after a time developed their true character and gone to their own company.
Satan holds under his control not a few who pass as friends of the truth, and through them he works against its advancement. He employs them to sow tares among the people of God. Thus when danger was not suspected, great evils have existed among us. But while Satan was working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, stanch advocates of truth have stemmed the tide of opposition and held the word uncorrupted amid a deluge of heresies. Although the church has at times been weakened through manifold discouragements and the rebellious element they have had to meet, still the truth has shone brighter with every conflict. The energies of God’s people have not been exhausted. The power of His grace has quickened, revived, and ennobled the steadfast and the true.
Again and again was ancient Israel afflicted with rebellious murmurers. These were not always persons of feeble influence. In many cases, men of renown, rulers in Israel, turned against the providential leading of God and fiercely set to work to tear down that which they had once zealously built up. We have seen something of this repeated many times in our experience. It is unsafe for any church to lean upon some favorite minister, to trust in an arm of flesh. God’s arm alone is able to uphold all who lean upon it.
Until Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, men will become perverse in spirit and turn from the truth to fables. The church will yet see troublous times. She will prophesy in sackcloth. But although she must meet heresies and persecutions, although she must battle with the infidel and the apostate, yet by the help of God she is bruising the head of Satan. The Lord will have a people as true as steel, and with faith as firm as the granite rock. They are to be His witnesses in the world, His instrumentalities to do a special, a glorious work in the day of His preparation.
The gospel message does not win a single soul to Christ, or make its way to a single heart, without wounding the head of Satan. Whenever a captive is wrenched from his grasp, delivered from his oppression, the tyrant is defeated. The publishing houses, the presses, are instrumentalities in God’s hand to send out to every tongue and nation the precious light of truth. This light is reaching even to heathen lands, and is constantly making inroads upon superstition and every conceivable error.
Ministers who have preached the truth with all zeal and earnestness may apostatize and join the ranks of our enemies, but does this turn the truth of God into a lie? “Nevertheless,” says the apostle, “the foundation of God standeth sure.” The faith and feelings of men may change; but the truth of God, never. The third angel’s message is sounding; it is infallible.
No man can serve God without uniting against himself evil men and evil angels. Evil spirits will be put upon the track of every soul that seeks to join the ranks of Christ, for Satan wishes to recover the prey taken from his grasp. Evil men will give themselves over to believe strong delusions, that they may be damned. These men will put on the garments of sincerity and deceive, if possible, the very elect.
It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives; and Satan, with all his arts and hellish power, cannot change the truth of God into a lie. While the great adversary will try his utmost to make of none effect the word of God, truth must go forth as a lamp that burneth.
The Lord has singled us out and made us subjects of His marvelous mercy. Shall we be charmed with the pratings of the apostate? Shall we choose to take our stand with Satan and his host? Shall we join with the transgressors of God’s law? Rather let it be our prayer: “Lord, put enmity between me and the serpent.” If we are not at enmity with his works of darkness, his powerful folds encircle us, and his sting is ready at any moment to be driven to our hearts. We should count him a deadly foe. We should oppose him in the name of Christ. Our work is still onward. We must battle for every inch of ground. Let all who name the name of Christ clothe themselves with the armor of righteousness.
Brethren and sisters, in behalf of our houses of publication we call upon you to take stock in these institutions. You have nothing to fear; invest your means where it will be doing good; scatter rays of light to the darkest parts of the world. There is no such thing as failure in this work. It is your privilege and duty to do now as your brethren did when there were but few friends of the cause of truth. Take stock in our houses of publication, that you may feel that you have an interest in them. Many invest their money in worldly speculations, and in doing this are robbed of every dollar. We ask you to show your liberality by making investments in our publishing work. It will do you good. Your money will not be lost, but will be placed at interest to increase your capital stock in heaven. Christ has given all for you; what will you give for Him? He asks your heart; give it to Him, it is His own. He asks your intellect; give it to Him, it is His own. He asks your money; give it to Him, it is His own. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.” God wants you and yours. Let the words of the royal psalmist express the sentiment of your hearts: “All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”
The time has come when we must know for ourselves why we believe as we do. We must stand for God and for the truth, against a reckless, unbelieving generation. The man who has once known the way of life, and has turned from the convictions of his own heart to the sophistry of Satan, will be more inaccessible and more unimpressible than he who has never tasted the love of Christ. He will be wise to do evil. He has bound himself to Satan, even against light and knowledge. I say to my brethren: Your only hope is in God. We must be clothed with Christ’s righteousness if we would withstand the prevailing impiety. We must show our faith by our works. Let us lay up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life. We must labor, not in our own strength, but in the strength of our risen Lord. What will we do and dare for Jesus?
Our houses of publication are the property of all our people, and all should work to the point of raising them above embarrassment. In order to circulate our publications, they have been offered at so low a figure that but little profit could come to the office to reproduce the same works. This has been done with the best of motives, but not with experienced and farseeing judgment.
At the low prices of publications the office could not preserve a capital upon which to work. This was not fully seen and critically investigated. These low prices led people to undervalue the works, and it was not fully discerned that when once these publications were placed at a low figure it would be very difficult to bring them up to their proper value.
Our ministers have not had suitable encouragement. They must have means in order to live. There has been a sad lack of foresight in placing the low prices upon our publications, and still another in turning the profits largely into the tract and missionary societies. These matters have been carried to extremes, and there will be a reaction. In order for the tract and missionary societies to flourish, the instrumentalities to make and print books must flourish. Cripple these instrumentalities, burden the publishing houses with debt, and the tract and missionary societies will not prove a success.
There has been wrong management, not designedly, but in zeal and ardor to carry forward the missionary work. In the distribution and wide circulation of papers, tracts, and pamphlets, the instrumentalities to produce these publications have been crippled and embarrassed. There is ever danger of carrying any good work to extremes. Responsible men are in danger of becoming men of one idea, of concentrating their thoughts upon one branch of the work to the neglect of other parts of the great field.
As a people we need to be guarded on every point. There is not the least safety for any unless we seek wisdom of God daily and dare not move in our own strength. Danger is always surrounding us, and great caution should be used that no one branch of the work be made a specialty while other interests are left to suffer.
Mistakes have been made in putting down prices of publications to meet certain difficulties. These efforts must change. Those who made this move were sincere. They thought their liberality would provoke ministers and people to labor to greatly increase the demand for the publications.
Ministers and people should act nobly and liberally in dealing with our publishing houses. Instead of studying and contriving how they can obtain periodicals, tracts, and books at the lowest figure, they should seek to bring the minds of the people to see the true value of the publications. All these pennies taken from thousands of publications have caused a loss of thousands of dollars to our offices, when a few pennies more from each individual would scarcely have been felt.
The Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times are cheap papers at the full price. The Review is a valuable paper; it contains matters of great interest to the church and should be placed in every family of believers. If any are too poor to take it, the church should, by subscription, raise the amount of the full price of the paper and supply the destitute families. How much better would this plan be than throwing the poor upon the mercies of the publishing house or the tract and missionary society.
The same course should be pursued toward the Signs. With slight variations, this paper has been increasing in interest and in moral worth as a pioneer sheet since its establishment. These periodicals are one in interest. They are two instrumentalities in the great field to do their specific work in disseminating light in this day of God’s preparation. All should engage just as earnestly to build up the one as the other.
“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4 pp. 589-598