The case of N. Fuller has caused me much grief and anguish of spirit. That he should yield himself to the control of Satan to work wickedness as he has done is terrible. I believe that God designed that this case of hypocrisy and villainy should be brought to light in the manner it has been, that it might prove a warning to others. Here is a man who was acquainted with the teachings of the Bible, and who had listened to testimonies borne by me in his presence against the very sins which he was practicing. More than once he had heard me speak decidedly in regard to the prevailing sins of this generation, that corruption was teeming everywhere, that base passions controlled men and women generally, that among the masses crimes of the darkest dye were continually practiced, and they were reeking in their own corruption. The nominal churches are filled with fornication and adultery, crime and murder, the result of base, lustful passion; but these things are kept covered. Ministers in high places are guilty; yet a cloak of godliness covers their dark deeds, and they pass on from year to year in their course of hypocrisy. The sins of the nominal churches have reached unto heaven, and the honest in heart will be brought to the light and come out of them.
From the light that God has given me, fornication and adultery are estimated by a large number of the first-day Adventists as sins which God winks at. These sins are practiced to a great extent. They do not acknowledge the claims of God’s law upon them. They have broken the commandments of the great Jehovah and zealously teach their hearers to do the same, declaring that the law of God is abolished and has no claims upon them. In accordance with this free state of things, sin does not appear so exceedingly sinful; “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” We may expect to find in this company men who will deceive, and lie, and give loose rein to lustful passions. But men and women who acknowledge the Ten Commandments binding, who observe the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, should carry out in their lives the principles of all ten of the precepts given in awful grandeur from Sinai.
Seventh-day Adventists, who profess to be looking for and loving the appearing of Christ, should not follow the course of worldlings. These are no criterion for commandment keepers. Neither should they pattern after first-day Adventists, who refuse to acknowledge the claims of the law of God and trample it under their feet. This class should be no criterion for them. Commandment-keeping Adventists occupy a peculiar, exalted position. John viewed them in holy vision and thus described them: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
The Lord made a special covenant with ancient Israel: “Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” He addresses His commandment-keeping people in these last days: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.”
Not all who profess to keep the commandments of God possess their bodies in sanctification and honor. The most solemn message ever committed to mortals has been entrusted to this people, and they can have a powerful influence if they will be sanctified by it. They profess to be standing upon the elevated platform of eternal truth, keeping all of God’s commandments; therefore, if they indulge in sin, if they commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of the classes I have named, who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them. In a peculiar sense do those who profess to keep God’s law dishonor Him and reproach the truth by transgressing its precepts.
It was the prevalence of this very sin, fornication, among ancient Israel, which brought upon them the signal manifestation of God’s displeasure. His judgments then followed close upon their heinous sin; thousands fell, and their polluted bodies were left in the wilderness. “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Seventh-day Adventists, above all other people in the world, should be patterns of piety, holy in heart and in conversation. I related in the presence of N. Fuller that the people whom God had chosen as His peculiar treasure were required to be elevated, refined, sanctified, partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Should they who make so high a profession indulge in sin and iniquity, their guilt would be very great. The Lord reproves the sins of one, that others may take warning and fear.
Warnings and reproofs are not given to the erring among Seventh-day Adventists because their lives are more blameworthy than are the lives of professed Christians of the nominal churches, nor because their example or their acts are worse than those of the Adventists who will not yield obedience to the claims of God’s law, but because they have great light, and have by their profession taken their position as God’s special, chosen people, having the law of God written in their hearts. They signify their loyalty to the God of heaven by yielding obedience to the laws of His government. They are God’s representatives upon the earth. Any sin in them separates them from God and, in a special manner, dishonors His name by giving the enemies of His holy law occasion to reproach His cause and His people, whom He has called “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,” that they should show forth the praises of Him that hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The people who are at war with the law of the great Jehovah, who consider it a special virtue to talk, write, and act the most bitter and hateful things to show their contempt of that law, may make exalted profession of love to God, and apparently have much religious zeal, as did the Jewish chief priests and elders; yet, in the day of God, “Found wanting” will be said of them by the Majesty of heaven. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The mirror which would discover to them the defects in their characters, they are infuriated against, because it points out their sins. Leading Adventists who have rejected the light are fired with madness against God’s holy law, as the Jewish nation were against the Son of God. They are in a terrible deception, deceiving others and being deceived themselves. They will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved. Such will not be taught. But the Lord reproves and corrects the people who profess to keep His law. He points out their sins and lays open their iniquity because He wishes to separate all sin and wickedness from them, that they may perfect holiness in His fear and be prepared to die in the Lord or to be translated to heaven. God rebukes, reproves, and corrects them, that they may be refined, sanctified, elevated, and finally exalted to His own throne.
Elder Fuller has heard the testimony borne in public, that the professed people of God were not all holy, that some were corrupt. God sought to elevate them, but they refused to come up upon a high plane of action. The corrupt animal passions bore sway, and the moral and intellectual powers were overborne and made their servants. Those who do not control their base passions cannot appreciate the atonement or place a right value upon the soul. Salvation is not experienced or understood by them. The gratification of animal passion is the highest ambition of their lives. God will accept nothing but purity and holiness; one spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will forever debar them from heaven, with all its glories and treasures.
Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and He bids them live and not die. In Him they may flourish. Their branches will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in Him, they can draw sap and nourishment from Him, be imbued with His Spirit, walk even as He walked, overcome as He overcame, and be exalted to His own right hand.
Elder Fuller has been warned. The warnings given to others condemned him. The sins reproved in others reproved him and gave him sufficient light to see how God regarded crimes of such a character as he was committing, yet he would not turn from his evil course. He continued to pursue his fearful, impious work, corrupting the bodies and souls of his flock. Satan had strengthened the lustful passions which this man did not subdue, and engaged them in his cause to lead souls to death.
While he professed to keep the law of God, he was, in a most wanton manner, violating its plain precepts. He has given himself up to the gratification of sensual pleasure. He has sold himself to work wickedness. What will be the wages of such a man? The indignation and wrath of God will punish him for sin. The vengeance of God will be aroused against all those whose lustful passions have been concealed under a ministerial cloak. While professing to be a shepherd of the flock, he was leading the flock to certain ruin. These dreadful results are the fruits of the carnal mind, which “is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”
I was referred to this scripture: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Professed Christians, if no further light is given you than that contained in this text, you will be without excuse if you suffer yourselves to be controlled by base passions.
The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow. Yet those who serve their own lusts turn from all this light. They will not cease their course of sin, but continue to take pleasure in unrighteousness in the face of the threatenings and vengeance of God against those who do such things.
I have long been designing to speak to my sisters and tell them that, from what the Lord has been pleased to show me from time to time, there is a great fault among them. They are not careful to abstain from all appearance of evil. They are not all circumspect in their deportment, as becometh women professing godliness. Their words are not as select and well chosen as those of women who have received the grace of God should be. They are too familiar with their brethren. They linger around them, incline toward them, and seem to choose their society. They are highly gratified with their attention.
From the light which the Lord has given me, our sisters should pursue a very different course. They should be more reserved, manifest less boldness, and encourage in themselves “shamefacedness and sobriety.” Both brethren and sisters indulge in too much jovial talk when in each other’s society. Women professing godliness indulge in much jesting, joking, and laughing. This is unbecoming and grieves the Spirit of God. These exhibitions reveal a lack of true Christian refinement. They do not strengthen the soul in God, but bring great darkness; they drive away the pure, refined, heavenly angels and bring those who engage in these wrongs down to a low level.
Our sisters should encourage true meekness; they should not be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and unassuming, slow to speak. They may cherish courteousness. To be kind, tender, pitiful, forgiving, and humble, would be becoming and well pleasing to God. If they occupy this position they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen in the church or out. All will feel that there is a sacred circle of purity around these God-fearing women, which shields them from any unwarrantable liberties.
With some women professing godliness, there is a careless, coarse freedom of manner which leads to wrong and evil. But those godly women whose minds and hearts are occupied in meditating upon themes which strengthen purity of life, and which elevate the soul to commune with God, will not be easily led astray from the path of rectitude and virtue. Such will be fortified against the sophistry of Satan; they will be prepared to withstand his seductive arts.
Vainglory, the fashion of the world, the desire of the eye, and the lust of the flesh are connected with the fall of the unfortunate. That which is pleasing to the natural heart and carnal mind is cherished. If the lust of the flesh had been rooted out of their hearts they would not be so weak. If our sisters would feel the necessity of purifying their thoughts, and never suffer in themselves a carelessness of deportment which leads to improper acts, they need not in the least stain their purity. If they viewed the matter as God has presented it to me, they would have such an abhorrence of impure acts that they would not be found among those who fall through the temptations of Satan, no matter whom he might select as the medium.
A preacher may be dealing in sacred, holy things, and yet not be holy in heart. He may give himself to Satan to work wickedness and to corrupt the souls and bodies of his flock. Yet if the minds of women and youth professing to love and fear God were fortified with His Spirit, if they had trained their minds to purity of thought and educated themselves to avoid all appearance of evil, they would be safe from any improper advances and be secure from the corruption prevailing around them. The apostle Paul wrote concerning himself: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
If a minister of the gospel does not control his baser passions, if he fails to follow the example of the apostle and so dishonors his profession and faith as to even name the indulgence of sin, our sisters who profess godliness should not for an instant flatter themselves that sin or crime loses its sinfulness in the least because their minister dares to engage in it. The fact that men who are in responsible places show themselves to be familiar with sin should not lessen the guilt and enormity of the sin in the minds of any. Sin should appear just as sinful, just as abhorrent, as it had been heretofore regarded; and the minds of the pure and elevated should abhor and shun the one who indulges in sin, as they would flee from a serpent whose sting was deadly.
If the sisters were elevated and possessed purity of heart, any corrupt advances, even from their minister, would be repulsed with such positiveness as would never need a repetition. Minds must be terribly befogged by Satan when they can listen to the voice of the seducer because he is a minister, and therefore break God’s plain and positive commands and flatter themselves that they commit no sin. Have we not the words of John: “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him”? What saith the law? “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” When a man professing to keep God’s holy law, and ministering in sacred things, takes advantage of the confidence his position gives him and seeks to indulge his base passions, this fact should of itself be sufficient to enable a woman professing godliness to see that, although his profession is as exalted as the heavens, an impure proposal coming from him is from Satan disguised as an angel of light. I cannot believe that the word of God is abiding in the hearts of those who so readily yield up their innocency and virtue upon the altar of lustful passions.
My sisters, avoid even the appearance of evil. In this fast age, reeking with corruption, you are not safe unless you stand guarded. Virtue and modesty are rare. I appeal to you as followers of Christ, making an exalted profession, to cherish the precious, priceless gem of modesty. This will guard virtue. If you have any hope of being finally exalted to join the company of the pure, sinless angels, and to live in an atmosphere where there is not the least taint of sin, cherish modesty and virtue. Nothing but purity, sacred purity, will stand the grand review, abide the day of God, and be received into a pure and holy heaven.
The slightest insinuations, from whatever source they may come, inviting you to indulge in sin or to allow the least unwarrantable liberty with your persons, should be resented as the worst of insults to your dignified womanhood. The kiss upon your cheek, at an improper time and place, should lead you to repel the emissary of Satan with disgust. If it is from one in high places who is dealing in sacred things, the sin is of tenfold greater magnitude, and should lead a God-fearing woman or youth to recoil with horror, not only from the sin he would have you commit, but from the hypocrisy and villainy of one whom the people respect and honor as God’s servant. He is handling sacred things, yet hiding his baseness of heart under a ministerial cloak. Be afraid of anything like this familiarity. Be sure that the least approach to it is evidence of a lascivious mind and a lustful eye. If the least encouragement is given in this direction, if any of the liberties mentioned are tolerated, no better evidence can be given that your mind is not pure and chaste as it should be, and that sin and crime have charms for you. You lower the standard of your dignified, virtuous womanhood, and give unmistakable evidence that a low, brutal, common passion and lust has been suffered to remain alive in your heart and has never been crucified.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 449-458
- Keep us from once yielding to the control of Satan.
- Bring the honest in heart out of Babylon and into Your remnant church.
- May we carry out in our lives the principles of all ten of the commandments given at Sinai.
- May we not follow the course of worldlings.
- As Your chosen generation, help us to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
- Make us patterns of piety, holy in heart and in conversation.
- Separate all sin and wickedness from us.
- May we appreciate the atonement and place a right value upon the soul.
- Provide us with strength, grace, and glory by Your angels, that we may be heirs of salvation.
- Imbue us with Your Spirit to walk as You walked, overcome as You overcame, and be exalted to Your right hand.
- Bless our Church leaders preparing for Annual Council 2019.
- Bless delegates and leaders preparing for General Conference 2020.