“Search the Scriptures”
By Mrs. E. G. White
Text: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39. “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.
We are thankful that we have a sure word of prophecy, so that none of us need be deceived. We know that there are heresies and fables in our world at the present time, and we want to know what is truth. It becomes us to search carefully for ourselves that we may gain this knowledge. We cannot do this with a mere reading of the Scriptures, but we must compare scripture with scripture. We must search the Scriptures for ourselves, so that we shall not be led astray; and while many may be led astray because there are all kinds of doctrines in our world, there is one truth. Many may come to you and tell you that they have the truth, but it is your privilege to search the Scriptures for yourself. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” We must be acquainted with the Scriptures ourselves, that we may understand the true reason of the hope that is within us.
The apostle tells us that we are to give to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is within us, with meekness and fear. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” It is not enough to merely read, but the word of God must enter into our hearts and our understanding, in order that we may be established in the blessed truth. If we should neglect to search the Scriptures for ourselves, that we may know what is truth, then if we are led astray, we are accountable for it. We must search the Scriptures carefully, so that we will know every condition that the Lord has given us; and if we have minds of limited capacity, by diligently searching the word of God we may become mighty in the Scriptures, and may explain them to others.
Every church that shall be raised up in this kingdom should be educated in regard to this truth. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.” The teachers that shall present the truth, cannot stand by you to see that you do not embrace the errors that are flooding our land; but if you are established in the Scriptures, you will feel the responsibility and will search the Scriptures, for yourselves, so that you may be a help to others. Now, the small churches, although they are but few, may be a power for the truth. Every one should feel that a solemn responsibility rests upon him to build up his little church in the most holy faith. The very fact that there are only a few, should cause every individual member to seek most earnestly for a living connection with God; because the giving of the truth to those around you depends upon the influence that you exert.
Christ has said, “Ye are the light of the world;” therefore you must put forth every effort to let that light shine. The only way for you to know that you have the true light from heaven, is to compare the light you have received with the Scriptures. Joshua 1:8, 9. Now, Joshua was to take the position of Moses and lead the children of Israel in council. And there was a warfare before them, if they were to drive the intruders out of the land. Joshua was to carry the Spirit of the Lord with him in all he should do. And he was to carry this Spirit with him by being obedient to all of God’s requirements. He was to meditate day and night, that he might know that he was doing God’s will. You will meet, as I have, with people who profess to be sanctified, holy. Now, there is a bewitching influence carried with this doctrine. They will state to you wonderful exercises of mind, to show you that the Lord is leading them and teaching them. Then how can you tell but that the Lord is leading them? Well, there is a test: “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
If it stirs up the enmity of the human heart when the Lord, the great Jehovah, is mentioned, you may know the person has no connection with God. People may claim that they have great faith in Jesus, and that there is nothing you can do but that Christ will do for you. Now, when Christ shall call forth the dead, it depends wholly upon your course of action whether you have a resurrection to life eternal, or a resurrection to damnation. Thus they get these truths all mixed with error, and they cannot tell what is truth; and if asked to sit down and search the Scriptures with you, to see what saith the Lord, I never knew a case but the answer was that they had no need to search the Scriptures, for the Lord told them what to do.
The voice of God is speaking to us through his word, and there are many voices that we will hear; but Christ has said we should beware of them who will say, Here is Christ or there is Christ. Then how shall we know that they have not the truth, unless we bring everything to the Scriptures? Christ has warned us to beware of false prophets who will come to us in his name, saying that they are Christ. Now, if you should take the position that it is not important for you to understand the Scriptures for yourselves, you will be in danger of being led away with these doctrines. Christ has said that there will be a company who in the day of retributive judgment will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” But Christ will say, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Now, we want to understand what sin is; that it is the transgression of God’s law. This is the only definition given in the Scriptures. Therefore we see that those who claim to be led of God, and go right away from him and his law, do not search the Scriptures. But the Lord will lead his people; for he says that his sheep will follow if they hear his voice, but a stranger will they not follow. Then it becomes us to thoroughly understand the Scriptures. And we will not have to inquire whether others have the truth; for it will be seen in their characters.
The time is coming when Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ; and if your feet are not firmly established upon the truth of God, then you will be led away from your foundation. The only safety for you is to search for the truth as for hid treasures. Dig for the truth as you would for treasures in the earth, and present the word of God, the Bible, before your Heavenly Father, and say, Enlighten me; teach me what is truth. And when his Holy Spirit shall come into your hearts, to impress the truth into your souls, you will not let it go easily. You have gained such an experience in searching the Scriptures, that every point is established. And it is important that you continually search the Scriptures. You should store the mind with the word of God; for you may be separated, and placed where you will not have the privilege of meeting with the children of God. Then you will want the treasures of God’s word hidden in your hearts, and when opposition comes around you, you will need to bring everything to the Scriptures.
You are not to be discouraged or faint-hearted. The word was given to Joshua, “Be strong, and of a good courage;” for there is a great work before you. And his success depended upon his obedience to God. When the tempter comes in to distract you, if your mind is filled with the Scriptures, you will say, I cannot do this evil and sin against the Lord. Joseph was enabled to resist temptation because he made God his refuge. He exclaimed, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” He trusted in God, and his soul was protected; and this is the only safety for us. Whoever of you shall enter a missionary field to do something for the Master, should be thoroughly conversant with the Scriptures. If you understand them yourselves, then you can lead others to a knowledge of them. There is more to do than just to give discourses in the desk. Every one of you should draw nigh to God, that he may draw nigh to you. And you may believe that you will have success and victory, if you take hold of the work humbly and in the fear of God. But there is no safety for you unless you understand what saith the Scriptures, and carry this out, and weave it into your daily life and experience. Carry it with you wherever you go. Thus you will be fortified against the delusions that are filling the world at the present time, and will obtain the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[.] RH December 18, 1888, Art. A
By Mrs. E. G. White RH December 18, 1888, Art. A
Text: “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” Psalm 119:126, 127. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 1
There was a time during David’s reign over the kingdom of Israel, when he saw that special contempt was shown for the law of God. But what influence did this have upon him? Did it have the effect to sweep him into the current, so that he shared the same distrust in the law of Jehovah, and manifested the contempt that was revealed by those around him?—It had an entirely different influence. He saw that the disregard of the law of Jehovah brought moral desolation instead of increased piety, devotion, and love for God. God seemed to be put out of their minds; and the picture presented was not a pleasant one to the king and prophet of God. He beheld the influences that resulted from the transgression of the law of God, and it quickened his zeal, earnestness, and devotion, so that he felt urged to elevate the standard of righteousness, and hold it high amid the people, instead of uniting with them in transgression. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 2
If David thus marked the depravity of his time, and attributed it to the neglect of keeping the law of God, may we not interpret the increasing depravity, and the prevalence of iniquity in our world today, to the universal scorn shown for God’s law? From generation to generation, from age to age, there has been a growing disrespect and contempt for the law of Jehovah. And when we come to our time, as we near the close of this world’s history, there is a depravity existing everywhere, which reveals the fact that the law of God is made void, and that there is not in the minds and hearts of the people a yearning desire that God should reveal himself. “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 3
What should be the attitude of the people of God at the present time? We see this growing contempt for the law of God revealed everywhere; and the outlook for the future is perilous for those who love that law, for they stand in marked contrast to those who are showing it such contempt. The secular and the Christian world seem to have joined hands in this matter, and all are trampling under foot the law of Jehovah. Why is it that today, as we look around us, we see so few youth whose moral sensibilities can be aroused? We are forced to admit that it is next to impossible to get them to appreciate the claims that high Heaven has upon them. How difficult it is for them to see the sinfulness of sin, and to realize that God has made an infinite sacrifice in giving his Son to come into our world, that man might have another trial, notwithstanding his transgression of the law. God was, in the beginning, dishonored by the holy pair in Eden, because they held the word of Satan above the word of God. This is the difficulty with the people today. If they would take God’s word just as it reads, and have reverence for it, and receive the sacred oracles of God as his voice, there would be a growing regard for the law of Jehovah. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 4
God has a law which governs the intellects of all the holy beings in his universe, and this law is designed to govern the inhabitants of this world. Christ died that the human family might be brought back to their allegiance to God. He was their only hope of redemption. He did not suffer and die on Calvary’s cross to annul the law, because he would thus be the administrator of sin by perpetuating transgression. If the law of God could have been changed, or one precept of it altered to meet man’s fallen condition, then the Son of God need not have come into our world and died. But because the law of God was changeless in its character; because not one principle of it, not even a jot or a tittle, could be dishonored and swept away, God consented to let his Son take upon himself the results of man’s transgression of that law, thus making it possible for man to be pardoned, and to become obedient to all God’s commandments. It is the righteousness and perfection of his Son, who takes upon himself our sins, our defects, our weaknesses, which God accepts; and through faith in the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour we are prisoners of hope. Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness, if we sustain a living connection with him. Then we cease to transgress the holy law of God, and become partakers of the divine nature. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 5
A time is coming when the law of God is, in a special sense, to be made void in our land. The rulers of our nation will, by legislative enactments, enforce the Sunday law, and thus God’s people be brought into great peril. When our nation, in its legislative councils, shall enact laws to bind the consciences of men in regard to their religious privileges, enforcing Sunday observance, and bringing oppressive power to bear against those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath, the law of God will, to all intents and purposes, be made void in our land; and national apostasy will be followed by national ruin. We see that those who are now keeping the commandments of God need to bestir themselves, that they may obtain the special help which God alone can give them. They should work more earnestly to delay as long as possible the threatened calamity. If, in our land of boasted freedom, a Protestant government should sacrifice every principle which enters into its Constitution, and propagate papal falsehood and delusion, well may we plead, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law.” Some may think that because it has been revealed in prophecy that our nation shall restrict the consciences of men, it must surely come; and that if we make an effort to preserve our liberty, we shall be acting the part of unfaithful servants, and thus come under the condemnation of God. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 6
This peril now threatens the people of God; and what are we going to do? Can we not assist in lifting the standard, and in calling to the front those who have a regard for their religious rights and privileges? God calls upon us to awake. We know the end is near. We know that the prophecies are fast fulfilling which show that we are living in the close of this world’s history. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 7
John was shown the last work for this time (Revelation 14:9-12), and he saw a people of whom he says, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” John tells us what was opened to him in vision: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” This vision represents a people whose attention was called to the sanctuary in heaven. There John saw the ark of God, containing the tables of stone whereon was engraven the law of God; and this people have been seeking to be in harmony with heaven by keeping all God’s commandments. There has been great opposition because they have respected the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which by the secular and religious world has been ignored. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 8
Now God speaks to us from Sinai’s mount: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” It is the only commandment which is prefaced with a “remember,” as though God had said, “Do not forget it.” He has given to man the Sabbath as a memorial of creation. Man is to obey his command, and as he observes this memorial, the mind will be directed to the living God, who created the heavens and the earth. If man had always remembered to keep holy the Sabbath, there would never have been an atheist or an infidel in our world; but Satan has made an effort to keep God out of the mind, and has worked his plans so as to accomplish this; and having banished God from the memory of man, he puts himself, if possible, in the place of God, and even goes so far as to exalt himself above God, in compelling the consciences of men, which God has never done. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 9
We are now keeping the seventh day,—the very day God has told us to keep,—and are here assembled on it for religious worship. The papacy has brought in another day, a common working day, and established it in opposition to the Sabbath of the Lord. This he has done so that men shall not see or understand what are the sacred claims of God resting upon them. Well, what are we to do about it? Are we going to let the enemy make us captives, so that we shall not pay respect and reverence to God’s holy day? Notwithstanding the fact that nearly the whole Protestant world have taken this child of the papacy, and cradled and nursed it, and given it prominence, it is our privilege and duty to keep holy the Sabbath of Jehovah. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 10
Prophecy tells us that the man of sin, the papacy, was to change times and laws; and because we are not, with the whole world, accepting a spurious Sabbath for the genuine, persecution will be poured out upon us. And it is fast coming to that point when we shall see the power of the oppressive hand brought against our religious liberty, and have our right disputed to keep the day that God has blessed, and given to the world as a memorial of his creative work. Shall we therefore honor a day which has no foundation in God’s word, an institution of the papacy, and trample on the holy day that Jehovah has blessed, and set apart for man? John, looking down to the close of this world’s history, saw a class who kept the commandments of God, and had the faith of Jesus. I want to be among that number; I want to be on God’s side of the question. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 11
We see that efforts are being made to restrict our religious liberties. The Sunday question is now assuming large proportions. An amendment to our Constitution is being urged in Congress, and when it is obtained, oppression must follow. I want to ask, Are you awake to this matter? and do you realize that the night cometh, when no man can work? Have you had that intensity of zeal, and that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when oppression is brought upon you? It does not seem possible to us now that any should have to stand alone; but if God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when we shall be brought before councils and before thousands for his name’s sake, and each one will have to give the reason of his faith. Then will come the severest criticism upon every position that has been taken for the truth. We need, then, to study the word of God, that we may know why we believe the doctrines we advocate. We must critically search the living oracles of Jehovah. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 12
The means we are devoting to our comfort here, the time that we allow to go to waste, ought to be devoted to the charge that God has given us: “Search the Scriptures;” and much time should be spent in prayer to God, that our garments, the robes of character, the inmost adornment, may be washed in the blood of the Lamb. But this cannot be, unless we keep the commandments of God in verity and truth; and unless we are awake to the times in which we are living, we shall be unfaithful servants. Obedience to the law of God will give protection from his wrath. We need now to pray for strength from heaven, to press back this movement that is being made in our country, and we should do everything on our part to preserve our liberties, and our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 13
Has the Protestant world stopped to look back at the suffering caused by popery in attempting to bind men’s reason, so that they should not worship God as seemed right to them? Can they not see how the Roman Church has exercised her revengeful and cruel power? Those who would not bow to her mandates had to endure the prison and the stake, torture and death. And when those were swept away who would not bow their conscience to any but the God of heaven, others would spring up to fill the ranks, and lift the standard of religious liberty and right. And now this nation,—the greatest nation of earth,—under whose government we are blessed with every religious and temporal advantage; which has been the recipient of unrivaled mercies; which Providence has watched over and shielded; by which the standard of liberty and religious freedom has been lifted,—will it follow the course of the papacy, and make void God’s law? And shall we sit with folded hands, and do nothing in this crisis? Shall we let this Religious Amendment movement come in, and shut us away from our privileges and rights, because we keep the commandments of God? God help us to arouse from the stupor that has hung over us for years! There are more souls to be saved, and a far greater work to be done in warning our world, than has yet been accomplished. We should seek God, especially that his grace and his power may be revealed in behalf of his people. We believe that God lives. We do not think the time specified in prophecy, when our liberties should be restricted, has fully come. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 14
Revelation 7:1, says: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” It seems that the breaking loose of the four winds is about to take place. Verses 2, 3: “And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 15
Here was a work to be done before the angels should let go the four winds; and if we shall awake to what is transpiring right around us, we must admit that we are not ready for the contest and the perplexities which are to be brought upon us, after the decree shall go forth. We are to cry to the God of heaven in earnest, united prayer, for the angels to hold the four winds till missionaries shall be sent to all parts of the world, till we have proclaimed the warning against disobedience to the law of Jehovah, and against worshiping the beast and his image. The claims of God’s law must be made known to the inhabitants of the earth. This is our work; but every conceivable thing that the enemy can do will be done to hinder the people of God from awaking. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 16
The Lord bids us to watch; for we read that while men slept, the enemy sowed tares in the field. The work of these National Reformers has been done in a deceptive, underhanded way, to sweep in the whole Christian world, if possible; and if they shall carry this move to its result, and we are brought into straitened places, what are we to do? I beg of you, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to awake out of sleep. God always co-operates with man in the carrying out of divine plans. Christ came to our world for the purpose of bringing to man moral power to combine with his human efforts, and that he might place divine strength within the reach of weak humanity. Every time that Jesus overcame the temptations of the enemy in behalf of man, he elevated man in the scale of moral value with God. But it is impossible to discern between the human and the divine without the enlightenment of the Spirit of God. It is next to impossible for human beings to separate the sacred from the common,—the divine from the human,—notwithstanding discerning power is in our midst. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 17
God is working for his people, that they may not be left in darkness. He would have us anoint our eyes with eye-salve, that we may discern between the workings of the powers of darkness and the movings of the Spirit of God. We must not give our attention to unimportant things; we need to become acquainted with the Scriptures as we have never done before. They are the rock upon which we are to stand, for everything that is revealed is for us and for our children. We can study the Bible, and understand the fulfillment of prophecy, and everything that has to do with the law of God, and Christ’s sacrifice in connection with the law of God; and we can, as did Paul, go from house to house, teaching repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Why repentance toward God?—Because the sinner has broken God’s law, and he must repent and come back to obedience of it. He is to show to the world that there is a moral law which is the great standard of righteousness, and that Satan would break it down, if possible, and have man erect a standard of his own. God’s word is sure standing fast forever; and as we look into that mirror, we see the defects of our characters. Will any stand before God’s mirror, and because it shows them their defects, say that it is not true? We should not, as soon as our defects are pointed out, go away and forget what manner of persons we are; we must plead the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour by living faith, that pardon may be written opposite our names. We must wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 18
When Christ went away, he gave to every man his work. This rests upon every one of us. If God should speak to you, he would say as he did to Elijah, “What doest thou here?” God did not tell you to leave your small churches, to come and settle down in this large church, where your gift is swallowed up. I ask, “Is there no missionary work for you to engage in?” May the God of heaven stir up your minds and hearts. This work does not rest alone with the ministers; but every man is to search the Scriptures for himself, that he may give a reason of the hope that is within him with meekness and fear. Even though you have no great breadth of intellect, you can tell the simple story of the cross. There is a field before you in the home, in the neighborhood, in the city, and in the church; and it is this very work that God wants you to do. The people of God should arise and put on the armor. When all do this, we shall not see such congregations as we see here today. There are scores of you who could take your Bibles, and, without inquiring if it will be easy, bear reproaches for his name, that you may obtain eternal life. When the Lord shall come and ask, “What improvement have you made of your talent? have you put it out to usury that it might increase more and more?” what will you answer the Master, if you have sat at ease, and done nothing to win souls to Christ? RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 19
We each have a duty to perform. The light of Heaven has revealed to us that every one who would take upon himself this work, would have the blessing of God, and thus the light of truth be reflected across the pathway of others. “What doest thou here, Elijah?” Who sent you here, that you might come into this large church, to be a burden instead of a shining light, as you should be? A living church is a working church. Here you sit under the light of Heaven, and give out no rays of light to those who are in darkness; and yet you seem to be content, and do not appreciate your blessings, because you are not awake. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 20
We need not go to foreign lands to become missionaries. All around us are fields white already to the harvest. Do not be inactive now. God calls upon you in Battle Creek who are dying of spiritual sloth, to go out into the highways and hedges, and labor so earnestly and interestedly that you will compel men to come to the light of truth. Let there be a moving out of Battle Creek, even though it be at a sacrifice. Go where you may be a blessing to others. Go where you can be a help in some weak church. Shake off your spiritual lethargy. Work with all your powers to save perishing souls; and the heavenly benediction will fall upon you; and you will finally hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 21
You do not appreciate or practice the truth of God. When you go to work for the Master in earnest, we shall not hear so many complaining, “Oh, I wish I knew whether I were a Christian or not.” When you do the works of a Christian, you will have the witness that your ways please God. You must not be dependent upon a happy flight of feeling in your service to God. That is not the evidence that decides whether you are a Christian or not. The religion of Jesus Christ is a living principle within us, and every power and every faculty must be in subjection to the will of God. We are not our own; we are bought with a price. Christ says we are laborers together with God. But how many souls are you laboring to bring to the Master? There is a great and important work to be done to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord; and may God help us to do this work to his acceptance. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 22
We read in Isaiah 8:12, 13: “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” What is the burden of the work required of the people of God at this time? Is there nothing for you to do? Has the Master given your no part to act in his vineyard?—Yes, all have a work to do. “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.” This is the work to be done by the people of God. “And I will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me [converts to the truth] are for signs and for wonders in Israel, from the Lord of hosts which dwelleth in Mount Zion. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter, should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 23
A correct understanding of “what saith the Scriptures” in regard to the state of the dead is essential for this time. God’s word declares that the dead know not anything, their hatred and love have alike perished. We must come to the sure word of prophecy for our authority. Unless we are intelligent in the Scriptures, may we not, when this mighty miracle-working power of Satan is manifested in our world, be deceived and call it the workings of God; for the word of God declares that, if it were possible, the very elect should be deceived. Unless we are rooted and grounded in the truth, we shall be swept away by Satan’s delusive snares. We must cling to our Bibles. If Satan can make you believe that there are things in the word of God that are not inspired, he will then be prepared to ensnare your soul. We shall have no assurance, no certainty, at the very time we need to know what is truth. Our feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel, and the truth of God should be our shield and buckler. We must know for ourselves that we have the truth of God. Therefore let no one entertain the question whether this or that portion of the word of God is inspired. Go to work; gird on the armor of Christ’s righteousness. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 24
Satan came as an angel of light in the wilderness of temptation to deceive Christ; and he does not come to man in a hideous form, as he is sometimes represented, but as an angel of light. He will come personating Jesus Christ, working mighty miracles; and men will fall down and worship him as Jesus Christ. We shall be commanded to worship this being, whom the world will glorify as Christ. What shall we do?—Tell them that Christ has warned us against just such a foe, who is man’s worst enemy, yet who claims to be God; and that when Christ shall make his appearance, it will be with power and great glory, accompanied by ten thousand times ten thousand angels and thousands of thousands; and that when he shall come, we shall know his voice. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 25
If you are walking humbly with God, you will understand the truth, and the preparation necessary to be made for this time. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.” If you believe this, and walk out by faith, you will be saved in the kingdom of glory. We should not try to know the “whys” and “wherefores” of everything, but be content to know the simplicity of godliness. Jesus Christ has laid the plan of salvation, and opened the way before us, clear and distinct, that even the simplest who desire the truth, may find it. Special forces of darkness are at work to encircle us, and to take away our liberty of conscience. The mouths of those who have not kept pace with the work are closed, and they do not know what to say; but we who have been waiting and watching for the appearing of our Saviour, are not taken by surprise. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 26
Are there not men and women in this congregation who have a work to do for the Master? Are there not those here who should go into new places and work as missionaries? We need missionaries at home; and we need missionaries who will go out into new fields, and see what they can do. Trade upon your one talent or two talents. Although your talents may be limited, God will accept them. Why bury them in the earth? Go to work, and do your best, and God will give you some fruit for your labor. O, I would rather come to the Master with garnered sheaves than to have treasures of gold and of silver. Give me souls as the fruit of my labor; and I will not ask for convenience or ease in this world. Are there not men and women here whom God will call to give an account for the ability he has lent them? There are souls for whom you are to work; there are youth with whom you are to plead. There is work to be done in the temperance line; and here you sit, from Sabbath to Sabbath, listening to the truth, while souls are perishing around you. Why not let the light which God has given you shine on the pathway of others? I beg you to consider this matter seriously. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 27
Get ready for the week of prayer by humbling your hearts before God. Though you have yet no sheaves to bring to the Master, you can go to work even at the eleventh hour, and God will help you. Be in earnest; pray and work, and work and pray; and then act as though success depended upon your efforts. Do to the best of your ability, and God will co-operate with you. You ought to work with all the powers of your being. Awake! awake! I pray you. “Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Go out and do your little, and he will increase your capabilities, and you may keep growing in grace, and in the love of the truth. The more you use your talents, the more they will increase. We are drawing near the close of probation. We should put our talents out to the exchangers, that when the Master comes, he may receive our talents as his own; but he will return to us again both principal and interest. May the God of heaven place your feet upon the eternal Rock. I beg of you to be followers of Jesus Christ, and to bring many sheaves to the Master. RH December 18, 1888, Art. A, par. 28
August 25, 1885
The True Standard of Righteousness
[.] RH August 25, 1885
By Mrs. E. G. White RH August 25, 1885
The world is to be no criterion for those who follow Jesus. He has said, “Marvel not … if the world hate you.” “It hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Again, it is written, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing engage not in their unholy practices, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” RH August 25, 1885, par. 1
The question now to be asked is, Are the professed followers of Christ complying with the conditions upon which the blessing is pronounced? Are they separating in spirit and practice from the world? How hard to come out and be separate from worldly habits and customs. But let us look well to it that Satan does not allure and deceive us through false representations. Eternal interests are here involved. God’s claims should come first; his requirements should receive our first attention. Every child of fallen Adam must, through the transforming grace of Christ, become obedient to all God’s requirements. Many close their eyes to the plainest teachings of his word because the cross stands directly in the way. If they lift it, they must appear singular in the eyes of the world; and they hesitate, and question, and search for some excuse whereby they may shun the cross. Satan is ever ready, and he presents plausible reasons why it would not be best to obey the word of God just as it reads. Thus souls are fatally deceived. RH August 25, 1885, par. 2
One of Satan’s most successful deceptions is to lead men to claim to be sanctified, while at the same time they are living in disobedience to God’s commandments. These are described by Jesus as those who will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works”? Yes, those who claim to be sanctified have a great deal to say about being saved by the blood of Jesus; but their sanctification is not through the truth as it is in Jesus. While claiming to believe in him, and apparently doing wonderful works in his name, they ignore his Father’s law, and serve as agents of the great adversary of souls to carry forward the work which he begun in Eden, that of making plausible excuses for not obeying God implicitly. Their work of leading men to dishonor God by ignoring his law, will one day be unfolded before them with its true results. The conditions of eternal life are made so plain in God’s word that none need err, unless they choose error rather than truth because their unsanctified souls love the darkness rather than the light. The lawyer who came to Christ with the question, “Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” thought to catch Christ; but Jesus laid the burden back upon the lawyer. “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Then said Christ, “Thou has answered right; this do, and thou shalt live.” These words meet the individual cases of all. Are we willing to comply with the conditions? Will we obey God and keep his commandments? Will we be doers of the word and not hearers only? God’s law is as immutable and unchangeable as his character. Whatever men may say or do to make it void, does not change its claims, or release them from their obligation to obey. RH August 25, 1885, par. 3
We need divine enlightenment daily; we should pray as did David, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” God will have a people upon the earth who will vindicate his honor by having respect to all of his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous, not a yoke of bondage. David prayed in his day, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law.” RH August 25, 1885, par. 4
Not one of us can afford to dishonor God by living in transgression of his law. To neglect the Bible and give ourselves up to the pursuit of worldly treasure is a loss which is beyond estimate. Eternity alone will reveal the great sacrifice made by many to secure worldly honor and worldly advantages, at the loss of the soul, the loss of eternal riches. They might have had that life which measures with the life of God; for Jesus died to bring the blessings and treasures of heaven within their reach, that they might not be accounted poor and wretched and miserable in the high estimate of eternity. None who have had the light of truth will enter the city of God as commandment-breakers. His law lies at the foundation of his government in earth and in heaven. If they have knowingly trampled upon and despised his law on the earth, they will not be taken to heaven to do the same work there; there is no change of character when Christ comes. The character building is to go on during the hours of probation. Day by day their actions are registered in the books of heaven, and they will, in the great day of God, be rewarded as their works have been. It will then be seen who receives the blessing. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” RH August 25, 1885, par. 5
Those who make a raid against God’s law are warring against God himself; and many who are filled with the greatest bitterness against the commandment-keeping people of God, make the loudest boast of living holy, sinless lives. This can be explained only in one way: they have no mirror in which to look to discover to themselves the deformity of their character. Neither Joseph, Daniel, nor any of the apostles claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than to knowingly sin against him, men whom God has honored with divine light and power, have acknowledged themselves to be sinners, unworthy of his great favors. They have felt their weakness, and, sorrowful for their sins, have tried to copy the pattern Jesus Christ. RH August 25, 1885, par. 6
There are to be but two classes upon the earth, the obedient children of God and the disobedient. Upon one occasion Christ thus set before his hearers the Judgment work: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was a hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” RH August 25, 1885, par. 7
Thus Christ identifies his interest with that of suffering humanity. Every attention given to his children he considers done to himself personally. Those who claim modern sanctification would have come boastingly forward, saying, “Lord, Lord, do you not know us? Have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” The people here described, who make these pretentious claims, apparently weaving Jesus into all their doings, fitly represent those who claim modern sanctification, but who are at war with the law of God. Christ calls them workers of iniquity, because they are deceivers, having on the garments of righteousness to hide the deformity of their characters, the inward wickedness of their unholy hearts. Satan has come down in these last days, to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His Satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets, in the sight of men, claiming that he is indeed Christ himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep’s clothing seems so real, so genuine, that the wolf cannot be discerned only as we go to God’s great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah. RH August 25, 1885, par. 8
If ever there was a time when we needed faith and spiritual enlightenment, it is now. Those who are watching unto prayer, and are searching the Scriptures daily with an earnest desire to know and do the will of God, will not be led astray by any of the deceptions of Satan. They alone will discern the pretext which cunning men adopt to beguile and ensnare. So much time and attention are bestowed upon the world, upon dress and eating and drinking, that no time is left for prayer and the study of the Scriptures. RH August 25, 1885, par. 9
We want the truth on every point, and we must search for it as for hid treasures. Dishes of fables are presented to us on every hand, and men choose to believe error rather than truth, because the acceptance of the truth involves a cross. Self must be denied; self must be crucified. Therefore Satan presents to them an easier way by making void the law of God. When God lets man have his own way, it is the darkest hour of his life. For a willful, disobedient child to be left to have his own way, to follow the bent of his own mind, and gather the dark clouds of God’s judgment about him, is a terrible thing. But Satan has his agents who are too proud to repent, and who are constantly at work to tear down the cause of Jehovah and trample it under their feet. What a day of sorrow and despair when these meet their work with all its burden of results! Souls who might have been saved to Jesus Christ have been lost through their teachings and influence. Christ died for them that they might have life. He opened before them the way whereby they might, through his merits, keep the law of God. Christ says, “I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” How hard men work to close that door; but they are not able. John’s testimony is, “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament.” Beneath the mercy-seat, within the ark, were the two tables of stone, containing the law of Jehovah. God’s faithful ones saw the light that shone forth to them from the law, to be given to the world. And now Satan’s intense activity is to close that door of light; but Jesus says that no man can shut it. Men will turn from the light, denounce it, and despise it, but it still shines forth in clear, distinct rays to cheer and bless all who will see it. RH August 25, 1885, par. 10
God’s children will have a fierce conflict with the adversary of souls, and it will become more exceedingly bitter as we approach the close of the conflict. But the Lord will help those who stand in defense of his truth. Many who see the light will not accept it, fearing to trust the Lord. Jesus says, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow? they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” The great Master Artist has provided the beautiful things in nature as an expression of his love to us. He has given the delicate tint to the flowers, and if he has done so much for a simple flower, “which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” RH August 25, 1885, par. 11
God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to die that he might redeem man from the power of Satan; and will he not care for man, formed in his image? Many see the reasons of our faith, but they dare not risk the consequences of obeying it. They fear that if they do, they cannot support their families; and so they settle back into unbelief, and continue in transgression of the law. They lack faith in God; they dare not trust his promises. Such are rebuked by the lessons of Christ, in which he teaches that God notices the fall of even the sparrows; not one of them falls to the ground without his notice. Our heavenly Father will not leave his children who put their trust in him, and venture out upon his promises although the outlook is dark and forbidding. He understands every circumstance of our life. He sees and knows how we are situated. He is acquainted with all our sorrows and griefs. He knows us each by name, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; for he has been tempted in all points like as we are, and knows how to succor those who are tempted. Jesus is our helper, and he will have a care for all those who trust in him. RH August 25, 1885, par. 12
God has intrusted to us individually talents that are to be increased by use. Reason has been granted us with which to glorify God. In everything we are to show our allegiance to him. Our powers were not given to us merely to be employed for ourselves. They are to be used to accomplish certain ends, to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Christian principles must be interwoven with our life and our experience. The life we now live must be by faith on the Son of God. We must live to please Jesus; by thus living our faith and confidence in him will grow stronger day by day. We will comprehend what he has done for us, and what he is willing to do for us, and will possess a cheerfulness as well as an earnest desire to do something to show our love for Jesus. Doing will thus become habit. We will not question whether we will obey, but will follow the light, and work the work of Christ. We will not study convenience, nor question whether our temporal interests will be improved if we obey. Those who love Jesus will love to obey all his commandments. They will search the Bible closely to know of the doctrine. Naught but truth will satisfy them, for they are Christ’s representatives on earth. RH August 25, 1885, par. 13
Christ declared, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” His followers must be as near like him as possible. We cannot speak as he spoke, and yet we are to imitate him; for he is our pattern. We are to erect no false lights, present no heresies for truth. We must know that every position we take can be sustained by the word of God. It is a day when the commandments of men are everywhere urged upon the people as the commandments of God. But it is a solemn, a fearful thing to teach false theories, and lead minds away from the truth which sanctifies the soul. RH August 25, 1885, par. 14
We want the truth on every point. We want it unadulterated with error, and unpolluted by the maxims, customs, and opinions of the world. We want the truth with all its inconvenience. The acceptance of truth ever involves a cross. But Jesus gave his life a sacrifice for us, and shall we not give him our best affections, our holiest aspirations, our fullest service? Christ’s yoke we must wear, Christ’s burden we must lift; but the Majesty of heaven declares that his yoke is easy and his burden light. Shall we shun the self-denying part of religion? Shall we shun the self-sacrifice, and hesitate to give up the world with all its attractions? Shall we, for whom Christ has done so much, be hearers and not doers of his words? Shall we, by our listless, inactive lives, deny our faith, and make Jesus ashamed to call us his brethren? The ten commandments came from the highest authority, and are we obeying them? They are the will of God made known to man. It was Satan that commenced to war against them, and it is he that inspires men to keep up the warfare. RH August 25, 1885, par. 15
None will enter the holy city, the paradise of God, but as conquerors,—those who have separated themselves from the world, and stood in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, and have fought the good fight of faith, looking constantly to “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Then let us, like Christ, work unselfishly to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth. Our whole heart, body, soul, and strength, are required in this work; and if we labor with fidelity, irrespective of the applause or censure of the world, we shall hear the “well done” from the Majesty of heaven, and receive the crown, the palm branch of victory, and the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints. RH August 25, 1885, par. 16