Truth and Loyalty
"All Ye Are
"Thou Shalt Have No
Other Gods Before Me"
Under Which Banner?
The Lord Has a
Controversy With His People
The Preciousness of
Christ to His Followers
"All Ye are Brethren"
Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 9, 1897, pgs 3-15.)
March 8, 1895.
I must speak to my brethren nigh and afar
off. I cannot hold my peace. They are not working on correct principles.
Those who stand in responsible positions must not feel that their position
of importance makes them men of infallible judgment.
All the works of men are under the Lord's
jurisdiction. It will be altogether safe for men to consider that there is
knowledge with the Most High. Those who trust in God and His wisdom, and
not in their own, are walking in safe paths. They will never feel that
they are authorized to muzzle even the ox that treads out the grain; and
how offensive it is for men to control the human agent who is in
partnership with God, and whom the Lord Jesus has invited: "Come unto Me,
all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My
yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye
shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is
light." "We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are
The Lord has not placed any one of His
human agencies under the dictation and control of those who are themselves
but erring mortals. He has not placed upon men the power to say, You shall
do this, and you shall not do that. But there is a power exercised in
Battle Creek that God has not given, and He will judge those who assume
this authority. They have somewhat of the same spirit that led Uzzah to
lay his hand on the ark to steady it, as though
God was not able to care for His sacred symbols. Far less of man's power
and authority should be exercised toward God's human agencies. Brethren,
leave God to rule.
The Work for this Time
The great work for this time demands that
men shall go everywhere, nigh and afar off, into the highways and hedges,
to diffuse light, holding forth the words of life. Has God laid upon one
man or a council of men to take this work into their hands, as though the
workers, God's own property, were to be under their control?
The business connected with the work of
God in any and every branch requires men who are working in harmony with
God, for power and success in the work can be attained only through the
cooperation of the human and the divine. Without the best of evidence that
one understands heavenly and eternal things, he should not be authorized
to minister in matters connected with the work that concerns the salvation
of souls for whom Christ has died. Unsanctified hands and brains have had
altogether too much power entrusted to them, and very unwise moves have
been made, that are not in accordance with the will and ways of God.
No man is a proper judge of another man's
duty. Man is responsible to God; and as finite, erring men take into their
hands the jurisdiction of their fellowmen, as if the Lord commissioned
them to lift up and cast down, all heaven is filled with indignation.
There are strange principles being established in regard to the control of
the minds and works of men, by human judges, as though these finite men
And how is it with some who are bearing
these sacred responsibilities? Men who are not spiritually minded, who are
not consecrated to God, have no commission to perform, nor authority to
exercise, in regard to the willing or doing of their fellowmen. But unless
men are daily in communion with God, instead of seeking Him with all their
heart for a fitness for the work, they will assume the power of dictation
over the conscience of others. A sense of the divine presence would awe
and subdue the soul, but this they have not. Without the love of God
burning in the soul, love to men grows cold. Their hearts are not touched
at the sight of human woe. Selfishness has left its defiling imprint on
life and character, and some will never lose this image and
Is the working of the cause of God to be
entrusted to such hands? Are souls for whom Christ has died, to be
manipulated at the will of men who have refused the light given them of
heaven? We should be afraid of man-made laws, and of plans and methods
that are not in accordance with the principles of the word of God
concerning man's relation to his fellow. "All ye are brethren."
The Present Order Must Change
The present order of things must change,
or the wrath of God will fall upon His instrumentalities that are not
working in Christ's lines. Has God given any one of you a commission to
lord it over His heritage? This kind of work has been coming in for years.
God sees it all, and He is displeased with it. When men come in between
God and His human agents, they dishonor God and wrong the souls of those
who need true encouragement and sympathy and love. I am constrained to appeal to our workers: Whatever your
position, do not depend on men, or make flesh your arm.
I am urged by the Spirit of God to say to
you who have a connection with the Lord's work, Never forget that you are
wholly dependent upon God; and if you pass one hour or one moment without
relying upon His grace, without keeping the heart open to receive the
wisdom that is not earthborn, being sure that without Christ ye can do
nothing, you will be unable to distinguish between the common and the
sacred fire. Words of a very forbidden character will flash from your lips
to destroy hope and courage and faith. Thus it is written in the books of
heaven: Your words were not inspired of God, but of the enemy that wounded
and bruised Christ in the person of His purchased possession. Souls of
infinite value were treated indifferently, turned from, left to struggle
under temptation, and forced on Satan's battleground.
Job's professed friends were miserable
comforters, making his case more bitter and unbearable, and Job was not
guilty as they supposed. Those who are under the pain and distress of
their own wrongdoing, while Satan is seeking to drive them to despair, are
the very ones who need help the most. The intense agony of the soul that
has been overcome by Satan and is feeling worsted and helpless--how little
is it comprehended by those who should meet the erring one with tender
Most pitiable is the condition of one who
is suffering under remorse; he is as one stunned, staggering, sinking into
the dust. And many who suppose themselves to be righteous, become
exasperating comforters; they deal harshly with these souls. In
manifesting this hardness of heart in offending and oppressing, they are
doing the very same work which Satan delights in doing. The tried, tempted soul cannot see
anything clearly. The mind is confused; he knows not just what steps to
take. Oh, then, let no word be spoken to cause deeper pain!
How to Deal with the Erring
Our Saviour said: "Whoso shall offend one
of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a
millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the
depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must
needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense
cometh! . . . Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for
I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of
My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that
which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of
them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into
the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he
find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of
the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of
your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should
"I came not," said Christ, "to call the
righteous [you who feel no need of repentance], but sinners to
repentance." Those who are laborers together with God will work in
Christ's lines. There is many a poor soul who is misunderstood,
unappreciated, full of distress and agony--a lost, straying sheep. His
mind is beclouded, he cannot find God, and almost hopeless unbelief takes
possession of him. Yet he has an intense, longing desire for pardon and
As this picture is opened before you, the
inquiry may be made, Are there no Christians to
whom such a one can go for relief? This question God answers: "I have
somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember
therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;
or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out
of his place, except thou repent." A cold, hardhearted Pharisaism has
taken possession of many of the professed followers of Christ, and the
love of Jesus is dead.
"And unto the angel of the church in
Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God,
and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou
livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain,
that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God."
Here the problem is solved. The persons here described have had light that
would have prompted them to altogether different works, if they had
followed the light and had strengthened the things that remained that were
ready to die. The light which was glowing in their own hearts when Jesus
spoke to their souls, "Thy sins be forgiven thee," they might have kept
alive by helping those who needed help.
The work to be done is plainly specified:
"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to
die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore
how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore
thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not
know what hour I will come upon thee." Many have heard and received the
word of life, and have been strongly moved by the truth, but have allowed
their souls to become cold, their faith dim, through self-righteousness,
self-importance, and pride in the possession of a knowledge of truth which
they fail to practice. The truth which is not put in practice, loses its
power. The heart is closed to its divine influence, and those who should
be workers for Christ are idle, and souls whom they might help are left in
discouragement and darkness and despair.
Help the Sinking Souls
There are souls who are starving for
sympathy, starving for the bread of life; but they have no confidence to
make known their great need. Those who bear the responsibilities in
connection with the work of God should understand that they are under the
most solemn obligation to help these souls; and they would be prepared to
help them, if they themselves had retained the soft, subduing influence of
the love of Christ. Do these poor souls, ready to die, look to them for
help? No; they did this until they could have no hope of help from that
quarter. They see not a hand stretched out to save.
The matter has been presented to me thus:
A drowning man, vainly struggling with the waves, discovers a boat, and
with his last remaining strength succeeds in reaching it, and lays hold
upon its side. In his weakness he cannot speak, but the agony upon his
face would excite pity in any heart that was touched with human
tenderness. But do the occupants of the boat stretch out their hands to
lift him in? No! All heaven looks on as these men beat off the feeble,
clinging hands, and a suffering fellow being sinks beneath the waves, to
rise no more. This scene has been enacted over and over again. It has been
witnessed by One who gave His life for the ransom of just such souls. The
Lord has reached down His own hand to save. The
Lord Himself has done the work which He left for man to do, in revealing
the pity and compassion of Christ toward sinners. Jesus says, "A new
commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another." Calvary reveals to every one of us
the depths of that love.
There are souls in their darkness, full of
remorse and pain and anguish, who still feel that God is just and good.
The Lord is keeping alive the spark of hope in their hearts. The poor,
darkened soul feels, If I could only appear before God, and plead my case,
He would pity for Christ's sake, and this horrible fear and agony would be
relieved. He has tried to speak to men, and has been rudely repulsed,
reproved, taunted by his supposed friends. Sometimes the reproaches heaped
upon his head have well-nigh destroyed the last spark of hope. The soul
that is conscious of sincere and honest intentions finds he has less to
fear from God than from men who have hearts of steel. The soul wrenched
with human agony turns away from the misjudgment and condemnation of men
who cannot read the heart, yet have taken it upon them to judge their
fellowmen. He turns to One who is without a shadow of misapprehension, One
who knows all the impulses of the heart, who is acquainted with all the
circumstances of temptation. God knows every deed of the past life, and
yet in consideration of all this, the troubled soul is ready to trust his
case with God, knowing that He is a God of mercy and compassion.
Let Us Fall into the Hand of God
When David was bidden to choose the
punishment for his sin, he said, "Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great:
and let me not fall into the hand of man." He felt that God knew the
struggle and anguish of the soul. When one is enabled to catch a glimpse
of the character of God, he sees not in Him the heartless, vindictive
spirit manifested by human agents; he sees that affliction and trial are
God's appointed means of disciplining His children, and teaching them His
way, that they may lay hold of His grace. "Who is among you that feareth
the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness,
and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon
his God." As the poor backsliding one is led to the river of God's love,
he exclaims, When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold purified.
The suffering soul is made patient, trustful, triumphant in God under
"Wherefore in all things it behooved Him
to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and
faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation
for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being
tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted. "Seeing then that we
have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son
of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest
which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace
to help in time of need." "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of
you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."
When finite, erring man gives evidence
that he regards himself as of greater importance than God, when he thinks himself righteous, yet does not
manifest the tenderness of spirit that characterized the life of our Lord
Jesus, we may know that unless he repents, the candlestick will quickly be
removed out of its place. All heaven is astonished at the terrible
indifference of the human agents. Men who are themselves tempted to fall
into sin, and need pardon, are yet full of self-sufficiency, and are
unfeeling toward a brother who is ensnared by the enemy, and whose need
and peril should call out Christlike sympathy and effort to plant his feet
on the solid Rock.
A Fatal Deception
There is a most fearful, fatal deception
upon human minds. Because men are in positions of trust, connected with
the work of God, they are exalted in their own estimation, and do not
discern that other souls, fully as precious in the sight of God as their
own, are neglected, and handled roughly, and bruised, and wounded, and
left to die.
The converting power of God must come upon
men who handle sacred things, yet who are unable, through some cause best
known to God, to distinguish between the sacred fire of God's own kindling
and the strange fire which they offer. That strange fire is as dishonoring
to God as was that presented by Nadab and Abihu. The sacred fire of God's
love would make men tender and kind and sympathetic toward those in peril.
Those who indulge in sharp, overbearing words, are really saying: I am
holier than thou. Do you not see my exalted position?
But the position does not make the man. It
is the integrity of character, the spirit of Christ, that makes him
thankful, unselfish, without partiality and without hypocrisy--it is this that is of value with God. To
those whose life is hid with Christ in God, the Lord says, "Behold, I have
graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before
For all in responsible positions I have a
message spoken by the mouth of the Lord--the fifty-fifth chapter of
Isaiah. Study this chapter, and let not any human being consider that he
is above his fellow workers because greater responsibilities are involved
in his branch of the work. If he is like Daniel, seeking for the power
that comes alone from God, that he may represent, not himself, not his
imperfections in selfish and fraudulent practices, but the truth in
righteousness, he will not possess a vestige of pride or self-importance;
but will be weighted with the spirit of wisdom from God.
The Sacred and the Strange Fire
He will represent the sacredness of the
work, he will magnify the truth, and will ever present before men and
angels the holy perfume of the character of Christ. This is the sacred
fire of God's own kindling. Anything aside from this is strange fire,
abhorrent to God, and the more offensive as one's position in the work
involves larger responsibilities.
I have a message from God to the sinners
in Zion, the ones whom Christ addressed: "Be watchful, and strengthen the
things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works
perfect before God." You need to offer always the sacred fire; for then
Christ's works, His love, His mercy, His righteousness, will ascend before
God, as a cloud of holy, fragrant incense, wholly acceptable.
But strange fire has been offered in the
use of harsh words, in self-importance, in self-exaltation, in self-righteousness, in arbitrary
authority, in domineering, in oppression, in restricting the liberty of
God's people, binding them about by your plans and rules, which God has
not framed, neither have they come into His mind. All these things are
strange fire, unacknowledged by God, and are a continual misrepresentation
of His character.
I have a message for you: "Seek ye the
Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: let the
wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him
return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for
He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither
are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than
the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your
thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and
returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth
and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so
shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return
unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall
prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
"Judgment is turned away backward, and
justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity
cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh
himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased Him that there was
no judgment. And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was
no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His
righteousness, it sustained Him. For He put on righteousness as a
breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon His head; and He put on the
garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a
cloak. . . . So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and
His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a
flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And
the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from
transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord."
"Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me"
Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 9, 1897, pgs 16-21.)
Granville, Australia, September, 1895.
I do not find rest in spirit. Scene after
scene is presented in symbols before me, and I find no rest until I begin
to write out the matter. At the center of the work matters are being
shaped so that every other institution is following in the same course.
And the General Conference is itself becoming corrupted with wrong
sentiments and principles. In the working of plans, the same principles
are manifest that have controlled matters at Battle Creek for quite a
length of time.
I have been shown that the Jewish nation
were not brought suddenly into their condition of thought and practice.
From generation to generation they were working on false theories,
carrying out principles opposed to the truth, and combining with their
religion thoughts and plans that were the product of human minds. Human
inventions were made supreme.
The holy principles that God has given are
represented as the sacred fire, but common fire has been used in place of
the sacred. Plans contrary to truth and righteousness are introduced in a
subtle manner on the plea that this must be done, and that must
be done, "because it is for the advancement of the cause of God." But it
is the devising of men that leads to oppression, injustice, and
wickedness. The cause of God is free from every taint of injustice. It can
gain no advantage by robbing the members of the family of God of their
individuality or their rights. All such practices are abhorrent to God. He
inspires no such practices as have been entered into by your councils in
regard to the publication of books.
The Lord accepts no such transactions;
prosperity will not attend these moves. Men connected with His work have
been dealing unjustly, and is time to call a halt. Let men deal with men
upon the principles of the Ten Commandments, and not ignore these
principles in business transactions. False propositions are assumed as
truth and righteousness, and then everything is worked in such a way as to
carry out these propositions, which are not in accordance with the will of
God, but are a misrepresentation of His character.
The great and holy and merciful God will
never be in league with dishonest practices; not a single touch of
injustice will He vindicate. Men have taken unfair advantage of those whom
they supposed to be under their jurisdiction. They were determined to
bring the individuals to their terms; they would rule or ruin. There will
be no material change until a decided movement is made to bring in a
different order of things.
Let no plans or methods be adopted in any
of our institutions that will bind mind or talent under the control of
human judgment; for this is not in God's order. God has given to men
talents of influence which belong to Him alone, and no greater dishonor
can be done to God than for one finite agent to bring other men's talents under his absolute control,
even though the benefits of the same be used to the advantage of the
cause. In such arrangements one man's mind is ruled by another man's mind,
and the human agency is separated from God and exposed to temptation.
Satan's methods tend to one end--to make men the slaves of men. And when
this is done, confusion and distrust, jealousies and evil surmisings, are
the result. Such a course destroys faith in God and in the principles
which are to control, to purge from guile and every species of selfishness
The High-Handed Power
The high-handed power that has been
developed, as though position has made men gods, makes me afraid, and
ought to cause fear. It is a curse wherever and by whomsoever it is
exercised. This lording it over God's heritage will create such a disgust
of man's jurisdiction that a state of insubordination will result. The
people are learning that men in high positions of responsibility cannot be
trusted to mold and fashion other men's mind and characters. The result
will be a loss of confidence even in the management of faithful men. But
the Lord will raise up laborers who realize their own nothingness without
special help from God. Age after age Jesus has been delivering His goods
to His church. At the time of the first advent of Christ to our world, the
men who composed the Sanhedrin exercised their authority in controlling
men according to their will. Thus the souls whom Christ had given His life
to free from the bondage of Satan were brought under bondage to him in
Do we individually realize our true
position, that as God's hired servants we are not to bargain away our
stewardship? We have an individual
accountability before the heavenly universe, to administer the trust
committed us of God. Our own hearts are to be stirred. Our hands are to
have something to impart of the income that God entrusts to us. The
humblest of us may be agents for God, using our gifts for His name's
glory. He who improves his talents to the best of his ability may present
to God his offering as a consecrated gift that shall be as fragrant
incense before Him. It is the duty of everyone to see that his talents are
turned to advantage as a gift that he must return, having done his best to
The spirit of domination is extending to
the presidents of our conferences. If a man is sanguine of his own powers
and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is
invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and
only safe course is to remove him, lest great harm be done and he lose his
own soul and imperil the souls of others. "All ye are brethren." This
disposition to lord it over God's heritage will cause a reaction unless
these men change their course. Those in authority should manifest the
spirit of Christ. They should deal as He would deal with every case that
requires attention. They should go weighted with the Holy Spirit. A man's
position does not make him one jot or tittle greater in the sight of God;
it is character alone that God values.
The goodness, mercy, and love of God were
proclaimed by Christ to Moses. This was God's character. When men who
profess to serve God ignore His parental character and depart from honor
and righteousness in dealing with their fellowmen, Satan exults, for he
has inspired them with his attributes. They are following in the track of
In The Track of Romanism
Those who are enjoined to represent the
attributes of the Lord's character, step from the Bible platform, and in
their own human judgment devise rules and resolutions to force the will of
others. The devisings for forcing men to follow the prescriptions of other
men are instituting an order of things that overrides sympathy and tender
compassion, that blinds the eyes to mercy, justice, and the love of God.
Moral influence and personal responsibility are trodden underfoot.
The righteousness of Christ by faith has
been ignored by some; for it is contrary to their spirit and their whole
life experience. Rule, rule, has been their course of action. Satan has
had an opportunity of representing himself. When one who professes to be a
representative of Christ engages in sharp dealing and in pressing men into
hard places, those who are thus oppressed will either break every fetter
of restraint, or they will be led to regard God as a hard master. They
cherish hard feelings against God, and the soul is alienated from Him,
just as Satan planned it should be.
This hardheartedness on the part of men
who claim to believe the truth Satan charges to the influence of the truth
itself, and thus men become disgusted and turn from the truth. For this
reason no man should have a responsible connection with our institutions
who thinks it no important matter whether he has a heart of flesh or a
heart of steel.
Men think they are representing the
justice of God, but they do not represent His tenderness and the great
love wherewith He has loved us. Their human invention originating with the
specious devices of Satan, appears fair enough to the blinded eyes of men,
because it is inherent in their nature. A lie,
believed, practiced, becomes a truth to them. Thus the purpose of the
satanic agencies is accomplished, that men should reach these conclusions
through the working of their own inventive minds.
But how do men fall into such error? By
starting with false premises, and then bringing everything to bear to
prove the error true. In some cases the first principles have a measure of
truth interwoven with the error, but it does not lead to any just action,
and this is why men are misled. In order to reign and become a power, they
employ Satan's methods to justify their own principles. They exalt
themselves as men of superior judgment, and they have stood as
representatives of God. These are false gods.
Under Which Banner?
Testimonies to Ministers and Workers - series A, NO. 9, 1897, pgs 21-31.)
Everything in our world is in agitation.
Coming events cast their shadows before. The signs of the times are
ominous, indeed. There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly.
The winds are held by the four angels; a moment of respite has been
graciously given us of God. Every power lent us of God, whether physical,
mental, or moral, is to be sacredly cherished to do the work assigned us
for our fellowmen who are perishing in their ignorance. The warning is to
go forth to all parts of the world. There must be no delay.
Rapidly are men ranging themselves under
the banner they have chosen, restlessly waiting and watching the movements
of their leaders. There are those who are watching and waiting and working for our
Lord's appearing; while the other party are rapidly falling into line
under the generalship of the first great apostate. They look for a god in
humanity, and Satan personifies the one they seek. Multitudes will be so
deluded through their rejection of truth that they will accept the
counterfeit. Humanity is hailed as God.
One has come from the heavenly courts to
represent God in human form. The Son of God was made man, and dwelt among
us. "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light
shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. . . . That was
the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He
was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him
not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as
received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God."
There are but two parties. Satan works
with his crooked, deceiving power, and through strong delusions he catches
all who do not abide in the truth, who have turned away their ears from
the truth and have turned unto fables. Satan himself abode not in the
truth; he is the mystery of iniquity. Through his subtlety he gives to his
soul-destroying errors the appearance of truth. Herein is their power to
deceive. It is because they are a counterfeit of the truth that
spiritualism, theosophy, and the like deceptions gain such power over the
minds of men. Herein is the masterly working of Satan. He pretends to be
the savior of man, the benefactor of the human race, and thus he more
readily lures his victims to destruction.
We are warned in the word of God that
sleepless vigilance is the price of safety. Only in the straight path of
truth and righteousness can we escape the tempter's power. But the world is
ensnared. Satan's skill is exercised in devising plans and methods without
number to accomplish his purposes. Dissimulation has become a fine art
with him, and he works in the guise of an angel of light. God's eye alone
discerns his schemes to contaminate the world with false and ruinous
principles bearing on their face the appearance of genuine goodness. He
works to restrict religious liberty, and to bring into the religious world
a species of slavery. Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the
power of God, will work under Satan's dictation to bring men under the
control of men; and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal for
truth and for the advancement of the kingdom of God. Whatever in our
practice is not as open as day belongs to the methods of the prince of
evil. His methods are practiced even among Seventh-day Adventists, who
claim to have advanced truth.
If men resist the warnings the Lord sends
them, they become even leaders in evil practice; such men assume to
exercise the prerogatives of God--they presume to do that which God
Himself will not do in seeking to control the minds of men. They introduce
their own methods and plans, and through their misconceptions of God they
weaken the faith of others in the truth, and bring in false principles
that will work like leaven to taint and corrupt our institutions and
churches. Anything that lowers man's conception of righteousness and
equity and impartial judgment, any device or precept that brings God's
human agents under the control of human minds, impairs their faith in God;
it separates the soul from God; for it leads away from the path of strict
integrity and righteousness.
God will not vindicate any device whereby
man shall in the slightest degree rule or oppress his fellowmen. The only hope for fallen man is to look to
Jesus and receive Him as the only Saviour. As soon as man begins to make
an iron rule for other men, as soon as he begins to harness up and drive
men according to his own mind, he dishonors God and imperils his own soul
and the souls of his brethren. Sinful man can find hope and righteousness
only in God, and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith
in God and maintains a vital connection with Him. A flower of the field
must have its root in the soil; it must have air, dew, showers, and
sunshine. It will flourish only as it receives these advantages, and all
are from God. So with men. We receive from God that which ministers to the
life of the soul. We are warned not to trust in man, nor to make flesh our
arm. A curse is pronounced upon all who do this.
Jesus and Nicodemus
Nicodemus sought an interview with Jesus
at night, saying, "Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God:
for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him."
All this was true, as far as it went; but what said Jesus? He "answered
and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Here was a man in a high
position of trust, a man who was looked up to as one educated in Jewish
customs, one whose mind was stored with wisdom. He was indeed in
possession of talents of no ordinary character. He would not go to Jesus
by day, for this would make him a subject of remark. It would be too
humiliating for a ruler of the Jews to acknowledge himself in sympathy
with the despised Nazarene. Nicodemus thinks, I will ascertain for myself
the mission and claims of this Teacher, whether He is indeed the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the
Glory of Israel.
Jesus virtually says to Nicodemus: It is
not controversy that will help your case: it is not arguments that will
bring light to the soul. You must have a new heart, or you cannot discern
the kingdom of heaven It is not greater evidence that will bring you into
a right position, but new purposes, new springs of action. You must be
born again. Until this change takes place, making all things new, the
strongest evidences that could be presented would be useless. The want is
in your own heart; everything must be changed, or you cannot see the
kingdom of God.
This was a very humiliating statement to
Nicodemus and with a feeling of irritation he takes up the words of
Christ, saying, "How can a man be born when he is old?" He was not
spiritually minded enough to discern the meaning of the words of Christ.
But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand in
solemn, quiet dignity, He presses home the truth with greater assurance:
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the
flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not
that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it
listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."
Nicodemus said unto Him, "How can these things be?"
Some gleams of the truth were penetrating
the ruler's mind. Christ's words filled him with awe, and led to the
inquiry, "How can these things be?" With deep earnestness Jesus answered,
"Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" His words
convey to Nicodemus the lesson that, instead of
feeling irritated over the plain words of truth, and indulging irony, he
should have a far more humble opinion of himself, because of his spiritual
ignorance. Yet the words of Christ were spoken with such solemn dignity,
and both look and tone expressed such earnest love to him, that he was not
offended as he realized his humiliating position.
Surely one entrusted with the religious
interests of the people should not be ignorant of truth so important for
them to understand as the condition of entrance into the kingdom of
heaven. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee," continued Jesus, "we speak that
we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye
believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"
This Lesson is for Us Today
This lesson to Nicodemus I present as
highly applicable to those who are today in responsible positions as
rulers in Israel, and whose voices are often heard in council giving
evidence of the same spirit that Nicodemus possessed. Will the lesson
given to the chief ruler have the same influence upon their heart and
life? Nicodemus was converted as the result of this interview. The words
of Christ are spoken just as verily to presidents of conferences, elders
of churches, and those occupying official positions in our institutions,
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot
see the kingdom of God." "A new heart also will I give you."
If you have the Holy Spirit molding and
fashioning your heart daily, then you will have divine insight to perceive
the character of the kingdom of God. Nicodemus received the lesson of Christ and became a
true believer. His voice was heard in the Sanhedrin council in opposition
to their measures for compassing the death of Christ. "Doth our law judge
any man, before it hear him?" he said. The scornful answer was returned:
"Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no
Jesus had a disciple in Nicodemus. In that
night conference with Jesus the convicted man stood before the Saviour
under the softening, subduing influence of truth which was shining into
the chambers of his mind and impressing his heart. Jesus said: "If I have
told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I
tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He
that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." Jesus
not only tells Nicodemus that he must have a new heart in order to see the
kingdom of heaven, but tells him how to obtain a new heart. He reads the
inquiring mind of a true seeker after truth, and presents before him the
representation of Himself: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the
wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Good news!
good news! ring throughout the world! "For God so loved the world, that He
gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." This lesson is one of the greatest
importance to every soul that lives; for the terms of salvation are here
laid out in distinct lines. If one had no other text in the Bible, this
alone would be a guide for the soul.
Especially to every man who accepts
responsibilities as a counselor, everyone who is dealing with human souls, is this grand, beautiful truth to
be a bright and shining light. It is no credit to one who has the word of
God in his possession, to say: "I have no experience; I do not understand
these things." He will never be wiser until he becomes of much less
consequence in his own estimation. He must learn his lesson as a little
child. He must make it his first duty to understand the work of God in the
regeneration of the soul. This change should take place in every man
before he accepts a position as a leader or ruler in connection with the
sacred work of God. If one has not a vital connection with God, his own
spirit and sentiments will prevail. These may be well represented as
strange fire offered in the place of the sacred. Man has woven into the
work of God his own defects of character, devices that are human and
earthly, delusions ensnaring to himself and to all who accept them.
The Judgment of Amalek
God pledges His most holy word that He
will bless you if you will walk in His way and do justice and judgment.
"Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou
shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But
thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure
shalt thou have: that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the
Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, and all that do
unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God. Remember what
Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how
he met thee by the way, and smote and hindmost of thee, even all that were
feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not
Notwithstanding that the children of
Israel had often grieved the Lord by departing from His counsel, yet He
still had a tender care for them. The Lord Jesus Christ saw their enemies
taking advantage of their circumstances, to do them an injury; for that
work was to bring suffering against the weary, who were journeying under
God's leading. Hear the judgments which God pronounced: "Therefore it
shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine
enemies round about, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an
inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of
Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it."
I pen these words of God that those who
profess to be His children may not receive the curse pronounced upon
Amalek because they have followed the practices of Amalek. If the heathen
received this denunciation of their course for overcoming the faint and
weary, what will the Lord express toward those who have had light, great
opportunities, and privileges, but have not manifested the spirit of
Christ toward their own brethren?
The Lord sees all the dealings of brother
with brother, which weaken faith, and which destroy their own confidence
in themselves as men dealing with justice and equity. In the most positive
language He expresses His displeasure at the iniquity practiced in trade.
He says, "Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the
bag of deceitful weights?" The very wrong here mentioned may not have been
committed in our institutions, but acts which these things represent have
been, and are still being done.
Page after page might be written in regard
to these things. Whole conferences are becoming leavened with the same
perverted principles. "For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants
thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth."
The Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is
about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name.
Just how soon this refining process will
begin I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in
His hand will cleanse His temple of its moral defilement. He will
thoroughly purge His floor. God has a controversy with all who practice
the least injustice; for in so doing they reject the authority of God and
imperil their interest in the atonement, the redemption which Christ has
undertaken for every son and daughter of Adam. Will it pay to take a
course abhorrent to God? Will it pay to put upon your censers strange fire
to offer before God, and say it makes no difference?
It has not been after God's order to
center so much in Battle Creek. The state of things now exists that was
presented before me as a warning. I am sick at heart at the
representation. The Lord gave warnings to prevent this demoralizing
condition of things, but they have not been heeded. "Ye are the salt of
the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be
salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be
trodden underfoot of men."
I appeal to my brethren to wake up. Unless
a change takes place speedily, I must give the facts to the people; for
this state of things must change; unconverted men must no longer be
managers and directors in so important and sacred work. With David we are
forced to say, "It is time for Thee, Lord, to work: for they have made
void Thy law."