We are pressing on to the final conflict, and this is no time to compromise. It is no time to hide your colors. When the battle wages sore, let no one turn traitor. It is no time to lay down or conceal our weapons, and give Satan the advantage in the warfare. But unless you watch, and keep your garments unspotted from the world, you will not stand true to your Captain. It is no time for watchmen to slumber on the walls of Zion. Let them be wide-awake. Call to your fellow-watchmen, crying, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” It is no time now to relax our efforts, to become tame and spiritless; no time to hide our light under a bushel, to speak smooth things, to prophesy deceit. Every power is to be employed for God. You are to maintain your allegiance, bearing testimony for God and for truth. Be not turned aside by any suggestion the world can make. We cannot afford to compromise. There is a living issue before us, of vital importance to the remnant people of God, to the very close of this earth’s history; for eternal interests are involved. On the very eve of the crisis, it is no time to be found with an evil heart of unbelief, departing from the living God.
The original apostasy began in disbelief and denial of the truth; but if we would triumph, we must fix the eye of faith steadfastly upon Jesus, the Captain of our salvation. We are to follow the example of Christ, and in all that Jesus did on earth, he had an eye single to the glory of God. He says, “As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” “This commandment have I received of my Father.” In all he did he was working out the will of his Father, so that his life on earth was a manifestation of the divine perfection. Divinity and humanity were united in Christ, that he might reveal to us God’s purpose, and bring man into close communion with himself. This union will enable us to overcome the enemy; for through faith in Christ we shall have divine power. The days will come (for the enemy is working to that end) in which the law of God will be made void. As those days approach, the loyal subjects of God must rise to the emergency, manifesting more fervent zeal, giving more positive and unflinching testimony.
But while we are to speak as having authority, we should do nothing in a defiant spirit. If our hearts are fully surrendered to God, we shall unite meekness and love with truth and decision. We are “to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.”
It is time for God’s people to take up the duties that lie next them, to be faithful in little things; for on the right performance of little things hang great results. Do not leave the work which needs to be done, because to your judgment it appears small and unimportant. Make up every waste place, repair the breaches as fast as they occur. Let no difference or dissension exist among the workers. Let all go to work to help some one who needs help. There is a cause for the great weakness in our churches, and that cause is hard to remove; for it is self. Trouble does not arise because men have too much will, but because they have too much self-will. The will should be wholly sanctified to God. The professed followers of Christ need to fall on the Rock and be broken; for in every one who enters the gates of the city of God, self must be crucified. This fierce spirit which rises up in the hearts of some in the church when everything does not go to please them, must be subdued; for it is not the Spirit of Christ. It is fully time that we return to our first love, and be at peace among ourselves. We must make it manifest that we are not only Bible readers, but Bible believers. If we are united to Christ, we shall be united to one another. 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. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written. The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. . . . Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our numbers are increasing, our facilities are enlarging, and all this calls for union among the workers, for entire consecration and thorough devotion to the cause of God. There is no place in the work of God for half-hearted workers, for those who are neither cold nor hot. Jesus says, “I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Among those who are half-hearted are the class who pride themselves on their great caution in receiving “new light,” as they term it. But their failure to receive the light is caused by their spiritual blindness; for they cannot discern the ways and works of God. Those who array themselves against the precious light of heaven, will accept messages that God has not sent, and will thus become dangerous to the cause of God; for they will set up false standards.
There are men in our cause who might be of great use if they would but learn of Christ, and go on from light to greater light; but because they will not, they are positive hindrances, forever questioning, wasting precious time in argument, and contributing nothing to the spiritual elevation of the church. They misdirect minds, and lead men to accept perilous suggestions. They cannot see afar off; they cannot discern the conclusion of the matter. Their moral force is squandered upon trifles; for they view an atom as a world, and a world as an atom.
Many have trusted and gloried in the wisdom of men far more than in Christ and in the precious sanctifying truth for this time. They need the heavenly anointing, that they may comprehend what is light and truth. They thank God that they are confined to no narrow groove, but they do not see the breadth and far-reaching extent of the principles of truth, and are not enlightened by the Spirit of God as to heaven’s large liberality. They admire man-made theories, and walk in the sparks of their own kindling, diverging farther and farther from the genuine principles of Christian action ordained to make men wise unto salvation. They strive to extend the gospel, but separate from it the very marrow and life. They say, “Let the light shine,” but cover it so that it shall not shine in clear rays on the very subjects that they need to understand. Some exhaust the fervor of their zeal on plans that cannot be carried out without peril to the church.
At this time the church should not be diverted from the main object of vital interest, to things that will not bring health and courage, faith and power. They must see, and by their actions testify, that the gospel is aggressive.
Watchmen on the walls of Zion are to be vigilant, and sleep not day nor night. But if they have not received the message from the lips of Christ, their trumpets will give an uncertain sound. Brethren, God calls upon you, both ministers and laymen, to listen to his voice speaking to you in his word. Let his truth be received into the heart, that you may be spiritualized by its living, sanctifying power. Then let the distinct message for this time be sent from watchman to watchman on the walls of Zion.
This is a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, a time when we must build the old waste places, and with interested effort labor to raise up the foundation of many generations.
“Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable, and shall honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength. O arm of the Lord, awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old . . . Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep: that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to passover! Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass, and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor! The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fall. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared the Lord of hosts in his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth and say unto Zion. Thou art my people.”
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory; and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate, but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah; for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”
While you hold the banner of truth firmly, proclaiming the law of God, let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God. The third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” The first, second, and third angels’ messages are all linked together. The evidences of the abiding, ever-living truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to us, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, cannot be extinguished. Satan is constantly seeking to cast his hellish shadow about these messages, so that the remnant people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time, and place; but they live, and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last.
The influence of these messages has been deepening and widening, setting in motion the springs of action in thousands of hearts, bringing into existence institutions of learning, publishing houses, and health institutions; all these are the instrumentalities of God to co-operate in the grand work represented by the first, second, and third angels flying in the midst of heaven to warn the inhabitants of the world that Christ is coming again with power and great glory. The prophet says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils.” This is the same message that was given by the second angel. Babylon is fallen, “because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” What is that wine?–Her false doctrines. She has given to the world a false Sabbath instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has repeated the falsehood that Satan first told to Eve in Eden.–the natural immortality of the soul. Many kindred errors she has spread far and wide, “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
When Jesus began his public ministry, he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Among the last acts of his ministry was the second cleansing of the temple. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches. The second angel’s message is, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” And in the loud cry of the third angel’s message a voice is heard from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”1The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1077-1079
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1077-1079|