The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution. They declared the Church of Rome to be the apostate Babylon of the Apocalypse, and at the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God’s word and His honor.1The Great Controversy, p. 65, paragraph 2
I was shown the Waldenses, and what they suffered for their religion. They conscientiously studied the word of God, and lived up to the light which shone upon them. They were persecuted, and driven from their homes; their possessions, gained by hard labor, were taken from them, and their houses burned. They fled to the mountains, and there suffered incredible hardships. They endured hunger, fatigue, cold, and nakedness. The only clothing which many of them could obtain was the skins of animals. And yet the scattered and homeless ones would assemble to unite their voices in singing and praising God that they were accounted worthy to suffer for Christ’s name. They encouraged and cheered one another, and were grateful for even their miserable retreat. Many of their children sickened and died from cold and hunger; yet the parents did not for a moment think of yielding their religion. They prized the love and favor of God far above earthly ease or worldly riches. They received consolation from God, and with pleasing anticipations looked forward to the recompense of reward.2Gospel Workers 1992, p. 57, paragraph 1
The Waldenses had sacrificed their worldly prosperity for the truth’s sake, and with persevering patience they toiled for their bread. Every spot of tillable land among the mountains was carefully improved; the valleys and the less fertile hillsides were made to yield their increase. Economy and severe self-denial formed a part of the education which the children received as their only legacy. They were taught that God designs life to be a discipline, and that their wants could be supplied only by personal labor, by forethought, care, and faith. The process was laborious and wearisome, but it was wholesome, just what man needs in his fallen state, the school which God has provided for his training and development. While the youth were inured to toil and hardship, the culture of the intellect was not neglected. They were taught that all their powers belonged to God, and that all were to be improved and developed for His service.3The Great Controversy, p. 67, paragraph 3
To the Waldenses the Scriptures were not merely a record of God’s dealings with men in the past, and a revelation of the responsibilities and duties of the present, but an unfolding of the perils and glories of the future. They believed that the end of all things was not far distant, and as they studied the Bible with prayer and tears they were the more deeply impressed with its precious utterances and with their duty to make known to others its saving truths. They saw the plan of salvation clearly revealed in the sacred pages, and they found comfort, hope, and peace in believing in Jesus. As the light illuminated their understanding and made glad their hearts, they longed to shed its beams upon those who were in the darkness of papal error.4The Great Controversy, p. 72, paragraph 1
God is grieved as He sees the lack of self-denial in His servants. Angels stand amazed at this lack of self-denial and perseverance. The life of Christ should be studied more. He is the example. Can the ministers of today expect to endure less than the Waldenses and other reformers have endured to carry the truth to those who are lost in deception and sin?
The proclamation of the last message of mercy is intrusted to God’s ministers, and He is displeased with those who fail to throw their whole energies into this all-important work. All heaven is grieved as it sees the great lack of devotion to the cause of God. It is time that the watchmen on the walls of Zion understand the responsibility and sacredness of their mission. There is a woe upon them if they fail to perform the work which they themselves acknowledge God has given into their hands.
When they are unfaithful in their work, they endanger the cause of truth, and expose it to the ridicule of the enemy. Souls are everywhere perishing because those who have been appointed as shepherds of the flock are not all laborers together with God. They are neglecting the very work that should be done.5Pacific Union Recorder, September 12, 1901 par. 5
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||The Great Controversy, p. 65, paragraph 2|
|2.||↑||Gospel Workers 1992, p. 57, paragraph 1|
|3.||↑||The Great Controversy, p. 67, paragraph 3|
|4.||↑||The Great Controversy, p. 72, paragraph 1|
|5.||↑||Pacific Union Recorder, September 12, 1901 par. 5|