Testimony for the Church. — No. 8

Testimony for the Church—No. 8

Testimony for the Church

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I have been shown the high and responsible position God's people should occupy. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and must walk even as Christ walked. They will come up through much tribulation. The present is a time of warfare and trial. Our Saviour says in Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” The reward is not given to all who profess to be followers of Christ, but to those who overcome, even as he overcame. We must study the life of Christ, and learn what it is to confess him before the world. No one can confess Christ unless the mind and Spirit of Christ are in him. The fruits of the Spirit are manifested outwardly, and these are a confession of Christ. T08 1.1

In order to confess Christ, we must have Christ to confess. No one can truly confess Christ unless the mind and Spirit of Christ live in him. If a form of godliness, or an acknowledgment of the truth, were always a confession of Christ, we might say, Broad is the way that leadeth unto life, and many there be that find it. We must understand what it is to confess Christ, and wherein we deny him. It is possible with our lips to confess Christ, yet in our works to deny him. If we have forsaken all for Christ, we shall manifest in our lives humility, our conversation will be heavenly, our conduct blameless. The powerful purifying influence of truth in the soul, and the character of Christ exemplified in the life, are a confession of Christ. If the words of eternal life are sown in our hearts, the fruit is righteousness and peace. We may deny Christ in our life by the love of ease, love of self, jesting and joking, and by seeking the honor of the world. We may deny him in our outward appearance, by a proud look or costly apparel, or by conformity to the world. We shall not be able to exhibit in our character the life of Christ, or the sanctifying influence of the truth, only by constant watchfulness, and persevering and almost unceasing prayer. T08 1.2

I was shown that many drive Christ from their families by an impatient, passionate spirit. Such have something to overcome in this respect. The human family was presented before me, enfeebled. Every generation has been growing weaker; and disease of every form visits the human race. Thousands of poor mortals are dragging out a miserable existence. Some with deformed, sickly bodies, shattered nerves, and gloomy minds. Satan's power upon the human family increases. If the Lord should not soon come and destroy his power, the earth would soon be depopulated. T08 2.1

I was shown that Satan's power is especially exercised upon the people of God. Many were presented before me in a doubting, despairing condition. The infirmities of the body affect the mind. A cunning and powerful enemy attends our steps, and employs his strength and skill in trying to turn us out of the right way. And it is too often the case that the people of God are not on their watch; therefore are ignorant of his devices. He works by means which will best conceal himself from view. And he often gains his object. T08 2.2

Brethren have engaged in patent-rights and other enterprises, and have induced others to interest themselves, who could not bear the perplexity and care of such business. Their anxiety and over-taxed minds seriously affect their already diseased bodies, and they then become desponding, which increases to despair. They lose all confidence in themselves, and think God has forsaken them, and they dare not believe that God will be merciful to them. These poor souls will not be left to the control of Satan. They will make their way through the gloom, and their trembling faith will again fasten upon the promises of God, and he will deliver them, and turn their sorrow and mourning into peace and gladness. But such, I was shown, must learn by the things they suffer, to let patent-rights and these various enterprises alone. They should not suffer even their brethren to flatter them to entangle themselves with any such enterprise, for their anticipations will not be realized, and then they are thrown upon the enemy's battle-field unarmed for the conflict. Means, which was shown me should be put into the treasury of God to advance his cause, is worse than lost by being invested in some of these modern improvements. Those who profess the truth, and feel at liberty to engage, and capable of engaging, in these patent rights and inventions, should not go among their brethren and make that their field of operation, but go among unbelievers. Let not your name and profession as an Adventist decoy your brethren who wish to consecrate their means to God. But go out into the world, and let that class invest their means who care not for the advancement of the cause of God. T08 3.1

I was shown the necessity of opening the doors of our houses and hearts to the Lord. When we begin to work in earnest for ourselves, and for our families, then we shall have help from God. I was shown that merely observing the Sabbath and praying morning and evening are not positive evidences that we are Christians. These outward forms may all be strictly observed, and yet true godliness be lacking. Titus 2:14: “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” All who profess to be Christ's followers should have command of their own spirit, and not speak fretfully or impatiently. The husband and father should check that impatient word he is about to utter. He should study the effect of his words, lest they leave sadness and a blight. T08 4.1

I was shown that infirmities and disease especially affect females. The happiness of the family depends much upon the wife and mother. If she is nervous and weak, and is suffered to be overtaxed with labor, the mind is depressed, for it sympathizes with the weariness of the body; and then she too often meets with cold reserve from the husband. If everything does not move off just as pleasantly as he could wish, he blames the wife and mother. He does not always seem to know how to sympathize with her, and is almost wholly unacquainted with her cares and burdens. He realizes not that he is aiding the great enemy in his work of tearing down. He should by faith in God lift up a standard against Satan, but he seems blinded to his own interest and hers. He treats her with indifference. He knows not what he is doing. He is working directly against his own happiness, and is destroying the happiness of his family. The wife becomes desponding, discouraged. Hope and cheerfulness are gone. She goes her daily rounds mechanically, because she sees her work must be done. Her lack of cheerfulness and courage is felt through the family circle. There are many miserable families like this, all through the ranks of Sabbath-keepers. And angels bear the shameful tidings to heaven, and the recording angel makes a record of it all. The husband should manifest great interest in his family. T08 4.2

Especially should he be very tender of the feelings of a feeble wife. He can shut the door against much disease. Kind, cheerful, and encouraging words will prove more effective than the most healing medicines. This will bring courage to the heart of the desponding and discouraged, and the happiness and sunshine brought into your family by kind acts and encouraging words, will pay you ten-fold. The husband should remember that much of the burden of training his children rests upon the mother. She has much to do with moulding their minds. This should call into exercise the tenderest feelings of the father, and with care should he lighten the burdens of the wife. He should encourage her to lean upon his large affections, and direct her mind to heaven, where there is strength and peace, and a final rest for the weary. He should not come to his home with a clouded brow, but should with his presence bring sunlight into the family, and should encourage his wife to look up and believe in God. Unitedly can they claim the promises of God, and bring his rich blessing into the family. Unkindness, complaining, and anger, shut Jesus from the dwelling. I saw that angels of God will flee from a house where there are unpleasant words, fretfulness and strife. T08 5.1

I have also been shown that there is often a great failure upon the part of the wife. She does not make strong efforts to control her own spirit, and make home happy. There is often fretfulness and unnecessary complaining on her part. The husband comes home from his labor weary and perplexed, and often meets a clouded brow, instead of cheerful, encouraging words. He is mortal, and his affections become weaned from his wife, he loses the love of his home, his pathway is darkened, and his courage gone. He yields his self-respect and that dignity which God requires him to maintain. The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church, and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from the dignified, responsible position God would have him occupy, displeases God. It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but preference is given in the word of God to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector. The husband should maintain his position in his family with all meekness, yet with decision. Some have asked the question, Must I be on my guard, and feel a restraint upon me continually? I have been shown that we have a great work before us to watch ourselves with jealous care, and search our own hearts, and know wherein we fail, and then guard ourselves upon that point. We must have perfect control of our own spirit. “He that offendeth not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” The light that shines upon our path, the truth that commends itself to our consciences, will condemn and destroy, or sanctify and transform, the soul. We live too near the close of probation to be content with a superficial work. The same grace which we have hitherto considered sufficient will not sustain us now. Our faith must be increased, and we must be more like Christ in conduct and disposition in order to endure, and successfully resist, the temptations of Satan. The grace of God is sufficient for every follower of Christ. T08 6.1

Our efforts must be earnest and persevering to resist the attacks of Satan. He employs his strength and, skill in trying to turn us out of the right way. He watches our going out and coming in, and intends to hurt or destroy us. He works most successfully in darkness, injuring those who are ignorant of his devices. He could not gain advantage if his method of attack was understood. The instruments he employs to effect his purposes, and transmit his fiery darts, are often the members of our own families. T08 7.1

Those we love may speak or act unguardedly, which may wound us deeply. It was not their intention to do this, but Satan magnifies their words and acts before the mind in a manner by which he hurls a dart from his quiver to pierce us. We brace ourselves to resist the one whom we think has injured us, and thus we encourage Satan's temptations. Instead of praying to God for strength to resist Satan, we suffer our happiness to be marred by trying to stand for what we term “our rights.” In thus doing, we allow Satan a double advantage. We act out our aggrieved feelings, and by taking this course Satan uses us as his agents to wound and distress those who did not intend to injure us. The requirements of the husband may sometimes seem unreasonable to the wife, when if she should take the second view of the matter, in as favorable a light for him as possible, if she would calmly, candidly consider, she would see that to yield her own way, and submit to the judgment of her husband even if it conflicted with her feelings, would save them both from unhappiness, and would give them great victory over the temptations of Satan. T08 7.2

I saw that the enemy would either contend for the usefulness or the life of the godly, and will try to mar their peace as long as they live in this world. But his power is limited. He may cause the furnace to be heated, but Jesus and angels will watch the trusting Christian, that nothing may be consumed but the dross. The fire kindled by Satan, can have no power to destroy or hurt the true metal. It is important to close every door possible, against the entrance of Satan. It is the privilege of every family to so live that Satan cannot take advantage of anything they may say or do, to tear each other down. Every member of the family should bear in mind that all have just as much as they can do to resist our wily foe, and rely upon the merits of the blood of Christ, and claim his saving strength. The powers of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us. In these dreadful hours we must learn to trust, to depend on the sole merits of the atonement, and in all our helpless unworthiness cast ourselves upon the merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. We shall never perish while we do this—never! When light shines on our pathway, it is no great, thing to be strong in the strength of grace. But to wait patiently in hope, when all is dark, when clouds envelope us, requires faith and submission which causes our will to be swallowed up in the will of God. We are too quickly discouraged, and earnestly cry for the trial to be removed from us, when we should plead for patience to endure, and grace to overcome. T08 8.1

Without faith it is impossible to please God. We can have the salvation of God in our families, but we must believe for it, live for it, and have a continual abiding faith and trust in God. We must subdue a hasty temper, and control our words; and in this we shall gain great victories. Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All this jangling, and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words, are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any offering we can make to God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness. The restraint God's word imposes upon us is for our own interest. It increases the happiness of our families, and all around us. It refines our taste, sanctifies our judgment, and brings peace of mind, and in the end, everlasting life. Under this holy restraint we shall increase in grace and humility, and it will become easy to speak right. The natural, passionate temper will be held in subjection. An indwelling Saviour will strengthen every hour. Ministering angels will linger in our dwellings, and with joy carry the tidings of our advance in the divine life heavenward, and the angel will make a cheerful, happy record. T08 9.1

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