Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 105, 1894

Christ or the World? By Mrs. E. G. White


Circa 1894

Previously unpublished.

Marriage is a serious thing, and should not be entered upon in a thoughtless and reckless way. The father of a family should be pure and upright, not enslaved by any habit or practice that will work against his usefulness and hinder his elevation of character. The father is the head of the house and upon him rest the weightiest responsibilities. He is the house-band to bind the family circle together. Like the father of the faithful, he is to combine faith and works. His family is his heritage, and is under his supervision and control. It is not possible for him to be faithful to his God-given trust and succeed in making his family a sample of the family of heaven, unless he counts his temporal business as a matter of secondary importance, and gives the love and fear of God the first place in his affections. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 1

A true man before God is one who fears God himself and influences all his family to give their hearts to Christ to be his abiding place. The rule for the right government of every family circle is, “They shall keep the way of the Lord.” [Genesis 18:19.] The question to be settled by father and mother is not what will others say? What will my neighbors say and think of me if I keep the way of the Lord, but what will God think of me if I fail to do so? Shall the father of the family regard it a sufficient excuse for disobeying God's commandments that his neighbors not look upon loyalty to the word of God with favor? Have his neighbors paid the ransom for the soul of father or mother or children? How can the blessing of the Lord rest upon those who are looking to see what their neighbors think of them in keeping the commandments of the Lord? We should regard our homes as our own province. In our homes neither minister, church or neighbors should have a voice as to how we should control and educate our families. The home is to be made a Bethel, a holy temple where God presides; for we are all living in the sight of the eternal world. If the love of Christ pervades the heart, contentment and peace will be the result. To cherish any other principle will bring restlessness and dissatisfaction to the soul and it will prove a harder task to govern the family than for a king to rule his subjects. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 2

Those who encourage their children to seek the companionship of those who do not regard the law of God; but who set aside the holy requirements that God has given in order that none need err in understanding will find that the result will be disobedience of the law of the household. The word of God is to be our counselor and director in order that we may enter into the portals of bliss. It is to be the rule from which there can be no turning aside. No one will be able to reach the paradise of God by walking in harmony with some rule of their own manufacture. Parents and children are daily to inquire what is the way of the Lord. If parents turn their feet out of safe paths, their children will follow their example, but they will be called to account for exerting an influence to turn the feet of their children out of the path of truth and obedience. How will the excuse for such a course stand in the judgment that some have given as a reason for disobeying the word of God, — I did not wish to displease my neighbors. But what about displeasing God? Did they carefully study his will and his pleasure in order that themselves and their children should please the Lord by keeping all his commandments? Did they consider it was no sin to set aside the commandments of God in order that they might have favor with their neighbors? They should have carefully considered the path upon which they ventured. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 3

The Lord Jesus has paid the ransom for your soul and the souls of your children and are you going to take the course that some took in the days of Christ? The record says that many of the priests and rulers believed on him, but did not confess him for fear of being turned out of the synagogue. Why? Because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. [John 12:42, 43.] Parents, an awful responsibility rests upon you. If you find no pleasure in rendering a whole-hearted service to God, if you close the door lest truth and righteousness shall enter in, lest light shall penetrate the darkness and worldliness that surrounds you, remember that you are manifesting the fact that you prefer the friendship of your neighbors to the friendship of God. By precept and example, you are training your children to think that it does not matter whether they keep the commandments of God, or choose the ways of those who despise his law, and trample his requirements under their feet. Your children have been bought with a price, they are the property of Jesus Christ. And the loss of their souls will be placed to your account, since they have been given into your guardianship. If you walk in the path of those who trample upon the law of Jehovah, you will feel no burden of responsibility to lead your children in the path which you do not choose to travel yourself. Parents choose error in the full face of light, and can they expect that their children will walk in the path of truth? The world is full of disobedient, unthankful, unholy children. Yet parents will choose the path of darkness rather than the path of light for themselves and their household. They do not appreciate the fact that “the fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom.” [Proverbs 9:10.] Therefore, they discard home religion. Though feeling themselves that they are under the censure of God, yet they lead their children in the way which they have chosen. The Lord will approach nigh unto you in judgment; for you exclude truth and righteousness from your home when you say, I want not thy ways, Oh God. I want to follow my own impulse. I respect not the servants of God. I care not to wear the yoke of Christ, or to watch over, guide and train the children God has given me so that they shall love and fear him. Thus you lead the most precious possession you have to become the sport of Satan's temptations exposing them to the peril of being lost to Christ, and lost to heaven. They are left to swell the ranks of unbelievers and commandment-breakers. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 4

The Lord is soon to come and your inquiry every day should be, how shall I subdue the spirit of worldliness which continually seeks to exert its deadly influence over my soul which has been bought with an infinite price? You should daily cultivate love for Jesus who took [upon] his own divine soul the punishment for your sins. Have you ever considered how many there are who might have had eternal life who have satisfied themselves with the things of this present life, and have lost eternity out of their reckoning. It is time for us to consider seriously our responsibility in the matter of influence in the church. On whose side are you placing your influence? Jesus who died to save you and your children, says to you, “He that is not for me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] You cannot estimate the influence you may exert over those who have not the love and fear of God and who are in the darkness of error. “Ye are not your own. For ye are brought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] You are privileged to be coworkers with Christ in saving your own souls and the souls of your children. But if you are coworkers with Christ you will teach your children that they cannot live to please their associates when this involves displeasing God. What will please God is to be first, and what will please your neighbors secondary. What your neighbors will think or say or do is not be the standard to which you are to fashion your character or mould your course. By your example you are to teach your children, who are God's purchased heritage, that they are to regard the law of God as the rule of life, and to avoid transgression in every particular. You are responsible to God to give your neighbors an example that they may follow. By your practical obedience to all his requirements, you are to teach them to avoid all disloyalty. Your piety is to be active, earnest, sincere, and in practicing godliness you will decide your own destiny, and the destiny of your loved ones for eternal life. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 5

It will not answer for parents to shut themselves away from religious influences and from the knowledge and practice of the truth. You will not have a lamp to your feet and a light to your path so that you may avoid the pitfalls that Satan is constantly devising to entrap the soul. The Lord requires more of you than you have ever given him, — he requires the surrender of the whole heart. When you give him your heart, you will have his glory in view, and will discharge your God entrusted responsibilities, not seeking to please your neighbors, not walking with your hand upon their pulse to see if their hearts beat in harmony with your own; but you will study to show yourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed. You will then be able to say truthfully, “The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.” [Psalm 46:7.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 6

An adulterated Christianity surrounds us on every side. It is the time when we are to heed the third angel's message and to take to ourselves the instruction of the true witness. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of its place except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.] You should turn unto the Lord by obedience to his commandments, turn unto him in prayer, and by watching unto prayer, or else you will be found walking in darkness. You are not keeping the commandments of God, for you walk in the way of your neighbors. You are so blinded by the sophistries of Satan. Let this question come home to your soul, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] Is eternal life of no value to you? Is this world of more value to you than heaven? Will you permit it to absorb your mind, and engross your attention? Will you permit your neighbors to choose for you and fail [to] follow that which your conscience convinces you is true? Will it pay to sacrifice heaven? God calls upon you to change your course of action, both for your own soul's sake and for the sake of your children. Let your lives bear a living testimony for God. The Lord says, “Ye are my witnesses.” [Isaiah 43:10.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 7

Fathers and mothers have the responsibility of bringing up children; and the question they should ask themselves is, Are we training them in such a way that they shall know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour? Are we feeling a responsibility for their souls? Do we by precept and example teach our children to ask God for his blessing and to render to him thanksgiving for his great mercy and loving kindness to them and to us? Are we working for our Master, or are we by spirit and attitude conveying to others the idea that the Christian life is a wearisome service? Those who truly know God can say with John “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” [1 John 3:1.] Are we introducing our children to Christ, are we leading our neighbors to hope in his mercy? Have we the hope expressed by John when he says “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” [Verse 2.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 8

In the home the Christian life should be the theme of conversation. We should talk of his love, and speak of his great goodness in giving Jesus to our world. Not for a moment can we permit Satan's sophistry to take effect upon our minds, and be persuaded to believe that we may dilute Bible religion with worldliness in order to attract our neighbors and children to the Christian life. Present a high standard before your children and your neighbors, for in this way you will educate your children for the society of heavenly angels. Teach them the love of God. Through Christ holiness is accessible to them. Labor to have them understand the simplicity of service to Christ. Cultivate home religion; for what is home life without Jesus, without the assurance of his presence? 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 9

The work of fathers and mothers is to keep their children uncontaminated from the world. In order to do this, it will be necessary to study the word of God and obtain a rich experience. You will feed upon rich food in studying the life and lessons of Christ, in reading and in praying with the door of your heart open to receive the teachings of the Holy Spirit. In this way you may become truly converted. I entreat you do not make it necessary for God to afflict you by withdrawing his blessing from you. He will withdraw the blessing that is treated by you as though yours by right; for you make it a hindrance rather than a help. The Lord who gave his life for you and for your children, has left this command; “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” [John 5:39.] Those who do not earnestly cultivate spirituality by accepting light, and walking in the light, will find that the light they already have will become darkness. Unless we continually feel the necessity of praying to our heavenly Father for wisdom, unless we search the Scriptures to know the way of the Lord and to be kept by the power of God, then it will become easy to drift further and further away from God, and to unite our interests with that of those who know not and love not the truth. We need spirituality in order to discharge our duties in the fear of god. The Bible tells us that when men deliberately turn away from God, the Lord turns away from them. When the Jews did this the Lord said, “Therefore I scattered them with a whirlwind among all nations.” [Zechariah 7:14.] Again, the Lord says, “Them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] This is simply a declaration of the effect of a cause, the necessary result of a certain course of action. The Sun of Righteousness will shine upon those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus; he says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 10

We belong to Christ, for he has bought both us and our children. But we may be unfaithful to our trust and educate our children to think more highly of earthly treasure than of heavenly things. If we give the world the advantage and permit it to hold the attention and to absorb the service, then we need not wonder that worldliness fills every space and there is no room left for the admittance of the light proceeding from Christ. Those who make up with the world, will be swayed by the principles of the world. The Spirit that works in the heart of the disobedient will work in the hearts of ourselves and our children. The Lord will have the whole heart or nothing. A certain lawyer came to Christ and said, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said, “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.” And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right; this do and thou shalt life.” [Luke 10:25-28.] God has plainly revealed the way of salvation, and shall you or I venture to seek to find some other way whereby we may obtain the precious boon of eternal life? God has given to us the opportunity of obtaining light and knowledge, and shall we refuse the message sent from heaven? Shall we refuse the truth because we see that its acceptance would cause us to be separated from those who will not hear the truth or believe in the message of heaven? Shall we make a concession to the world and bind ourselves up with its bundles for the fires of the last days? They have pulled away the shoulder because they would not take the yoke of Christ and refused to lift his burden. They would not follow in his footsteps. Christ says, “I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” [John 15:10.] Those who turn away from the truth, stop their ears lest they shall hear, and turn into fables. They act like disobedient, stubborn children, and then they lay the blame and accusations upon those who are truth-loving and obedient, declaring that they create disunion among neighbors and bring about dissension among families. Christ was accused of creating division in families; he himself said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's foes shall be those of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” [Matthew 10:34-38.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 11

Christ was accused of creating division in families; but it is the truth working upon the human heart that creates the division. When the truth is presented to some, they see that a cross is involved in accepting it, and therefore they refuse the truth. While some members of the family yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit and open their hearts to Jesus, others turn away from the requirements of God and thus division is created. But shall I conclude to remain in darkness and unbelief and refuse light from heaven because this will separate me from my neighbors? Shall we choose Christ or the world? The law of God is binding upon every soul of man and those who keep it through the merits of Christ, who hang their helpless souls upon Christ are coming into harmony with heaven. Those who pull away the shoulder refuse the yoke of Christ, who put their fingers in their ears and care not to hear the word of the Lord, work in harmony with the evil one. But their action in refusing to comply with the divine requirements does not do away with the law of God. It is plain and decided, “Thou shalt” and “Thou shalt not.” 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 12

Men may walk in the dark cave of unbelief, and they may declare that it is midnight at midday; but shall we believe what they say? If they will come out of the cave they will see the sunlight. Christ said to the Jews, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” [John 3:19.] When men choose God as their portion, they will separate from the world. Those who neglect God bring upon themselves terrible calamity; for they choose darkness rather than light. They may neglect God in order to accumulate riches. But the greatest wealth is not true riches. Whatever men may possess, they are not the true proprietors. God can scatter faster than they can accumulate. Men may possess any amount of gold and silver, and look upon their wealth as their possession and yet if they have not Christ, the bread of life, the water of salvation, they are perishing with hunger and thirst. Those who regard all that they possess as the Lord's entrusted gift, who hold it for him, will be faithful stewards. He is strong who shares his strength with the weak. The great lesson which the Lord would have us learn is that of acknowledging him in all our ways. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 13

It is of great consequence to us that we know what saith the Scriptures. The word of God standeth fast forever, and is the only guide book to heaven. If we neglect the study of the guide book, we shall miss our way, lose our souls, and by precept and example, lead our children and our neighbors to regard it of no special consequence whether they heed a “Thus saith the Lord” or not. The loss of the souls of our children and our neighbors will lie at the our door if by our example we lead them to lightly regard the law of our God. We are not to lead others to suppose that it is of no special consequence whether or not they are doers of the word of God. Those who have had light on the commandments of God, and who disregard the divine precepts strengthen others in their disobedience and transgression. But although men refuse to see the light that shineth in darkness, their refusal to see light does not extinguish it. Of Christ John says that “he was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:9.] “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not. ... 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.” [Verses 4, 5, 10, 11.] What does this mean? It means that the very ones who claimed to be the children of God did not receive the Son of God. He was the light of the world, shining amidst the moral darkness, but he did not come in a way to suit their opinions and ideas; he was the hope of the world but the world received him not. The priests and rulers were too proud and self-righteous to admit that their ideas were incorrect and needed remodeling. They would not consent to the idea that they needed repentance and conversion in order to obtain salvation. Rather than make this acknowledgement they preferred to count Christ as an imposter. His teachings were not in harmony with their own teaching. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 14

This is the same spirit that is manifested today in the Christian world. They claim to be the children of God, yet they reject the truth that God has sent them from heaven, just as the Jewish nation rejected Christ, because the doctrines that he advocated did not coincide with the errors which they have received. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.” [Verses 12-14.] Those who are the light of the world are blessed because they behold spiritual things and see Christ as one who is full of grace and truth, and are partakers of the divine nature. “And of his fullness have we all received and grace for grace.” [Verse 16.] The reception of the grace of Christ makes a marked change in the character; for those who receive it are called “born of God.” [1 John 3:9.] The grace of Christ is diffusive. As the believing soul receives the truth as it is in Jesus, he obtains a glimpse of the righteousness of Christ in the law, and exclaims, “Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” [Psalm 119:18.] “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:1-4.] The whole Christian experience is presented in a small compass, and it is all embraced in believing and doing the words of Christ. Peter brings to view the plan of addition, the working out of the promise of receiving grace for grace. He says, “And besides this giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Verses 5-8.] Are you adding to your Christian experience? Grace is to be multitude unto you through the knowledge you receive of God and of Jesus Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 15

Is heaven of any value to you? If it is not everything to you it is nothing. If you cannot and will not make it your business to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, if you will not show that you live by faith in God, making manifest the fact that you are God's property both by creation and redemption, you have not saving faith, — the faith that receives Christ as your only hope and Redeemer. Should Christ come to those who profess to be his own, should he come to the Christian churches at this day as he did to the Jewish churches at his first advent, how many would receive him? Would not the same displeasure be manifested when he spoke plain, cutting truths which expose sin and condemn unrighteous practices as when he condemned sin in the Jews? Would not hatred be manifested by those who were condemned for their self-righteous principles in this day as at the first advent of Christ. Those who refuse to be doers of the word of Christ in this day as verily reject him as did those who rejected him eighteen hundred years ago. Were Christ on earth today, he would repeat the same words as he did then in seeking to save perishing souls. He would say to the rejecters of his mercy, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 16

When the pure word of God is presented just as it reads to worldly professors of religion, they do not relish it, but turn from truths to fables. But shall the voice of warning be silent because men do not regard it with favor? God forbid. Just before his death, Paul gave the charge to Timothy, reining him up before the judgment, where he would be condemned or rewarded for the deeds done in the body, and said, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine; for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:1-5.] If such a solemn responsibility rests upon those who preach the word, does not an equal responsibility rest upon those who hear the word? Should they not receive the word preached, obeying it as the voice of God to them, being not forgetful hearers but doers of the word? “The entrance of thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] If you close the ear to the instruction given you from God's word, if you close the door of the heart to divine knowledge, you cannot possibly understand the will of God, or be taught of God. Unless we search the Scriptures as Christ has commanded us to do, we shall fail to know and understand the will of God. We can only know what is truth by searching for it as for hidden treasure. Why is the word of life so much neglected when it means so much to every individual? It is to be a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 17

Those who put forth zealous, earnest efforts in searching the word of God is a mine of truth and the searcher will be rewarded by discovering many rich and precious lodes. In the plan of salvation there are heights and depths of eternal truths and it will tax the mental powers to the utmost to comprehend them. It is utterly impossible for the human mind to take in the great things of God unless the Holy Spirit shall enlarge the faculties, and broaden the mind to comprehend them. Though there are rich rewards in gaining a knowledge of deep truths, yet there are very many who while claiming to believe the truth, cling to the world, who do not desire a deeper and fuller knowledge of what saith the Scriptures. They will never understand that which they do not want to know. The Lord will not force upon any a knowledge of sacred saving truth. Those who reject the truth because it means self-denial and cross-bearing will not be forced to accept it; but they will be none the less guilty for refusing to understand and obey the truth that God has brought to their attention. The treasure house of truth was open to them, and they would not accept God's gracious gift. We should thankfully accept the provision made for us, read and understand our Bible, and communicate that which we have learned to others. So much human tradition has been received so many doctrines and commandments of men have been thrust upon the attention that it is impossible to understand the will of God unless the word of God is carefully and prayerfully searched. Men take the sayings of men as the word of God, and they become confused and miss the way because they do not distinguish between God's requirements and the requirements of their neighbors. There are many voices calling to follow in this path and that; but our great need is to turn our attention from the sayings and doings of men to a “thus saith the Lord.” 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 18

Every man, woman, and child has a soul to save or to lose. In the salvation of the soul each one must act as an individual, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling. There is to be no indifference, no carelessness in dealing with those things wherein eternal interests are involved. “For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:13.] Man must work in harmony with God; but it is impossible for him to do this unless he shall know from the divine word what is the will of God. No one can do this work in our place. it involves individual consecration of heart, mind, and spirit to God. We each have an individuality of our own. But are we to form characters to please our neighbors who are dishonoring God, and one with those who are in union with God; for believers in the truth are one in spirit. But we are not to be one with the disobedient and disloyal. God has not left us alone to fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil. The command to us is “come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 19

“We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] Those who obey the truth become Christ's witnesses. By precept and example, they show to others what is required by law of God. Christians are to manifest an independence to believe what the Scriptures say and to obey the word of God regardless of what their neighbors may dictate. We shall be constantly tempted to associate with unbelievers and to follow where they may lead, but we are to be faithful soldiers of Jesus Christ in the world. We may know that our neighbors consider us foolish in advocating the law of God, in declaring the it is perfect, and able to convert the soul. They may think it very unkind that we separate ourselves in practice, and make ourselves singular; but let us never say I cannot lift the straw, cannot bear this burden. Ever since Christ came into the world, men have manifested cowardice when called to acknowledge Christ. Men have shrunk as they do now from the consequences of obeying the truth. They have realized that there would be alienation between themselves and their neighbors. But shall we4 hide our light under a bushel, because others do not wish to behold it? The Lord says, “Let your light so shine before me, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] Those who follow Christ will necessarily differ from the world and from those who are merely professed Christians. The Saviour says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself unto him. ... He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine; but the Father's which sent to me.” [John 14:15, 21, 24.] Obedience is the test of discipleship. But how little do men appreciate the privilege of having the companionship of Christ, of being in harmony with God! They do not realize that they are Christ's property, bought with an infinite price, and that they are to glorify God in their body and in their spirits which are his. The most important friendship is the friendship of God. There should be continual watchfulness to keep the soul pure and holy in faithfully doing his commandments. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 20

We are sorry that there are some who shrink from obeying the truth because they feel dependent upon their neighbors for agreeable companionship, and do not wish to displease them. But in so doing, you bind your light so that it shall not shine forth in good works that others may see you are in harmony with God, and obedient to his commandments. Unless you obey the commandments of God, you constitute yourself a stumbling block to your neighbors, and they stumble over your disregard of God's law, taking license from your disobedience in following their own pernicious way. You profess to be a Christian but unless you obey God's commandments you are far from being a representative of Christ. There is no excuse that can avail. The question is why do you not walk in the way of God's commandments with a perfect heart? Why do you seek to excuse yourself saying, what will my neighbors say? We are not to ask what our neighbors shall say of us. They may feel surprised because we seek to understand the terms of eternal life, and to comply with the conditions of salvation. You should say to them, “I cannot lose the presence, the power, the love of God out of my soul for the sake of being at peace with my neighbor.” Peace at such a cost is too dearly purchased. The question to be settled by you and I is “Am I on the Lord's side? Am I on the side of Christ and the holy angels? Am I choosing the best company? Am I a son or a daughter of the Lord Jesus Christ? What does my Father, whose property I am, think of me?” We are each one required to lift the cross of Christ, not looking to men for their good opinion, but to our heavenly Father. With the approval of God we are to move forward with a heaven-born spirit of independence, not fearing to stand alone and without human support. When we live in obedience to God, we are never alone. Christ says, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.” [John 15:9, 10.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 21

We are in the last precious hours of probation, and are deciding our eternal destiny by the course of actions we pursue. Those who take their stand in the ranks of those who are transgressors of God's law, are making a perilous decision. By their deliberate choice, they show to the world, to the angels and to men, that they have little desire for spiritual and eternal realities. Christ clothed his divinity with humanity and came to our world that was all seared and marred with the curse in order to redeem men from the transgressions of the law of God. He came to bring to men moral power to endow them with the virtue of his righteousness in order that they might be elevated in the scale of moral value with God. Who then will return to their loyalty, who will be on the Lord's side, freely and willingly choosing to obey God's commandments? Who will show that they have an appreciation of Christ's humiliation who stood as our substitute and surety and was recognized as such by God and the whole universe of heaven? He became a spectacle unto the world, to angels and to men, and shall we not follow in his footsteps, receiving him as our personal saviour? Shall we not consecrate every faculty to his service, and form a character after Christ's likeness, becoming obedient members of the Lord's family? 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 22

Christ died in order to open the way so that those who are transgressors of his law might, through his merits, become obedient children. It was to this end that Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. He endured humiliation, ignominy, and shame in order that through his perfection of character, the sinner might be lifted up, this has been Christ's interest in you and yet you have been so unconcerned in regard to your eternal interests, that you have had no relish for heavenly things. Christ was punished for your sins, in order that you might not perish eternally; but how lightly you have esteemed his sufferings! He who knew no sin was made a sin bearer for us that we through his shame and suffering in our behalf might be made righteous. What kind of hearts can we have to behold the life and love and sufferings of Christ in our behalf, and yet be out of sympathy with our Redeemer? Can we wonder that the human nature of Christ staggered and trembled in Gethsemane as he prayed that the cup might pass from him if it were possible that it should pass, and man not perish? But in the midst of anguish unendurable to finite nature, he weighed the loss of your soul and that of the world, and it seemed such a terrible loss, that Christ consented to drink the cup. He said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” [Matthew 26:39.] Human nature un-sustained by divinity would have died on the field of battle. In our behalf Christ bore the wrath of his Father in consequence of sin. He consented to be loaded with the sins of the whole world. While he prayed, “If it be possible let this cup pass from me” the woes of the sinful, disobedient world came up before him. The tide of human anguish that men are yet ignorant of, the terrible consequences of their own iniquity, rose up before Christ, and he was nerved to bear the agony of a lost world. It is only through his sacrifice that everlasting salvation can come to a soul who has transgressed the law of God. How can you make salvation seem so light a matter that you will not decide to become a commandment keeper? It is because you have not become a partaker of in spirit of the sufferings of Christ. You do not wish to have your ease disturbed; but prefer to do as you please. You have about decided that you will not suffer reproach for the truth's sake. You have no appreciation of what Christ suffered to bring salvation within your reach, and make it possible for you to return to your loyalty to God, to have your name registered in the book of God, and to stand un-condemned for the sake of him who was condemned for you. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 23

What is the duty of those who have light in regard to the truth? Christ answers “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] We do not make manifest that we are on Christ's side of the question, unless we recognize the binding claims of the divine law. Christ does not give us light in order that we may place it behind a screen, or put it under a bushel or under a bed. But we are to place it on the candlestick where it will give light to all those who are about it. For what purpose are we to let our light to shine? It is to expose the darkness to reveal moral degeneracy. Sin and unrighteousness are made to appear by contrast with righteousness. God gives us light in order that sin may be discerned. Those who think they can pass along and be in harmony with men who are going on in disobedience and transgression make a mistake in thinking that they themselves will be written in the registry of heaven as the children of God. While men profess to be Christians and yet disobey God, they are virtually saying to the sinner, “it is well with thee.” Transgression is rebuked by obedience and loyalty, those whom you may think hopeless, those whom you may judge will never see the truth, and for whose favors you think you must make concession, may be the very ones who might be saved by your steadfast faith and practical godliness. Your cowardice in shrinking from keeping God's commandments is telling them that to keep God's commandments is a terrible affliction although God says, “Keep my commandments and live.” [Proverbs 4:4.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 24

He who has moral courage to be true to principle, to obey a “thus saith the Lord” will always be an annoyance to his neighbors who do not regard the word of the Lord, and who think it matters little whether men obey or disobey God. But the duty remains to conscientiously take the position of rendering loving service to God, because he has shown his love toward the human agent in giving his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He who takes this position which is sustained by the word of God, will find that it disturbs his neighbors, it disturbs the members of his family, who will not yield their hearts to the claims of truth. But in spite of this painful situation Christ will have his witnesses in all parts of the world. Far and near the rays of light from those who fear God and keep his commandments, are shining, and many who now walk in darkness will place themselves wholly on the Lord's side. It is not too late for your conscience to be aroused. He who is a true, whole-hearted enquirer into truth will see and understand truth. If you have hitherto misapplied your capabilities, and done dishonor to God, you may yet turn and do acceptable service. But those who will not repent and reform will be called upon to render an account to God for the good that they might have done with the capabilities and opportunities which God gave them. They might have become rooted and grounded in the truth, and have received the heavenly benediction, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:21.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 25

If we looked at our lives and our influence in the light of the word of God, we should realize more deeply its solemnity. We should consider the fact there are many with whom we are brought into contact who gather the only knowledge they have of God and Christ from our words and actions. Then what a positive necessity there is that our thoughts and words should be right in every respect, lest we fail to represent Christ and manifest his truth. The question is, is the heart right? Through faith and prayer, we may know that our hearts are one with the heart of Christ, and that God loves us as he loves his Son. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, and because he kept his Father's commandments, his abiding place was in the Father's love. He says of his followers, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” [John 20:21.] “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth god for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] How can any remain in darkness who possess a Bible and searches the Scriptures, desiring to understand the conditions upon which eternal life is founded. But if we care not to hear the voice of God, if we are like those who were invited to the supper and begin to make excuses, and one go to his farm and another to his merchandise we shall not be benefitted by the heavenly invitation to “Come to my supper; for all things are now ready.” [Luke 14:17.] 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 26

When those who are invited begin with one consent to make excuse, the Lord is dishonored, and his invitation is slighted. Selfish interests are consulted before eternal interests and worldly association is preferred rather than instructions from heaven. Those who refuse to hear the invitation which invites them to the consideration of heavenly things place themselves and their children outside divine influences, into an atmosphere that is not in harmony with truth and righteousness. They walk in the same path in which the world travels and are registered in the books of heaven as one with the world. They choose the association of unbelievers, in order that they may please self in keeping the friendship of their neighbors. Christ calls upon them saying “Follow me.” “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] But the answer comes back, we do not wish to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we do not wish to cause dissension among our neighbors. It would be very unpleasant to obey your injunctions for it would cause a separation of our interests from that of our neighbors. We know that you have said, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and my daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] But the carnal heart says, “Such a separation would be very inconvenient. It would displease all the neighbors with whom I am acquainted who I have loved for many years. I cannot follow you Jesus; for I must not break up my associations with my neighbors. I will walk in the path in which they walk, for choosing to be in conformity with the will of God is choosing to obey his commandments and to abide in his love, but it is also choosing to be out of harmony with the world.” 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 27

You are now in the valley of decision. You are making a choice that will affect yourselves and your children, not in this life, but in the life that is to come. Your sentiments, your example, the manner in which you treat the plain injunctions of the word of God, the character of your influence is deciding the future destiny of your children who are the property of God, bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. You are leading your children in false paths, teaching them to lightly regard the moral standard which is to measure character. What excuse will you be able to offer when you are called to render up your account to God, when the judgment shall sit and the books be opened and every man be rewarded according to the deeds done in the body? How will your excuses stand in the light of Christ's words? He says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy but to fulfill for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments and shall teach men so (by precept or example) shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19.] In the councils of heaven the violators of the least commandments of God are registered as of least value among men. This decision is pronounced in the councils of the kingdom of heaven to show that not one of these moral precepts is to be trifled with. Men are not to consult their convenience or pleasure when it is a question of obeying God. God will bring them into judgment for disregarding his law. They will not be taken into the kingdom of heaven and treated as inferior subjects; they will never enter the kingdom of heaven, but in that kingdom they are pronounced as the least in all God's creation. God does not regard those who mislead the inexperienced as proper religious teachers. He says, “Whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Verse 19.] Those who do and teach the commandments of God are recognized in heaven as those who are one with Christ and with God, and they are accounted great by the angelic hosts. How careful should we be to obey the commandments of God and exercise our entrusted talents in showing to a disobedient world that we honor God by keeping his law which is a transcript of his character. All human intelligences are to obey the law of God, not making for themselves a lower standard than that which the Lord has given through Jesus Christ the world's Redeemer. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 28

David was greatly tried in his day in seeing men pouring contempt upon God's law. Men threw off restraint and depravity was the result. The law of God had become a dead letter to those whom God had created. Men refused to receive the holy precepts as the rule of their life. Wickedness was so great that David feared lest God's forbearance should cease, and he sent up a heartfelt prayer to heaven saying “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.] If David thought in his day that men had exceeded the limits of God's mercy and that God would work to vindicate the honor of his law and bring the wickedness of the wicked to an end, then what influence should the widespread iniquity of our day have upon those who love and fear God. When there is widespread disobedience, when iniquity is increasing to a swelling tide, will the professed world be evil with the evil, unrighteous with the unrighteous? Shall we place our influence on the side of the great apostate, and shall universal scorn be heaped upon God's law the great standard of righteousness? Shall we be swept away by the strong tide of transgression and apostasy? Or shall the righteous search the Scriptures and know for themselves the conditions upon which the salvation of their souls depends? 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 29

Those who make the word of God the man of their counsel will esteem the law of God and their appreciation of it will rise in proportion as it is set aside and despised. Loyal subjects of Christ's kingdom will re-echo the words of David and say, “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.” [Verses 126, 127.] This is the position those will occupy who love God sincerely and their neighbors as themselves. They will exalt the commandments in proportion as contempt increases. The point is fast being reached when the iniquity of transgressors will be to the full. God gives nations a certain time of probation. He sends light and evidence that if received will save the; but if refused as the Jews refused light, indignation and punishment will fall upon them. If men refuse to be benefitted and choose darkness rather than light, they will reap the results of their choice. “Behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the also shall disclose her blood and shall no longer cover her slain.” [Isaiah 26:21.] The professed Christian world is advancing as did the Jewish nation from one degree of sinfulness is a greater degree, refusing warning after warning, and rejecting a thus saith the Lord, while crediting the fables of men. The Lord God will soon arise in his wrath, and pour out his judgments upon those who are repeating the sins of the inhabitants of the Noatic world. Those whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil as were the hearts of the inhabitant of Sodom, will like them be destroyed. The fact that God has had long forbearance, patience, and mercy, the fact that his judgments have been long delayed will not make the punishments any less severe when it does come. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 30

The Jewish nation is before us as an example of the termination of God's long forbearance. In the destruction of Jerusalem the destruction of the world is typified. The lips of him who ever pronounced blessings upon the penitent and spoke encouragement to the poor and suffering and brought gladness to the humble, pronounced a curse upon those to whom he had presented light which they would not appreciate or accept. Those who sought to evade the clear, distinct word of God and cherish manmade traditions, he declared would be found guilty of all the blood of the prophets which had been slain from the foundation of the world. [Luke 11:50.] Again and again God had arrested the Jews in their wicked course by severe chastisement; but they provoked him by their wicked works, casting away the law of the Lord of hosts, and finally refusing to reverence his only begotten Son. Each century of transgression was treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath. Jesus bade the stubborn and impenitent nation to fill up the measure of their iniquity. Their wicked works were not forgotten nor overlooked; for when the time of retributive judgment was fully due the mandate was sent forth from the sacred place of the Most High for the vindication of God's honor and the magnifying of his law. In these last days the history of the Jewish nation is being repeated in the Christian Church. Notwithstanding the fact that they have before them the example of the Jewish nation in rejecting light, they are doing as they did, and doing despite to the Spirit of Grace. 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 31

The time is drawing near when it will be fully demonstrated that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, and the severest of punishment will fall upon those who have educated the people to accept error in place of the truth, to walk in paths that have not been cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. God keeps a reckoning with nations, and when men fully make his law void, then destruction cometh. The Lord is permitting him who is a hater of God and man to do his will on land and sea. God's protecting mercy is gradually being withdrawn. Calamities on land and sea are warnings from God telling the earth what shall be when his light is wholly rejected. Overtures of mercy are still presented to the human family; but this will not long continue; for the figures of iniquity are steadily increasing. The fallen churches are uniting with the world and apostatizing from the truth, and the ministry of wrath is about to begin. On the register above the summing of impiety is kept with unerring accuracy and the figures are fast reaching their limit. Still God is at work calling to repentance, presenting promises for forgiveness and favor. God would use every entrusted capability, every jot of consecrated influence. Ingratitude, contempt of the restraining grace of Christ which would keep men back from presumptuous sins, from pride, selfishness, and covetousness, prevails on every hand. Now is the time when every particle of influence should be put into exercise, not to work on Satan's side of the question, but on the Lord's side. Not a new commandment, but the old commandment, which we had from the beginning is to be vindicated. Vigorous piety is to increase and make for itself a place on the earth. The standard of truth is to be elevated in new places, and to be carried into regions beyond. God calls for men to consecrate themselves wholly and to place themselves and their means upon the altar for the building up of the interests of God's kingdom in the world. Everything is to be done that can be done to shed forth light into the darkened places of the earth, and we have but little time in which to do a great work. Will you not be on the Lord's side in the last battle of the controversy? 9LtMs, Ms 105, 1894, par. 32