Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


Labors In The Piedmont Valleys

The next day, Sabbath, I spoke to the brethren and sisters in the hired hall in which they held their regular Sabbath meetings. Owing to a delay in getting out the appointment, few besides our own people were present. But I felt the same interest in speaking to the few that I would have felt in addressing hundreds. Choosing as my text Isaiah 56:1-7, I tried to impress upon them the importance of obeying God and walking in the light, regardless of the opinions or course of the world. HS 231.1

“Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice; for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people; neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant: Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters; I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” HS 231.2

The question may arise in some minds why we as a people are separated from the world into little companies. We answer, It is not because we choose to differ from those around us, but because we see the necessity of obeying all the requirements of God. If any feel that it is of no consequence whether we obey all his commandments or not, they have only to look back to Eden to see what dire results befell Adam and Eve because of disobedience. It is for us to choose whether we will go over the same ground as they in transgression, or whether we will walk in the light that has shone upon us, and be found of our heavenly Father in the path of humble obedience. His blessings and promises are for those who love and obey him. HS 231.3

Some urge that it is of no consequence whether we keep the Sabbath or not; but we say that from the Bible standpoint it is a matter of great importance. Had it not been important, God would not have wrought in so marvelous a manner to deliver his people from Egyptian bondage. It was because he saw that they could not obey his commandments in their servitude, that he revealed his mighty arm in bringing them into a place where they could serve him. When they came to Sinai, he took occasion to refresh their minds in regard to his requirements. Christ and the Father, standing side by side upon the mount, with solemn majesty proclaimed the ten commandments, placing in the very center of the decalogue the Sabbath command. Again and again the Lord told the people that if they would keep his Sabbath he would take them to himself to be his chosen people; and again and again sorrow and shame were brought upon them because they failed to keep it. He also told them that the Sabbath should be a sign between him and them forever, that they might know that he was the Lord their God. Therefore it is of great importance that the Sabbath be regarded according to the commandment. HS 231.4

We want to know the truth, the whole truth as it is in Jesus. We cannot afford to cherish error on any point. Those who take their stand firmly upon the truth will know what affliction and persecution are. Few at the present time have any experimental knowledge of what these are. They may think they are having a hard time, but God is simply testing them to see if they have root in themselves. He is proving them, as he proved Adam and Eve in Eden, to see if they will obey him. HS 232.1

“Well,” says one, “if it were convenient, I would keep the Sabbath; but as it is, there is too great a cross connected with it.” Paul says, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Here is a double crucifixion. As the conscientious Christian takes his stand upon Bible truth, there are always those who refuse to accept it, and choose the world. The wife may take her position in favor of truth, while the husband may oppose it. Here a trial comes in at once, the trial of separation in faith and feeling. Shall we say to that wife, “You should leave your husband because he does not keep the Sabbath?” No, indeed. If she was a faithful wife before she accepted the truth, and if she sees in her friends those for whom Christ has died, she will seek to discharge her duties with even greater fidelity after she accepts the truth, that if possible she may lead them to see the light. “But,” it is asked, “should not the believing wife yield her convictions of duty because of her husband's unbelief?” By no means; because Christ is her Lord and Master. She cannot cast aside the claims of high Heaven upon her. The same is true of the believing husband or child. HS 232.2

The work of overcoming is an individual work. Our only safety is in taking our position firmly in favor of the word of God; for this is the only foundation that will stand the test. And then as we try to walk in the path of humble obedience, we must expect to meet trials. They will come upon us from quarters where we least expect them. But we must remember that all who have obeyed the word of God have had the cross to lift; and in lifting it they helped others to lift it. HS 232.3

If we have correct ideas of the mission of Christ on earth, and of what our work is, we shall not become discouraged because we are few. Said Christ, when asked if there be few that shall be saved, “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” Now he gives the reason: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” The fact that you are few in this place, brethren and sisters, is no reason that you should become discouraged. It seems to me, as I look upon the towering mountains that surround your valleys, that if I lived in this place, I would mark the spot where so many suffered in ages past for the truth, and taking courage from them, would lift the cross and obey the truth at any cost. As I think of those who have yielded their lives rather than the truth, it is plain to me what God has revealed concerning his people: “They shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. HS 232.4

God does not give us the spirit of the martyrs today, for we have not come to the point of martyrdom. He is now testing us by smaller trials and crosses. And at times when it seems that the billows of temptation will go over our heads, let us remember that the eye of God is watching over us, and let us be willing to endure all the trials that he sees fit to send. HS 233.1

John in holy vision saw a company standing around the great white throne, every one of them having white robes. The question is asked, Who are these, and whence came they? And the answer is given: “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” If you want to be among this company, you must not study how you can escape trials in this life. Do not keep thinking what a little company you are, but get your eyes fixed on Jesus. From his own lips the words come ringing down along the lines to our time, “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.” HS 233.2

Jesus left the royal courts of heaven, clothed his divinity with humanity, and for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. The question with him was not, Is it convenient for me to do this? Neither should it be with us, Is it convenient to obey God and keep the Sabbath? The question rather should be, Is it duty? What say the Scriptures? The Lord says in the words of my text, “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Again the promise is made, “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 shalt 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.” HS 233.3

All we need to know is the will of the Master. He says, “Go forward.” We should obey, even though the Red Sea were before us. He has promised to be a present help to us in every time of need. Then let us not sink down under trials, nor allow them to separate us from Jesus. As we look at the everlasting hills around us, they should remind us that God has a controversy with the nations, and that all who have lost their lives for the truth's sake will come forth from where they have fallen, to be rewarded with everlasting life in the city of God. Outside the city will be those who persecuted them. As these see the great light shining upon the faithful ones from Jesus, they will wish that they had been the persecuted instead of the persecutors. What agony will come upon them, as they hear the song of triumph echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven, and realize that the despised and persecuted are finally accepted of God! HS 233.4

But what will it profit a person, if, after enduring persecution, he then gives up the truth? Christ gave his life for us, and now, if necessary, we should give our lives for him. We are his, for he has bought us; and we ought not to rob him of that for which he has made this infinite sacrifice. The third angel is represented as flying through heaven, proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This message is to prepare a people for the coming of Christ. If men should refrain from proclaiming it, the very stones would cry out. The people must be warned. The words of the prophet are, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” We have a solemn work to do to proclaim this message of warning to the world. Are we engaging in this work? Will men arise in the Judgment and say, “You never told me that these things were so”? Will the gates of the city of God be closed against us, or shall we dwell with Jesus through the ceaseless ages of eternity? We want to give to God all that there is of us. It is only to the faithful workers that the Saviour says, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” HS 234.1

Dear friends. I entreat you to be firm to truth and to duty. Trials may press closer and closer; but Jesus will lead you, if you will let him. Pray much. Be willing to separate from everything that separates you from God. Then, in the day of trouble, he will come to your deliverance, and will hide you under the shadow of his wings. When your names are cast out as evil, and friends turn against you, remember how Jesus was treated on earth. Spies were constantly upon his track, seeking to catch him in his words, that they might find accusation against him. Can his followers expect better treatment than he received? Peter felt that it was too great an honor to be put to death as his Lord was, and petitioned that he might be crucified with his head down. He considered it an honor to suffer for Christ. Why should not we? HS 234.2