Sermons and Talks, vol. 2


Chapter 43—Lessons From the First Chapter of Daniel

Manuscript 73, 1909

[Sermon delivered by Mrs. E. G. White, Sabbath, August 27, 1909, Council Grove, Kansas, Camp Meeting.]

The first chapter of Daniel teaches the lesson that what we eat and drink has an influence upon the powers of the mind, and that if we would have healthful bodies and clear minds, we must be careful of our diet. If we are careless in this matter, and eat simply to gratify taste, the digestive organs are impaired, and the brain is confused, and neither can act their parts as fully as God intended they should. 2SAT 314.1

[Daniel 1:8-16, quoted.] 2SAT 314.2

Daniel and his companions determined to banish from their diet everything that would defile, and a power from above worked in harmony with their efforts. As a result they had the privilege of following their own course in the obtaining of their education. And the education they gained was better than that gained by any of the magicians, astrologers, or wise men in all the king's realm. 2SAT 314.3

Those who desire to come into right relation to God need to study Daniel's plan. That was a sum proved. You may take the sum and prove it also. There are many who think that those who adopt health reform suffer a loss of physical strength, but if these would test the matter for themselves, they would change their minds on this point. I have tested the value of health reform for thirty years, living just as simply as possible, and my physical ability at the age of 82 has been a surprise to many. In this journey I have taken, entailing five months of constant labor in the desk and out of the desk, my strength has been sustained. In my experience, health reform has given me a wonderful victory. 2SAT 314.4

The Lord does not want us to have irritable tempers, and disturbed and confused minds. He wants us to do for ourselves just what these Hebrew youth did for themselves. We are to let alone the wine that excites and intoxicates. We see all around us too much of the results of its use. 2SAT 314.5

How earnestly should we plead for the benefits of the truth in this age of the world's history. How greatly are its principles needed! Consider the city of San Francisco. What was it that brought the judgments of God upon that city? We read the answer in the revelations that have been made of corruption in those who stood in high office. Corruption and drunkenness and robbery are discovered on every hand. And this condition of wickedness is not in San Francisco alone. We who have the truth understand the meaning of these conditions and events. 2SAT 314.6

We are living in the last evening of this earth's history. Is it not time that every soul [should] place himself in right relation to God to act an individual part for the upbuilding of the kingdom of Christ? Is it not time that fathers and mothers do a special work in the family? Let there be no harsh words, no scoldings. This does not reform. Take your children aside when they do wrong, and show them the result of a wrong course of action. Pray with them. That prayer may make such an impression on their minds that they will see that you are not unreasonable. And if the children see that you are not unreasonable, you have gained a great victory. This is the work that is to be carried on in our family circles in these last days. Our children are a sacred responsibility. God requires that they be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 2SAT 315.1

This lesson also teaches the effect of a simple diet upon the physical powers. Students attending school should have provided for them food that will not cause disturbances in the human organism. If you do not know how to provide such food, I ask you to learn how. We are fighting for a kingdom. We are to be laborers together with God, and we must learn to subdue our passions, lest we be shut out of the courts of heaven. If we do not perfect Christian characters here, we cannot enjoy the pleasures of eternal life. 2SAT 315.2

Daniel stood in a very responsible position in the kingdom of Babylon. There will always be those who will occupy positions of lesser responsibility; but whatever our work, our example may be such that it will lead others into right paths. We need to humble ourselves before God and pray to Him, and trust in Him. We do not pray half enough in our families and alone with God. There is a world to be saved, and every talent should be used in the service of God. You may not be able to go outside your family, but you can still do a work for God; and by your own course of action you can encourage those who have missionary work to perform. 2SAT 315.3

We cannot afford to miss any opportunity for perfecting a Christian character. Whatever experience may come to others, remember that you, in your lot and place, will be tested by God. There will be times when you will be placed in unfavorable positions, but at such times plead with God, trust in Him, and walk in simple faith before the Lord. Then angels of heaven will impress your minds. Let not your minds be filled with self and self-interests. 2SAT 315.4

The Lord is looking upon us in mercy and love today. Who will follow out the will of the Lord? Who will study to overcome the hasty temper, remembering that the words they speak are spoken in the hearing of heavenly angels? These heavenly agencies are continually ministering to us, and they will speak through us and by us if we will walk humbly with God. They open for us opportunities to make known to others a knowledge of the God of heaven. Let us acknowledge God as the highest power. Let us cherish our Redeemer's spirit of meekness and humility of mind. Let us study our life work, that it may bear the test of the judgment. We shall then stand on vantage ground with Daniel and his companions, overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. 2SAT 316.1

In the third chapter of Daniel we can read the record of God's mighty work in behalf of the youth who would not bow to the image that the king had set up; and we may know that the same God is near to us as we stand in His power to honor His name in our experience. The form of the Fourth walked beside the Hebrews in the midst of the fiery furnace because they refused to bow down to the image and to worship the work of men's hands. 2SAT 316.2

“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and”—the king's countenance turns pale as he continues—“the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” [Verses 24, 25]. 2SAT 316.3

Going to the mouth of the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar calls the youth to come forth. [Verses 26-29, quoted.] 2SAT 316.4

The God of the Hebrews is our God. Let us seek to stand in right relation to Him. We have souls to save or to lose, and it depends upon our individual selves whether we save or lose. If we lose, we carry others with us to destruction. All heaven is looking upon us to see what course we will pursue—whether we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb or be careless and indifferent, going on as we please, filling our days with the pleasures of the world, and our minds with the foolish novel, while God's work is neglected and His Word cast aside. 2SAT 316.5

I ask you to consider these things as you have never yet considered them. I present before you Christ as your only hope. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I present Christ's character before you. Study it carefully. There is no higher education to be gained than that which you gather from the Word of God. Those who will may gain from it an intelligence and an understanding that is as enduring and as reliable as that which Daniel had, and which preserved him and carried him safely through test and trial. Christ will give judgment to the student of His Word today, as He gave the Hebrew youth judgment. These young men were found to have more wisdom than all the wise men in all the realm of Babylon. 2SAT 316.6

When the heart is in right condition before God, we shall deny self. Did not God give Jesus, His only begotten Son—He who was equal with the Father in the making of man? What are you doing to make yourself acceptable before God? Are you cultivating your reasoning powers? Are you preserving your physical powers by a wise and careful diet? Let the wine alone, and everything of the kind. We need to adopt a simple diet if we would have a clear understanding of our duty. Let us remember that we are living in review before God, that we shall have tests to bear, and that our faith in God is to be so cultivated that we can reach up to heaven in full confidence for sanctification of body, soul, and spirit. 2SAT 317.1

We need that living faith that will take hold of God; and we can have this if we will study the will of the Lord in all things. In times of poverty and sickness and suffering, it is our privilege to go to the Saviour and tell Him our necessities, and ask Him for His help. And if we will rely upon the Word of God, we shall see the fulfillment of His promises. Every day we are meeting temptation and trial in one form or another; but if we walk humbly with God and do our best, seeking daily to come into close relation to Him, He will work in our behalf. 2SAT 317.2

Study the record of the life and activities of Christ. The Saviour knew that He could do little if He remained in one place. Therefore He moved from city to city and village to village, the crowds often following Him in great multitudes. He gave these followers instruction, teaching them of Himself from the words of the Old Testament Scriptures. As He would present old truths in a new light before them, the people would listen as to something they had never before heard of. 2SAT 317.3

On one occasion the people gathered about the Saviour until there were 5,000 men besides women and children. All day they had listened to the great Teacher, and now, as evening drew on, the Master said to His disciples, These must be weary; they should have rest and food. But the inquiry arose, Where shall we find food for so great a company? The Saviour asked, How much have you? The disciples replied, Five barley loaves and a few small fishes. Bid them sit down on the ground, the Saviour commanded; then, breaking the bread, He gave to His disciples and the disciples to the multitudes. 2SAT 317.4

When the people were satisfied, the Saviour gave the command to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” Here Christ taught a precious lesson, one that was to come clear down through the ages to our time. There is an economy that Christ wants each to weave into our experience. There are wants and necessities on every hand to be supplied; there are needy and suffering ones to help. When we stand in right relation to God, we will stand in right relation to the principles of economy. We will know by experience what it means to deny self. We will be willing to sacrifice for the sake of others. 2SAT 318.1

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ accepted the office laid upon Him. Seeing the needs of men, He laid aside His royal robe and crown and came to earth to minister to mankind. And day by day in His life on earth, He was preparing for greater tests to come with stronger power. 2SAT 318.2

Just before His crucifixion He took His disciples aside that they might pray with Him, that He and they might receive strength to endure. It was here in His agony in the garden of Gethsemane that the cup trembled in His hand. Should He drink it, and thus be separated from God? Should He take the sins of the world upon Him? The woes of a lost race rose up before Him, and He said, “Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Then a mighty angel from glory came to His side and strengthened Him to go through the awful trial. 2SAT 318.3

He was laid in the tomb, and a great stone was rolled before the door of the tomb. But when the day of His release came, a mighty angel from heaven came and rolled back the stone as [though] it had been a pebble. And Jesus came forth, and proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” He revealed Himself to Mary and to His disciples, bringing rejoicing to their hearts. 2SAT 318.4

God sent His Son into the world that He might learn by actual experience the needs of humanity. Through humanity combined with divinity He must reach man and enable him to lay hold upon the divine nature. 2SAT 318.5

Let us not turn from the representation because we cannot be one with the world and at the same time be one with Christ. We do not deserve heaven if we come to Christ in that way. Let us make an entire surrender to God. God wants us to withdraw from association with those who would lead us to withdraw from Him. He wants His people to lay hold with a strong determination to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He wants them to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, to consecrate themselves to God to bear the suffering part of religion as well as to share its joys. If they cannot do this, they cannot enter the gates of the city of God and have right to the tree of life. 2SAT 319.1

Let us ever remember that eternal life has been secured for us at the cost of God's only begotten Son. Considering this, should we not study to know what sacrifices we can make for His cause, what part we can act in advancing the glory of God for the great hereafter? Humanity can grasp the divinity of Christ. This is for us if we will lay hold of it by an intelligent faith. Let us learn what it means to deny self as Christ denied self. He laid aside all that He had with the Father, and clothing His divinity with humanity came to earth that He might teach men and women how they might overcome. We are living in a time of test. Shall we not decide to stand on the side of Christ in this matter? 2SAT 319.2

Do you not want the gates of the city of God to be opened freely to you, and you be welcomed in with your children? Do you not want the crown of glory placed upon your brow? Do you not want that life that measures with the life of God? But if we [are to] enjoy these eternal blessings, we have sacrifices to make in this life. We must reveal that we possess a faith that lays hold upon the living God and a righteousness that overcomes sin. May God bless us here today. 2SAT 319.3

How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to cooperate with Jesus Christ in our individual salvation? What are we willing to do that we may be enlightened and may enlighten others? Satan is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness to set in operation means by which to bring suffering upon God's people. Let us cultivate the simplicity of true godliness. Let us in our human nature take hold of the divine, that that nature may mold our life, our character, our words and works. Then we shall go straight forward in the name of Jesus Christ. 2SAT 319.4

There are souls to be saved from their sin. We must lay hold of them by living faith, and give them every chance to overcome. I ask you, Will you not accept the truth I have presented before you today? Will you not seek to come into harmony with the spirit of this work that you may have a part in it? Will you not make the effort to put away folly and indulgence, and do all in your power to save the souls that are perishing? 2SAT 319.5

We need help for the work to be done in different parts of the great missionary field. In Portland, Maine, where the truth was preached with power in 1842-44, our brethren and sisters have need of a little meetinghouse. Very little labor has been given to the city of Portland. There are a few Sabbath-keepers there, but they have no house of worship. We do not hesitate to ask you to help in the erection of this house of worship by giving us of your means, for by so doing you will be laying up in the heavens a treasure that faileth not. We want you to have a part in carrying the message of mercy to this world. 2SAT 320.1

We hope to have a large company of believers in Portland, Maine. The power of God was felt at the camp meeting held there recently, and we hope that many souls will be relieved as a result of its work, and that many more will lay hold of the truth of the gospel. Now, if you want to help, do so, and the Lord will let His blessing rest upon you. 2SAT 320.2

And there are other places in similar need. It is represented to me that there are hundreds of places needing our help. The work of God is a work of self-sacrifice. Who among us is willing to unite in labor for the saving of souls? Those who will here determine to do this, rise to your feet. 2SAT 320.3

[Congregation rises.]

(Praying): My heavenly Father, I have tried to present, in my weakness, those things that Thou hast presented before me again and again to congregations that I have not seen assembled; and this is one of them. I ask Thee now to make the impression upon the human mind. Thou canst do it; for Thou art God, and beside Thee there is none else. Thou hast given Thine only begotten Son to make plain the way constantly beset with temptations by the enemy. I ask Thee, Lord, to bless this people here today. Sweep back every mist and cloud of darkness, and let the sunlight of Thy glory in. Work by Thy Holy Spirit upon the minds of parents and children, that all may labor together for the spread of the knowledge of the truth. 2SAT 320.4

God, the living God, souls are perishing, and Satan is working to call the attention of the people to nothingness and folly. Wilt Thou not go with this people as they leave this meeting, and teach them daily to lay hold of the merits of the precious Redeemer? Thou hast given so much for these souls; help them to make a covenant with Thee by sacrifice, that they may have a part in that life that measures with the life of God. We want them to have the crown of glory, and to strike the harp of gold. Lord, take this people, baptize them with Thy Holy Spirit. Let them see light in Thy light and rejoice in Thy truth. There is a heaven for them to win, a hell for them to shun. Grant that they may be crowned in the kingdom of glory, never again to go out into a sin-cursed world, where all is renewed by Thy sacrifice, our blessed Redeemer. 2SAT 320.5

Take these souls into Thy keeping. Make the impression upon their minds that heaven must be won by them, that they must withstand the tests of Satan. Bless them this day. Thou hast blessed them. Bless mind, and soul, and body, and help each to arouse to earnest labor for others. Make them laborers together with God in the work of salvation, and Thy blessed name shall have all the glory.—Ms 73, 1909 (MR 900.20). 2SAT 321.1

Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. June, 1983. Entire Ms.