The Youth’s Instructor


February 14, 1901

Ministering Spirits


God has recorded many narratives in his inspired word to teach us that the human family is the object of the special care of heavenly angels. Man is not left to become the sport of Satan's temptations. All heaven is actively engaged in the work of communicating light to the inhabitants of the world, that they may not be left without spiritual guidance. An eye that never slumbers nor sleeps is guarding the camp of Israel. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels are ministering to the needs of the children of men. Voices inspired by God are crying, This is the way, walk ye in it. If men will hear the voice of warning, if they will trust to God's guidance and not to finite judgment, they will be safe. YI February 14, 1901, par. 1

The experience of Paul shows that the Lord will open up ways before those who will put their trust in him. Paul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the believers in Christ. Full of zeal, he determined to take all, both men and women, and punish them with imprisonment and death. The record declares that he was “exceeding mad” against them. But the Commander of heaven beheld the suffering brought upon his church, and he made his voice heard to arrest the bold persecutor. As Paul journeyed, “suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” YI February 14, 1901, par. 2

Again, in the case of Cornelius we are taught that God is interested in every human being. Cornelius was following on to know the Lord, and this won for him the salvation of all his house. He “feared God with all his house,” and “gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision, evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” YI February 14, 1901, par. 3

The Lord knows every child of his by name. When we truly believe this, we shall have courage, faith, and patience to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; for we shall know that it is God who worketh in us. With fear and trembling we shall co-operate with God. YI February 14, 1901, par. 4

Heavenly angels watch those who are seeking for enlightenment, and co-operate with those who try to win souls to Christ. This is shown in the experience of Philip and the Ethiopian. YI February 14, 1901, par. 5

A heavenly messenger was sent to Philip to show him his work for the Ethiopian. The evangelist was directed to “arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.” YI February 14, 1901, par. 6

Angels of God were taking notice of this seeker for light. The Ethiopian could not understand the prophecy that he read: and the Spirit directed Philip to go and teach him, saying, “Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” This man of high authority was being drawn to the Saviour, and he did not resist the drawing. He did not make his position an excuse for refusing to accept the crucified One. The evangelist asked him: “Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him,” and explain to him the word of God. YI February 14, 1901, par. 7

Today, as then, angels are leading and guiding those who will be led and guided. The angel sent to Philip could himself have done the work for the Ethiopian, but this was not God's way of working. As God's instruments, men must work for others. YI February 14, 1901, par. 8

When God pointed out to Philip his work, the disciple did not say, as many are saying today, God does not mean that. I will not be too confident, or I shall make a mistake. Philip that day learned a lesson of conformity to God's will that was worth everything to him. He learned that every soul is precious in the sight of God, and that angels will bring light to those who are in need of it. Through the ministration of angels, God sends light to his people, and through his people this light is to be given to the world. The Holy Spirit will guide and instruct men and women if they will show themselves willing to be guided, by placing themselves in a position where they can communicate the light received. YI February 14, 1901, par. 9

While angels from heaven are doing their work, evil angels are seeking to draw the mind to something else. Satan is interposing obstacles, so that the mind that would understand the word of God shall become confused. Thus he worked with Christ in the wilderness of temptation. Had Philip left the eunuch with his case hanging in the balance, he might never have accepted the Saviour. Evil angels were waiting for an opportunity to press in their falsehoods, and divert the Ethiopian from seeking after truth. The Lord's agencies must be wholly consecrated to his service, that they may be quick to understand their work. As wise stewards, they must take advantage of every circumstance to draw men to Christ. YI February 14, 1901, par. 10

Satan is ever on the alert to deceive and mislead. He is using every enchantment to allure men into the broad road of disobedience. Because evil agencies are striving to eclipse every ray of light, heavenly beings are appointed to do their work of ministry,—to guide, guard, and control those who shall be heirs of salvation. None need despair because of inherited tendencies to evil. When the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, the wrong-doer must repent, and confess and forsake the evil. Faithful sentinels are on guard, to direct souls in right paths. YI February 14, 1901, par. 11

Mrs. E. G. White