Manuscript Releases, vol. 19 [Nos. 1360-1419]


MR No. 1401—Sacredness of the Law and the Sabbath; The Need for Obedience and Reformation

(Written February 25, 1900, from “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, “To Dear Brother and Sister Hickox.”)

We feel deeply interested in the work in Maitland. We know that the enemy will create as many false theories as possible to divert minds in this important time, the period of decision. I would be glad if I could spend more time in Maitland, but next Sabbath will be my last opportunity to be there for some time; for a week from next Wednesday or Thursday I leave for Geelong, to attend the camp meeting there. From there I may go to Tasmania, and if so, I shall not be able to be with you for some time. 19MR 262.1

I am encouraged in regard to the work in Maitland. When the enemy of all righteousness takes his position in as marked a way as he did at the baptism, when the line of demarcation is so distinct that the two parties are plainly seen, I am hopeful of good results. “Then shall ye return and discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.” 19MR 262.2

“They that feared the Lord spake often one to another.” Did they speak in notes of complaint and distress, of murmuring and doleful lamentation? No, oh, no. “And the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings” [Malachi 3:16-18; 4:1, 2]. 19MR 262.3

Here the two parties are plainly brought to view—those who love and fear God, and those who fear Him not. You have been given an exhibition of the two parties. One party is obedient to the holy commandments given by God at the creation of the world and recapitulated from Mount Sinai; the other is disobedient and unholy. God made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, sanctifying it as a day of rest for the performance of spiritual duties. He set it apart from all other days, establishing it as a memorial of the work of creation. It was to be devoted to Him in spiritual service. This day is a day of God's special appointment. Exodus 31:12-18 gives the charge concerning this day more definitely, and specifies the Sabbath as a sign between God and His people, that they may know by their obedience to the commandments that He is the Lord who sanctifies them. 19MR 263.1

Did you not see the two parties distinctly outlined upon the occasion of the baptism? Did you think of the scene at the trial of Christ, when Christ was placed side by side with Barabbas, a thief and a robber, and Pilate asked, “Whom will ye that I release unto you?” Inspired by the priests and rulers, the mob cried out, “Release unto us Barabbas.” “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” Pilate asked. “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” “I find no fault in Him,” Pilate declared. “Shall I crucify your king?” From the priests and rulers came the answer, “We have no king but Caesar.” 19MR 263.2

Today the question may well be asked, “Whose side are you on—the side of the rabble, or the side of those who were met together to celebrate the sacred ordinance of baptism?” God calls, Whose side are you on—the side of Christ or the side of the apostate? The responsibility of deciding on which side we shall stand is not small; for if by our example we encourage transgression, we must give an account to God. God calls upon all who are connected with the heavenly firm to employ their time and talents not to uplift and glorify themselves, but to advance His cause and promote His glory. 19MR 264.1

The talents God has given men and women are not all alike, for He would have one supply the need of the other. He desires His workers to help one another in the discharge of their various duties and the thorough accomplishment of the work to which He calls them. It is only as we follow Christ with fidelity that we can do the work essential to be done to prepare a people to meet their Lord. The more men pray and believe and follow the directions of the Lord, the more perfectly will they use their talents in the accomplishment of His work. Men may accept a form of religion, but if pride, selfishness, and self-indulgence unite them with the world and its pleasures and amusements, their religion makes them worse instead of better; for they travel the broad road with a false sense of religious security. “He that will come after Me,” Christ declared, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” 19MR 264.2

There are professedly pious men who screen the sinner by their own transgression. They disregard the commandments of God, choosing the traditions of men, making void the law of God, and promoting apostasy. The excuses they make are feeble and weak and will bring destruction to their own souls and the souls of others. What course shall we take? Shall we go to the right hand or to the left? 19MR 264.3

Though God forgives the penitent believing ones who hang their helpless souls upon Him, He does not deliver them from the consequence of transgression, which is transmitted by precept and example to the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation. Those who have used liquor and tobacco will feel the results of this indulgence. The evil will be proportionate to the perversion of appetite. 19MR 265.1

Reformation that is not genuine is of no avail in the saving of the soul. Men must obey a “Thus saith the Lord,” by doing His commandments. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord, and man has no moral right to dishonor it by failing to do upon it the work which he should do. God has set this day apart for His honor and glory. No manner of worldly business should be done on it. This is God's time. For man to steal the Lord's day and use it for self-serving is exceedingly offensive to God. “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me, ... even this whole nation.” Yes, the whole world is guilty before God of appropriating His holy day for self-pleasing. Men have insulted God by accepting as holy a common working day. Nothing can put the stamp of the man of sin so definitely upon the world as the acceptance of the spurious sabbath, while the day God has set apart is trampled under foot. 19MR 265.2

With His own finger God wrote His commandments on two tables of stone. These tables were not left in the keeping of men, but were placed in the ark; and in the great day when every case is decided, these tables, inscribed with the commandments, will be placed so that all the world will see and understand. The witness against them will be unanswerable. And upon those who have taken upon them the work of shepherds of the flock, will be visited the heaviest judgments, because they have presented to the people fables instead of truth. Children will rise up and curse their parents. Church members, who have seen the light and been convicted, but who have trusted the salvation of their souls to the minister, will learn in the day of God that no other soul can pay the ransom for their transgression. A terrible cry will be raised, “I am lost, eternally lost.” Men will feel as though they could rend in pieces the ministers who have preached falsehoods and condemned the truth. The pure truth for this time requires a reformation in the life, but they separate themselves from the love of the truth, and of them it can be said, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.” The Lord sends a message to the people, “Set a trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed My covenant and trespassed against My law.”—Letter 30, 1900. 19MR 265.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

June 16, 1988.

Entire Letter.