The Signs of the Times


February 7, 1878

Battle Creek College

Remarks by Mrs. E. G. White, at Goguac Lake, June 26, 1877.


[The closing exercises of the Battle Creek College for the year were held in the beautiful grove at Goguac Lake, about two miles from the city of Battle Creek. Before the services closed there were about four hundred persons present who witnessed the baptism of fourteen students of the school who had been converted during the last term. It was on this occasion that Mrs. White gave the following address, which was reported by a student.] ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 1

Our Saviour, frequently, when he was giving his lessons of instruction to his disciples, took them without inclosed walls and led them by the lake-side and in the groves; and here he gave them illustrations by the objects in nature; and with these he bound up the sacred lessons of instruction which were to be immortalized in their minds. As they would look upon the shrubs and the flowers, the rocks and barren soil, the mountains and hills, the sower and the reaper; and as they would look upon the flowers in glowing beauty around them, the lessons of instruction given by their divine Lord were repeated to them. When we look upon these lofty trees and upon the lake and the boats that are going out and coming in upon the water we can remember that Christ beckoned for a fisherman's boat, and he entered into Simon's, and asked him to thrust out a little from the land. He there gave important lessons which were to be immortalized and handed down to us; and which were to reach unto the end of the world. As we view the lake today, and the boats upon the waters, these lessons which Christ gave are repeated to us. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 2

Said the Saviour of the world: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Who gave to the beautiful flowers their delicate tints and their varied colors? Was it not that God which has given us everything that is lovely and beautiful in our world? Our heavenly Father who has surrounded us with everything that is glorious in nature is a God of love. He is a lover of the beautiful. He says: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.” Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed, with his costly robes of gold and silver, in garments which could bear comparison to these flowers of loveliness in their natural simplicity. Solomon is seated upon a throne of ivory, its basement is of gold, the steps are of gold flanked with six golden lions. Everything surrounding him is attractive. All his eye rests upon is magnificent. His eye rests upon expansive gardens, stretching away in the distance, beautiful and adorned with trees and shrubs to resemble the loveliness of paradise. The most rare and expensive birds of the richest plumage have been transported from every clime, and with their varying notes and bright songs, are flitting from bough to bough, while youths, the most lovely, clad in gold and silver dress, are seeking to amuse and divert the mind of the greatest monarch that ever sat upon an earthly throne. Many envied the popularity and abundant glory of Solomon, thinking that of all men he must be the most happy. But amid all that glory of artificial display the man envied is the one to be most pitied. His countenance is dark with despair. All the splendor about him is but to him mockery of the distress and anguish of his thoughts as he reviews his misspent life in seeking for happiness through indulgence and selfish gratification of every desire. He wails out his disappointment in these words: “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” We may learn the lesson in the sad life of Solomon that riches and high intellectual attainments will not be sufficient for a happy life. Learning, and ability, and outward display without the sanctifying power of true godliness, will not bring contentment, peace, and happiness. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 3

You have your youthful strength, your strong, ardent, impetuous temperaments which if guided aright will make you men and women of influence. If you bring your talents early as a consecrated offering to God he will accept you. If connected with the source of all purity, nobility and holiness, your lives will represent the spotless purity of this lily, diffusing a fragrance grateful and pleasant to all with whom you associate. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 4

Dear youth, cultivate natural simplicity. Consider and learn from the flowers of the field the lesson Christ has sought to impress upon your mind and heart. You may devote the golden hours of your probation in studying your outward appearance. You may neglect the most essential work of your life in failing to secure the inward adorning, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price. You may devote time, money and much thought to outward display, and after all your anxious care, you will not bear comparison to one of these flowers for attractive loveliness in their natural simplicity. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 5

Here is the pure and lovely lily growing among the filth of ponds and lakes, striking down its curiously channeled stem, and gathering to itself only those properties that shall develop into this pure, fragrant lily. Every one admires this emblem of purity. Your lives, dear students, may resemble this lily. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 6

As Christ offered his prayer to his Father he uttered these words. “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world but keep them from the evil.” The world is a land of emptiness: It is a world good and beautiful of itself but man has become so sensual and depraved so embittered against God that the earth itself groans under the weight of accumulated guilt, you must cultivate firm principle in the midst of surrounding infidelity, hypocrisy, pride, and profligacy. You must be Bible students and carry Bible rules into your every day life. In no case allow knavery deception and dishonesty to beguile you from your simplicity. Be it your constant study how you will best attain and cherish that which God values, the ornament of purity and meekness, that the world will be better for your having lived in it. Like the pure lily you need faith's penetrating root descending beneath the outward things which do appear to gather spiritual strength to invigorate and give purity and goodness to the life. The study of the Bible, the hours of secret communion with God, meditation upon heavenly themes will develop into purity of character resembling the spotless lily. The life of God in the soul is Christ in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life. This springing up into life will refresh all who connect with you. If your character is such that God can approve, it will be a complete Christian character filled with grace that is not assumed, but that has a natural growth. If your affections are obedient unto Christ your motives pure, there will be in your life, in your every day deportment, lessons of instruction to all around you. You will be living epistles known and read of all men. Your connection with God will lift you above every thing that has a debasing tendency, your pure and uncorrupted life will be ever pointing your school-mates and old associates upward to God and heaven saying to them you must seek peace and purity and happiness from above. Jesus is the source of your comfort strength and fortitude, amid vexation, trials and grievous temptations. The leaves of some trees and flowers seem naturally to gather dust which adheres to them, and mars their color and beauty. This is the case with many youths they do not see the necessity of vigilant watchfulness and earnest prayer to keep themselves pure, and their Christian character is always dingy. They need to wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 7

Young men and young women while you are attending school you may be gathering to yourselves only those things which shall tend to the perfection of character, or you may gather to yourselves the habits, customs and practices of the world; love the things which they love, which shall have a corrupting influence upon the life and character, and you will forfeit your right to eternal life. Which shall it be? Our heavenly Father, the Giver of life, would draw us from the artificial to the natural simplicities. “Consider,” says Christ, “the lilies of the field, how they grow;” and again he says, “If God so clothed the grass of the field which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” If our heavenly Father has taken such special care for that which has to be cut down and cast into the oven, then how much greater is his care, his love and his attention for those who are formed in his image! ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 8

Young men and young women you may make any thing of yourselves that you please. You may attain to excellence and perfection of character; you may go through this world without being stained and blackened with the sins that taint and corrupt it; and when you are brought in contact with the evil of this world, you may escape them if you choose. Christ will be to you a special help in every time of need. But in order for you to develop characters which Heaven shall approve; it is necessary that you connect with God. Will you consider these lilies which I hold in my hand, emblem of purity and loveliness? Here in this flower is an expression of the love of God. Satan is never at rest; he is an interested spectator of all your actions. He will present before the inexperienced youth, things which on the surface appear attractive, to allure them from their integrity, and corrupt their morals. Christ's voice is heard saying to them, Consider the lilies of the field, learn from them the value of natural simplicity. God speaks to you through his created works. Will you listen to his voice? Will you become acquainted with God in nature? ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 9

We can discern his love to us in giving us all these things in nature. We can see it in the lovely flowers in the valleys and on the surface of the lake. Anywhere, everywhere, we may read expressions of God's love in the opening buds and blooming flowers. As God has given us these things of beauty and purity how much more will he delight to give us an eternal inheritance. He wants you to come into that position where he may grant you the gift of immortality. He has given you the gift of his Son, the greatest gift that Heaven could bestow; and now if you connect with God, if you connect with heaven, you may, in the name and strength of Jesus develop symmetrical characters; characters that are spotless as the pure lily that opens its blossom on the bosom of the lake. I invite you to take hold of heaven's blessings and then you can have a right hold upon the earth. I invite you to look up through nature to nature's God. Let these things teach you the love of God, and the care that he has for those formed in his image. ST February 7, 1878, Art. A, par. 10

(Concluded next week.)