The Review and Herald

61/1902

April 12, 1870

Practical Remarks

[Spoken at the grove-meeting in Johnstown, Mich., June, 1869. Reported for the Review.]

EGW

We have been listening to pointed truths pressed home to the heart by the Spirit of God. Some professed followers of Christ may be inclined to say, as did the disciples at a certain time as they listened to the earnest truths which fell from the lips of the divine Teacher, “This is an hard saying, who can hear it?” Many may think that the way is made too straight; when we talk of self-denial, and sacrifice for Christ's sake, they think we dwell too much on these points. You would prefer to hear us speak of the Christian's reward. We know that those who are faithful will inherit all things; but the great question with us should be, “Who may abide the day of his coming; and who shall stand when he appeareth?” Who shall be counted worthy to receive the exceeding great and precious reward that shall be given to the overcomers? Those who shall be partakers of Christ's sufferings, will be sharers with him of his glory. RH April 12, 1870, par. 1

Without holiness, the word of God tells us, no man can see the Lord. Without purity of life it is impossible for us to be fitted and prepared to dwell with the holy and sinless angels in a pure and holy Heaven. No sin can be there. No impurity can enter the pearly gates of the golden city of God. And the question for us to settle is, whether we will turn from all sin and comply with the conditions God has given us, that we may become his sons and daughters. Separation from the world he requires of us in order to become members of the royal family. RH April 12, 1870, par. 2

The light has been given us showing us the path plain and distinct that we might not err therein, if we will only study the chart which points out the way. But while many of us profess to be Christians, we fail to make the word of God the man of our counsel; we fail to make it our guide; we do not study its pages and acquaint ourselves with the principles contained in its sacred record. RH April 12, 1870, par. 3

If we would only study the truths of God's word, and do his will, we should know of the doctrine; we should not be ignorant of the important truths for this time. We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon to come; and believing this we feel a necessity upon us to plead with men and women to prepare for the coming of the Son of Man. We do not want that any of you should be of that number who shall call for rocks and mountains to fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. We want you rather to be of that number who shall enter in through the gates into the city, who shall have an abundant entrance, and shall have right to the tree of life, and shall eat of its immortal fruit and pluck of its healing leaves. We want you to be of that company that shall bow before the throne of God crying, “Worthy, worthy, worthy, is the Lamb that was slain for us.” We want you to be praising God with immortal tongues, and be saved with an everlasting salvation; and, therefore, we warn you to flee from the wrath to come. We plead with you to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. It is perfection that is required; and nothing short of perfection will enable you to see the King in his beauty. RH April 12, 1870, par. 4

When you are all ready, having overcome your sins, having put away all your iniquity from you, you are in a condition to receive the finishing touch of immortality. Many are waiting and expecting that a more favorable opportunity than the present time will come when they can put away sin more easily than now; and when it will not require so great humility and sacrifice on their part, and they will not have to make the effort they are required to make at the present time to perfect holiness in the fear of God. I fear that while they are thus waiting for the better time, their probation may close and they be found in their sins. For the sentence is to go forth: “He that is unjust let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous let him be righteous still; and he that is holy let him be holy still.” This may be spoken in Heaven in your case, and the work for you will have been done, and you lost, eternally lost. RH April 12, 1870, par. 5

It will not be safe for you to wait for a better time to come. It is while it is called today. If any man will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. It is to listen today to the invitation of mercy. It is to yield your pride, your folly, your vanity, and make an entire surrender of your heart to God. Come to him with your talents and all the influence you have, and lay all these without reserve at the feet of Him who died on Calvary's cross to redeem you. His head wore the crown of thorns; and they were pressed into his sacred temples, and sent the blood trickling down his face and beard. He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and the chastisement of our peace was upon him. He was smitten and afflicted, and it was for you and me he thus suffered. And while you stand without moral courage to take your position, and to gird the armor of righteousness about you, you are manifesting cowardice which should make you ashamed. He has made provision whereby you can stand amid the perils of this age. RH April 12, 1870, par. 6

Your grasp should be fastened upon the eternal, and you realize that you have the strength that is mighty to cling to, which will be to you a stronghold and fortress in the day of trouble, affliction, and peril. But will that better time and that more favorable opportunity ever come to those who would say to the Spirit of God, as did Felix, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee? Is the opportunity ever to come when we can leave sin any more easily than at the present moment? Is the time coming when we can take hold of the truth any more easily than now? Satan has come down with great power, and is working with great activity to weave his net around unguarded souls and thereby take them captive in his snares, that they may not be partakers of the glories that are to be revealed at the appearing of Jesus Christ. RH April 12, 1870, par. 7

Are we willing that Satan should carry out his purposes? Many yield themselves willingly to his influence, and by their course of action tempt the devil to tempt them. It is for us to make an effort to turn from iniquity, to the living God. In Christ's sermon on the mount, in the lesson he there gave his disciples, he says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” Perfection in our position is what the Son of God requires. “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” The life he speaks of here, is that life which measures with the life of God, the life that is to be eternal, a life forevermore in the kingdom of glory, without sorrow, without pain, without sickness, without distress, and without death. RH April 12, 1870, par. 8

As he thus presents eternal life to his followers, is it not of more consequence to them than the life of this world? Your attention should not be turned in the direction of anxiety, fear, and solicitude, in regard to your meat and drink, and the clothing you are to put upon these bodies. Is not the better life to be sought after with far greater carefulness, and we engage in the work with greater earnestness than we should in making unnecessary preparations for this life? While we are engaged almost wholly in the preparation for this life, we are losing the opportunity of gaining eternal life. But can we not invest more in this enterprise of everlasting life than in the things of this short life? We may gather, and gather, and lay up our treasures upon earth, but they are only a snare to us. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” RH April 12, 1870, par. 9

Why does the Saviour, the prince of life, who has given his own life for us, say, Lay not up treasures upon earth? He explains: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” While you are laying up treasure here, you will be forgetting the treasure above, forgetting that you are only passing through this world as strangers and pilgrims; therefore you are not to lay up your treasure upon earth, but lay up your treasure above. It is safe there, and nothing will ever deprive you of your treasures. RH April 12, 1870, par. 10

But here you build your happiness, here you study how you can have fine and goodly houses, how you can add field to field, and treasure to treasure; and while you are doing this, brain, bone, and muscle, are taxed to the utmost to secure your earthly treasure, and you have no time to serve God, you have no time to spend in seeking for Heaven, you have no time to devote to repentance, and the separating of your sins from you, and becoming perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect. RH April 12, 1870, par. 11

This perfection we must reach. Should I tell you that you need not be very earnest, you need not be very active, the Lord is pleased to have you enjoy the things of this life, therefore you may be as calm and moderate in religious things as you choose, and while you are thus doing you will be gaining everlasting life, I should be telling you things not written in this book. RH April 12, 1870, par. 12

I want to exhort you to pray always. There is no resting spot here; there is no period when you can relax your efforts, no period when you can safely cease striving, agonizing, to enter in at the strait gate. It is positively dangerous to fasten your affections upon the things of this world, and devote your time to your own sinful gratification. You idolize self, and make this world your God. There is no period when you can do this with safety. While you are thus engaged disease may be feeling after your heart-strings, and death may be on your track. Your probation may close and you be unsaved. Do you think when the Lord shall come in the clouds of heaven, in the glory of his Father, with the holy retinue of angels, that he will give to you probation, that you may have another opportunity to form your characters for Heaven? Is it to give you time to obtain moral fitness to enter the kingdom of glory? No opportunity is granted you then. It is then too late. No atoning blood then pleads in your behalf to wash away the stain of sin. Just as you then are, you will remain. Just as you fall, so you must come up in the resurrection. And if you are living when the Son of Man is revealed, just as you are then found when he shall appear, if unready, so you must remain. The impure cannot then obtain perfection of Christian character. No work of purification can then be performed. RH April 12, 1870, par. 13

Opportunity is now given you to improve and become perfect this side of the Judgment. You must obtain a moral fitness here to meet your God. You should be right, just right, if you wish to obtain an entrance in through the gates of the holy city of God. Should your probation close today and you be brought just as you are this moment to the gate of the city, and it should open before you, and the rays of light that emanate from the throne of God should beam forth upon you, could you endure it? Could you bear it, in your sins and in your iniquity and imperfection? Could you enjoy that sacred and divine light? Not for a moment. You would drop as powerless as the Roman guard, who watched around the sepulcher of Jesus Christ, when the angels there descended to resurrect the Son of God. As that light fell upon the Roman guard, they became as dead men. They fell to the earth. They could not endure the light from Heaven, which was reflected from one mighty angel. Neither can you unless you have a fitness for it here. Could you be brought through the gates into the holy city, your probation closed and sins upon you, pride, folly, envy, evil surmisings, lustful passions, covetousness and these evil things, and gaze upon sinless angels, who never have fallen, never been in disobedience and transgression, and behold in every countenance the light of the glory of God as it shineth in the face of Jesus Christ, and see the redeemed saints that have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, how would you feel? You hear a voice inquire, Who are these? And the answer is given, These are they which have come up through great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. RH April 12, 1870, par. 14

You look around and see those that have made a covenant with God by sacrifice. You then behold yourself. Impurity is upon you. Your garments are defiled with pollution of the world. Sin has left its disgusting impress upon your countenance. You cannot endure the glory and light. And you would say, Anywhere but here to be pained with this glory and beauty and loveliness. You could not endure it. You were not worthy. No, you were not ready for it, and you could not dwell there. You would rather be anywhere else. You would prefer that rocks and mountains should fall upon you and hide you from the unbearable glory that you behold everywhere. RH April 12, 1870, par. 15

Says Christ, Agonize to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you shall seek to enter in and shall not be able. It requires an effort; and while we may talk, and plead, and entreat men and women, some may feel as amused as though it was a mere idle tale. They may feel as did those to whom Noah preached warning them that the flood was coming upon the earth. They could laugh and ridicule. They would say, How can God destroy this world that he has made so beautiful? We do not believe it. Nevertheless the waters of the flood came, notwithstanding their unbelief, and they were washed away, and the world was cleansed of its moral pollution. RH April 12, 1870, par. 16

Now, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the day when the Son of Man shall be revealed. These things will seem to many like idle tales, nevertheless they are true, and without preparation, without readiness, without moral fitness, you can have no place in the kingdom of glory. RH April 12, 1870, par. 17

(To be continued.)