The Review and Herald

710/1902

March 6, 1894

With Whom Are We Gathering?

EGW

We see in these colonies (Australia and New Zealand) that which causes us great burden of heart and suffering of mind. The people are given up to the love of pleasure, and employ a great part of their time in seeking selfish gratification, following a round of exciting amusements. There is a great deal of card-playing, gambling, and horse-racing. These forms of amusement are the fashion in every town, village, and city; and for days and weeks at a time the theme of conversation is the coming horse-race or the athletic exercises of some club. These exercises are carried to an intemperate pass, and minds are fairly drunken with excitement. Eternal things are dropped out of the reckoning of men. A power from beneath is stirring the minds of men, and causing them to act with intense energy. Betting, the giving of bribes and rewards, runs higher and higher, and a panic, little short of madness, seems to actuate the lovers of pleasure. When horse-races or athletic sports are in vogue, it seems that there are very few indeed who have any interest in spiritual things, and little can be accomplished. The very atmosphere seems to be polluted with the presence of evil angels, and Jesus, the world's Redeemer, is not in the thoughts of men. RH March 6, 1894, par. 1

These often-recurring rounds of pleasure are steadily growing more and more frequent; but how does Jesus, who gave his life for men, that they need not perish but have everlasting life, regard these scenes of wild excitement and pleasure-seeking? Satan works with all his power to destroy the souls and bodies of those who participate in these pleasures. Disappointment in the races causes men to go mad, and murder and suicide are the result. What is gained at these scenes of revelry and excitement? What is the after effect? Surely the lovers of pleasure do not come from these places with peace of mind. RH March 6, 1894, par. 2

Before the races both the older and the younger members of families try to hoard up a stock of money to bet on some trotting horse, and with feverish anticipation they wait for the day of the races. God is put out of their thoughts, and the salvation of their souls is the last thing for which they are concerned. This is the kind of education the youth are receiving. In this wonderful manifestation of folly we see a picture of the days before the flood. These occasions of excitement do not end simply in days of feverish anticipation and in the day of fulfillment, but they lead to worse folly. The venders of wine and beer and tobacco reap a harvest from such occasions, and inebriates are seen everywhere. RH March 6, 1894, par. 3

Jesus, the Lifegiver, who has paid the ransom of his own life for the life of the world, looks upon these wild scenes; and bending down he says, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!” Gisborne, New Zealand, is one of the places where scenes like that I have described take place. The people of this town are now waiting for their turn at the races, and they look forward to the day of the race as if some great blessing were then to be bestowed upon them. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of money are expended every year on horse-races and games of a wilder variety. The panic of desire is so contagious that even church-members, professed Christians, are carried away with the excitement, and give countenance to the races by presenting themselves as spectators. If they do not bet on the races, they are still one with the transactors in spirit, and their doings are registered and condemned in the courts of heaven. They are reckoned among the godless company, and must give an account to God for their wasted time and money. RH March 6, 1894, par. 4

“Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.” “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.... And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore, their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath, but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” RH March 6, 1894, par. 5

We are living in a time when there should be deep thought and solemn consideration. What shall be the end of these things? What profit is there under the sun? “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: ... yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people: shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! ... Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil.... Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken.” RH March 6, 1894, par. 6

All over the land are the houses of the publican, the places of the liquor-venders. The rum-seller is licensed to give that to his neighbor which will work him harm in body and soul. It is true that the law has placed a limit to his sale, and has said, When a man reaches a certain stage of inebriety, he is to be denied drink. But there is no law against making our youth into drunkards. The law permits the liquor-vender to lead them down step by step, until the liquor habit is established, and the young men are drunkards. Better, far better, would it be to give the liquor to the poor, confirmed drunkard who has already been ruined, than to take the very flower of the country and city, and educate our youth in these dreadful habits. Do not the law-makers understand what they will become—poor inebriates, ruined in body and soul! O, what a terrible condition our world is in! RH March 6, 1894, par. 7

The ownership of the world belongs to Christ by creation and redemption. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In the work of redemption each one is called upon to be an agent for Christ. The apostle says, “Ye are laborers together with God.” But Satan also employs men as his agents, and we are either workers together with God or with the enemy of our souls. The Devil is the adversary of God and man. Peter says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Satan is the tempter. He is the serpent that wounds and bruises the souls of men. He is a liar, an accuser of the brethren, He is a deceiver, and doeth great wonders, and appears in angel robes of light, that if possible he may deceive the very elect. Who will enlist in the warfare against the powerful foe that is seeking to insnare souls? Who will stand forth, and say intelligently, “We are laborers together with God?” Who will build upon the foundation that has been laid, which is Jesus Christ? “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” RH March 6, 1894, par. 8

Principles are here presented that should be prayerfully considered. God has given to every man his work; and if any one turns from the work that God has given him, to do the work of Satan, to defile his own body or lead another into sin, that man's work is cursed, and the brand of Cain is placed upon him. The ruin of his victim will cry unto God, as did the blood of Abel. The whole energies of evil, as in the days of Noah, have gathered themselves together, to make a final effort to obliterate the image of God from the souls of men. What kind of builders are we individually? As human agents, are we strengthening the kingdom of the powers of darkness, seducing men, and leading them in the path of destruction? or are we, by precept and example, seeking to win the feet of the straying into the paths of truth and righteousness? Are we, for the sake of gain, defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit, by putting the bottle to our neighbor's lips? Are we acting a part under the great deceiver who tempted Adam to transgress the law of God? Let us hear the word of the Lord: “If any man defile the temple of God [be it his own or another man's soul], him shall God destroy.” The fire shall try every man's work, and it will be seen of what sort it is. If we are laborers with God, our work will not be consumed; for we shall lead the feet of men to Jesus Christ, and direct them in the way to heaven. In the heavenly courts he who does this is registered as a laborer together with God. He is known as one who is wearing the yoke and bearing the burden of Christ; he is building upon the true foundation, and if any man's work which he buildeth thereupon shall abide, he shall receive a reward. RH March 6, 1894, par. 9