The Review and Herald

724/1902

June 5, 1894

Appearances and Reality

EGW

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” The people described in this message are called the people of God, yet the prophet is directed to lift up his voice like a trumpet, to show them their transgressions and sin. The Lord sees that those who claim to be his children are deceived, but it is not his purpose to leave them to their deception. He mercifully sends them a message that they may discern their duty and return unto the Lord. By obedience they are to ward off everything that has a tendency to debase and corrupt character and misinterpret their faith before the world. RH June 5, 1894, par. 1

The Lord God is a jealous God, and he will not be silent when his glory is tarnished, his worship corrupted before the world, and his character misrepresented to men. He has regard unto his honor and the glory of his name before all nations. He expects those who claim to be his worshipers to be loyal to the principles of righteousness, not only for their own soul's interest, but for the good of those with whom they are associating. He would have them represent the principles of the government whose subjects they claim to be and whose King they profess to serve. RH June 5, 1894, par. 2

If one professing to be under the rule of the King of kings is dishonest in his dealings, trifling in his character, actuated by a hard, selfish spirit which leads him to look out for his own interest irrespective of the interests of others, then let those who love the right, who would honor God and represent the principles of his government, lift up their voices and show the professed people of God their sins, and the house of Jacob their transgression. Let not the contagious spirit of selfishness be permitted to leaven others by its influence. Let there be no conniving or deception in the service of God. Let those who love God faithfully present to others what constitutes true service, that men may be doers of the word of God. There must be individual training and culture, that those who profess to be worshipers may understand and be controlled by the high and noble principles of righteousness. RH June 5, 1894, par. 3

The Lord describes those to whom the prophet is sent with the messages of reproof as those who “seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?” The Lord answers their questioning and reproach, saying, “Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?” RH June 5, 1894, par. 4

It is possible to manifest apparent zeal in the service of God, to offer prayers and observe fasts, and yet not be acknowledged of the Lord. When our prayers are offered in self-confidence, when we fail to watch, and bring our actions into harmony with our prayers, we are not accounted worshipers in the sight of heaven. We are destitute of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul; for genuine faith will lead the possessor to mortify the deeds of the flesh, and crucify selfishness, self-love, impatience, and self-righteousness. Those who would truly follow Christ must daily learn lessons in meekness and lowliness of heart, that they may speak guardedly, manifest courtesy and kindness, have tender hearts, and bring sympathy and sunshine into the home. All strife, all debate, all smiting with the tongue and the fist of wickedness, must be put away. The overbearing will must be subdued, and gentleness and a disposition to be easily entreated must be cultivated. RH June 5, 1894, par. 5

Let no one think that to bow the head as a bulrush will take the place of true humility. Such humility is a sham; for where meekness does not exist in the heart, it will not be manifested in the life. Those who are merely professors of truth and not doers of the word, will break down the family altar, and stir up strife and contention in the home, and there will be dearth of holy and beneficent actions that flow from faith in Christ. The most convincing evidence of the power of the gospel to the world is its effect on the lives of those who believe it. He who is a true Christian will represent Christ, and will cease from all murmuring or complaining of God, or of his fellow-men. Those who complain at the providences of God manifest weakness of faith, and show that they lack the knowledge of the character of God and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Of these half-hearted professors the Lord says, “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” RH June 5, 1894, par. 6

But is murmuring, complaining, and rebellion the fruit of the Christian tree? O no; it is the fruit of the heart unsanctified and unsubdued, that is swayed by impulse, the language of one has no regard for the feelings of those about him. By murmuring and complaint it is made manifest that his soul is not under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Those who are full of murmuring and complaint against God and their fellow-men will have to be converted and transformed before they can enter the kingdom of heaven. It may be necessary that the furnace of trial be kindled and heated sevenfold to purge away the dross from the character, that the gold may come forth purified, refined, and stamped with the image of the Refiner. RH June 5, 1894, par. 7

Those who are merely surface Christians are no blessing to themselves or others, although they fast and spread sackcloth and ashes under them. The old habits return; quick temper, suspicion, jealousy, judgment of others,—all manifest that they are not controlled by the grace of Christ. Their habits of evil have become a yoke of bondage to themselves and to others. They may observe fasts, practice voluntary humility, and manifest apparent devotion; but as they do not have real humility, they do not find rest and peace and joy. Their accustomed habits control them; and when they fail to manifest a Christlike action, they throw the blame and responsibility upon the circumstances which surround them or the people with whom they are brought in contact. Instead of examining themselves to see wherein their inconsistency lies, they bemoan their case, and think that their difficulties are the results of other's misdeeds. As long as they hold to this opinion, they cannot see their faults, repent of their evil, and confess their wrong-doing. RH June 5, 1894, par. 8

All heaven is looking upon the inhabitants of the earth. The angels and the God of heaven are looking upon those who claim to be Christians, and weighing their devotional exercises. The light of God's truth has come to the world, and though many have assented that it is truth, but few have been transformed by its power. The grace of God has not been received into the heart to regenerate and renew. RH June 5, 1894, par. 9

This is an age of profession and pretension. On all sides we see beautiful houses erected, splendidly furnished, adorned with pictures and equipped with everything to delight the eye and gratify the taste. Looking upon outside appearances we might say, Surely here are happy homes. Yet within these mansions lust and evil passions hold sway. Husbands are killing their wives that they may gratify their unholy lust, killing them with neglect, with harshness, with overbearing and self-importance. Those who were once made in the image of God, by indulgence in evil are blotting out every semblance of the divine nature. Not only is evil prevalent in the world, in both the lower and the higher classes, but wickedness is practiced even in the church by those who profess to be worshippers. The names of men are registered on the church records who indulge in card-playing, who visit questionable places of amusement, and frequent gambling halls. Under the semblance of prosperity and peace among the higher classes, there is a state of degradation which is hid from all eyes but God's. In beautiful homes, in elegant mansions, cruelty is practiced such as pen can feebly picture. Yet men and women who are written down as cruel in the books of heaven among this class, presume to sing the praises of God in beautiful hymns and songs. Many preserve the appearance of innocence, while they are planning how to commit theft and practice robbery in their positions of trust. By men and women who appear to delight in religious exercises, who profess to be followers of Christ, whose names are on the church record, there are embezzlements, fraud, licentiousness, adultery, and all kinds of wickedness. At such a time as this the Lord has commanded, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.... For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.... Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” RH June 5, 1894, par. 10