The Review and Herald

885/1902

June 15, 1897

The Two Classes

EGW

“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” The means which the Lord has employed, in the gracious provision of his mercy, to soften and subdue the objects of his love, has, through the workings of Satan, encouraged the depraved and hardened hearts in perversity, resistance, and transgression, so that David, even as far back as his day, was led to exclaim, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” RH June 15, 1897, par. 1

O that all might consider, before it is everlastingly too late, that there are limits to the mercy and forbearance of God! There are those who, by their impenitence under the beams of light that have shone upon them, are very near the line where the forbearance of God is exhausted. In mind and heart they are saying, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” and they are eating and drinking with the drunken. But God declares of such, “Sudden destruction cometh upon them; ... and they shall not escape.” RH June 15, 1897, par. 2

At this time, when great light is shining forth from the word of God, making dark mysteries plain as day, is the day of mercy, of hope, of joy and assurance to all who will be benefited thereby, to all who will open their minds and hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. But there is an opposite class to this,—those who will not come to the light, who despise the truth because it exposes error, and transgression, and sin; and as a result, depravity and boldness in transgression are becoming all-pervading. RH June 15, 1897, par. 3

There are diligent students of the word of prophecy in all parts of the world, who are obtaining light and still greater light from searching the Scriptures. This is true of all nations, of all tribes, and of all peoples. These will come from the grossest error, and will take the place of those who have had opportunities and privileges and have not prized them. These have worked out their own salvation with fear and trembling, lest they should become deficient in doing the ways and will of God, while those who have had great light, through the perversity of their own natural heart, turned away from Christ because they were displeased with his requirements. But God will not be left without witnesses. The one-hour laborers will be brought in at the eleventh hour, and will consecrate their ability and all their entrusted means to advance the work. These will receive the reward for their faithfulness, because they are true to principle, and shun not their duty to declare the whole counsel of God. When those who have had abundance of light throw off the restraint which the word of God imposes, and make void his law, others will come in to fill their places and take their crown. RH June 15, 1897, par. 4

While many have reduced the word, the truth, the holy law of Jehovah, to a dead letter, and by their example testify that the law of Jehovah is a hard, rigorous burden; while they say, “We will lay off this yoke, we will be free, we will no longer remain in covenant relation with God, we will do as we please,” there will be men who have had very meager opportunities, who have walked in ways of error because they knew not any other or better way, to whom beams of light will come. As the word from Christ came to Zacchaeus, “I must abide at thy house,” so the word will come to them; and the one supposed to be a hardened sinner will be found to have a heart as tender as a child, because Christ has deigned to notice him. RH June 15, 1897, par. 5

Great is the work of the Lord. Men are choosing sides. Even those supposed to be heathen will choose the side of Christ, while those who become offended, as did the disciples, will go away and walk no more with him, and others will come in and occupy the place they have left vacant. The time is very near when man will reach the prescribed limits. He has now almost exceeded the bounds of the long-suffering of God, the limits of his grace, the limits of his mercy. The record of their works in the books of heaven is, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” The Lord will interfere to vindicate his own honor, to repress the swellings of unrighteousness and bold transgression. RH June 15, 1897, par. 6

What effect will the attempt of men to make void the law of God have upon the righteous? Will they be intimidated because of the universal scorn that is put upon the holy law of God? Will the true believers in the, “Thus saith the Lord,” become wavering and ashamed because the whole world seems to despise his righteous law? Will they be carried away by the prevalence of evil?—No; to those who have consecrated themselves to God to serve him, the law of God becomes more precious when the contrast is shown between the obedient and the transgressor. In proportion as the attributes of Satan are developed in the despisers and transgressors of the law of God, to the faithful adherent the holy precept will become more dear and valuable. He will declare, “They have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.” It is the ones who have been faithful stewards of the grace of God whose love of God's commandments grows with the contempt which all around him would put upon them. RH June 15, 1897, par. 7

Wicked men and the church harmonize in this hatred of the law of God, and then the crisis comes. Then we see the class specified in Malachi 3:13-15: “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.” Here is a company of disaffected, professed Christians, whose chief business is to murmur and complain, and accuse God by accusing the children of God. They see nothing defective in themselves, but very much to despise in others. RH June 15, 1897, par. 8

But while they are murmuring and complaining, and falsely accusing, and doing Satan's work most zealously, another class is brought to our notice: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord harkened, 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.” RH June 15, 1897, par. 9

This subject is urging itself upon my mind. Consider it; for it is a matter of vast importance. With which of these two classes shall we identify our interest? Read the fourth chapter of Malachi, and think about it seriously. The day of God is right upon us. The world has converted the church. Both are in harmony, and are acting on a short-sighted policy. Protestants will work upon the rulers of the land to make laws to restore the lost ascendancy of the man of sin, who sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Roman Catholic principles will be taken under the care and protection of the state. This national apostasy will speedily be followed by national ruin. The protest of Bible truth will be no longer tolerated by those who have not made the law of God their rule of life. Then will the voice be heard from the graves of martyrs, represented by the souls that John saw slain for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ which they held; then the prayer will ascend from every true child of God, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” RH June 15, 1897, par. 10

When our first parents fell from their high estate through transgression, God's law was made void. Then Christ entered upon his work as our Redeemer, and probation was granted to the inhabitants of the world. In Noah's day, men disregarded the law of God until almost all remembrance of him had passed away from the earth. Their wickedness reached so great a height, violence, crime, and every kind of sin became so intensely active, that the Lord brought a flood of water upon the world, and swept away the wicked inhabitants thereof. But mercy was mingled with judgment. Noah and his family were saved. In the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, we see that the Lord will interfere; fire came down from heaven, and destroyed those wicked cities. RH June 15, 1897, par. 11

From time to time the Lord has made known his manner of working. He is mindful of what is passing upon the earth; and when a crisis has come, he has revealed himself, and has interposed to hinder the working of Satan's plans. He has often permitted matters with nations, with families, and with individuals, to come to a crisis, that his interference might become marked. Then he has let the fact be known that there was a God in Israel who would sustain and vindicate his people. When the defiance of the law of Jehovah shall be almost universal, when his people shall be pressed in affliction by their fellow men, God will interpose. The fervent prayers of his people will be answered; for he loves to have his people seek him with all their heart, and depend upon him as their deliverer. He will be sought unto to do these things for his people, and he will arise as the protector and avenger of his people. The promise is, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him? ... I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” RH June 15, 1897, par. 12

The Protestant governments will reach a strange pass. They will be converted to the world. They will also, in their separation from God, work to make falsehood and apostasy from God the law of the nation. In the place of those who have the light of truth allowing jealousy and evil surmisings to come in and weaken their love and union one with another, their united prayers should ascend to heaven for the Lord to arise, and put an end to the violence and abuse which are practised in our world. More prayer and less talk is what God desires, and it would make his people a tower of strength. RH June 15, 1897, par. 13