The Review and Herald

1388/1902

August 3, 1905

A Call to Present Duty

EGW

Christ intended that a greater work should be done in behalf of men than we have yet seen. He did not intend that such large numbers should choose to stand under the banner of Satan, and be enrolled as rebels against the government of God. The world's Redeemer did not design that his purchased inheritance should live and die in their sins. Why, then, are so few reached and saved?—It is because so many of those who profess to be Christians are neglecting their heaven-appointed mission. Thousands who know not God might today be rejoicing in his love if those who claim to serve him would work as Christ worked. RH August 3, 1905, par. 1

Read the instruction contained in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There you will learn what kind of education was given to the families of Israel. While God's chosen people were to stand forth distinct and holy, separate from the nations that knew him not, they were to treat the stranger kindly. He was not to be looked down upon because he was not of Israel. The Israelites were to love the stranger, because Christ died as verily to save him as he did to save Israel. At their feasts of thanksgiving, when they recounted the mercies of God, the stranger was to be made welcome. At the time of harvest they were to leave in the field a portion for the stranger and the poor. So the strangers were to share also in God's spiritual blessings. The Lord God of Israel commanded that they should be received if they chose the society of those who knew and acknowledged him. In this way they would learn the law of Jehovah, and glorify him by their obedience. RH August 3, 1905, par. 2

So today God desires his children, both in spiritual and in temporal things, to impart blessings to the world. For every disciple of Christ in every age were spoken these precious words of the Saviour, “From within him shall flow rivers of living water.” RH August 3, 1905, par. 3

Many of the youth, in the midst of churches, religious institutions, and professedly Christian homes, are choosing the path to destruction. Through intemperate habits, they bring upon themselves disease, and through greed to obtain money for sinful indulgences, they fall into dishonest practises. Health and character are ruined. Aliens from God, and outcasts from society, these poor souls feel that they are without hope either for this life or for the life to come. The hearts of the parents are broken. Men speak of these erring ones as hopeless; but God looks upon them with pitying tenderness. He understands all the circumstances that have led them to fall under temptation. This is a class that demands labor. RH August 3, 1905, par. 4

Not the youth only, but those of all ages who are in poverty and distress, sunken in sin, and weighed down with a sense of guilt, demand our assistance. It is the work of God's servants to seek for these souls, to pray for them and with them, and lead them step by step to the Saviour. What misery exists in the very heart of our so-called Christian countries! Think of the condition of the poor in our large cities. In these cities there are multitudes of human beings who do not receive as much care and consideration as are given to the brutes. There are thousands of wretched children, ragged and half-starved, with vice and depravity written on their faces. Families are herded together in miserable tenements, many of them in cellars reeking with dampness and filth. Children are born in these terrible places. Thus in years of infancy and youth, their eyes behold nothing attractive, nothing of the beauty of the natural things that God has created to delight the senses. These children are left to grow up molded and fashioned in character by the wretchedness and wickedness around them. They hear the name of God only in profanity. Impure words, the fumes of liquor and tobacco, moral degradation of every kind, meet the eye and pervert the senses. And from these abodes of wretchedness piteous cries for food and clothing are sent out by many who know nothing about prayer. RH August 3, 1905, par. 5

While working for the poor, we should give attention also to the rich, whose souls are equally precious in the sight of God. The wealthy man needs to be labored for in the love and fear of God. Too often he trusts in his riches, and feels not his danger. The worldly possessions which the Lord has entrusted to men are often a source of great temptation. Thousands are thus led into sinful indulgences that confirm them in habits of intemperance and vice. Among the wretched victims of want and sin are found many who were once in possession of wealth. Men of different vocations and different stations in life have been overcome by the pollutions of the world, by the use of strong drink, by indulgence of the lusts of the flesh, and have fallen under temptation. While these fallen ones excite our pity and demand our help, should not some attention also be given to those who have not yet descended to these depths, but who are setting their feet in the same path? There are thousands occupying positions of honor and usefulness who are indulging habits that mean ruin to soul and body. Should not the most earnest efforts be made to enlighten them? RH August 3, 1905, par. 6

Ministers of the gospel, statesmen, authors, men of wealth and talent, men of vast business capacity and power for usefulness, are in deadly peril because they do not see the necessity of strict temperance in all things. They need to have their attention called to the principles of temperance, not in a narrow or arbitrary way, but in the light of God's great purpose for humanity. Could the principles of true temperance thus be brought before them, there are very many of the higher classes who would recognize their value and give them a hearty acceptance. RH August 3, 1905, par. 7

There is another danger to which the wealthy classes are especially exposed, and here also is a field for the work of the medical missionary. Multitudes who are prosperous in the world, and who never stoop to the common forms of vice, are yet brought to destruction through the love of riches. Absorbed in their worldly treasures, they are insensible to the claims of God and the needs of their fellow men. Instead of regarding their wealth as a talent to be used for the glory of God and the uplifting of humanity, they look upon it as a means of indulging and glorifying themselves. They add house to house and land to land, and fill their homes with luxuries, while want stalks the streets, and all about them are human beings in misery and crime, disease and death. Those who thus give their lives to self-serving are developing in themselves, not the attributes of God, but the attributes of Satan. RH August 3, 1905, par. 8

These men are in need of the gospel. They need to have their eyes turned from the vanity of material things to behold the preciousness of the enduring riches. They need to learn the joy of giving, the blessedness of being co-workers with God. RH August 3, 1905, par. 9

Persons of this class are often the most difficult of access, but Christ will open ways whereby they may be reached. Let the wisest, the most trustful, the most hopeful laborers seek for these souls. With the wisdom and tact born of divine love, with the refinement and courtesy that result alone from the presence of Christ in the soul, let them work for those who, dazzled by the glitter of earthly riches, see not the glory of the heavenly treasure. Let the workers study the Bible with them, pressing truth home to their hearts. RH August 3, 1905, par. 10

Such an appeal, made in the spirit of Christ, will not be thought impertinent. It will impress the minds of many in the higher classes. RH August 3, 1905, par. 11

By efforts put forth in wisdom and love, many a rich man may be awakened to a sense of his responsibility and his accountability to God. When it is made plain that the Lord expects them as his representatives to relieve suffering humanity, many will respond, and will give of their means and their sympathy for the benefit of the poor. When their minds are thus drawn away from their own selfish interests, many will be led to surrender themselves to God. With their talents of influence and means they will gladly unite in the work of beneficence with the humble missionary who was God's agent in their conversion. By a right use of their earthly treasure they will lay up “a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” They will secure for themselves the treasure that wisdom offers, even “durable riches and righteousness.” RH August 3, 1905, par. 12

Many have lost the sense of eternal realities, lost the similitude of God, and they hardly know whether they have souls to be saved or not. They have neither faith in God nor confidence in man. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation come into their wretched homes, ministering to the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and tenderly pointing all to him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger,—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up. Faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen as his Word is opened. RH August 3, 1905, par. 13

As God's children devote themselves to this work, many will lay hold of the hand stretched out to save them. They are constrained to turn from their evil ways. Some of the rescued ones may, through faith in Christ, rise to high places of service, and be entrusted with responsibilities in the work of saving souls. They know by experience the necessities of those for whom they labor; and they know how to help them; they know what means can best be used to recover the perishing. They are filled with gratitude to God for the blessings they have received; their hearts are quickened by love, and their energies are strengthened to lift up others who can never rise without help. Taking the Bible as their comforter, they find a new career opening before them. Every one of these souls that is added to the force of workers, provided with facilities for service and with instruction as to how to save souls for Christ, becomes a colaborer with those who brought him the light of truth. Thus God is honored, and his work advanced. RH August 3, 1905, par. 14