The Review and Herald

231/1902

August 28, 1883

Our Present Position

EGW

“Watchman, what of the night?” is the inquiry that should now arise from all hearts. And the true watchman will be able to give the answer, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” This is a day of peril, a day of clouds and thick darkness. Men are blinded, infatuated by the god of this world. They close their eyes to the fearful events that are casting their shadows before. Intoxicated with self-indulgence and luxury, they know not that the tempest is about to burst upon them. RH August 28, 1883, par. 1

Satan and his hosts set themselves to overthrow the work of God. To fainting, unbelieving souls it may seem that the powers of darkness are about to prevail. Philosophy sets up reason as an antagonist of revelation. Science, falsely so called, directs the minds of men to the book of nature as a contradiction of the word of God. Critics search the Scriptures to find some pretext for treating with contempt the words of Holy Writ. The base spirit of worldliness leads men to seek to throw off the claims of their Maker. And many who profess to reverence God's word make war upon all who proclaim its plain and cutting truths. RH August 28, 1883, par. 2

At times the clamor of error and heresy seem almost to drown the voice of truth; yet the cry of the true watchman is still heard sounding from the watch-tower, “The morning cometh, and also the night.” We have no thought of discouragement, no thought of fainting or failing. Our only anxiety is to discharge our duty in the fear of God. We know that “God is, and he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him;” he lives and reigns, and all he asks of us is humble faith and willing obedience. Those who occupy themselves in opposing his work and his servants, we leave to serve their own master, while we press forward to spread the triumphs of the cross. RH August 28, 1883, par. 3

There are many who consider it a mark of intelligence to doubt, and they pride themselves upon their ability to devise objections to God's word, to his truth, or to those who proclaim it. One class will bring together disconnected or obscure passages of Scripture, interpret to suit themselves, and then, after perverting or wholly concealing the true meaning they hold them up to ridicule as examples of the absurdities to be found in the Bible. Others attack in a similar manner the words and acts of those whom God calls to lead out in his cause. But are infidels and skeptics the men who devote their lives to noble efforts to reform and elevate mankind? And those who busy themselves in finding fault with the servants of God—are they laboring with zeal and energy to build up his kingdom? In this work they have little interest. Their mission is to weaken and tear down. This is the work of Satan, and he employs the ability of every man whom he can control. RH August 28, 1883, par. 4

There will ever be some who take delight in dwelling upon the real or supposed faults and failures of others, and who employ their time in seeing, hearing, or reporting something that will destroy confidence in the person criticised. Few are without visible faults; in most persons careful scrutiny will reveal some defect of character; and upon these defects in others, some professed Christians delight to dwell. The habit strengthens with indulgence, and a love for gossip becomes their ruling passion. They gather together the tid-bits of reports,—all of them, it may be, utterly devoid of truth,—and feast upon the scandal, and share it with others as a rare delicacy. RH August 28, 1883, par. 5

A writer asks, Who ever heard of a dove rending the heart of a robin, or of a lamb sucking the blood of a kid? This is the work of hawks and tigers. The true followers of Christ will not be found biting and devouring one another. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” RH August 28, 1883, par. 6

Envy and jealousy loose the blood-hounds of suspicion, and minds that love the sport join in hunting down the fair fame of Christ's ambassadors. An unjust insinuation is started, a conjecture is set afloat; and it gathers strength as it passes from one to another of those who desire it to be true. These evil reports are received with great satisfaction by some who have been reproved for heinous sins or grave defects of character. They smarted under the reproof, and yet did not reform. Now their consciences are eased; they learn that the reprover cannot be trusted; somebody has circulated a damaging report; somebody has brought an accusation. They leave the distasteful work of caring for their own souls and repenting of their own sins, and climb upon the judgment seat to condemn another. RH August 28, 1883, par. 7

Brethren and sisters, let not your souls be disturbed by the efforts of those who so earnestly seek to arouse distrust and suspicion of Sister White. These attacks have been repeated hundreds of times during the past forty years; but my labors have not ceased; the voice of warning, reproof, and encouragement has not been silenced. The evil reports framed concerning me have injured those who circulated them; but they have not destroyed my work. Before some of these opposers had an existence, I was shown what would come, and from what source. In the day of God, those who have been seeking to prove me a deceiver must answer for their course. I appeal to those who love the truth: Guard well the avenues of the soul. Place sentinels at the eyes, the ears, the lips. When prevarications and conjectures are brought before you, and your minds are disturbed, go to Jesus, and pray for help that you may not be ensnared by the wiles of Satan. RH August 28, 1883, par. 8

Many ask, Why do you not contradict these reports? Why allow them to be circulated? The same question has been asked again and again for the last forty years. My answer is, in the language of one of old, I am doing a great work, and I cannot come down. God has called me to reveal to others by pen and voice, what he has revealed to me. In his strength I must go forward in this solemn and important work, knowing that it is soon to bear the test of the Judgment. While false accusers are doing what pleases themselves, I will seek only to please Him who has given me my work. Christ is our leader, and if we follow him, we shall see his triumph and share his joy. RH August 28, 1883, par. 9

To those who have long been acquainted with my labors, I leave the burden of stating the truth in these matters. If any who have had an experience in this message and who understand the relation which I have sustained to it, are inclined to believe the false statements of my enemies, nothing that I might say would influence them. Those who make the slanders and those who circulate them are actuated by the same spirit. I do not expect the manufacture and circulation of false reports to cease. As long as I am faithful in reproving sin, and in presenting before the people the perfection of Christian character, Satan's enmity will be stirred against me. If I were to leave my work to correct every false statement made concerning me, I would have time to do little else. Satan's purpose would be accomplished, could he thus put an end to my labors. RH August 28, 1883, par. 10

I have not changed in character or in my manner of labor since you first listened to the messages of comfort, encouragement, and warning which God has given me for his people. I am the same in plainness and severe simplicity of dress; the same in bearing an earnest, decided testimony for God; the same in deep interest in the truth. I cherish the same faith, the same hope, the same love for souls for whom Christ died. RH August 28, 1883, par. 11

Brethren and sisters, have no fears that I shall become disheartened by the cruel attacks of my enemies. I expect them in greater measure, and only wonder that they have not been more frequent. Think of Jesus. How much was said against him. How he was despised and hated. See him laboring for a short time in one place, and then forced to hasten to another to save his life, that he might finish his work, and give to the world the light of a pure and noble example. We may strengthen our faith and quicken our love by going often to the foot of the cross, and there contemplating our Saviour's humiliation. Behold the Majesty of Heaven suffering as a transgressor! Spotless purity, untarnished righteousness, did not shield him from falsehood and reproach. He meekly bore the contradiction of sinners against himself, and yielded up his life, that we might be forgiven and live forevermore. Are we willing to follow in his steps? The only reason why we do not now suffer greater persecution is, we do not in our lives more faithfully exemplify the life of Christ. I assure you, brethren and sisters, if you walk as he walked, you will know what it is to be persecuted and reproached for his sake. RH August 28, 1883, par. 12

If we hope to wear the crown, we must expect to bear the cross. Our greatest trials will come from those who profess godliness. It was so with the world's Redeemer; it will be so with his followers. I should doubt whether I were a child of God, if the world, or even all professed Christians, spoke well of me. Those who are in earnest to win the crown of eternal life need not be surprised or disheartened because at every step toward the heavenly Canaan they meet with obstacles and encounter trials. The opposition which Christ received came from his own nation, who would have been greatly blessed had they accepted him. In like manner the remnant church receive opposition from those who profess to be their brethren. RH August 28, 1883, par. 13

But “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” It is good for me to tread a hard and humble path, to encounter difficulties, to experience disappointments, to suffer afflictions and bereavements. The Saviour knows what is best. Faith grows by conflict with doubt and difficulty and trial. Virtue gathers strength by resistance to temptation. The life of the faithful soldier is a battle and a march. No rest, fellow-pilgrim, this side the heavenly Canaan. RH August 28, 1883, par. 14

When our enemies try to place upon us the black robes of unrighteousness, let us not become exasperated at their injustice. When your efforts are falsified, when your motives and your works are painted in colors black as ink, remember those who were treated the same before you. How have the saints of God in ages past been maligned, traduced, and persecuted! For centuries their names were covered with infamy. All that the hosts of hell could do was done to heap reproach upon them as the vilest of men. But John in holy vision beholds the faithful souls that come up out of great tribulation, surrounding the throne of God, clad in white robes, and crowned with immortal glory. What though they have been counted the offscouring of the earth? In the investigative Judgment their lives and characters are brought in review before God, and that solemn tribunal reverses the decision of their enemies. Their faithfulness to God and to his word stands revealed, and Heaven's high honors are awarded them as conquerors in the strife with sin and Satan. RH August 28, 1883, par. 15

Brethren, we can afford to wait. Let our enemies exult because they have represented us in a character to suit their malicious fancy. But Christ will judge righteously, and will reward every man according to his deeds. To the faithful, who have been clothed by their enemies in the black robes of falsehood, he will give the spotless garments of truth and purity. RH August 28, 1883, par. 16

It will do our proud hearts good to suffer reproach for Christ's sake. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.” RH August 28, 1883, par. 17

Take courage, then, when the burden is heavy, when the work moves slowly, and temptations, strong and fierce, surge in upon you. Cease not your effort so long as there is one soul to be warned by your words, one soul to be benefited by your example. RH August 28, 1883, par. 18

I entreat you to depend less upon your own efforts, and trust more to the power of Christ. Cultivate fortitude, firmness, patience, humility, and self-control. The God whom we serve will arm us with courage in every emergency; but we must abase self, and let God be all in all. It was true faith that gave Caleb courage to bear his decided testimony for God, even when fellow-workers stood ready to take his life. God wants brave men in his cause today,—men who in his strength are not afraid to do and dare. RH August 28, 1883, par. 19

The time is short. How will our cases appear in the Judgment? What is now our standing before God? Are we closely examining our own hearts? Are we by repentance and confession sending our sins beforehand to Judgment, that they may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come? This is an individual work,—a work which we cannot safely delay. We should take hold of it earnestly; our salvation depends upon our sincerity and zeal. Let the cry be awakened in every heart, “What must I do to be saved?” RH August 28, 1883, par. 20

The adversary of souls is constantly seeking to divert our minds by bringing in side-issues. Let us not be deceived. Let enemies handle your name and mine as they please. Let them distort, misrepresent our words and deeds. Let them fabricate falsehoods as best pleases them. We cannot afford to allow our minds to be diverted from Jesus and the preparation of soul which we must have in order to meet him in peace. RH August 28, 1883, par. 21

Leave Sister White in the hands of God. If the work in which she is engaged be of God, it will prosper; otherwise it will come to naught. But remember that your own eternal interests are now at stake. The fatal lethargy upon you must now be broken, or it will result in endless death. “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” In Christ's stead, I beseech you to pray as you never prayed before, to seek earnestly for faith and love, that seem to be almost banished from the earth. Live each day as in the sight of God. RH August 28, 1883, par. 22

Your case will soon come in review before God; how is it with you, my brother? Are you unprepared for that solemn investigation? Christ alone hath the words of eternal life. Helpless, discouraged, sin-smitten soul, look to Jesus; he will pity, bless, and save you. Let not false teachers confuse your minds and unsettle your faith by casting reproach upon those whom God has sent you with messages of warning and instruction. Remember that it is not mere men whom you have to meet, but “principalities and powers, and wicked spirits in high places.” Now is the very time when Satan is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. RH August 28, 1883, par. 23

Many are in reality fighting his battles while they profess to serve under the banner of Christ. These traitors in the camp may not be suspected, but they are doing their work to create unbelief, discord, and strife. Such are the most dangerous of foes. While they insinuate themselves into our favor, and gain our confidence and sympathy, they are busy suggesting doubts and creating suspicion. They work in the same manner as did Satan in Heaven when he deceived the angels by his artful representations, placing darkness for light, and making the forbearance and mercy of God to appear as harshness and severity. As he worked at the beginning, so he works in the end, only concealing himself more perfectly from view. RH August 28, 1883, par. 24

By every conceivable device, the foe is seeking to throw us off our guard. He may first attempt to deceive with smooth words and crafty insinuations; and if these fail, he proceeds to open violence. He has many a deep laid snare for unwary feet, and those who once become entangled find it almost impossible to extricate themselves. While he praises, flatters, and exalts some, he hurls his fiery darts at others. We must be on guard every moment. Days of peculiar trial, difficulty, and danger are before us. RH August 28, 1883, par. 25

It is not enough that we have the theory of the truth; its principles must be inwrought in the soul, and exemplified in the life, or we shall fall a prey to the delusions prepared for the last days. RH August 28, 1883, par. 26

We must make up our minds that instead of matters taking a more favorable turn, wicked men, seducing teachers, will grow worse and worse, deceiving themselves and deceiving others. We may expect greater opposition than has yet been experienced. We have heard but the growling of the dragon. This will swell to a roar. We have yet to learn the significance of those words of John: “Then the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” We must now make Christ our refuge, or in the days before us our souls will be overwhelmed with darkness and despair. There is a point beyond which human help cannot avail. Every one must live by faith as he is forced into close and apparently deadly conflict with the powers of darkness. Each must stand or fall for himself. The arrows of the destroyer are about to be hurled against the faithful ones, and no earthly power can turn aside the shaft. But could our eyes be opened we could see angels of God encircling the righteous, that no harm may come upon them. We have only to trust in God, and go forward in the way of obedience, and we shall be victorious. RH August 28, 1883, par. 27

“Now the just shall live by faith.” We must look to Jesus, study his words, pray for his Spirit. We should be more frequently alone with God in meditation and prayer. Let us pray more and talk less. We cannot trust to our own wisdom, our own experience, our own knowledge of the truth; we must be daily learners, looking to our heavenly Teacher for instruction, and then, without regard to ease, pleasure, or convenience, we must go forward, knowing that He is faithful who has called. RH August 28, 1883, par. 28

We should cultivate a spirit of prayer, not merely praying in our closets, at the family altar, or in public, but having our minds constantly centered on God, taking hold upon his strength, pleading for his grace, confiding in his promises. Let us put on the whole armor of righteousness, which the Captain of our salvation has prepared for us. While we realize our weakness, let us rely upon His strength, and overcome by the grace which he imparts. RH August 28, 1883, par. 29

There is help in God for every seeker. Great promises are left on record for us. We should keep faith in constant exercise, and it will increase and strengthen. Our hope is in Christ, “whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” RH August 28, 1883, par. 30