The Review and Herald

449/1902

July 31, 1888

Cast Not Away Your Confidence

EGW

We have been looking with joyful expectation for the soon-coming of our Lord in the clouds of heaven. We have not dared to be among the number who said, even in their hearts, “My Lord delayeth his coming;” for upon such, a fearful woe is pronounced. Enoch walked with God, and held communion with him, and God instructed his servant in regard to the second advent of our Lord. Says the inspired word, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” The doctrine of Christ's coming was made known at this early date, to the man who walked with God in continual communion. The godly character of this prophet is to represent the state of holiness to which the people of God must attain, who expect to be translated to heaven. RH July 31, 1888, par. 1

The doctrine of the coming of Jesus was to have a marked effect and influence upon the lives and characters of men, and one of the great teachers, one of the purest examples among men, proclaimed it to the inhabitants of the old world, prior to the flood, and prior to his own translation to heaven. This great event,—the advent of our Lord in all the glory of heaven,—must be brought to the attention of men, and all should live with reference to this,—the day of God that is soon to dawn upon us. The expectation of Christ's coming was to make men fear the Lord, and fear his judgments upon the transgressors of his law. It was to awaken them to a realization of the great sin of rejecting the offers of his mercy. RH July 31, 1888, par. 2

In the days of the apostle Paul, the Thessalonian brethren were laboring under the erroneous impression that the Lord would return in their day, and Paul wrote to correct this false impression, stating what events must transpire before the advent could take place. He declared: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” The man of sin was to arise, and do his work of exaltation and blasphemy, before the brethren could look for the coming of Christ. That great event was to be preceded by a falling away. There would be revealed a form of Antichrist, and the leaven of apostasy was to work with increasing power to the end of time. We are not to be surprised beyond measure to see the widespread declension of faith and piety. I have been bearing my testimony for the last forty years, that there would be those who would fall away from the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. God has been sending warnings, reproofs, and encouragements to his people. He has warned them that some would depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. RH July 31, 1888, par. 3

From the beginning, it has been the special doctrine of the adversary of God and man, that the law of God was faulty and objectionable. He has ever represented the royal law of liberty, as oppressive and unendurable. He has denoted it “a yoke of bondage.” He has declared that it was impossible for man to keep the precepts of Jehovah. This has been, and still is, the work of Satan. This is the seductive doctrine that devils are seeking to spread throughout the world. “No law” is the cry of the enemy of God. Shall we go over to the side of the great rebel? If we do, it will be our ruin. Shall we make void the law of God, because Satan tells us that we should be more free, and happier, if we would do so? Were Adam and Eve happier, and did they walk in more liberty, when they received and acted upon these suggestions of the evil one? RH July 31, 1888, par. 4

Shall we say we have been deceived in regard to the doctrine of Christ's near coming? Shall we declare that all our talking of his appearing has been in vain? Shall we say that all our work to make ready a people, prepared for his coming, has been for nought?-Never. We are not to become impatient and fretful, because time still lingers. We are to wait patiently for the work of God to be accomplished. “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; and let us consider one another to provoke”—unto doubts and unbelief, and apostasy?—No, but “unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 5

We must have a knowledge of the Scriptures, that we may trace down the lines of prophecy, and understand the specifications given by the prophets, and by Christ and the apostles; that we may not be ignorant; but be able to see that the day is approaching, so that with increased zeal and effort, we may exhort one another to faithfulness, piety, and holiness. “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Here is a most solemn statement, and one which should often be presented to souls, to show them the danger of entering into sin after they have received a knowledge of the truth of God. We would warn men and women off this ground. All would do well to remember, when tempted to leave the straight path of right, that those who, having received a knowledge of the truth, apostatize, “sin willfully,” transgress the law of God (“for sin is the transgression of the law”),—for such there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sin. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 6

Questioners, doubters, and apostates say to those who have been looking for the appearing of their Lord, “You are false prophets.” “You have been telling us for years that it was but a little time until the day of God would break; and it is evident that Christ will not come for many, many more years.” Are you not afraid to make such statements? Has not Christ described you in the person of the unfaithful servant who said, “My Lord delayeth his coming,” and who began to eat and to drink with the drunken, and to smite his fellow-servants? The inspired word declares, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 7

Christ spoke repeatedly of his second coming to the earth. At one time he said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” More than eighteen hundred years have passed since he, who spake as never man spake, uttered these words. He who could utter nothing but truth, made this assertion, which implied that the hour was at hand; but the dead are still in their graves. The Lifegiver's voice has not yet called the sleeping saints from their gloomy prisons, but we have not lost faith, because the predicted hour has not yet arrived. We work on, trusting, and believing, and waiting, not taking one step backward; but obeying the orders of the Captain of our salvation, whose command to his people is, “Go forward.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 8

The hour will come; it is not far distant, and some of us who now believe will be alive upon the earth, and shall see the prediction verified, and hear the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God echo from mountain and plain and sea, to the uttermost parts of the earth. All creation will hear that voice, and those who have lived and died in Jesus, will respond to the call of the Prince of life. It will be heard in the dungeons of men, in the caverns of the deep, in the rocks and caves of the earth, only to be obeyed. It is the same voice that said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,”—the same voice which said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” All those who have obeyed that voice when it said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me,” will hear the “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” To them, that voice will mean,—rest, peace, and everlasting life. They will recognize it as the voice of one who has been touched with the feeling of their infirmities. RH July 31, 1888, par. 9

Shall any one become weary now? Shall any one say, “The city is a great way off”? Shall we give up our faith, and draw back unto perdition, when we are nearing the eternal world?—No; no. God lives and reigns. “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Give up our faith? lose our confidence? become impatient?—No; no. We will not think of such a thing. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 10

The Christian is represented by the figure of the earth, which drinks in the rain that comes upon it, and brings forth fruit to the one who dresses and cares for it. The follower of Christ is to gather sap and nourishment from the living Vine. He is to produce fruit to the glory of God. The Lord requires that every plant in his garden should be thrifty, and bear fruit in abundance,—some thirty, some sixty, and some an hundred fold. We are not to be satisfied with momentary flashes of light; but we are constantly to seek for the illumination of the Spirit of God. It is our privilege to study the word of truth, and to obey it. We are not safe unless we are often found before God, offering up, in faith, fervent and effectual prayers. We must draw water from the wells of salvation. We may raise the soul from its common earthliness into a heavenly atmosphere which will purify, elevate, and refine it for the paradise of God. Those who keep the commandments of God, have a right to appropriate the rich promises that he has given. RH July 31, 1888, par. 11

Well may the children of God be filled with hope and courage, with joy and rapture, as they contemplate the things which God has prepared for them that love him. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming, for ye are our glory and joy”? “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” RH July 31, 1888, par. 12

Was Christ a false prophet when he uttered these words? More than eighteen hundred years have passed since John heard this great truth, and the Lord has not yet come to reign. But shall we give up looking for his appearance? Shall we say, “My Lord delayeth his coming”? See how the specifications of the prophecies have been and are fulfilling. Let us lift up our heads and rejoice; for our redemption draweth nigh. It is nearer than when we first believed. Shall we not wait patiently, filled with courage and faith? Shall we not make ready a people, to stand in the day of final reckoning and judgment? RH July 31, 1888, par. 13