The Review and Herald

473/1902

February 19, 1889

Where Are the Nine?

EGW

A decided advancement in spirituality, piety, charity, and activity, has been made as the result of the special meetings in the Battle Creek church. Discourses were preached on the sin of robbing God in tithes and offerings. The prophet exclaims, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?—In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land.” RH February 19, 1889, par. 1

Many confessed that they had not paid tithes for years; and we know that God cannot bless those who are robbing him, and that the church must suffer in consequence of the sins of its individual members. There are a large number of names on our church books; and if all would be prompt in paying an honest tithe to the Lord, which is his portion, the treasury would not lack for means. From all countries and tongues and peoples is heard the Macedonian cry, “Come over and help us.” There are openings for the truth in every land. Those who are not of our faith are calling for the living preacher. Our publications are doing a good work, but the people say, “We want the living speaker to teach us the truth more fully.” The mission field is as broad as the world, and yet the work is bound by those who are not giving to the Lord his own portion, designed to be used in just this kind of work. The withholding of means that is due to God places barriers in the way of accomplishing work that should be done by those who have been enlightened by the truth. As the sin of robbing God was presented, the people received clearer views of their duty and privilege in this matter. One brother said that for two years he had not paid his tithes, and he was in despair; but as he confessed his sin, he began to gather hope. “What shall I do?” he asked. I said, “Give your note to the treasurer of the church; that will be business-like.” He thought that was a rather strange request; but he sat down, and began to write, “For value received, I promise to pay—” He looked up, as if to say, Is that the proper form in which to write out a note to the Lord? “Yes,” he continued, “for value received. Have I not been receiving the blessings of God day after day? Have not the angels guarded me? Has not the Lord blessed me with all spiritual and temporal blessings? For value received, I promise to pay the sum of $571.50 to the church treasurer.” After doing all he could do on his part, he was a happy man. In a few days he took up his note, and paid his tithe into the treasury. He had also made a Christmas donation of $125. Another brother gave a note for $1,000, expecting to meet it in a few weeks; and another gave a note for $300. RH February 19, 1889, par. 2

Robbing God involves the most serious consequences. The soul is placed in peril when this is done; for the blessing of God is withdrawn. About $2,000 was raised to restore tithes and offerings that have been withheld in the past. It has been proposed that these long-withheld tithes and offerings be devoted to the European missions. Nearly $6,000, reckoning the Christmas offerings, was thus raised for the foreign mission work. The sympathies of God's people should be aroused in every church throughout our land, and there should be unselfish action to meet the necessities of different mission fields. Men should testify to their interest in the cause of God by giving of their substance. If such an interest were manifested, the bond of Christian brotherhood would exist and increase in strength between all the members of Christ's family. This work of faithfully bringing in all the tithes, that there may be meat in the house of God, would supply laborers for both home and foreign fields. Although books and publications upon present truth are pouring out their treasures of knowledge to all parts of the world, yet missionary posts must be established at different points. The living preacher must proclaim the words of life and salvation. There are open fields inviting workers to enter. The harvest is ripe, and the earnest Macedonian cry for laborers is heard from every part of the world. We have no great men to send; but there are many single-hearted sons and daughters of God who will take hold of the work at any place, and God will give them wisdom, if they are meek and lowly followers of Jesus. RH February 19, 1889, par. 3

The Lord came very near to his people on the Sabbath of January 5. The blessing of the Lord rested upon me in a large measure as I spoke to the people. I know that the hearers were enlightened by the Spirit of God. We all felt the softening, subduing influence of his grace upon our hearts. It remains to be seen if those who have been blessed of God in the bestowal of the richness of his grace, will be like the nine lepers who were not found giving glory to God. Will the number be in proportion as of one to ten, of those who will return to praise and glorify his name? How much more joy would there be in heaven if with pen and voice of grateful acknowledgment the proportion might be reversed! How much more rejoicing would there be in heaven if all those who have received the marked evidences of God's compassionate love would respond with thanksgiving, making it evident that they have not received the grace of God in vain! RH February 19, 1889, par. 4

A certain old soldier of the cross of Christ, who had trained his heart to praise God, had always a testimony full of rejoicing and thanksgiving. His store of grace was increased as he rendered thanks to God. So it may be with us all. How readily do we express our sorrow, pouring into sympathizing ears our griefs and woes! How easily do we gather the clouds of darkness and discouragement about our souls, and shadow the pathway of others by mourning and complaining! Why should we not change this habit, and let offerings of gratitude flow forth from a full fountain of love to God? Why should we not have hearts to appreciate the goodness and loving-kindness of our Heavenly Father? How does God look upon those who have no acknowledgment to make of the visitation of his grace; who reflect no glory to the beneficent Giver of all good? RH February 19, 1889, par. 5

Have we not fasted and prayed and afflicted our souls over the backslidden condition of the church? Has the Lord heard your prayers in Battle Creek? Has the light and glory of God arisen upon you? Then arise and shine, showing forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. If you are grateful, if Christ has removed your sins as a thick cloud, raise your voice in thanksgiving, and tell of his goodness, and let other churches be encouraged by the good news of the work among us. We have so long educated our souls to sigh and complain and groan and murmur, that we feel little obligation to magnify the Lord of hosts when he gives us the light and freedom of his Spirit. RH February 19, 1889, par. 6

A large congregation assembled in the Tabernacle on the occasion referred to, and the results of the good work that had been in progress were made manifest. The gospel of Christ was not only heard, but the hearers of the word became doers also. There were one hundred and eighty-five willing testimonies borne in this meeting, and many said it was the best social meeting they had ever attended in the Tabernacle. There was a general conviction of the sin of unbelief, and of the sin of neglecting to improve the talents that God had given to his people. RH February 19, 1889, par. 7

Christ has said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” You are to hold forth the word of life, to let your light so shine before men that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father who is in heaven. The confession of the church, the declaration of the evidences of God's truth, love, faithfulness, and power, are chosen agencies of heaven to reveal Christ's pardoning love to the world. The testimonies of the people of God, when impressed by his Spirit, convict men of the sin of neglecting so great salvation. While men who are converted to God acknowledge his power through patriarchs and prophets, they have a more interesting testimony to bear concerning the miracles of the grace of Christ, the ever-living Saviour, in their present and personal experiences. These precious acknowledgments of the goodness, forbearance, and love of God, when accompanied by a consistent life, carry with them an irresistible power, that results in the salvation of souls. Says the apostle, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” RH February 19, 1889, par. 8

Every important truth received into the heart must find expression in the life. It is in proportion to the reception of the love of Christ that men desire to proclaim its power to others; and the very act of proclaiming it, deepens and intensifies its value to their own souls. Those whose souls are full of the love of Christ, are full of eagerness to make disclosures of the comfort, hope, and peace that pervade their hearts. They feel as did Paul when he said, “Unto me, which am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known to the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” RH February 19, 1889, par. 9

The churches which have been made sensible of the deep movings of the Spirit of God, have reached an important point in their experience. The Lord has manifested his willingness to bless those who will seek him with undivided hearts. The work of salvation cannot go forward without the co-operation of the human and the divine. The conditions of progress are plainly marked out in the word of God. You are to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” and then “it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” Those who have been made partakers of Christ's love, have been placed under new obligations to God and man, and have been set apart for the work of saving souls. They are to wear Christ's armor, and fight the battles of the Lord. Let every soul who has tasted and seen that the Lord is good, look their duties in the face. They are to confess Christ before the world. They are to bring the great truths which they have received before their fellow-men; for God has made them the depositaries of his light and truth. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, and we are laborers together with him. Christ was the faithful shepherd that was willing to leave the ninety and nine and go into the desert to seek and save the one lost sheep. RH February 19, 1889, par. 10

Though years have rolled into eternity since many first heard the truth, there are those who have never drank of the fountain of living waters, and therefore they cannot intelligently lead others to the fountain. It is for this very class who are feeding on husks, that Jesus feels the tenderest interest and sympathy. Over one sinner that repenteth there is greater joy than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repentance. The work of every church-member in our land is to seek and to save that which was lost. RH February 19, 1889, par. 11

“Let the lower lights be burning.” Let the individual members of the church take up their appointed work of diffusing as well as receiving light. Not one is excusable in being an idler in the Lord's vineyard. Additional light has been received by the Battle Creek church; but in order to retain this light, and to have it increase, it will be essential to recognize your responsibility before God. We cannot mark out a precise, rigid, iron-clad rule which you must follow in your missionary efforts. If you seek wisdom of God, asking in faith, nothing wavering, it shall be given, and given liberally. In working for others, you will be constantly strengthening yourself, and you may become polished instruments in the hands of God for disseminating the truth. RH February 19, 1889, par. 12