The Review and Herald

325/1902

October 20, 1885

The Work for Our Time

EGW

The end of all things is at hand; and in consideration of the shortness of time, we as a people should watch and pray, and in no ease allow ourselves to be diverted from the solemn work of preparation for the great event before us. Because the time is apparently extended, many have become careless and indifferent in regard to their words and actions. They do not realize their danger, and do not see and understand the mercy of our God in lengthening their probation that they may have time to form characters for the future, immortal life. Every moment is of the highest value. Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of overcoming every defect in their own characters, and in helping others to see the beauty of holiness by their example and personal effort. But God has a people upon the earth, who in faith and holy hope are tracing down the roll of fast-fulfilling prophecy, and are seeking to purify their souls by obeying the truth, that they may not be found without the wedding garment when Christ shall appear. RH October 20, 1885, par. 1

The disciples of Christ are his representatives upon the earth; and God designs that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world, dotted all over the country, in the towns, villages, and cities, “a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men.” If they obey the teachings of Christ in his sermon on the mount, they will be seeking continually for perfection of Christian character, and will be truly the lights of the world—channels through which God will communicate his divine will, the truth of heavenly origin, to those who sit in darkness, and who have no knowledge of the way of life and salvation. RH October 20, 1885, par. 2

God cannot display the knowledge of his will and the wonders of his grace among the unbelieving world, unless he has witnesses scattered all over the earth. It is his plan that men and women who are partakers of this great salvation through Jesus Christ should be his missionaries, bodies of light throughout the world to be as signs to the people, living epistles, known and read of all men, their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour, and that they have not received the grace of God in vain. The people must be warned to prepare for the coming Judgment. To those who have been listening only to fables, an opportunity will be afforded to hear the sure word of prophecy, whereunto they will do well to take heed as unto a light that shines in a dark place. God will present the sure word of truth to the understanding of all who will take heed, that they may contrast truth with the fables which have been presented to them by men who claim to understand the word of God, and profess to be qualified to instruct those in darkness. RH October 20, 1885, par. 3

Many who have called themselves Adventists have been time-setters. Time after time has been set for Christ to come, but repeated failures have been the result. The definite time of our Lord's coming is declared to be beyond the ken of mortals. Even the angels who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation, know not the day nor the hour. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Because the times repeatedly set have passed, the world is in a more decided state of unbelief than before in regard to the near advent of Christ. They look upon the failures of the time-setters with disgust; and because men have been so deceived, they turn from the truth substantiated by the word of God that the end of all things is at hand. RH October 20, 1885, par. 4

Those who so presumptuously preach definite time, in so doing gratify the adversary of souls; for they are advancing infidelity rather than Christianity. They produce scripture, and by false interpretation show a chain of argument which apparently proves their position. But their failures show that they are false prophets, that they do not rightly interpret the language of inspiration. The word of God is verity; but men have perverted its meaning. These errors have brought the truth of God for these last days into disrepute. Adventists are derided by ministers of all denominations. Yet God's servants must not hold their peace. The signs foretold in prophecy are fast fulfilling around us. This should arouse every true follower of Christ to zealous action. RH October 20, 1885, par. 5

Those who think they must preach definite time in order to make an impression upon the people, do not work from the right stand-point. The feelings of the people may be stirred, and their fears aroused; but they do not move from principle. An excitement is created; but when the time passes, as it has done repeatedly, those who moved out upon time fall back into coldness and darkness and sin, and it is almost impossible to arouse their consciences without some great excitement. RH October 20, 1885, par. 6

In Noah's day, the inhabitants of the old world laughed to scorn what they termed the superstitious fears and forebodings of the preacher of righteousness. He was denounced as a visionary character, a fanatic, an alarmist. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Men will reject the solemn message of warning in our day as they did in Noah's time. They will refer to those false teachers who have predicted the event and set the definite time, and will say that they have no more faith in our warning than in theirs. This is the attitude of the world today. Unbelief is wide-spread, and the preaching of Christ's coming is mocked at and derided. This makes it all the more essential that those who believe present truth show their faith by their works. They should be sanctified through the truth which they profess to believe; for they are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death. RH October 20, 1885, par. 7

Noah preached to the people of his time that God would give them one hundred and twenty years in which to repent of their sins and find refuge in the ark; but they refused the gracious invitation. Abundant time was given them to turn from their sins, overcome their bad habits, and develop righteous characters; but inclination to sin, though weak at first with many, strengthened through repeated indulgence, and hurried them on to irretrievable ruin. The merciful warning of God was rejected with sneers, with mocking and derision, and they were left in darkness, to follow the course their sinful hearts had chosen. But their unbelief did not hinder the predicted event. It came, and great was the wrath of God which was seen in the general ruin. RH October 20, 1885, par. 8

These words of Christ should sink into the hearts of all who believe the present truth: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Our danger is presented before us by Christ himself. He knew the perils we should meet in these last days, and would have us prepare for them. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” They were eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and swept them all away. The day of God will find men absorbed in like manner in the business and pleasures of the world, in feasting and gluttony, and indulging perverted appetite in the defiling use of liquor and the narcotic tobacco. This is already the condition of our world, and these indulgences are found even among God's professed people, some of whom are following the customs and partaking of the sins of the world. Lawyers, mechanics, farmers, traders, and even ministers from the pulpit, are crying, “Peace and safety,” when destruction is fast coming upon them. RH October 20, 1885, par. 9

What a responsible position, to unite with the Redeemer of the world in the salvation of men! This work calls for self-denial, sacrifice, and benevolence; for perseverance, courage, and faith. The reason why so little results are seen of the labor of those who minister in word and doctrine, is that they have not the fruit of the grace of God in their hearts and lives. They do not have faith. Many who profess to be ministers of Christ manifest a wonderful submission in seeing the unconverted all around them going to perdition. A minister has no right to be at ease, and sit down submissively to the fact that the truth is powerless, and souls are not stirred by its presentation. He should resort to prayer, and should work and pray without ceasing. Persistent, prevailing faith is necessary. God's ministers must come into close companionship with Christ, and follow his example in all things,—in purity of life, in self-denial, in benevolence, in diligence, in perseverance. They should remember that a record will one day appear in evidence against them for the least omission of duty. RH October 20, 1885, par. 10

The followers of Christ, scattered throughout the world, do not have a high sense of their responsibility and the obligation resting upon them to let their light shine forth to others. If there are but one or two in a place, they can, although few in number, so conduct themselves before the world as to have an influence which will impress the unbeliever with the sincerity of their faith. RH October 20, 1885, par. 11

Belief in the near coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven will not cause the true Christian to become neglectful and careless on the ordinary business of life. The waiting ones who look for the soon appearing of Christ will not be idle, but diligent in business. Their work will not be done carelessly and dishonestly, but with fidelity, promptness, and thoroughness. Those who flatter themselves that careless inattention to the things of this life is an evidence of their spirituality, and of their separation from the world, are under a great deception. Their veracity, their faithfulness, and their integrity are tested and proved even in temporal things. If they are faithful in that which is least, they will be faithful in much. RH October 20, 1885, par. 12

In Christ's sermon on the mount, we have the injunction of the Great Teacher: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” This command of Christ is of the highest importance, and should be strictly obeyed. It is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. RH October 20, 1885, par. 13