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To Brethern in Responsible Positions

SpTA01b - An Appeal to Our Ministers and Conference Committees (1892)
 
 
     To Brethren in Responsible Positions.
 
     Brethren in responsible positions, you are in danger. I lift my voice in warning. Beware. Unless you watch, and keep your garments unspotted from the world, Satan will stand as your captain. It is no time now to hide your colors, no time to turn traitor, when the battle presses sore. It is no time to lay down or hide our weapons, and give Satan the advantage in the warfare. Watchmen on the walls of Zion must be wide awake. Call to your fellow-watchmen in no sleepy terms, "The morning cometh, and also the night," If no response is made, then know that the watchman is unfaithful. It is no time now to relax our efforts, to become tame and spiritless; no time to hide our light under a bushel; to speak smooth things, to prophesy deceit. No, no; there is no place for sleepy watchmen on the walls of Zion. Every power is to be employed wholly and entirely for God. Maintain your allegiance, bearing testimony for God and for truth. Be not turned aside by any suggestions the world may make. We can make no compromise. There is a living issue before us, which will be of vital importance to the remnant people of God, to the very close of this earth's history; for eternal interests are here involved. We are to look constantly to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation. All that Jesus did on the earth, was done with an eye single to the glory of his Father. He says, "As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do." "This commandment have I received of my Father." In all he did, he was working out the will of his Father, so that his life on earth was a manifestation of the divine perfection. The union of divinity with humanity in Christ, was to reveal to us God's purpose to bring men into the closest connection with himself. We cannot possibly be happy without him.  {SpTA01b 9.1} 

     The original apostasy began in a disbelief and denial of the truth. We are to fix the eye of faith steadfastly upon Jesus. When the days come, as they surely will, in which the law of God is made void, the zeal of the true and loyal should rise with the emergency, and should be the more warm and decided, and their testimony should be the more positive and unflinching. But we are to do nothing in a defiant spirit, and we shall not if our hearts are fully surrendered to God. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work."  {SpTA01b 10.1}

     Now is the time for God's people to take up the duties that lie next them. Be faithful in the little things; for on the right performance of these hang great results. Do not leave the work which needs to be done, because it appears to your judgment to be small and inconsiderable. Make up every waste place, repair the breaches as fast as they occur. Let no differences or dissensions exist in the church. Let all go to work to help some one who needs help. There is a cause for the great weakness in our churches, and that cause is hard to remove. It is self. Men have none too much will, but they must have it wholly sanctified to God. They need to fall on the Rock and be broken. Self must be crucified in every one who shall enter the gates of the city of God. The fierce spirit which rises up in the hearts of some in the church when anything does not please them, is the spirit of Satan, and not the spirit of Christ. Is it not fully time that we return to our first love, and be at peace among ourselves? We must show ourselves to be not only Bible readers, but Bible believers. If we are united to Christ, we shall be united to one another. "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye love one another." "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written. The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus."  {SpTA01b 11.1} 

     The increase of our numbers and the enlarging of our facilities means work; it calls for entire consecration and thorough devotedness. God has no place in his work for half-hearted men and women, those who are neither cold nor hot. Christ says, "I will spew thee out of my mouth." God calls for men who are whole-hearted.  {SpTA01b 12.1} 

     There are those who have prided themselves on their great caution in receiving "new light," as they term it; but they are blinded by the enemy, and cannot discern the works and ways of God. Light, precious light, comes from heaven, and they array themselves against it. What next? These very ones will accept messages that God has not sent, and thus will become even dangerous to the cause of God because they set up false standards. Men who might be of great use if they would learn of Christ and go on from light to greater light, are in some things positive hindrances, forever on the point of questioning, wasting much precious time, and contributing nothing to the spiritual elevation of the church. They excite doubt and fear. They misdirect minds, leading them to accept of suggestions that are not safe. They cannot see afar off, they cannot discern the conclusion of the matter. Their moral force is squandered upon trifles; they view an atom as a world, and a world as an atom.  {SpTA01b 12.2} 

     Many have trusted and gloried in the wisdom of men far more than in Christ and the precious, sanctifying truth for this time. They need the heavenly anointing, that they may comprehend what is light and truth. They thank God that they are confined to no narrow groove, but they do not see the breadth and far-reaching extent of the principles of truth, and are not enlightened by the Spirit of God as to heaven's large liberality. They admire man-made inventions and discoveries, but they are walking in the sparks of their own kindling, diverging farther and farther from the genuine principles of Christian action, ordained to make men wise unto salvation. They strive to extend the gospel, but separate from it the very marrow, the life. They say, "Let the light shine;" but cover it so that it shall not shine in clear rays on the very subjects that they need to understand. Some exhaust the fervor of their zeal on plans that cannot be carried out without peril to the church.  {SpTA01b 12.3} 

     At this time the church should not be diverted from the main object of vital interest, to things that will not bring health and courage, faith and power. They must see, and by their actions testify, that the gospel is aggressive. But the light which is given to shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, burns dimly. The church no longer sends out the clear, bright rays of light amid the moral darkness that is enveloping the world as a funeral pall. The light of many does not burn or shine. They are moral icebergs.  {SpTA01b 13.1} 

     Watchmen on the walls of Zion are to be vigilant, and sleep not day nor night. But if they have not received the message from the lips of Christ, their trumpets will give an uncertain sound. Brethren, God calls upon you, both ministers and laymen, to listen to his voice speaking to you in his word. Let his truth be received into the heart, that you may be spiritualized by its living, sanctifying power. Then let the distinct message for this time be sent from watchman to watchman on the walls of Zion.  {SpTA01b 13.2} 

     This is a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, and now we must build the old waste places, and with interested effort, labor to raise up the foundation of many generations. "Thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation. Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing into Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually everyday because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people," "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all the kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married."  {SpTA01b 13.3} 

     While you hold the banner of truth firmly, proclaiming the law of God, let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God. The third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaim the first, second, and third angels' messages; all are linked together. The evidences of the abiding, ever-living truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to us, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, are not extinct. Satan is constantly seeking to cast his hellish shadow about these messages, so that the remnant people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place; but they live, and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last.  {SpTA01b 15.1} 

     The influence of these messages has been deepening and widening, setting in motion the springs of action in thousands of hearts, bringing into existence institutions of learning, publishing houses, and health institutions; all these are the instrumentalities of God to co-operate in the grand work represented by the first, second, and third angels flying through the midst of heaven, to warn the inhabitants of the world that Christ is coming the second time, with power and great glory. The Revelator says, "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen." This is the same message that was given by the second angel,--Babylon is fallen, "because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." What is that wine?--Her false doctrines. She has given to the world a false Sabbath, instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has repeated the lie Satan first told to Eve in Eden,--the natural immortality of the soul. Many kindred errors she has spread far and wide, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."  {SpTA01b 15.2} 

     When Jesus began this public ministry, he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanation. Almost the last act of his ministry was to cleanse the temple again. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are made to the churches; the second angel's message, and the voice heard from heaven, "Come out of her, my people, . . . for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."  {SpTA01b 16.1} 

     As God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep his Sabbath, so he calls his people out of Babylon, that they may not worship the beast nor his image. The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, has exalted himself above God, by presenting this spurious sabbath to the world; the Christian world has accepted the child of papacy, and cradled and nourished it, thus defying God by removing his memorial and setting up a rival sabbath.  - 17 -  {SpTA01b 16.2} 

     After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, at a time when every conceivable power of evil is set in operation, when minds are confused by the many voices crying, "Lo, here is Christ; lo, he is there; this is true, I have the message from God; he has sent me with great light," and there is a removing of the landmarks, and an attempt to tear down the pillars of our faith,--then a more decided effort is made to exalt the false sabbath, and to cast contempt upon God himself by supplanting the day he has blessed and sanctified. This false sabbath is to be enforced by an oppressive law. Satan and his angels are wide-awake and intensely active, working with energy and perseverance through human instrumentalities to bring about his purpose of obliterating the knowledge of God. When Satan is working with his lying wonders, the time has come, foretold in the Revelation, when the mighty angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, will proclaim the fall of Babylon, and call upon God's people to forsake her.  {SpTA01b 17.1} 

     The Lord has presented before me that those who have been in any measure blinded by the enemy, and who have not fully recovered themselves from the snare of Satan, will be in peril because they cannot discern the light from heaven, and will be inclined to accept a falsehood. This will affect the whole tenor of their thoughts, their decisions, their propositions, their counsels. The evidences that God has given are no evidence to them, because they have blinded their own eyes by choosing darkness rather than light. Then they will originate something they call light, which the Lord calls sparks of their own kindling, by which they will direct their steps. The Lord declares, "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him, trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have at mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." Jesus said, "For judgment I am come unto this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind." "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."  {SpTA01b 17.2} 

     By many, the words which the Lord sent, will be rejected, and the words that man may speak will be received as light and truth. Human wisdom will lead away from self-denial, from consecration, and will devise many things that tend to make of no effect God's messages. We cannot with any safety rely upon men who are not in close connection with God. They accept the opinions of men, but cannot discern the voice of the True Shepherd, and their influence will lead many astray, though evidence is piled upon evidence before their eyes, testifying to the truth that God's people should have for this time. The truth is calculated to turn men to Christ, to quicken their energies, subduing and softening their hearts, and inspiring them with zeal and devotion and love to God. The Sabbath truth must in no case be covered up. We must let it appear in plain contrast with error.  {SpTA01b 18.1} 

     As the end approaches, the testimonies of God's servants will become more decided and more powerful, flashing the light of truth upon the systems of error and oppression that have so long held the supremacy. The Lord has sent us messages for this time to establish Christianity upon an eternal basis, and all who believe the present truth must stand, not in their own wisdom, but in God, and raise up the foundation of many generations; and they will be registered in the books of heaven as repairers of the breech, the restorers of paths to dwell in. We are to maintain the truth because it is truth, in face of the bitterest opposition. God is at work upon human minds; it is not man alone that is working. The great illuminating power is from Christ; the brightness of his example is to be kept before the people in every discourse.  {SpTA01b 18.2} 

     The rainbow above the throne, the bow of promise, testifies to the whole world that God will never forget his people in their struggle. Let Jesus be our theme. Let us with pen and voice present, not only the commandments of God, but the faith of Jesus. This will promote real heart piety as nothing else can. While we present the fact that men are subjects of a divine moral government, their reason teaches them that this is truth, that they owe allegiance to Jehovah. This life is our time of probation. We are placed under the discipline and government of God, to form characters and acquire habits for the higher life. Temptations will come upon us. Iniquity abounds; where you least expect it, dark chapters will open that are most terrible, to weigh down the soul; but we need not fail nor be discouraged while we know that the bow of promise is above the throne of God. We shall be subject to heavy trials, opposition, bereavement, affliction; but we know that Jesus passed through all these. These experiences are valuable to us; the advantages are not by any means confined to this short life; they reach into eternal ages. Through patience, faith, and hope, in all the changing scenes of earth, we are forming characters for everlasting life. Everything shall work together for good to those that love God.  {SpTA01b 19.1} 

     All the scenes of this life in which we must act a part, are to be carefully studied, for they are a part of our education. We should bring solid timbers into our character-building, for we are working both for this life and eternal life. And as we near the close of this earth's history, we advance more rapidly in Christian growth, or we retrograde just as decidedly.  {SpTA01b 19.2} 

     "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. . . . And I will remember my covenant, . . . and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." In the rainbow above the throne is an everlasting testimony, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Whenever the law is presented before the people, let the teacher of the truth point to the throne arched with the rainbow of promise, the righteousness of Christ. The glory of the law is Christ; he came to magnify the law, and to make it honorable. Make it appear distinct that mercy and truth have met together in Christ, and righteousness and peace have embraced each other. It is when you are looking to his throne, offering up your penitence and praise and thanksgiving to God, that you perfect Christian character, and represent Christ to the world; you abide in Christ, and Christ abides in you; you have that peace which passes all understanding. We need constantly to meditate upon Christ, his attractive loveliness. We must direct minds to Jesus, fasten them upon him. In every discourse dwell upon the divine attributes.  {SpTA01b 20.1} 

     As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained, for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation full and complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world's Redeemer and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love for God. Mercy invites us to enter through the gates into the city of God, and justice is sacrificed [satisfied] to accord to every obedient soul full privileges as a member of the royal family, a child of the heavenly King. If we were defective in character, we could not pass the gates that mercy has opened to the obedient; for justice stands at the entrance, and demands holiness, purity, in all who would see God. Were justice extinct, and were it possible for divine mercy to open the gates to the whole race, irrespective of character, there would be a worse condition of disaffection and rebellion in heaven than before Satan was expelled. The peace, happiness, and harmony of heaven would be broken up. The change from earth to heaven will not change men's characters; the happiness of the redeemed in heaven results from the character formed in this life, after the image of Christ. The saints in heaven will first have been saints on earth.  {SpTA01b 20.2}

     The salvation that Christ made such a sacrifice to gain for man, is that which is alone of value, that which saves from sin, the cause of all the misery and woe in our world. Mercy extended to the sinner is constantly drawing him to Jesus. If he responds, coming in penitence, with confession, in faith laying hold of the hope set before him in the gospel, God will not despise the broken and contrite heart. Thus the law of God is not weakened, but the power of sin is broken, and the scepter of mercy is extended to the penitent sinner.—Ellen G. White, November, 1890.  - 22 -  {SpTA01b 21.1}

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