The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 17, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                           Chapter Twelve.
                          and .
                                                                -
 
                           By Mrs. E. G. White.
                                                                -

, who knows from , knew, before the birth of Jacob and Esau, just what they would both develop. He knew that Esau would not have a heart to him. When he answered the troubled of , informing her that she would have two , he presented before her of her two sons, that they would become two , the one greater than the other, and the elder would serve the younger. The was entitled to peculiar advantages and special privileges; he possessed and , in the and the tribe, next to that of the ; he was regarded as especially to , and was selected to fill the office of ; and he received a of the father’s goods.

The two brothers were very unlike in character. Isaac was pleased with the bold, courageous spirit manifested by Esau, who delighted in the chase, bringing home game to his father, with stirring accounts of his adventures. Jacob was the favorite son of his mother, because his disposition was mild, and better calculated to make her happy. He had learned from his mother what God had taught her, that the elder should serve the younger, and his youthful reasoning led him to conclude that this promise could not be fulfilled while his brother had the privileges which were conferred on the first-born. And when the latter came in from the field, faint with hunger, Jacob improved the opportunity to turn Esau’s necessity to his own advantage, and proposed to feed him with pottage, if he would renounce all claim to the birthright; and Esau sold his birthright to Jacob.

Esau had taken two wives of the idolatrous Canaanites. This was a source of deep sorrow to Isaac and Rebekah, for they well knew that God had commanded their fathers not to intermarry with idolaters, and they had fully understood the care and anxiety of Abraham that Isaac should marry a wife of his own nation and faith. Isaac was now more than one hundred years old, the infirmities of age were upon him, and his sight had grown dim. Esau was still his favorite son, and notwithstanding Isaac had been made acquainted with the purpose of God, he determined to bestow the benediction upon his first-born. He called Esau, and, as he supposed, privately made known his wish that he should prepare him venison before the bestowal of the blessing, in accordance with the custom of making a feast upon such occasions. Rebekah had been divinely instructed that Jacob was to be in the direct line through which the promise would be fulfilled in the birth of the Redeemer. She was confident that her husband was going contrary to the will of God, and that no reasoning could change his purpose, and without due reflection she determined not to allow the father’s partiality for his eldest son to avert the purpose of God; by stratagem she would obtain the blessing for Jacob. As soon as Esau had departed on his errand she called her youngest son, and related to him the words of Isaac, and the necessity of action on their part to prevent the accomplishment of his designs to bestow a blessing, finally and irrevocably, upon Esau. If Jacob would follow her directions he might obtain the blessing, as God had promised. As Jacob listened to his mother’s plan he was at first greatly distressed, and assured her that in thus deceiving his father he would receive a curse instead of the desired blessing. But his scruples were overborne, and he proceeded to carry out his mother’s suggestions. The plan was successful; he obtained by fraud that which, had he shown the proper trust in God, he would have received as his right. 

It was not his intention to utter a direct falsehood, but once in the presence of his father he thought he had gone too far to retreat. From that moment he felt poor in heart, he was weighed down with self-condemnation. In grossly deceiving his blind, aged father, he had lost his nobility and truth. In one short hour he had made work for a life-long repentance. This scene was vivid before him in after years, when the wicked course of his own sons oppressed his soul.

The unrighteous course of Jacob and Rebekah produced no good results; it brought only distrust, jealousy, and revenge. Mother and son should have waited for the Lord to accomplish his own purpose in his own way, and in his own time, instead of trying to bring about the foretold events by the aid of deception. If Esau had received the blessing which was bestowed upon the firstborn, his prosperity could have come from God alone; and he would have granted him prosperity, or brought upon him adversity, according to his course of action. If he should love and reverence God, like righteous Abel, he would be accepted and blessed. If, like wicked Cain, he had no respect for God, nor for his commandments, he would be rejected of him, as was Cain. If Jacob’s course should be righteous, the prospering hand of God would be with him, even if he did not obtain the blessings and privileges generally bestowed upon the firstborn. Rebekah repented in bitterness for the wrong counsel which she had given to Jacob, for it was the means of separating him from her forever. He was compelled to flee for his life from the wrath of Esau, and his mother never saw his face again. Isaac lived many years after he gave Jacob the blessing, and was convinced by the course of his two sons, that the blessing rightly belongs to Jacob.

In the providence of God the unerring pen of inspiration withheld not the mistakes and sins of good men. The sin is unsparingly brought to light, and also the just judgment of God. Because of his transgression, Jacob became a fugitive from his home, compelled to serve a hard master for twenty years. A cruel fraud was practiced upon him in his marriage with Leah, his ten sons deceived him as he had deceived his father, and for many years he mourned over the supposed death of Joseph. All these years Jacob was a recipient of God’s favor, yet he had sown a crop that he must reap; neither time nor repentance could change into golden grain the vile weed sown. This view of the matter makes it of the highest consequence that in words and actions we move in conscious integrity, for “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

As Jacob pursued his journey, a stranger in a strange land, he sadly pondered the events which had transpired as the result of his own transgression. At night he lay down to sleep with the canopy of heaven as a covering, the earth his bed, and a stone his pillow. A compassionate God, who ever pitieth the woes of men, saw the lonely fugitive, troubled and perplexed, fearing that God had forsaken him because of his injustice, deception, and falsehood. In a vision of the night, the Lord manifested himself to Jacob. He saw a ladder, the base resting upon the earth, the top round reaching into the highest heaven even to the throne of God. The Lord himself, enshrouded in light, stood above the top of the ladder, and angels were ascending and descending upon it.

As Jacob gazed with wonder upon the scene, the voice of God was heard, saying, “I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Jacob awakened from his dream, and exclaimed in solemn awe, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” He looked about as if to again catch a glimpse of the heavenly messengers, but above him was only the blue, star-gemmed firmament, his head was still resting upon the rocky pillow. The ladder was gone, and the angels were no longer to be seen; but the voice of God was still echoing in his ears, with the promise now to him so precious. He felt indeed that angels of God, although unseen, peopled the place; that God was looking down upon him with compassion and love. Filled with holy awe and amazement, he involuntarily exclaimed, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this the gate of Heaven.”

The meaning of this ladder is explained to us in the words of Christ to Nathanael, “Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” The atonement of Christ links earth to Heaven, and finite man to the infinite God; for through Christ, the communication that was broken off because of transgression, is resumed with man. Sinners may find pardon and be visited by mercy and grace.

When the morning light appeared, Jacob arose, and taking the stone upon which his head had rested, he poured oil upon it, in accordance with the custom of those who would preserve a memorial of God’s mercy, that whenever he should pass that way, he might tarry at this sacred spot to worship the Lord. And he called the place Bethel, or the house of God. With the deepest gratitude and love he repeated again and again the gracious promise that God’s help and presence would be with him; and then, in the fullness of his soul, he made the solemn vow, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God; and this stone which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

God’s presence is not confined to the splendid edifice. Jacob’s humble resting-place had been consecrated by a manifestation of divine glory. God has often made sacred the hillside, the caves of the earth, the forest, the humble barn, the cotton tent. Each has become a tabernacle where he meets and blesses his servants, who are humbly seeking after truth, and peace, and righteousness. But the grandest cathedral, the marvel of architecture, if it encloses pride, dead forms, and hollow hypocrisy, is repulsive in the sight of God, who seeketh such to worship him as worship in spirit and in truth.

With a heart overflowing with love to God, and making melody in harmony with the happy songsters, Jacob went forward on his journey. He felt indeed that the presence of the Unseen was with him, and that angels were his companions.

Jacob felt that God had claims upon him which he must acknowledge, and that the special tokens of divine favor granted to him demanded a corresponding return. In like manner, every blessing bestowed upon us calls for a response. The Author of all our mercies should receive, not only gratitude, but tangible returns. Our time, our talents, our property, should be, and will be by every true Christian, sacredly devoted to the service of Him who has given these blessings to us in trust. When special deliverance has been wrought for us, when new and unexpected favors have been bestowed upon us, we should not accept them with indifference and with careless, thankless hearts.–God would have us follow the example of Jacob, pledge to the Lord in return for all his mercies.        (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 10:30 am
February 27, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                                Chapter Seven.
                               The .
                                                                -
 
                              By Mrs. E. G. White.
                                                                -

Those who honored and feared to offend , at first felt the curse but lightly, while those who turned from him and despised his felt its effects more heavily, especially in stature and nobleness of form. The descendants of were called the ; the descendants of , the . As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt, and by intermarriage with them lost, through the influence of their , their peculiar, , and united with the sons of Cain in their . Many cast off the , and trampled upon his . But there were a few who did , who feared and honored their . and his family were among the few.

Sin was spreading abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy. The world was but in its infancy in the days of Noah, yet iniquity had become so deep and wide-spread, that God repented that he had made man. Goodness and purity seemed to be almost extinct; while hatred of the law of God, emulation, envy, sedition, strife, and the most cruel oppression and violence, were corrupting the earth under its inhabitants. The thoughts and imaginations of man’s heart were evil continually.

A heavy, double curse was resting upon the earth in consequence, first, of Adam’s transgression, and, secondly, because of the murder committed by Cain; yet this did not at once change the face of nature. It was still rich and beautiful in the bounties of God’s providence. The quiet valleys and spreading plains, robed with verdure and adorned with shrubs and bright hued flowers colored by the Divine Artist, the lovely birds whose glad songs filled the groves with music, the graceful hills and winding streams, the trailing vines and stately trees, charming the eye with their beauty and supporting life with their fruit,–all seemed little less fair than Eden.

Gold and silver existed in abundance. The race of men then living was of very great stature, and possessed wonderful strength. The trees were vastly larger, and far surpassed in beauty and perfect proportions anything which mortals can now look upon. The wood of these trees was of fine grain and hard substance–in this respect more like stone. It required much more time and labor, even of that powerful race, to prepare the timber for building, than it requires in this degenerate age to prepare trees that are now growing upon the earth, even with the weaker strength which men now possess. These trees were of great durability, and would know nothing of decay for very many years. But notwithstanding the richness and beauty of the earth, when compared with its state before the curse was pronounced upon it, there was manifest evidence of certain decay.

The people used the gold, silver, precious stones, and choice wood, in building houses for themselves, each striving to excel the other. They beautified and adorned their houses and lands with the most ingenious works, and provoked God by their wicked deeds. They formed images to worship, and taught their children to regard these pieces of workmanship made with their own hands, as gods, and to worship them. They did not choose to think of God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and rendered no grateful thanks to Him who had bestowed upon them all which they possessed. They even denied the existence of the God of Heaven, and gloried in, and worshiped, the works of their own hands. They corrupted themselves with those things which God had placed upon the earth for man’s benefit. They prepared beautiful walks, overhung with fruit trees of every description, and under these majestic and lovely trees, with their wide-spread branches, which were green from the commencement of the year to its close, they placed their idols. Whole groves, because of the shelter of their branches, were dedicated to these idol gods, and made attractive as a resort for the people in their idolatrous worship.

The groves of Eden were God’s first temples, from which ascended purest worship to the Creator. The sorrowing exiles from Paradise could never forget that happy home. The waving trees and sheltering groves had for them a peculiar charm; for they reminded them of Eden and the joyful converse which they had once enjoyed with God and angels. And as they listened to the murmur of the wind among the leaves it almost seemed that they could again distinguish the sound of that voice that was heard in the garden in the cool of the day. The oak and the palm-tree, the drooping willow and the fragrant cedar, the olive and the cypress, were sacred to our first parents. Their verdant branches, spreading abroad and reaching upward to heaven, seemed to them to be praising their Creator. To Adam there was something almost human and companionable in the trees, carrying him back to many pleasing incidents of his life in Eden.

If the hearts of God’s people were softened as they should be by his grace, they would become acquainted with him, as they discern his wisdom and power in the things of his creation. Every green leaf, with its delicate veins, every opening bud and blooming flower, every lofty tree stretching upward to heaven, the earth clothed with its carpet of living green, is an expression of the love of God to man, not to lead us to worship nature, but to attract our hearts through nature up to nature’s God. The forest trees swaying in the wind, break forth into singing and praise to God, and rebuke the silence and indifference of man.

Adam had described Eden to his children and children’s children. Again and again the story was repeated, and his love for trees and flowers and groves was transmitted to his descendants. But instead of bowing down in the solemn groves to acknowledge the love of God and to worship him, they desecrated these groves by their idols. It was an abuse of the tender and sacred memories which Adam cherished–the association of the groves with the worship of the true and living God–that led the idolatrous children of Cain to build their altars and set up their images in the groves and under every green tree. And as they put God out of their hearts, their course of conduct was in accordance with their sacrilegious sacrifices and worship. The characters of men became more and more debased.

Instead of doing justice to their neighbors, they carried out their own unlawful wishes. They had a plurality of wives, which was contrary to God’s wise arrangement at the beginning. God gave to Adam one wife–showing to all who should live upon the earth, his order and law in that respect. The transgression and fall of Adam and Eve brought sin and wretchedness upon the human race, and man followed his own carnal desires, and changed God’s order. The more men multiplied wives to themselves, the more they increased in crime and unhappiness. If any one chose to take the wives, or cattle, or anything belonging to his neighbor, he did not regard justice or right, but if he could prevail over his neighbor by reason of strength, or by putting him to death, he did so, and exulted in his deeds of violence. Men loved to destroy the lives of animals. They used the flesh for food, and this increased their ferocity and violence, and caused them to look upon the blood of human beings with astonishing indifference.

God proposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long lived race that had corrupted their ways before him. He would not suffer them to live out the days of their natural life, which would have been hundreds of years. It was only a few generations since Adam had access to that tree which was to prolong life. After his disobedience he was not suffered to eat of the tree of life and perpetuate an existence in sin. In order for man to possess an endless life he must continue to eat of the fruit of the tree of life. Deprived of this, his life would gradually wear out.

More than one hundred years before the flood, the Lord sent an angel to Noah, to make known unto him his purpose in regard to the sinful race, that his Spirit would not always strive with man, but that he would send a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy man and beast. He would not leave the race ignorant of his design; but would, through Noah, warn the world of its coming destruction, that the inhabitants might be left without excuse. Noah was to preach to the people, and also to prepare an ark as God should direct him for the saving of himself and family. Not only was he to preach, but his example in building the ark was to be a continual testimony of warning to the world, showing that he believed what he preached. His simple, childlike faith, and his implicit obedience, notwithstanding the opposition he received, was an evidence to the world of his sincerity. He was firm as a rock to duty, directing the work of that singular building, under the guidance of the Divine Architect. Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people.

This period was the testing time for Noah. He knew that he was the object of popular contempt and scorn with that corrupt generation. He met with unbelief and mockery everywhere. But the greater the iniquity surrounding him, the more earnest and firm and persevering was he in his obedience, showing that there was one man in the world who would be true to God. He was a faithful and unbending witness for God, kind and courteous to all, resenting no insult. He was as one who heard not the reviling and blasphemy that greeted him on every side.

Noah was bearing to the inhabitants of the earth an important message of warning, the reception or rejection of which would decide the destiny of their souls. He believed God, he believed that he had the truth, and he moved straight forward in the path of faith and obedience, gaining strength from God daily, by communion with him. Noah was a man of prayer; and in this close connection with God he found all his courage and firmness. He preached, and warned, and entreated the people; but they would not change their course. They bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, they married and were given in marriage, they indulged in feasting and gluttony, and debased their souls, showing contempt for the message of Noah. Their speeches and actions became more vile and corrupt as the period of their probation was closing. The whole world seemed to be against Noah; but he had the testimony from God, “Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”

As far as human wisdom could see, the event predicted by Noah was not likely to occur. Rain had never fallen; a mist or dew had watered the earth. The brooks and rivers had safely flowed along their channels, emptying into the sea. The bodies of water had been kept in their place by God’s decree, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” Men then talked about the fixed laws of nature, that could not be set aside to bring about any such event as Noah had foretold. They wished to believe, and to have all others believe, that God could not change the order of the natural world; thus they sought to prescribe the limits of his power, making him a slave to his own laws. The people in Noah’s day possessed sharp intellects, and they sought to show, on scientific grounds, that it was impossible for his prophecy to be fulfilled. Noah was laughed to scorn because of his warnings; he was regarded as a fanatic. Noah’s implicit trust in God annoyed while it condemned them; but they could not move this faithful reprover from his position. The Lord had given the warning, and that was enough for Noah. The arguments of the philosophers were nothing to him, when the message of God was sounding in his ears, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Noah, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. He had that fear which should characterize the life of every Christian. The perfect faith of Noah intensified his fear. The threatened wrath of God, which was to fall upon man and beast, and upon the earth, led him to prepare the ark. His faith, and his fear of God’s anger, produced obedience. Noah did not hesitate to obey God. He urged no excuse, that the labor of building that ark was great and expensive. He believed God, and invested in the ark all that he possessed, while the wicked world scoffed and made themselves merry at the deluded old man.

They had more opportunity for their unbelief and mockery, because God did not at once carry out his purpose. But the lapse of time did not cause the faith of Noah to waver; his trust in God was unfailing, and he accepted without a murmur the hardships and sacrifice involved. Noah’s faith, combined with action, condemned the world; for he was a faithful preacher of righteousness, rebuking, warning, and exhorting the wicked. Their reproach and abuse was sometimes almost unendurable; yet the patriarch stayed his soul on God, and called upon him for help in his great need. Through derision, insult, and mockery, he went to and fro as a man with a great mission to fulfill. Privileges had been neglected, precious souls degraded, and God insulted; and the day of retributive justice came slowly on; man’s unbelief did not hinder the event.

God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark, and explicit directions in regard to its construction in every particular. It was three stories high, but there were no windows in the sides, all the light being received from one in the top. The different apartments were so arranged that the window in the top gave light to all. The door was in the side. The ark was made of the cypress, or gopher wood, which would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. It was a building of great durability, which no wisdom of man could invent. God was the designer and Noah his master-builder.

The work of completing the building was a slow process. Every piece of timber was closely fitted, and every seam covered with pitch. All that men could do was done to make the work perfect; yet, after all, it was impossible that it could of itself withstand the violence of the storm which the Lord in his fierce anger was to bring upon the earth. God alone by his miraculous power, could preserve the building upon the angry, heaving billows.

A multitude at first apparently received the warning of Noah, yet they did not fully turn to God with true repentance. There was some time given them before the flood was to come, in which they were placed upon probation– to be proved and tried. They failed to endure the trial. The prevailing degeneracy overcame them, and they finally joined others who were corrupt, in deriding and scoffing at faithful Noah. They would not leave off their sins, but continued in polygamy, and in the indulgence of their base passions.

With heart filled with sorrow that his warnings had been slighted and neglected, Noah makes, with quivering lips and trembling voice, his last appeal to the people. And while their voices are raised, in jest and scoffing, suddenly they see the beasts, the most ferocious as well as the most gentle, of their own accord coming, from mountain and forest, and marching quietly into the ark. A noise like a rushing wind is heard; and lo, birds of every description come from all directions, clouding the heavens with their numbers, and file, in perfect order, into that ark. Philosophers were appealed to in vain to explain from natural laws the singular phenomenon. Here was a mystery beyond their depth. The world looked on with wonder–some with fear, but they had become so hardened by rebellion that this most signal manifestation of God’s power had but a momentary effect upon them. For seven days these animals were coming into the ark, and Noah was arranging them in the places prepared for them.

And as the doomed race beheld the sun shining in its glory, and the earth clad in almost Eden beauty, they drove away their rising fears by boisterous merriment; and by their deeds of violence seemed to be encouraging upon themselves the visitation of the already awakened wrath of God.

Jenny @ 9:05 am
August 22, 1878 Jesus as an Householder
Filed under: EG White Articles

“Who then, is a faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord has made ruler over his household.” Matt. 24:45. The Redeemer of the world asks who? and the question should come home to every heart, Lord, is it I? Christ is represented in the text as a man who took a far journey, left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work. Thus it appears that a work is given to every person, there is no exception, and the faithful performance of this work will bring to its doer the commendation of the Master. To ignore responsibilities makes men slothful servants, and the do-nothing in religious service will receive the condemnation of the Master.

The work of each one corresponds with the ability given him of God. All responsibility does not rest upon the ministers who teach the truth but upon every one who believes the truth. Religion, in this age of the world, is made to connect with the day of rest, and the ordinary church service, but is divorced from the daily business transactions of life. Many professed followers of Christ are content with merely performing their formal religious duties. But when asked, What have you done for Jesus, what self-sacrifice have you made for his dear sake who made the infinite sacrifice for you, they must answer, Nothing. Christ identified his interests with suffering humanity. He laid aside his high command in heaven, where he was worshiped of the angels, and came to a world seared and marred by the curse of sin, in order to save man. He suffered, and died, the just for the unjust, that fallen man might be partakers of his glory hereafter. But this sacrifice of Christ in man’s behalf does not lessen the necessity of man’s denying himself, and making sacrifices for God on his own account, and in his own behalf. The life of Christ is for our example; we are to follow in his footsteps.

Some ministers are dangerously misleading the people. They would have them accept the fatal sophistry of Satan that simple belief in Christ is sufficient for their salvation; that good works have nothing to do with it. Christ, by his example and precepts taught an entirely different doctrine. Men must not depend too much upon what the ministers tell them, but must themselves examine the law and the testimony. If religious teachers speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. The word of inspiration shows us that beneficence is essential to the Christian character, and its growth in grace. Our means must be consecrated to God, and we must feel that it is not our own, but given us in trust, to be used in the Master’s service. Our labors should be sanctified to God. We must do good, and use our means and influence for the benefit of our fellow creatures. In short, if we would truthfully bear the name of Christian, we must follow the example of Christ, who went about doing good.

He gave his life to elevate and ennoble fallen man, and that he might exalt him to his right hand. We have here the pattern of the purest self-sacrifice for the sake of others. Worldliness, selfishness and pride are foreign to the character of a true Christian. Many professors of religion do nothing for Christ by personal effort. They are contented to have others do what properly belongs to themselves to perform, and, by lending a feeble influence for the workers, feel that they are doing good by proxy. Such persons do not possess that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. They have no genuine religion, that enters into their daily business, and regulates every action of their lives. A living faith in Christ is demonstrated by good deeds in our families, and our neighborhoods, by thoughtful, and practical consideration of the poor, by visiting and comforting the widows and the fatherless in their affliction, by keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, and by using our means and influence for the advancement of the cause of God. This must not be done grudgingly or murmuringly, but freely and cheerfully as Jesus gave all for us.

Nothing should be withheld from God; he claims the whole heart, talents, and property of those who profess his name. Those who ignore responsibility and their work for God are in a deplorable condition. The angel’s record of their lives, as far as usefulness in the cause of God is concerned, presents one mournful blank. Such persons are as trees destitute of fruit, bearing only leaves. They are only cumberers of the ground, darkening with their unproductive boughs the ground that should be occupied by fruit-bearing trees, and excluding the sunshine from those that would be productive but for their shadow.

Conformity to the world is positively forbidden in the word of God. The inspired apostle writes: “Be not conformed to this world.” In order to prevent this the opposite course is enjoined upon the true believers: “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds.” The all-powerful grace of God, uniting with the efforts and will of man, works the transformation in the life and character of man, and brings him into a position where he can prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. One who engages in the work of helping and blessing others is being transformed by the renewing of his mind, being a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The apostles are diligent in their injunctions not to love the world, neither the things that are in the world. “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

Christ was ever severe in his denunciations of hypocritical professors, those who bore no fruit to his glory. He frequently declared that there was more hope for the veriest open sinner than for the pretender. Jesus would cleanse the temple of the soul from the defiling sins of selfishness, pride, envy, and love of the world. He would purify it for his own abode. God calls for workers. All who are his followers must work the works of Christ, deny self, and take up their cross daily. All may wash their robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. This white vesture provided by the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world represents a life of purity and holiness, distinguished from the life of the worldling. Such a course will leave a bright track heavenward, which attracts all who would leave the vanities of the world for holier joys beyond. We would intreat the idle professor, the fruitless tree to be a fruit bearer, doing their duty to the world.
                                                             E. G. White.

Jenny @ 6:28 pm
March 21, 1878 The Sins of the Pharisees.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
-

“Then spake to , and to his , saying, The and the sit in . All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their ; for they say, and do not.” The claimed to be invested with similar to that of . They assumed to take his place as of the and of the people. As such they claimed all and from the people. But admonished his to observe and do that which the taught according to the law, but not to follow their , for they neglected the which they taught others to observe.

made it plain to all that he held no against the scribes and Pharisees, notwithstanding their of him; but he openly condemned their and acts as directly opposed to their , and therefore not to be imitated. Said he, “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” The Pharisees enjoined a multitude of minute regulations having their foundation in tradition, and unreasonably restraining personal liberty of action.

God forbade the eating of beasts, not to exercise an arbitrary , but to preserve the of his people. In order for them to retain their faculties of , it was necessary that their should be kept pure, by eating simple, . He therefore specified the animals least for food. The leading Jews who delighted in and in administering the law, carried the of God to unreasonable lengths, making life a of and . They carried the regulations of eating and drinking so far that the mind was kept on a continual in between what was considered and , and in following out the multitude of injunctions imposed by the priests. All the water was strained lest the presence of the smallest or might render it unclean, and therefore unfit to use. They were in constant fear of infringing upon which were taught to them as portions of the law.

The Pharisees by their endless round of forms, fastened the minds of the people upon external services to the neglect of true religion. They failed to connect the thought of Christ with their ceremonies, and, having forsaken the fountain of living water, hewed out for themselves broken cisterns that could hold no water.

The priests, scribes and rulers not only rejected Christ themselves but took the most unfair means to prejudice the people against him, deceiving them by false reports and gross misrepresentations. Said Jesus: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” These words, condemning this sin of the Pharisees, are applicable to all who follow their example. In all ages of the world truth has been unpopular; its doctrines are not congenial to the natural mind. The cold professor, the bigot and hypocrite are not willing to accept that which searches the heart, and reproves the life. Some ministers turn the ears of the people from truth unto fables, stopping at nothing that will help to carry out their purpose. They even stoop to pervert the words and malign the characters of those who receive and love the precious truths of God, and labor to bring others to a knowledge of them.

The Saviour pronounced a woe on those who, imitating the great rebel, compass all difficulties to make one proselyte. Said he, “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Those whom he addressed would resort to any species of deception in order to gain influence with the people, and prevent them from believing and obeying the truth. The Saviour declared of them: “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.” These cutting words were applied to those who made the highest pretensions to godliness, and who regarded all other nations as contemptible in the sight of God.

Just such zealous adversaries of the truth are met in our day. They leave no means untried to subvert the minds and consciences of men. They originate falsehoods, and find plenty ready to believe them. They have taken step after step away from the light into darkness, until the light has become darkness to them. They possess a determined zeal, which savors of honesty, and appears to many as such. They are willing to make great sacrifices and endure rebuffs for the sake of attaining their object, returning again and again to the same point, seeking to turn souls away from the divine truth unto superstitions and fables. These pious pretenders come as angels of light, professing deep experience in the things of God, while they are doing the work of Satan. Those whom they succeed in gaining become even worse than themselves; such is the downward road to ruin. Jesus says of this latter class, “Ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

The Saviour continued: “Woe unto you, ye blind guides, who say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind; for whether is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it he is guilty. Ye fools and blind; for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” The priests interpreted the requirements of God to meet their false and narrow standard. They presumed to make nice distinctions between the comparative guilt of various sins, passing over some lightly, assigning as an excuse that the end justified the means, while errors of perhaps less consequence were treated as unpardonable. These blind guides so confused the minds of their followers in regard to sin and the proper standard of holiness, that they were destined to eventually perish with their leaders.

The Pharisees took upon themselves the responsibility of deciding concerning the burdens and duties of others according to the judgment of their own carnal minds. They accepted money from persons in return for excusing them from their vows, and in some cases, crimes of an aggravated character were passed over in consideration of large sums of money paid to the authorities by the transgressor. At the same time these hypocritical priests were exact in the matter of sacrifices and ceremonies, as if it were possible for cold forms to blot out the unrepented sins of their daily lives.

The Lord said unto Samuel, “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and in sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” No outward service, even in that which is required by God can be a substitute for an obedient life. The Creator desires heart service of his creatures.

God has said through Hosea, “For I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant; there have they dealt treacherously against me.” The many sacrifices of the Jews and the flowing of blood to atone for sins for which they felt no true repentance was ever repugnant to God. He spoke through Micah saying, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doeth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Costly gifts and a semblance of holiness cannot win the favor of God. He requires for his mercies a contrite spirit, a heart open to the light of truth, love and compassion for our fellow men and a spirit refusing to be bribed through avarice or self-love. The priests and rulers were destitute for these essentials to God’s favor, and their most precious gifts and gorgeous ceremonies were an abomination in his eyes.

The Pharisees built expensive monuments to the dead prophets, pretending to deplore the sins of their fathers in rejecting, persecuting and slaying the chosen servants of God. At the same time they were burning with rage against the greatest prophet the world had ever seen, simply because he revealed and reproved their sins. They not only manifested the same spirit of hatred which had actuated their fathers, but were doing ten-fold worse than they in opposing and plotting against the divine Son of God.

These men whom Jesus exposed in so unsparing a manner should be a warning to those who reject the light of truth. They had gone step by step into darkness, rejecting the evidences that Jesus was the true Messiah, until the obscurity of their minds was so great that they called righteousness sin and sin righteousness. They evinced the same malice that actuated Satan against Christ in heaven, and for the same reason, because of the superior goodness of the Son of God. They were indeed the children of Satan. They condemned the acts of their forefathers in persecuting the prophets, and assumed to be the representatives of those holy men of God who died for their faith; they built the tombs of the prophets and garnished their sepulchers, and said one to another, If we had lived in those days we should not have been partakers with those who shed the blood of God’s servants, yet at the same time they were planning to destroy the Son of God, and would not have hesitated to imbrue their hands in his blood if they had not feared the people.

The condition of the Pharisees should be a lesson to the Christian world of the present day. It should open their eyes to the power of Satan to deceive human minds when they once turn from the precious light of truth, and yield to the control of the enemy. Many who make exalted professions today are following in the track of the Pharisees. They zealously cherish the memory of the prophets, even as the Pharisees were zealous in building and decorating their tombs. They declare that, had they lived in the days when Christ was upon the earth, they would have gladly received his teachings and obeyed them. But if these very persons had been placed in a similar position with the Jews, they would have done no better than they who crucified the Saviour.

Unpopular truth is no more acceptable to Pharisaical, self-righteous hearts today than when Christ walked the earth, a man among men.

If Christians were to be tested now as were the Jews at the first advent of Christ, few would accept him wrapped in his garment of humanity, living a life of humiliation and poverty. The Christian world can accept Messiah as a King at the right hand of God in heaven, but their hearts reject a Saviour of humility and self-sacrifice; they shrink from the cross of Christ, even as did the haughty Pharisees. Few indeed imitate the example of Jesus, and follow his teachings in their daily lives. He has exhorted his disciples to follow in his foot-steps. Many are in as great blindness concerning the plan of salvation as were the Pharisees, who professed obedience to God while they rejected Him who came to work out their salvation, that their efforts to gain a righteous character should have virtue with God through the sinner’s Advocate and substitute.

If man sacrifices righteous principles and truth because he can thus avoid persecution and trial in this life, he may obtain the friendship of the world, but will lose the favor of God. He barters his eternal welfare for trifling considerations. But he that obeys the requirements of Christ, neither looking nor planning for his own convenience, preferring even to sacrifice his temporal life rather than turn from the light of truth will secure the reward of the future immortal life. Jesus has said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”

Jenny @ 6:42 pm