The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 3, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                         Chapter Ten–Continued.
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                            By Mrs. E. G. White.
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All day he cherished the hope of meeting an coming to and him, or perhaps to revoke the , but no of appeared. suggested that he must be , for God had said, “Thou shalt not ,” and it was not like God to require what he had once . The second long day comes to a close, another sleepless night is spent in and , and the journey of the third day is commenced. Abraham lifts his eyes to the mountains, and upon one he beholds the promised , a bright cloud hovering over the top of . Now he knows it is all a terrible certainty, and no .

He was yet a great distance from the mountain, but he bade his servants remain behind while he placed the wood upon the shoulders of his son, and himself took the knife and fire. Abraham braced himself for the sad work which he must perform. He did not murmur against God. Isaac had been given to him unexpectedly; he had received him with gratitude and great joy, and though he was the son of his old age, the son of his love, he yet believed that the same power that gave him Isaac, could raise him again even from the ashes of the burnt sacrifice. He strengthens his soul by the evidences he has had of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Had not He, who had graciously given Isaac to him, perfect right to recall the gift?

Isaac had been a comfort, a sunbeam, a blessing to Abraham in his old age, and although this gift of God seemed so precious, so dear to him, he was now commanded to return it to the Giver. The words of God’s command showed that he fully realized the pain which Abraham must feel in obeying his requirement, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” Abraham wanted no witnesses. It was enough that God could look on and not only see the full consecration of his darling son Isaac, but read the heart and fully understand how severely he felt the test. He wished no one but God to witness this parting scene between father and son.

Abraham knew not how Isaac would receive the command of God. As they drew near the mountain, “Isaac spake to Abraham, his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?” These endearing words, “My father,” pierced the affectionate heart of Abraham, and again he thought, Oh, that I, in my old age, might die instead of Isaac! Still reluctant to open before his son the true purpose of his errand, Abraham answered, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering.” 

Isaac assisted his father in building the altar. Together they placed on the wood, and the last work preparatory to the sacrifice is done. With quivering lips and trembling voice, Abraham reveals to his son the message that God had sent him. In obedience to the divine command, he had taken the journey. Everything was ready. Isaac was the victim, the lamb to be slain. Had Isaac chosen to resist his father’s command, he could have done so, for he was grown to manhood; but he had been so thoroughly instructed in the knowledge of God that he had perfect faith in his promises and requirements.

The patriarch assured Isaac that his affection for him was not diminished, and that he would gladly give his own life to save that of his son. But God had chosen Isaac, and his requirement must be fulfilled to the letter. Abraham told his son that the Lord had miraculously given him to his parents, and now he had required him again. He assured him that the divine promise, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called,” would be fulfilled; that doubtless God would raise him to life again from the dead.

Isaac at first heard the purpose of God with amazement amounting to terror. But he considered the matter fully. He was the child of a miracle. If God had accepted him as a worthy sacrifice, he would cheerfully submit. Life was dear, life was precious, but God had appointed him, Isaac, to be offered up as a sacrifice. He comforted his father, by assuring him that God had conferred honor upon him, in accepting him as an offering; that in this requirement he saw not the wrath and displeasure of God, but special tokens that the Lord loved him, in that he required him to be consecrated to himself in sacrifice. 

He encouraged the almost nerveless hands of his father to bind the cords which confined him to the altar. The last words of endearing love were spoken by father and son, the last affectionate, parental, and filial tears were shed, the last embrace was given, and the father had pressed his beloved son to his aged breast for the last time. His hand is uplifted, grasping firmly the instrument of death, when suddenly his arm is stayed. “And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of Heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, Jehovah-jireh; as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of Heaven the second time, and said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

As evidence of God’s approval of the faith of Abraham, he gave him the name of “Father of the faithful.” The example of Abraham is recorded in sacred history for the benefit of his believing children. This great act of faith teaches the lesson of implicit confidence in God, perfect obedience to his requirements, and a complete surrender to the divine will. In the example of Abraham we are taught that nothing we possess is too precious to give to God.

How many now who profess to be Christians would follow the example of Abraham in yielding up to God his beloved Isaac? Yet our dearest treasure belongs to God. A solemn duty rests upon Christian parents to so educate and mould the minds of their children that they will ever have a high respect and exalted reverence for God and for everything sacred and holy. Such will feel that God’s claims must first be regarded, that nothing is too precious to sacrifice for him. Such will, like Abraham, exemplify their faith by their works.

How many now who profess to believe God, and pass for Christians, refuse to obey his voice when he calls upon them to deny self, and yield to him their darling treasures. They will hesitate, and cling to earthly things. Their affections are upon the world and the things of the world; yet some of these very ones will have the most to say about how much they have sacrificed to obey the truth. Isaac felt that it was a privilege to yield his life as an offering to God. If the Lord could accept him, he felt that he was honored.

Human judgment may look upon the command given to Abraham as severe, too great for human strength to bear. Abraham’s strength was from God. He looked not at the things which are seen with mortal vision, but at the things which are eternal. God required no more of Abraham than he had, in divine compassion and infinite love, given to man. He gave his only begotten Son to die, that guilty man might live. Abraham’s offering of Isaac was especially designed of God to prefigure the sacrifice of his Son.

Every step that Abraham advanced toward Mount Moriah, the Lord went with him. All the grief and agony that Abraham endured during the three days of his dark and fearful trial, were imposed upon him to give us a lesson in perfect faith and obedience, and that we might better comprehend how real was the great self-denial and infinite sacrifice of the Father in giving his only Son to die a shameful death for the guilty race. No other trial, no other suffering or test, which could have been brought to bear upon Abraham, would have caused such mental anguish, such torture of soul, as that of obeying God in offering up his son.

Our Heavenly Father surrendered his beloved Son to the agonies of the crucifixion. Legions of angels witnessed the humiliation and soul-anguish of the Son of God, but were not permitted to interpose as in the case of Isaac. No voice was heard to stay the sacrifice. God’s dear Son, the world’s Redeemer, was insulted, mocked at, derided, and tortured, until he bowed his head in death. What greater proof can the Infinite One give us of his divine love and pity? “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

The meager conception that many have of the worth of the soul, and the sacrifice of God’s dear Son for sinful man, is shown by their works. Should God speak to them, as he did to Abraham, Sacrifice your possessions, the temporal benefits that I have lent you to advance my cause, they would look in astonishment, thinking God did not mean just what he said. Their riches are as dear to them as their children; their worldly treasure is their Isaac. To honor God with their substance, they think, is a requirement altogether too great, and they cannot believe that God means it. What have this class sacrificed for God?

Men will show all the faith they have. If God should speak to them and command them to offer one of their beloved children, they would think him a hard master. Yet he has done more than this for them. No such command will come to test and prove them. God knew to whom he spake, when he gave the command to faithful Abraham. The patriarch knew that it was God who had commanded, and that his promises were infallible. Had the Lord directed him to offer his gold, his silver, his flocks, or even his own life, he would have done so cheerfully. He would have felt that he was but yielding back to God that which belonged to him.

But there are many who know not what self-denial, or sacrifice, or devotion to God, is. They never can have extended and elevated views of the infinite sacrifice made by the Son of God to save a ruined world, until they surrender all to him. If he should speak to them in a command, as he did to Abraham, they would not be enough acquainted with his voice to understand that he did really require something of them, to show their love, and the genuineness of their faith.

The claims of God upon our love, affection, and possessions, our talents, and ourselves, are correspondingly great as was the infinite sacrifice made in giving his Son to die for sinful man. Those who really appreciate the work of the atonement, those who have a high sense of the sacrifice which Christ has made to exalt them to his throne, will count it a special honor to be partakers with him in his self-denial, sacrifice, and suffering, that they may be co-workers with him in saving souls.

There are many who profess the truth, who do not love God half so well as they love the world. God is testing and proving them. Their love of the world and of riches darkens their minds, perverts their judgment, and hardens their hearts. God has, to some of them at least, revealed his will, and called for a surrender of their Isaac to him. But they refuse to obey, and let golden opportunities pass. Precious time is bearing into eternity a record of duties unfulfilled, and of positive neglect.

Nothing we have is of true value until it is surrendered to God. The talent of means devoted to the cause and work of God, is of tenfold more value than if selfishly retained for the gratification of our own pleasure. The faith of the devoted martyrs was like that of Abraham, it was genuine. They valued the precious truth, and in their turn, although despised of men, hunted from place to place, persecuted, afflicted, and tormented, they were valued of God. There was no place for them upon the earth, but of them, says the apostle, the world was not worthy. Those who clung to the truth in face of prison, torture, and death, had faith that few now living possess.

Many have chosen a life of ease. They have exalted their earthly interests above the spiritual and eternal. They neglect to learn the hard lesson of self-denial, and of surrendering all to God. They do not count anything interesting, save that which is learned without much effort, and without involving any sacrifice of temporal enjoyment; and it is forgotten as soon as learned, because it cost them nothing.

The deepest poverty, with God’s blessing, is better than houses and lands, and any amount of earthly treasure, without it. God’s blessing places value on everything we possess; but if we have the whole world without his blessing we are indeed as poor as the beggar, for we can take nothing with us into the next world.

Those who profess to be looking for the soon coming of our Saviour, should have Abrahamic faith; a faith that is valued because it has cost them something; a faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. The example of Abraham is left on record for us upon whom the ends of the world have come. We must believe that God is in earnest with us, and that he is not to be trifled with. He means what he says, and he requires of us implicit faith and willing obedience. Then will he let his light shine around about us, and we shall be all light in the Lord.

Jenny @ 10:08 am
February 28, 1878 Never Yield the Sabbath.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.
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We are in receipt of a number of from different individuals, who are in our , asking advice upon the matter of keeping the . In their cases, the injunction of the apparently conflicts with their ideas of or necessity in other respects. One in particular is in much of mind as to her . She is the support of her aged , and could easily maintain them in if she pursued her work upon the . She therefore asks if the is not as binding upon her as the fourth, and that if, in keeping the latter, she should fall short, in her estimation, of the requirements of the fifth commandment, would she not be justified in disregarding the fourth? We deeply sympathize with these tried ones in their perplexity and distress, and have endeavored to write a few words of and to them and others who are under similar .

We would say to all who are thus in regard to their duty, Upon no consideration are you excusable in violating the fourth commandment. It is no violation of the Sabbath to perform works of necessity, as ministering to the sick or aged, and relieving distress. Such works are in perfect harmony with the . was ever active upon the Sabbath, when the necessities of the and came before him. The Pharisees, because of this, accused him of , as do many today who are in opposition to the . But we say, Let God be , and every man a who dares make this against the .

Jesus answered the accusation of thus, “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have and not , ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He had already declared to them that he had kept his . When he was accused of in the matter of the , he turned upon his with the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” In summing up his answer to the questioning of the Pharisees he said, “Wherefore it is to do well on the Sabbath days.” Here Christ justified his work as in perfect harmony with the Sabbath law. Ministers who profess to be embassadors of Christ, yet assert that he did not regard the Sabbath day, and thus endeavor to justify themselves in disregarding it, make the same accusation against Christ as did the Pharisees. They certainly select poor company in those caviling Jews who persecuted the .

It may not be convenient for you and many others to keep the Sabbath day holy by refraining from worldly business; but God has not left this matter to our choice; we are not at liberty to mold our principles according to our circumstances. His requirements are positive; they are, Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not; “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work,” etc.

The fifth commandment is sacred; but if you should transgress any of the first four precepts of the decalogue, wherein is revealed the duty of man to his Creator, you would not be in a favorable position for the sacred observance of the last six commandments which specify the duties of man to his fellow man. To break any one of the commandments which specify the duty of man to God is to violate the principles of the entire law. The pen of inspiration records that he who offends in one point is guilty of offense in all. Thus, should the Sabbath of the fourth commandment be disregarded, and man prove recreant to the claims of God upon him, will this disobedience prepare him to fulfill the requirements of the law which specifies his duty to his earthly parents? Will his heart be fitted through transgression of a plain precept of Jehovah upon the first table of stone, to keep the first precept on the second table. We are required, by this commandment, to honor our parents, and we are unnatural children if we do not obey this precept. But if love and reverence are due our earthly parents how much more is reverence and love due our heavenly Parent.

We take the position that the fifth commandment is binding upon the son and daughter, although they may be old and gray-headed. However high or humble their station in life they will never rise above or fall below their obligation to obey the fifth precept of the decalogue, that commands them to honor their father and mother. Solomon, the wisest and most exalted monarch that ever sat upon an earthly throne, has given us an example of filial love and reverence. He was surrounded by his courtly train, consisting of the wisest sages and counselors, yet, when visited by his mother, he laid aside all the customary ceremonies attending the approach of a subject to an oriental monarch. The mighty king, in the presence of his mother, was only her son. His royalty was laid aside, as he rose from his throne and bowed before her. He then seated her on his throne, at his right hand.

Those who have been taught to obey and honor their earthly parents will the more readily yield to the claims of their heavenly Parent, and honor the Creator of man and of the world. The fifth commandment is the only one of the six to which a promise is annexed: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This carries us forward to the period when the saints shall possess the kingdom under the whole heavens, in the renewed earth.

Special blessings are also promised to those who honor and keep holy the day which God has sanctified and blessed; and, in giving us the ten commandments, our wise and merciful Father has not enjoined their observance upon us, and yet made it necessary that, in keeping one, we should break another of those holy precepts. If the requirements of parents from their children involves their breaking the law of God, there should be no question in regard to duty. God’s claims are imperative. The son or daughter should respectfully say to the parent, I love and honor you, my earthly parents; but I love and fear God more. His commands must be obeyed at any cost to myself. In thus standing true to principle the child does not dishonor his parents in the Bible sense. The purity and firmness of his principles may be the means of bringing unbelieving parents to realize the high claims which God has upon them. Should this be the case will he not have shown in the fullest sense that he has attained the Bible standard of honoring his parents?

Should he fail in bringing the parents he loves to acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment, still the child has met the requirements of God if he has faithfully done his duty, in meekness and love, to his parents; if he has shown them the utmost respect, caring for them in temporal things, as well as spiritual, yet remained firm in his adherence to the commands of God, notwithstanding their opposition. There is no more effectual way of proving our obedience to the fifth commandment, than that of manifesting our reverence for all God’s holy laws.

Sacrilegious minds and hearts have thought they were mighty enough to change the times and laws of Jehovah; but, safe in the archives of heaven, in the ark of God, are the original commandments, written upon the two tables of stone. No potentate of earth has power to draw forth those tables from their sacred hiding-place beneath the mercy-seat. The fourth precept of the decalogue remains unchanged, holding the same claims upon man, as when the ten commandments were thundered, amid smoke and flame, from the holy mount.

We observe the equity of God’s requirements in the fourth commandment: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” The Sovereign of heaven and earth gives us six days for our own use, and reserves only one for himself, and upon that he places his blessing, and sanctifies it. He requires man to sacredly observe that day, not using it for his own worldly advantage or pleasure. It is the tribute God requires men to render him for the benefits he has given them.

We should spend a portion of the Sabbath in religious meditation, and in considering the blessings and wonders of God in his created works, manifested alike amid the rugged mountain scenery, where mountain top rises above mountain top, where terrible ravines, and rocks broken apart by the earthquakes, and the lightnings, bear the unmistakable marks of One who has trodden the mountains in his anger; and in the softer aspect of nature, where the lofty trees, the babbling brooks, the green grass and tinted flowers express the love of the Infinite God. When we behold rugged mountains, the lesson of Sinai should be repeated to us, and we should contemplate that scene when Jehovah spake his law in the hearing of all the vast army of Israel.

The foundation of the Sabbath was laid in Eden, and it is to be perpetuated through all time and eternity. The sin of Adam caused his expulsion from Eden. Fearful indeed was the curse pronounced upon the transgressor of the law of God. While we deplore the sin and fall of Adam, let us beware of following his example of disobedience. Thank God that the Sabbath institution was not included in the blessings lost with Eden. That sacred institution does not rest upon vain speculation; the authority and evidence sustaining it are strong and irresistible; Infidelity may assail it, yet it remains incontrovertible.

God in mercy has sent light and messages of warning to the world in reference to his law which has been trampled upon. There is a people who reverence and fear God, and who respond to his messages of warning, who repent of their transgression of the law of God, and, through faith in the merits of Christ, receive pardon for their transgression. God, through his prophet commends, and gives precious promises to those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord: “And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

The prophet here refers to the breach made in the law of God, by the breaking down of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This precept has been made waste by the man of sin; and the professed Christian world has accepted a day which he has substituted for the sanctified Sabbath of the Lord. Shall we be of the number who are repairing the breach made in the law of God? or shall we be of the number who receive the mark of the beast, by observing the human institution rather than the divine, thus nourishing the child of papacy?

We do not write thus because we suppose you ignorant of the evidences of the Sabbath, and the binding claims of the entire law of God; but we desire to refresh your minds, that you may become established in the present truth.

Those who have accepted unpopular truth have always been obliged to make great sacrifices. Persecution has fallen heavily upon some. We have the lives of the apostles as our ensamples; but above all we have the life of Christ our great Exemplar presented before us. The beloved disciple tells us he was banished to the isle of Patmos, “For the word of God, for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” While on that desolate island, to his unspeakable joy, his dear Master and Lord stood before him, the very one with whom he had walked and talked when they were together in the world, upon whose bosom he had learned, whose great heart of love had beat beneath the pressure of his head, whose sufferings he had witnessed, and whose visage had been marred more than the sons of men.

The Saviour was revealed to John, not in his humiliation, but in his majesty, as he now is, and as he will be revealed when he shall come in his glory. John saw not a Saviour on the cross, not a man of sorrows, but the glorified Son of God, clothed in a garment of light, and girded with a golden girdle. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet like brass when it gleams in a furnace. The sound of his voice was like the sound of many waters; and his countenance shone like the sun in its noon-day splendor.

The world may not appreciate our faith; they may laugh and sneer at our peculiarities of belief; we may be derided for not following the customs of the world. The word of God declares that the world knows us not, because it knew him not. But when Christ comes to earth again he will appear glorious as John saw him to be; and we have the precious promise that “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We must look away from the difficulties of our present position, and fasten our eyes on the glories of our heavenly home, taking courage at the prospect of that bright future when we shall see Christ as he is, and be made like unto him.

John found in his solitude and exile that the Lord had not forgotten him. From this we may learn that God is a shield and helper in every emergency, to those who believe and trust in him. When surrounded by difficulties, dangers, and discouragements, we must not yield faith and principle, but cherish every precious ray of light granted us, and be true to our God given responsibilities.

You who are perplexed and afflicted, look up and be encouraged. Commit your ways in faith to the sympathizing Redeemer. He has identified his interests with yours, and is afflicted in your affliction. He will help you bear your burdens. Never give up the Sabbath. Hold fast the sanctified day, and the promises which God has attached to its observance. Is it reasonable to suppose that God would make you more prosperous in transgressing his law than in rendering cheerful obedience to it? How easily could his hand hedge up the way which Satan now presents to you in such a flattering light. God promises his Israel that if they will keep his statutes and his laws he will bless them in their houses, in their fields and in all their undertakings; but if they disobey his holy statutes his curse will fall upon them. May God help you to understand that he who feeds and cares for the ravens will not forget his children.

Jenny @ 3:59 pm