The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 24, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                     Chapter Twelve–Continued.
                            and .
                             By Mrs. E. G. White.

One reason why does not bestow more and larger upon his people is that they would not appreciate them and render to God the things that are God’s. Every should often review his past , and never should he forget the precious which God has wrought for him, supporting him in , consoling him in , opening ways for him when all seemed dark and forbidding, refreshing him when ready to faint under discouragements. And in view of all these innumerable , he should be melted and subdued, and . He may well exclaim, “What shall I render unto for all his benefits toward me?” The rendering to God will not be merely in words of , but in and . The Christian will practice and to make returns to God. 

The conduct of Esau in selling his represents the course of the , who consider the purchased for them by of little value, and their heirship to Heaven for perishable treasures. Many are controlled by inclination, and rather than deny an unhealthy appetite, they will sacrifice high and valuable considerations. If one must be yielded, the gratification of a depraved appetite, or the high and heavenly blessings which God promises only to the self-denying and God-fearing, the clamors of appetite, as in the case of Esau, will generally prevail, and for self-gratification, God and Heaven will be virtually despised. Even professed Christians will use tea, coffee, snuff, tobacco, and spirits, all of which benumb the finer sensibilities of the soul. If you tell them they cannot have Heaven and these hurtful indulgences, and that they should cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God, they are offended, and conclude that if the way is so straight that they cannot indulge their gross appetites, they will no longer walk therein.

Especially will the corrupt passions control the mind of those who consider Heaven of so little worth. Health will be sacrificed, the mental faculties enfeebled, and Heaven will be sold for these pleasures, as Esau sold his birthright. This case is left on record as a warning to others. Esau was a reckless person. He made a solemn oath that Jacob should have his birthright. Yet when he learned that his brother had obtained the blessing which would have belonged to him, had he not rashly sold it, he was greatly distressed. He had repented of his rash act, when it was too late to remedy the matter. Thus it will be in the day of God with sinners, who have bartered away their heirship to Heaven for selfish gratifications and hurtful lusts. They will then find no place for repentance, although, like Esau, they may seek it carefully and with tears. 

Jacob was not happy in his marriage relation, although his wives were sisters. He formed the contract with Laban for his daughter Rachel, whom he loved, but after he had served seven years for her, Laban, wishing to retain his faithful services a greater length of time, deceived him, and gave him Leah. When Jacob realized the deception that had been practiced upon him, and that Leah had acted her part in deceiving him, he could not love her, and he reproved his father-in-law for thus trifling with his affections. Laban entreated him not to put away Leah, for this was considered a great disgrace, not only to the wife, but to the whole family. Jacob was placed in a most trying position; but he decided still to retain Leah, and also to marry her sister. Yet Leah was loved in a much less degree than Rachel.

Laban was selfish in his dealings with Jacob, and thought only of advantaging himself by his faithful labors. Jacob would have left the artful Laban long before, but he was afraid of encountering Esau. He heard the complaint of Laban’s sons, “Jacob hath taken away all that was our father’s; and of that which was our father’s hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and behold, it was not toward him as before.”

Jacob was greatly distressed. He knew not which way to turn. He carries his case to God, and intercedes for direction from him, and the Lord mercifully answers his prayer. “Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee.” Jacob now called his two wives to the field, where there could be a secret consultation without danger of being overhead, and said, “I see your father’s countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.” Jacob then related to them the dream given him of God, to leave Laban and go unto his kindred. Rachel and Leah replied, expressing their dissatisfaction with their father’s proceedings, “Is there yet any portion of inheritance for us in our father’s house? Are we not counted of him as strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children’s; now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.”

Anciently it was customary for the bridegroom to pay a sum of money, according to his circumstances, to the father of his wife. If he had no money, nor anything of value, his labor was accepted for a stated length of time before he could obtain the daughter as his wife. This custom was deemed a safeguard to the marriage contract. Fathers did not consider it safe to trust the happiness of their daughters to men who had not made sufficient provision to take care of a family. If they had not ability to manage business, to acquire cattle or lands, it was feared that their lives would be worthless. But that the truly worthy might not become discouraged, a provision was made to test the worth of those who had nothing of value to pay for a wife. They were permitted to labor for the father whose daughter they loved. Their labors were engaged for a certain length of time, regulated by the value of the dowry required for the daughter. In doing this, marriage was not hasty, as there was opportunity to test the depth of affections of the suitor. If he was faithful in his services, and was otherwise considered worthy, the daughter was given him as his wife. And, generally, all the dowry the father had received was given to his daughter at her marriage.

What a contrast to the course now pursued by parents and children! There are many unhappy marriages because of so much haste. Two unite their interests at the marriage altar, by most solemn vows before God, without previously weighing the matter, and devoting time to sober reflection and earnest prayer. Many move from impulse. They have no thorough acquaintance with the dispositions of each other. They do not realize that the happiness of their life is at stake. If they move wrong in this matter, and their married life proves unhappy, it cannot be taken back. If they find they are not calculated to make each other happy, they must endure it as best they can. In some instances the husband proves to be too indolent to provide for a family, and his wife and children suffer. If the ability of such had been proved, as was the custom anciently, before marriage, much misery would have been saved. In the case of Rachel and Leah, Laban selfishly kept the dowry which should have been given to them. They have reference to this when they say, “He hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.”
                        (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 10:38 am