The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
February 28, 1878 Never Yield the Sabbath.
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.

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
January 24, 1878 Last Talk with the Disciples
Filed under: EG White Articles

By Mrs. E. G. White.

     Mount Olivet had been our Saviour’s favorite resort for retirement and prayer after his day’s work of teaching was done. At the foot of the mount was the garden named Gethsemane, and to this he now made his way. It was night, but the moon was shining brightly and revealed to Jesus a flourishing grapevine. He uses this as a symbol of his union with his followers:–

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” As the Father had life in himself so had the Son. The branches of a vine detached from its parent stalk, withers and dies, is lifeless and fruitless. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away.” The Jewish nation was a fruitless branch, and was therefore to be separated from the living vine, which was Christ Jesus, and the Gentiles were to be engrafted upon the stalk to become a living branch, partaker of the life that nourished the true vine. The branch was to be pruned and purged that it might be more fruitful.

Jesus in view of his removal from his disciples is filled with anguish; yet he knows that this separation will cause them to be more firmly connected with the living vine, and yield a rich harvest of fruit. He exhorts them: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.” When the sinner has repented of his sins, and is united to Christ, as the branch is engrafted on the vine, a deep and earnest love pervades his being which death cannot quench. The nature of the man is changed and he is a partaker of the divine nature. He loves the things which Christ loves, and hates that which He hates. His desires are in harmony with the will of God. He treasures up the words of Christ, and they abide in him. The life-giving principle of the Saviour is communicated to the Christian. Just so the little rod, leafless, and apparently lifeless is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, drinks life and strength from it till it becomes a flourishing branch of the parent stalk. 

The condition of this union is plainly specified: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” The commandments of the Father are the commandments of the Son. In this union with Christ, finite man, dependent and worthless, is exalted by a connection with the Infinite, even as the engrafted branch draws nourishment from the vine which results in the production of fruit. The follower of Christ derives from him wisdom, strength and righteousness. Without Christ he cannot be reconciled to God, whose law he has transgressed. Without Christ he is unable to subdue a single sin or overcome the smallest temptation. The soul united to Christ as the branch to the vine is accepted of God through the merits of his Son, and becomes an object of the Father’s special care. Christ says, “I am the true vine, my Father is the husbandman.” Man, by his union to the Infinite One through Jesus Christ, will be fruitful of good works. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” Jesus continues:– 

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” The joy of the Christian is not found in transgression of the law of God, but in obedience of all its precepts. None are in slavery and bondage to the law but those who transgress it. Obedience produces love to God and man–the two great principles of the law of God. This obedience and this love brings fullness of joy to the disciples of Jesus. He still impresses upon them the importance of carrying forward the work which he has begun, and bearing fruit to the glory of God.

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The Saviour instructed his disciples not to expect the commendation of the world. The world hated the Majesty of Heaven before it hated his followers. Those who are of the same spirit with the world enjoy its smiles and approbation; but the humble disciples of Christ will suffer opposition. But this opposition met by the Christian will be of the highest value to him if it drives him to Jesus for sympathy and comfort. Such opposition will develop staunch elements of character and virtues that shine brightest in adversity. Faith, patience and Heavenly-mindedness, with confidence in God are the perfect fruit that blossoms and matures in the shadow of adversity.

Christ the Master was hated and persecuted, and his followers should expect no better portion in this life. In these days the churches that profess the name of Jesus, yet are built up with lifeless forms, and full of popular sins and error, escape the condemnation of the world. But a people that unite to condemn sin, repress iniquity, cherish the truth of Christ and obey the commandments of God must endure the rebuffs and persecutions of the world. 

“Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” The Saviour instructed his disciples to look for the opposition of the world. He declared that they should be brought before kings and rulers for his name’s sake; and whosoever might destroy the lives of the disciples would be so far deceived by the adversary as to think they were doing God service. Every indignity and cruelty which the ingenuity of man and the zeal of Satan could devise would be visited upon the followers of Christ. But, in all these trials, they were to remember that their Master and Guide had endured like reproach and contumely, and were to press on in his footsteps, keeping the prize of eternal life in view, and striving to win more souls to Christ.

Jesus wished to impress upon his disciples the importance of their position, as those who had accompanied him in his travels, beholding his wonderful works and hearing his words of wisdom. Said he to them: “And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” These faithful witnesses of Christ were to execute their mission with a wisdom and energy equal to the importance of the truth to which they were to testify. The history of those men and the evidence which they were to record were to be the study of men through all ages. Tremendous results were to be realized from the words of Jesus to his few humble disciples.

They were the chosen repositories of the truth of God. They were witnesses of the Father’s acknowledgment of Jesus as the Son of God. At the baptism of Christ they had heard the voice of the Father proclaiming: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” On the mount of transfiguration they had beheld the excellent glory clothing the Saviour with the brightness of the sun. They had seen the Heavenly messengers conversing with the Saviour, and heard again the voice of God declare: “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” In the temple, only a few hours before, they had again heard the Father exalt and glorify his Son. That which these favored disciples had seen and felt and heard in regard to the Redeemer they were commissioned to testify for the benefit of humanity through all time. And, by living faith, men must lay hold of Christ through the evidence of these chosen witnesses of his divinity, and power unto salvation.

Jesus carefully opened before his disciples the events which would transpire after his death, forewarning them that when persecution should overtake them they might not become discouraged and apostatize from their faith to avert suffering and dishonor. Said he: “I have many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them now.” What tenderness and sympathy these words express! He forbore to crowd their minds with truths that were difficult for them to comprehend. He led them gently on to understand the great subjects with which he wished to entrust them, and which they were to deliver to the world.

Jesus also refrained from wounding their feelings as much as possible. He could have, in a more definite manner, informed them concerning the Jewish service–that sacrificial offerings were no longer accepted by God, and that the light of God’s presence no longer blessed the temple. But they were not yet strong enough to hear these things. A fearful test awaited them in the crucifixion of their Lord; and Jesus gently prepared their minds for this event, and for his absence from them. After his resurrection he would more clearly reveal to them his mission to the world and his approaching ascension to his Father. They would then be better able to understand and appreciate these great and solemn facts. 

Jesus plainly stated to the disciples that he had left the presence of his Father to come unto the world; that he was about to leave the world and return to the presence of his Father. The disciples thereupon expressed their faith that Jesus had indeed come from God. The Saviour then assured them that the time was approaching when they would be scattered each one seeking his own safety, and their Master would be left alone; yet not alone, for his Father would not forsake his Son. Jesus warned his followers of the future that they might be in some measure prepared for the events that awaited them. He encouraged them to look to him and trust in him when the opposition of the world like a dark storm met them in the accomplishment of their mission. He fortified their minds with hope, and reliance in his example: Be of good cheer I have overcome the world.

This should be the Christian’s consolation. Christ, as man’s representative, has overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. So by the Saviour’s help may the children of men overcome all the powers of evil. Jesus was about to be separated from his little band of followers. He had but a little time in which to comfort and instruct them, and his farewell counsel was rich in sympathy and truth. Exceeding precious to his disciples were these last moments passed in the presence of their beloved Master. Like a consecrated high priest, Jesus now poured forth the burden of his soul to his Father in such a petition for his church as the angels had never before heard. This prayer was deep and full, broad as the earth, and reaching highest heaven. He presented his humanity before the throne of God. With his human arm he encircled the children of Adam in a firm embrace, and with his strong divine arm he grasped the throne of the Infinite, that he might unite earth to heaven, and finite man with the Infinite God.

Jenny @ 2:35 am