The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
January 8, 1880 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter Sixteen.
in
-
 
By Mrs. E. G. White.
-

was with Joseph in his new home. He was in , not for any wrong that he had done, but through the of his brothers. Yet he did not cherish a , sullen spirit, he did not yield to , as many would have felt excused in doing. He was not in a position of his own choosing, and he would not make his condition worse by useless repining. With alacrity he performed the which were assigned him, laboring for the best interest of those to whom he then belonged. In contributing to the of others he was .

The marked which attended everything placed under Joseph’s care was not the result of a direct . With the , his persevering industry, his , his thoughtful care-taking were crowned with success, and won for him the highest regard of his master. This success could never have been gained, and Joseph himself could not have become what he was, without steadfast, well-directed effort. The exercise of the physical and mental powers is necessary to their full and perfect development. Without bodily exercise the laboring man’s arm would lose its strength, and unless the mental powers are taxed they will become weak.

Although surrounded with idolatry, which was most repulsive to his principles, Joseph preserved his simplicity, his purity, and his God-fearing fidelity. The discordant notes of vice and revelry often fell upon his ear, but he would not allow his thoughts to linger for a moment upon forbidden subjects. Had Joseph sacrificed principle to please the Egyptians, he would have been overcome by temptation. But he was not ashamed of the religion of his fathers, and he made no effort to conceal the fact that he loved and feared God. The Lord designed that the light and power of heavenly grace should shine forth amid the darkness of heathen superstition and idolatry; that the purity, the faithfulness, and steadfast integrity of the true believer in God should appear in contrast with the darkened characters of those who served idols.

Joseph gave the credit of his prosperity to the Lord, and his master believed that the Lord was with him, and that he caused all that he did to prosper. Thus God was glorified by the faithfulness of his servant. The confidence which Potiphar reposed in Joseph daily increased, until he promoted him to be his steward, placing him in charge of all his affairs. But fiery trials were to test still more severely the faith and integrity of Joseph. The morals of the Egyptians were very low. His master’s wife was a licentious woman, and now a temptation to deviate from the path of right, to transgress the law of God, is presented before the youthful exile. His future welfare depends upon the decision of the moment. Will Satan triumph? Will principle now garrison Joseph’s heart? Will he now have the fear of God before him? Will he be loyal and true to the divine law? Angels were regarding this servant of God with intense interest. The elevating power of religious principle was evidenced in his answer to his master’s wife. After speaking of the great confidence which his master had reposed in him by trusting him with all he had, he exclaims, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”

Many will take liberties under the inspecting eyes of holy angels and of God that they would not be guilty of before their fellow men. This class are an abomination in the sight of God. Joseph’s first thought was of God; Thou “God seest me,” was the great truth controlling the thoughts of his mind, influencing the motives of his actions. He looked upon God, not as a tyrant watching his actions to condemn and punish him, but as a tender, loving friend, guarding his interests. He would not be persuaded by inducements or threats to deviate from the path of strictest integrity. He would not violate God’s law.

Joseph’s firm adherence to right brought him into a trying position. He lost his situation, his reputation, and his liberty. Crime and falsehood for a time seemed to triumph, while innocence and virtue suffered. Had Potiphar fully believed the charges of his wife, Joseph would have lost his life. But his past conduct, his modesty and firm integrity, were convincing proof of his innocence; and yet, to save the reputation of his master’s house, Joseph was sacrificed, while the sinful wife was exalted in the estimation of her friends as if a model of virtue.

When the base crime was laid to the charge of Joseph, and he was covered with reproach, he stood in nobility of soul, in conscious innocence. He knew that the eye of God was upon him, and he could confide his case to his care who had hitherto supported him. He was condemned as a criminal to a gloomy prison, yet he did not become morose and look upon the discouraging features of his case. He kept his patience and his hope and faith. He did not close his heart against suffering humanity, he did not turn his attention to himself, but entered into the troubles of his fellow-prisoners, giving them his kindly sympathy. He found work to do, even in the prison. He was indeed a servant of servants. God was fitting him, in the school of affliction, for greater usefulness. He was learning to govern himself. From a position of honor and trust he had been suddenly abased to one of apparent degradation; but integrity, innocence, and virtue can never be degraded. God’s will had been his ruling motive in prosperity, and he shows the same high regard for that will now that he is inclosed in prison walls. He carried his religion with him wherever he went, and in whatever situation he was placed.

Those who love God will have an all-pervading influence shedding a grateful fragrance. If man will discharge his duties faithfully wherever he may be, he will become a power for good. God gave Joseph favor with the keeper of the prison, and to faithful Joseph was committed the charge of all the prisoners.

Here is an example to all generations who should live upon the earth. Although they may be exposed to evil influences, they should ever realize that there is a defense at hand, and it will be their own fault if they are not preserved. God will be a present help, and his Spirit a shield. Although surrounded with the severest temptations, there is a source of strength to which they can apply, and obtain grace to resist them. How fierce was the assault upon Joseph’s morals. It came from one of influence, the most likely to lead astray. Yet how promptly and firmly was it resisted. He suffered for his integrity; for she who would lead him astray, revenged herself upon the virtue she could not subvert, and by her influence caused him to be cast into prison, by charging him with a foul wrong. But Joseph had placed his reputation and interests in the hands of God. And although he was suffered to be afflicted for a time, the Lord safely guarded that reputation that was blackened by a wicked accuser, and afterward, in his own good time, caused it to shine. God made even the prison the way to his elevation. Virtue will in time bring its own reward. The shield which covered Joseph’s heart was the fear of God, which caused him to be faithful and just to his master, and true to God. He despised that ingratitude which would lead him to abuse the confidence of his master, although he might never learn the fact. The grace of God he called to his aid, and then fought with the tempter. He nobly says, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” He came off conqueror.

Amid the snares to which all are exposed, they need strong and trustworthy defenses on which to rely. Many, in this corrupt age, have so small a supply of the grace of God, that in many instances their defense is broken down by the first assault, and fierce temptations take them captive. The shield of grace can preserve all unconquered by the temptations of the enemy, though surrounded by the most corrupting influences. By firm principle and unwavering trust in God, their virtue and nobleness of character may shine; and, although surrounded with evil, no taint need be left upon them. And if, like Joseph, they suffer calumny and false accusations, Providence will overrule all the enemy’s devices for good, and in his own time, exalt them as much higher, as for a while they were debased by wicked revenge.

The part which Joseph acted in connection with the scenes of the gloomy prison, was that which raised him finally to prosperity and honor. God designed that he should obtain an experience by temptations, adversity, and hardships, to prepare him to fill an exalted position.
                            (To be Continued.)

Jenny @ 7:06 pm