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
November 30, 1876 The Sabbath
Filed under: EG White Articles

Nothing so distinguished the Jews from surrounding nations, and designated them as true worshipers of the Creator, as the institution of the Sabbath. Its observance was a continual visible token of their connection with God, and separation from other people. All ordinary labor for a livelihood or for worldly profit was forbidden upon the seventh day. According to the fourth commandment the Sabbath was dedicated to rest and religious worship. All secular employment was to be suspended; but works of mercy and benevolence were in accordance with the purpose of the Lord. They were not to be limited by time nor place. To relieve the afflicted, and comfort the sorrowing is a labor of love that does honor to God’s holy day.

The work of the priests in connection with the sacrificial offerings was increased upon the Sabbath, yet in their holy work in the service of God they did not violate the fourth commandment of the decalogue. As Israel separated from God, the true object of the Sabbath institution became less distinct in their minds. They grew careless of its observance, and unmindful of its ordinances. The prophets testified to them of God’s displeasure in the violation of his Sabbath. Nehemiah says: “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine-presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.”

And Jeremiah commands them: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers.”

But they heeded not the admonitions of the inspired prophets, and departed more and more from the religion of their fathers. At length calamities, persecution, and bondage came upon them in consequence of their disregard of God’s requirements.

Alarmed at these visitations of divine punishment, they returned to the strict observance of all the outward forms enjoined by the sacred law. Not satisfied with this, they made burdensome additions to those ceremonies. Their pride and bigotry led them to the narrowest interpretation of the requirements of God. As time passed they gradually hedged themselves in with the traditions and customs of their ancestors, till they regarded them with all the sanctity of the original law. This confidence in themselves and their own regulations, with its attendant prejudice against all other nations, caused them to resist the Spirit of God, and separated them still farther from his favor.

Their exactions and restrictions were so wearisome that Jesus declared: “They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders.” Their false standard of duty, their superficial tests of piety and godliness, obscured the real and positive requirements of God. Heart service was neglected in the rigid performance of outward ceremonies. The Jews had so perverted the divine commandments, by heaping tradition upon tradition, that, in the days of Christ, they were ready to accuse him of breaking the Sabbath, because of his acts of mercy upon that day.

The grain was ready for the sickle when Jesus and his disciples passed through the corn fields on the Sabbath. The disciples were hungry, for their Master had extended his work of teaching and healing to a late hour, and they had been without food for a long time. They accordingly began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat, rubbing them in their hands, in accordance with the law of Moses, which provides that: “When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbor, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn.” 

But spies were continually upon the track of Jesus, watching for some occasion to accuse and condemn him. When they saw this act of the disciples, they immediately complained to him, saying, “Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day.” In this they expressed their own narrow views of the law. But Jesus defended his followers thus: “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was a hungered, he, and they that were with him? how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.”

If excessive hunger excused David for violating even the holiness of the sanctuary, and made his act guiltless, how much more excusable was the simple act of the disciples in plucking the grain and eating it upon the Sabbath day. Jesus would teach his disciples and his enemies that the service of God was first of all; and, if fatigue and hunger attended the work, it was right to satisfy the wants of humanity, even upon the Sabbath day. That holy institution was not given to interfere with the needs of our being, bringing pain and discomfort, instead of blessing. “The Sabbath was made for man,” to give him rest and peace, and remind him of the work of his Creator, not to be a grievous burden.

The work done in the temple upon the Sabbath was in harmony with the law; yet the same labor, if employed in ordinary business, would be a violation of it. The act of plucking and eating the grain to sustain the bodily strength, to be used in the service of God, was right and lawful. Jesus then crowned his argument by declaring himself the “Lord of the Sabbath,”–One above all question and above all law. This Infinite Judge acquits the disciples from blame, appealing to the very statutes they are accused of violating.

But Jesus did not let the matter drop without administering a rebuke to his enemies. He declared that in their blindness they had mistaken the object of the Sabbath. Said he: “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.” He then contrasted their many heartless rites with the truthful integrity, and tender love that should characterize the true worshipers of God: “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.”

Jesus was reared among this people, so marked with bigotry and prejudice; and he therefore knew that in healing upon the Sabbath day, he would be regarded as a transgressor of the law. He was aware that the Pharisees would seize upon such acts with great indignation, and thereby seek to influence the people against him. He knew that they would use these works of mercy as strong arguments to affect the minds of the masses, who had all their lives been bound by the Jewish restrictions and exactions. Nevertheless he was not prevented by this knowledge from breaking down the senseless wall of superstition that barricaded the Sabbath, and teaching men that charity and benevolence were lawful upon all days.

He entered the synagogue, and saw there a man who had a withered hand. The Pharisees watched him, eager to see what he would do with regard to this case–whether or not he would heal the man upon the Sabbath day. Their sole object was to find cause for accusation against him. Jesus looked upon the man with the withered hand, and commanded him to stand forth. He then asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out; and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

He justified this work of healing the paralytic, as in perfect keeping with the principles of the fourth commandment. But they questioned him: “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?” Jesus made them the clear and forcible answer, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days.”

The spies upon our Saviour’s words dared not, in the presence of the multitude, answer this question for fear of involving themselves in difficulties. They knew that while they would leave men to suffer and die rather than to violate their traditions by relieving them upon the Lord’s day, a brute which had fallen into danger would be at once relieved, because of the loss that would accrue to the owner if he was neglected. Thus the dumb animal was exalted above man, made in the image of God.

Jesus wished to correct the false teachings of the Jews in regard to the Sabbath and also to impress his disciples with the fact that deeds of mercy were lawful on that day. In the matter of healing the withered hand he broke down the custom of the Jews, and left the fourth commandment standing as God had given it to the world. By this act he exalted the Sabbath, sweeping away the senseless restrictions that encumbered it. His act of mercy did honor to the day, while those who complained of him, were, by their many useless rites and ceremonies, themselves dishonoring the Sabbath.

There are ministers today who teach that the Son of God broke the Sabbath and justified his disciples in doing the same. They take the same ground as did the caviling Jews, although ostensibly for another purpose, since they hold that Christ abolished the Sabbath.

Jesus in turning upon the Pharisees with the question whether it was lawful to do good upon the Sabbath day or evil, to save life or to kill, confronted them with their own wicked purposes. They were following upon his track to find occasion for falsely accusing him; they were hunting his life with bitter hatred and malice, while he was saving life and bringing happiness to many hearts. Was it better to slay upon the Sabbath, as they were planning to do, than to heal the afflicted as he had done? Was it more righteous to have murder in the heart upon God’s holy day, than love to all men which finds expression in deeds of charity and mercy?      E. G. White.

Jenny @ 11:24 am
August 5, 1875 Free-will Offerings.
Filed under: EG White Articles

After the children of Israel had left Egypt, when there was but a step back from freedom to slavery, God commanded the tabernacle to be built from their scanty means. Their own tents were small, but they did not plead to enlarge their own tabernacles. God’s house must first be built. God gave them the design he wished them to follow in building the tabernacle. They needed no urging. Gifts and free-will offerings came in abundance. Their ornaments and jewelry were taken from their person and cast into the treasury, to be used to beautify and enrich the house for God. Materials of gold, silver, brass, and ornamental work, were gladly given, each soul being anxious to have an interest in the tabernacle which was being erected for God. More than a million of dollars was expended in erecting that tabernacle. Moses did not need to urge the people, but he had to proclaim to them that they had enough, and their cheerful, willing labors and offerings must cease, for they could not appropriate all that they had already brought. 
There are hearts now that are as free, willing, and anxious, to aid in the advancement of the work of God as were the children of Israel. Only let them be assured that there is a work to be done, and that God calls for their means and their hearty co-operation, and they will need no urging. 
When we can have even a small comprehension of what Jesus has done for us, we shall feel our responsibility to do all that we can for Christ. The life of Jesus was spent in devising plans for our welfare. While we were enemies to God, he pitied us, and came from the courts of Heaven to suffer, the just for the unjust. He died, and rose again from the grave, to show his followers the way of life from the dead. He now stands before his Father as our great High Priest and our advocate, pleading our cause, and presenting our feeble progress with infinite grace before his Father. He forgives our transgressions, and by imputing unto us his righteousness, he links us to the Infinite. In the heavenly courts our Saviour stands and extends to the world the gracious invitation, Come, ye weary, ye poor, ye hungry; come, ye burdened, ye heavy-laden, sin-sick souls, come. And whosoever will, let him come and partake of the waters of life freely. 
Can we be too earnest, and self-sacrificing in our efforts to set the truth before the world? Shall we plead for ease and for the pleasures of this life, to enjoy our pleasant homes and the society of family and friends, and let others do the work which must be done in warning the world? Shall we plead as did the ungrateful ones to whom Christ extended the invitation to come to supper, I pray thee have me excused? Or shall we gird on the armor with cheerfulness, hope, and faith, and like valiant soldiers, be willing to engage in the thickest of the fight, war the good warfare, share the glorious victory, and receive the eternal reward? 
E. G. W.

Jenny @ 6:59 pm