The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
April 8, 1880 Journeyings of the Israelites
Filed under: EG White Articles

-
By Mrs. E. G. White.
-

After leaving the , the , guided by the , journeyed through the . Although the scenery around them was most dreary, composed of solemn looking destitute of , , and the sea stretching far away behind them, its banks strewn with the bodies of their enemies, they were in the consciousness of their , and for a time every thought of was hushed.

But for three days they journeyed without finding any water to quench their thirst, having that only which they had been commanded to take in their vessels. and were acquainted with this route, and knew that after traveling several days in the way in which they were then going they would find only bitter water. With what intense anxiety, therefore, mingled with forebodings, did they watch the leading of the pillar of cloud. And how the heart of Moses ached as the people gave the glad shout, Water! water! and it was echoed all along the line. Men, women, and children in joyous haste rush to the water, when lo, what a moan of anguish breaks forth from that vast company,–the water is bitter.

In their grief and disappointment, they reproach Moses for having led them in such a way, and do not consider that the Divine Presence in that mysterious cloud had been leading Moses and Aaron as well as themselves. Filled with sorrow as he saw the suffering of the people, Moses did that which the people should have done: he prayed earnestly to God, and he did not cry in vain. The Lord showed him a tree to which had been imparted healing properties, so that on its being cast into the fountain, the water became pleasant to the taste.

God here made a covenant with his people, through their leader:–If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

From Marah the people journeyed to Elim where they found “twelve wells of water and three-score and ten palm trees.” In this delightful spot they remained several days before entering the wilderness of sin. When they had been a month away from Egypt, they made their first encampment in this wilderness. Their store of provisions had now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness and their flocks also were fast diminishing. Famine seemed to be staring them in the face, and as they followed the cloudy pillar over the desert wastes, doubts filled their hearts, and again they murmured, even the rulers and elders of the people joined in complaining against the leaders of God’s appointment: “Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full! for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” The children of Israel seemed to possess an evil heart of unbelief. They were unwilling to endure hardships in the wilderness. When they met with difficulties, they would regard them as insurmountable obstacles. Their confidence would fail, and they would see nothing before them but death.

They had not really suffered the pangs of hunger. They had food for the present necessities, but they feared for the future. They could not see how the hosts of Israel were to subsist, in their long travels through the wilderness; and in their unbelief they saw their children famishing. The Lord was willing that their supply of food should be cut short, and that they should meet with difficulties, that their hearts might turn to Him who had hitherto delivered them. He was ready to be to them a present help. If, in their want, they would call upon him, he would manifest to them tokens of his love and continual care. But they were unwilling to trust the Lord any further than they could witness before their eyes the continual evidences of his power. If they had possessed true faith and a firm confidence in God, inconveniences and obstacles, or even real suffering, would have been cheerfully borne, after the Lord had wrought in such a wonderful manner for their deliverance from bondage.

The Lord had promised that if they would obey his commandments no disease should rest upon them, and it was criminal unbelief in them to anticipate that themselves and children might die of hunger. They had suffered greatly in Egypt by being overtaxed with labor. Their children had been put to death, and in answer to their prayers of anguish, God had mercifully delivered them. He had promised to be their God, to take them to himself as a people, and to lead them to a large and good land. But they were ready to faint at any suffering they should have to endure in the way to that land. They had suffered much while in bondage to the Egyptians, but now they could not endure hardships in the service of God. They were ready to yield to gloomy doubts, and to sink in discouragement when they were tried.

The sinful course of the Israelites is recorded as a warning to the people of God now upon the earth. Many look back to them, and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had given them such repeated evidence of his love and care. They think that they would not have proved so ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of far less consequence. They do not know themselves. God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things; and they endure the trial no better than did ancient Israel.

Many have then present wants supplied, yet they will not trust God for the future. They manifest unbelief, and sink into despondency and gloom. Some are in continual trouble lest they shall come to want, and their children suffer. When difficulties arise, or when they are brought into strait places–when their faith and their love to God are tested–they shrink from the trial, and murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. Their love does not prove pure and perfect, to bear all things. The faith of the people of the God of Heaven should be strong, active, and enduring–the substance of things hoped for. The language of such will be, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name; for he hath dealt bountifully with me. Self-denial is considered by some to be real suffering. Depraved appetites are indulged. And a restraint upon the unhealthy appetite would lead even many professed Christians now to start back, as though actual starvation would be the consequence of a plain diet. And, like the children of Israel, they would accept slavery, diseased bodies, and even death, rather than to be deprived of some hurtful indulgence. Bread and water is all that is promised to the remnant in the time of trouble.

God was not unmindful of the wants of his people, and in his wisdom he provided the needed supply. He said to their leaders; “I will rain bread from Heaven for you.” The Lord designed to prove them, and by indulgence through miraculous provision for their wants to test them to see whether they would keep his commandments or no. The Lord promised to supply them through Moses with abundance of food. By his power he would give them flesh to eat in the evening and in the morning bread in abundance. Moses told them that their murmurings were not against him, but against the Lord. He that was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud heard all their murmurings and bitter complaints. While Aaron was speaking to the congregation there was a remarkable change in that pillar of cloud.

The Lord designed to give the Israelites evidences of his presence that they might be held in restraint and subordination as they knew the presence of the Lord, not merely the man Moses, was guiding them. Evidences of this kind were the books of knowledge opened to their senses that they should learn in regard to God, and his fear be before them. The greatest changes were to be wrought in the characters of these demoralized people. God was working by his power to lift them up through a knowledge of himself. Thus a visible manifestation of the glory of God was given them; a splendor which they had never witnessed, which symbolized the Divine presence. While the people were greatly terrified at this revelation of God, and feared his judgments, an audible voice came from the glory commanding Moses and Aaron to draw near to the cloudy pillar in which his glory was manifested. And the Lord talked with Moses and Aaron, and the Israelites heard his voice, saying that he had heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, and repeated his promise of flesh in the morning and bread in the evening. There God gave them evidence that he would supply their necessities, protect and preserve them, if they would be obedient to his commandments. In the evening the quails covered the ground about the camp. And in the morning the ground was covered with a strange substance, in small, white grains of the size of coriander seed, hard, and pleasant to the taste. The children of Israel knew not what it was, so they called it manna, which means, What is it? Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, gather of it every man, according to his eating, an omer for every man according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.”

The people gathered the manna, and found that there was a sufficiency for the entire company. They “ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and made cakes of it; and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil.” We are also told that “the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.”

According to the direction of Moses they were to gather an omer (about five pints) for every person; and they were not to leave of it until the morning. Some attempted to keep a supply until the next day, but what they laid by bred worms and became offensive. The supply for each day was to be gathered each morning; for as the heat of the sun increased, the substance melted and disappeared.

Jenny @ 4:37 am
December 19, 1878 HOLD THE FORT
Filed under: EG White Articles

BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, AND OAKLAND,
                                  CALIFORNIA.
                                                                -
BATTLE CREEK, MICH., AND OAKLAND, CAL., ARE THE TWO GREAT FORTRESSES OF OUR CAUSE ON THE WESTERN CONTINENT. THE FIRST IS THE HEADQUARTERS AND CENTER OF OUR WORLD-WIDE OPERATIONS. AT BATTLE CREEK IS LOCATED OUR OLDEST AND LARGEST PUBLISHING HOUSE, OUR COLLEGE, AND OUR SANITARIUM. THIS FORT HAS BEEN HELD TWENTY-THREE YEARS THE PRESENT MONTH. HERE AT BATTLE CREEK, MANY A HARD BATTLE FOR TRUTH AND THE RIGHT HAS BEEN FOUGHT, AND AS MANY TRIUMPHANT VICTORIES HAVE BEEN WON. THE LAST GRAND EFFORT OF OUR PEOPLE AT THIS IMPORTANT POINT IS THE ERECTION OF A HOUSE OF WORSHIP WHICH WILL NOT ONLY CONVENE THE PRESENT CONGREGATION, BUT WHICH WILL COMFORTABLY TAKE IN THE FUTURE AUDIENCE OF BATTLE CREEK . THANK GOD, THAT IN HIS GOOD PROVIDENCE WE ARE CONNECTED WITH A CAUSE WHOSE GROWTH MAKES IT NECESSARY TO FORM AND EXECUTE PLANS FOR THE NEAR FUTURE TWO OR THREE TIMES AS LARGE AS THE PRESENT DEMANDS.

OAKLAND, CAL., IS THE HEADQUARTERS OF ALL OUR WORK ON THE PACIFIC COAST. THERE IS LOCATED THE MOST PERFECT AND COMPLETE PUBLISHING HOUSE ON THE COAST. WE HAVE ADDED TO A FIRST-CLASS PRINTING ESTABLISHMENT, A COMPLETE BINDERY, STEREOTYPING, ELECTROTYPING, AND TYPE FOUNDRY, WHERE THE MOST IMPROVED STYLES AND QUALITIES OF THE TYPES ARE MANUFACTURED. THIS FORT MUST BE HELD AT ALL HAZARDS. WHEN WE TAKE INTO THE ACCOUNT THE YOUTH OF THE CAUSE ON THE PACIFIC COAST, ITS GROWTH IS A MARVEL. BUT THERE IS A HEAVY DEBT ON THE OAKLAND CHURCH, WHICH THAT GOOD PEOPLE CAN NEVER LIFT. THEY ARE THE POOREST AND MOST LIBERAL CHURCH ON THE CONTINENT, YET THIS POSITION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT, EXCEPTING THE BATTLE CREEK CHURCH ONLY. OF THE FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THINGS AT OAKLAND, OUR SON, J. E. WHITE, WRITING NOVEMBER 29, SAYS:

“I WRITE YOU ABOUT A MATTER THAT IS TROUBLING ME CONSIDERABLY. THAT IS OUR CHURCH. THERE IS A DEBT OF $8,000 ON IT AT PRESENT, AND THERE IS NOT THE REMOTEST PROSPECT OF THE OAKLAND CHURCH, IF LEFT TO ITSELF, EVER PAYING THE DEBT. THE CHURCH IS POOR AND, STRUGGLE AS IT MAY, CAN HARDLY PAY INTEREST AND RUNNING EXPENSES, WHICH AMOUNT TO $1,200 A YEAR. THERE ARE ONLY TWO OR THREE IN THE CHURCH WHO ARE WORTH ANYTHING AT ALL, AND THEY PAY THE LEAST.

“THE CHRISTIANS (CAMPBELLITES) WANT A CHURCH AND OURS SUITS THEM. THEY SPOKE OF BUYING IT ONCE BEFORE, AND I SPOKE AGAINST IT. I TOLD THE BRETHREN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE DISGRACE TO SELL, BUT AS I COULD NOT SEE ANY WAY OUT MORE THAN THEY COULD, I WITHDREW MY OBJECTION.

“I CAN SEE THE SITUATION JUST AS PLAINLY NOW AS IF WE HAD REACHED THE TIME. UNLESS OUTSIDE HELP COMES IN, THE OAKLAND CHURCH MUST GO EITHER BY SALE OR BY THE HOLDERS OF THE MORTGAGE TAKING IT. IT WOULD BE A DISTRESSING THING TO HAVE ANYTHING LIKE THAT TAKE PLACE. I WRITE TO YOU, HOPING YOU CAN PROPOSE SOME SOLUTION TO THE DIFFICULTY.

“THE OFFICE, BY THE CLOSEST AND MOST RIGID ECONOMY CAN PULL THROUGH. BUT IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNPREPARED FOR ANY DRAFT TO BE MADE ON IT. FINANCES ARE THE CLOSEST HERE THAT I HAVE KNOWN THEM TO BE.

IN REGARD TO HARD TIMES, IN ADDITION TO ORDINARY HARD TIMES THEY HAVE JUST HAD THE GREATEST CRASH IN THE STOCK MARKET THAT CALIFORNIA EVER KNEW. THIS OF COURSE UNSETTLES ALL CALIFORNIA.

“MANY IN OUR CHURCH ARE OUT OF EMPLOYMENT, AND THE MOST ARE SCARCELY MAKING EXPENSES. IN FOUR MONTHS THERE IS $2,000 DUE FROM THE CHURCH TO THE BANK. THEY MIGHT AS WELL TRY TO FLY AS TO THINK OF PAYING IT.”

TO THE FOREGOING, MRS. W. RESPONDS IN THE FOLLOWING STIRRING WORDS:–

Dear Son: We received your letter in reference to the Oakland church. I am glad you wrote us in regard to the situation of things there. I am sure the building of the meeting-house in Oakland was none too soon. These were willing hearts among the believers who were poor. They made great sacrifices in order to raise means to invest in the Oakland church. Their zeal and self-sacrifice shall not be in vain.

“That meeting-house shall not be sold. The building of the house was of God. I hope our brethren and sisters will not murmur as did the children of Israel when brought up facing the Red sea, the Egyptians behind them and impassable mountains shutting them in. It was at this crisis the Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.’ As they obeyed, the Red sea parted before them and they went through it in the path God had prepared for them. 

“We say to you in Oakland, believe and do all you can, and you will see the salvation of God. Let all murmurings and questioning doubts cease. Let your complaints be turned to prayer and faith and works. I say that house shall not be sold. I will first sell my house on the corner of Castro and Eleventh streets, and put every dollar of the avails into the church to clear it of debt. Sell our houses? yes, yes indeed, rather than the house that has been dedicated to God.

“Wait, work, and pray. We will exert our influence and do what we can. Every foot of room in that house will be needed yet. Oakland is a missionary field, and always will be. The truth will prevail in Oakland. It may take time, but it will take hold of hearts there. Believe, work, hope, and pray. Cling to God with all your might.

“Let all in the office and in the church at Oakland show a still greater spirit of self-sacrifice than they have manifested, and God will work with your efforts. Lift the burdens willingly, and we will not let the matter rest till we see you free from embarrassment. Help shall come. If we cannot sell our property, we will use our influence to interest others to do all they can. Sell that church? Never, never. I tell you many prayers were offered while it was being erected. You will come out all right. 

“Be not faithless, but believing. There are those who have money upon the Pacific coast; let them come up to the help of the Lord and make their offerings to God. Some in California have shown that they had greater confidence in unbelievers than in those whom God has honored by connecting them with his cause.

“These have trusted their money to men of no principle, while the cause of God was wading heavily for the want of means. If any appeal is made to them, they respond by presenting their narrow ideas and selfish views. Too much money, they say, has been expended in buildings and in facilities for the spread of the truth. They are afraid that they shall lose their money if entrusted to the treasury of God, but the Lord has shown his displeasure at their course in suffering losses to occur. They have not saving faith; money is their god. The Lord has entrusted to them means, to use in the advancement of his cause, but their covetous spirit grasps it and will not let it go back to him to whom it belongs.

“Sister Rowland has made most earnest efforts to help when and where she could. May the Lord open ways before her that she may be able to dispose of her property and invest a portion of it in the cause of God. At the greatest inconvenience to herself, she mortgaged her property and raised two thousand dollars to help in the SIGNS office when it was most needed. This noble act on her part is an expression of her confidence in the work and cause of God. She will not lose her reward. If others would show similar commendable zeal and faith, the cause of truth would not be embarrassed as it now is.

“We hope those who have means trusted out to strangers will see that God’s cause may be benefited by its use. It was placed in their hands by the Lord, to test them and prove them, to see if they will render back to the Master his own when he shall call for it. Means were given them, not to hoard or to use for themselves. Those who are murmuring and complaining at the outlay of means in the Publishing House and in the meeting-house, had better be at work to act their part, lest they shall be found wanting by acting the part of Meroz. God gave commandment, ‘Curse ye Meroz, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord, against the mighty.’

“Let not your offerings to advance the cause of God be stinted. If there is any stint and meagre arrangements and inferior works to be seen and felt anywhere, let it be in your own houses and your own dress, and not in the house of God or in the facilities which are needed to push forward the work of God.” 

OUR HOUSE OF WORSHIP AT OAKLAND, DEDICATED TO THE WORSHIP OF GOD BY A PEOPLE WHO FEAR HIM AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, BE SOLD TO A PEOPLE WHO TRAMPLE THAT LAW BENEATH THEIR FEET? NEVER! NO! NEVER!

WE NEED JUST SUCH A HOUSE AT THAT IMPORTANT POST AT PRESENT. IN THE NEAR FUTURE A LARGER ONE WILL BE DEMANDED. ITS LOCATION IS EXCELLENT.

THE FUTURE GROWTH OF THE CAUSE IN SUCH A CITY AS OAKLAND DEPENDS VERY MUCH UPON A CENTRAL, COMMODIOUS AND NEAT HOUSE OF WORSHIP, SUCH AS NOW EXISTS IN THAT CITY.

Jenny @ 5:19 am