The Articles of Ellen Gould Harmon White as printed in the Signs of the Times.
March 27, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                                Chapter Ten.
                               .
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                             By Mrs. E. G. White.
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selected Abraham to carry out his will. He was directed to leave his nation, and separate from his kindred. The Lord had revealed himself to Abraham in his youth, and given him , and preserved him from . He designed to make him an example of and true , for his people who should afterward live upon . His was marked for , , and . He commanded respect as a mighty prince among the people. His and love for , and his strict in performing his will, gained for him the respect of his servants and neighbors. His godly example and course, united with his instructions to his servants and all his household, led them also to fear, love, and reverence the God of Abraham. The Lord appeared to Abraham, and promised him that his seed should be like the for number. He also made known to him, through the figure of the horror of great darkness which came upon him, the long, servile bondage of his descendants in Egypt.

In the beginning, God gave to Adam one wife, thus showing his order. He never designed that man should have a plurality of wives. Lamech was the first who departed in this respect from God’s wise arrangement. He had two wives, which created discord in his family. The envy and jealousy of both made Lamech unhappy. When men began to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, they took them wives of all whom they chose. This was one of the great sins of the inhabitants of the old world, which brought the wrath of God upon them. This custom was practiced after the flood, and became so common that even righteous men fell into the practice, and had a plurality of wives. Yet it was no less sin because they became corrupted, and departed in this thing from God’s order.

The Lord said of Noah who, with his family, was saved in the ark, “For thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Noah had but one wife; and their united family discipline was blessed of God. Because Noah’s sons were righteous, they were preserved in the ark with their father. God has not sanctioned polygamy in a single instance. It was contrary to his will. He knew that the happiness of man would be destroyed by it. Abraham’s peace was greatly marred by his unhappy marriage with Hagar.

After Abraham’s separation from Lot, the Lord said to him, “Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth; so that if man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” “The word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” “And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed; and lo, one born in my house is mine heir.”

As Abraham had no son, he at first thought that his trusty servant, Eliezer, should become his son by adoption, and his heir. But God informed Abraham that his servant should not be his son and his heir, but that he should really have a son. “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell me the stars, if thou be able to number them; and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.”

If Abraham and Sarah had waited in confiding faith for the fulfillment of the promise that they should have a son, much unhappiness would have been avoided. They believed that it would be just as God had promised, but could not believe that Sarah, in her old age, would have a son. Sarah suggested a plan whereby she thought the promise of God could be fulfilled. She entreated Abraham to take Hagar as his wife. In this they both lacked faith, and a perfect trust in the power of God. By yielding to the advice of Sarah, and taking Hagar as his wife, Abraham failed to endure the test of his faith in God’s unlimited power, and brought upon himself, and upon Sarah, much unhappiness. The Lord intended to prove the faith of Abraham and his reliance upon the promises which he had made him.

Hagar was proud and boastful, and carried herself haughtily before Sarah. She flattered herself that she was to be the mother of the great nation which God had promised to make of Abraham. And Abraham was compelled to listen to the complaints from Sarah in regard to the conduct of Hagar, charging him with wrong in the matter. Abraham is grieved, and tells Sarah that Hagar is her servant, and that she can have the control of her, but he refuses to send her away, for she is to be the mother of his child through whom he thinks the promise is to be fulfilled. He informs Sarah that he would not have taken Hagar for his wife if it had not been her special request. Abraham was also compelled to listen to Hagar’s complaints of abuse from Sarah. Abraham is in perplexity. If he seeks to redress the wrongs of Hagar, he increases the jealousy and unhappiness of Sarah, his first and much-loved wife. Hagar fled from the face of Sarah. An angel of God meets her, and comforts her, and also reproves her for her haughty conduct, in bidding her return to her mistress, and submit herself under her hands.

After the birth of Ishmael, the Lord again manifested himself to Abraham, and said unto him, “I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant.” Again the Lord repeated by his angel his promise to give Sarah a son, and that she should be a mother of many nations. Abraham did not yet understand the promise of God. His mind immediately rests upon Ishmael, as though through him would come the many nations promised, and he exclaims, in his affection for his son, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!”

Again the promise is more definitely repeated to Abraham: “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac; and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” Angels are sent to Abraham on their way to destroy Sodom, and they more distinctly repeat the promise that Sarah shall have a son.

After the birth of Isaac, the great joy manifested by Abraham and Sarah caused Hagar to be very jealous. Ishmael had been instructed by his mother that he was to be especially blessed of God, as the son of Abraham, and to be heir to that which was promised to his father. Ishmael partook of his mother’s feelings, and was angry because of the joy manifested at the birth of Isaac. He despised Isaac, because he thought that he was preferred before himself. Sarah saw the disposition manifested by Ishmael against her son Isaac, and she was greatly moved. She related to Abraham the disrespectful conduct of Ishmael to her, and to her son, and said to him, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.”

Abraham is greatly distressed. Ishmael is his son, beloved by him. How can he send him away! He prays to God in his perplexity, for he knows not what course to take. The Lord, through his angels, directs Abraham to listen to the voice of Sarah his wife, and not to let his affection for his son, or for Hagar, prevent his compliance with her wishes. For this was the only course he could pursue to restore harmony and happiness again to his family. Abraham had the consoling promise from the angel, that Ishmael, although separated from his father’s house, should not die, nor be forsaken of God; he should be preserved because he was the son of Abraham. God also promised to make of Ishmael a great nation.

Abraham was of a noble, benevolent disposition, as was manifested in his pleading so earnestly for the people of Sodom. His strong spirit suffered much. He was bowed with grief, and his paternal feelings were deeply moved as he sent away Hagar and his son Ishmael to wander as strangers in a strange land.

If God had sanctioned polygamy, he would not have thus directed Abraham to send away Hagar and her son. He would teach all a lesson in this, that the rights and happiness of the marriage relation are ever to be respected and guarded, even at a great sacrifice. Sarah was the first and only true wife of Abraham. As a wife and mother, she was entitled to rights which no other in the family could have. She reverenced her husband, calling him lord; but she was jealous lest his affections should be divided with Hagar. God did not rebuke Sarah for the course which she pursued. Abraham was reproved by the angels for distrusting God’s power, which had led him to take Hagar as his wife, and to think that through her the promise would be fulfilled.

Again the Lord saw fit to test the faith of Abraham by a most fearful trial. If he had patiently waited for the promise of God to be fulfilled in his own time and manner, and had not sought to make a providence himself, he would not have been subjected to the closest test that was ever required of man. The Lord directed his faithful servant to go into the land of Moriah, and there offer up Isaac, the son of promise, as a burnt-offering.

Abraham was one hundred and twenty years old when this terrible and startling command came to him, in a vision of the night. He was to travel three days’ journey, and would have ample time for reflection. Fifty years previous, at the divine command, he had left father and mother, relatives and friends, and had become a pilgrim and a stranger in a land not his own. He had obeyed the direction of God to send away his son Ishmael to wander in the wilderness. His soul was bowed down with grief at this separation, and his faith was sorely tried, yet he submitted because God required it.

But now a trial was before him which caused all his other afflictions to appear insignificant. The words of the command were calculated to stir his soul to the depths: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Over and over again did the grief-stricken father exclaim, Oh! my son, my son, would to God my life could be accepted in the place of thine; then should my light not go out in darkness. Abraham arose before day, and as he looked up to the starry heavens, he called to mind the promise which God had made to him fifty years before: “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them. And he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” And now the same voice had commanded him to slay his only son, through whom the promise was to be fulfilled.

Abraham was tempted to believe that after all this might be a delusion. Stricken with grief, he bowed before God, and prayed as never before for a confirmation of this strange command, for greater light if he must perform this terrible duty. He remembered the angels sent to tell him of God’s purpose to destroy Sodom, and those who bore to him the promise that he should have this same son Isaac. He walked forth where he had several times met the heavenly messengers, hoping to meet them again and receive some special direction from them; but he gained no light, darkness seemed to close about him, day was approaching, and he must be on his journey before light.

He first passed to the couch upon which Isaac slept in peaceful innocency; he was the joy of his heart, the comfort of his old age. Abraham’s lips quivered, he turned quickly away, and looked upon Sarah who was also quietly sleeping. He knew that Isaac was her pride, that her heart was entwined with his. Should he awake her, that she might look upon her son for the last time? Should he tell her the requirement of God? He knew that he himself had strength of faith, and confidence in God; he did not know the strength of Sarah’s faith; but he did know the strength of her love for Isaac.

He passed from one sleeper to the other, undecided in regard to the wisest course to pursue. He finally awakened Isaac, and informed him that he was commanded of God to offer sacrifice upon a distant mountain, and that he must accompany him. He called his servants, and made every necessary preparation for his long journey. If he could have unburdened his mind to Sarah, and they together have borne the suffering and responsibility, it might have brought him some relief; but he decided that this would not do; for her heart was bound up in her son, and she might hinder him. Abraham went forth on his journey, with Satan by his side to suggest unbelief and impossibility.

While walking by the side of Isaac, the patriarch could not engage in conversation as usual, for a deep sorrow was concealed in his own breast. The night approaches, the longest day Abraham ever experienced has come to a close. He saw his loved son Isaac and the servants locked in slumber, but he could not sleep. He spent the night in prayer, still hoping that some heavenly messenger would appear to tell him that it is enough, that he may return to Sarah, with Isaac unharmed.

No new light dawned upon the tortured soul of Abraham. A heavy pressure was upon him, but he staggered not at the promise. He reasoned not that his posterity, which was to be as the stars, must now come through Ishmael, for God had plainly stated that through Isaac should the promise be fulfilled. Then again was that voice ringing in his ears, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest.” That terrible command which would leave him childless can scarcely be realized. He rises early to continue his toilsome journey. Satan whispers doubts, but Abraham resists his suggestions.

Jenny @ 10:02 am
February 6, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                                  Chapter Five,
                               Cain and Abel.
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                              By Mrs. E. G. White
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and , the sons of , were very unlike in . Both acknowledged , both professed to him; but while Abel loved and feared God, Cain cherished feelings, and murmured against him because of the sentence pronounced upon Adam, and because the ground was cursed for his . These brothers had been instructed in regard to the provision for the of the . They were required to carry out a system of humble , showing their for God, and their entire dependence upon the promised by slaying the firstlings of the flock, and in the most solemn manner presenting them, with the , as an to God. Thus they were ever to keep before their minds the consequences of , and the promise of a to come.

God had made known to Adam that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin. But Cain was unwilling to follow strictly the plan of obedience, to procure a lamb and offer it with the fruit of the earth. He brought only an offering of the fruit, thus disregarding the requirement of God. And he was not even particular to bring the best of the fruits. Abel advised his brother not to come before the Lord without the blood of a sacrifice; but Cain, being the eldest, would not listen to him. He despised his counsel, and with murmuring and infidelity in his heart with regard to the promised Sacrifice, and the necessity of the sacrificial offerings, he presented his gift.

Abel brought of the firstlings of the flock, as God had commanded, and with full faith in the Messiah to come he presented the offering. God had respect unto this sacrifice, and fire came down from Heaven and consumed it. But Cain saw no manifestation that his offering was accepted.

Abel came in God’s appointed way, while Cain followed the promptings of his own heart, in opposition to the command of God. “By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” As Abel looked upon the expiring victim he was impressed with the painful fact that the wages of sin is death. He saw that it was transgression of God’s law which had separated man from his Creator, and that the sacrifice of life alone could meet the claims of the broken law. Through the dying struggles and streaming blood of the victim, he saw by faith the Son of God dying for the guilty race.

An important lesson may be learned from the history of the offerings of Cain and Abel. The claims of infinite justice, and the demands of God’s law, can be met only by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The most costly offering that man may bring to God, the fruit of his toil, his physical and intellectual acquirements, already belong to his Creator. Man has nothing which he has not received. Neither material wealth nor intellectual greatness will atone for the sin of the soul. Cain scorned the idea that it was necessary to come to God with an offering of blood. In the same spirit many in our day refuse to believe that the blood of Christ was shed as a sacrifice for the sins of men. Although Cain chose to disregard the command of God, he brought his offering with great confidence. He looked upon it as the fruit of his own labor, and hence as belonging to himself; and in presenting it to God he felt that he was placing his Creator under obligations to him. The popular religion of the day virtually teaches the same thing, that men may by their good works merit the blessing of God. Many feel that it is a condescension on their part to make a profession of religion; and that in so doing they are conferring a favor upon God. And there are multitudes who have no desire to come to God’s terms, but who make terms for themselves, and expect God to accept them. Such a religion is of the same character as that of Cain. The great question should be, What can I do to meet the approval of God? not, How can I best please myself?

Abel trusted wholly in the merits of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. It was this faith that connected him with God. The promise of a Redeemer was dimly understood; but the sacrificial offerings cast light upon the promise. Cain had the same opportunity of learning and accepting these truths as had Abel. God did not accept one and reject the other without sufficient reason. Abel believed and obeyed; Cain doubted and rebelled. God is no respecter of persons, yet he will reward the obedient, and punish the disobedient.

When Cain saw that his offering was not accepted, he was very angry with the Lord, and with his brother. But God, in his infinite mercy, condescended to send an angel to Cain, to converse with him. The angel inquired the reason of his anger, and informed him that if he would follow the directions which God had given he would respect his offering. But if he would not humbly submit to God’s arrangements, and believe and obey him, his offering could not be accepted.

There had been no injustice on the part of God, and no partiality shown to Abel; if he would do well he would be accepted of God, and his brother should listen to him, and he should take the lead, because he was the eldest. But even after being thus faithfully instructed, Cain did not repent. Instead of censuring and abhorring himself for his unbelief, he still complained of the injustice and partiality of God. And in his jealousy and hatred he contended with Abel, and reproached him. Abel meekly pointed out his brother’s error, and endeavored to convince him that the wrong was in himself. But Cain hated his brother from the moment that God manifested to him the tokens of his acceptance. Abel sought to appease his wrath by pointing to the compassion of God in saving the lives of their parents, when he might have brought upon them immediate death. He told Cain that God loved them, or he would not have given his Son, innocent and holy, to suffer the wrath which man by his disobedience deserved to bear. While Abel justified the plan of God, Cain became enraged, and his anger increased and burned against Abel because he would not join him in his rebellion, until in his rage he slew him.

God inquired of Cain for his brother, and he attempted to conceal his guilt by uttering a falsehood: “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” God informed Cain that he knew in regard to his sin,–that he was acquainted with his every act, and even the thoughts of his heart, and said to him, “Thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now art thou cursed from the earth which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” The curse at first pronounced upon the earth had been felt but lightly; but now a double curse rested upon it.

Cain and Abel represent the two classes, the righteous and the wicked, the believers and unbelievers, which should exist from the fall of man to the second coming of Christ. Cain slaying his brother Abel, represents the wicked who will be envious of the righteous, and will hate them because they are better than themselves. They will be jealous of the righteous, and will persecute and put them to death because their right-doing condemns their sinful course.

Adam’s life was one of sorrow, humility, and continual repentance. As he taught his children and grand-children the fear of the Lord, he was often bitterly reproached for the sin which had resulted in so much misery to his posterity. When he left beautiful Eden, the thought that he must die thrilled him with horror. He looked upon death as a dreadful calamity. He was first made acquainted with the terrible reality of death in the human family by his own son Cain slaying his brother Abel. Filled with the bitterest remorse for his own transgression, deprived of his son Abel, and looking upon Cain as his murderer, and knowing the curse which God had pronounced upon him, Adam’s heart was bowed down with grief. Most bitterly did he reproach himself for his first great transgression. He entreated pardon from God through the promised Sacrifice. Deeply had he felt the wrath of God for his crime committed in Paradise. He witnessed the general corruption which finally provoked God to destroy the inhabitants of the earth by a flood. Though the sentence of death pronounced upon him by his Maker at first appeared so terrible to him, yet after he had lived some hundreds of years, it looked just and merciful in God, thus to bring to an end a miserable life.

As Adam witnessed the first signs of decay in the falling leaf and in the drooping flowers, he mourned more deeply than men now mourn over their dead. The dying flowers were not so great a cause of grief, because they were more tender and delicate; but when the tall stately trees cast off their leaves to decay, it presented before him the general dissolution of beautiful nature, which God had created for the especial benefit of man.

To his children, and to their children, to the ninth generation, Adam delineated the perfections of his Eden home; and also his fall and its dreadful results, and the load of grief brought upon him on account of the rupture in his family, which ended in the death of Abel. He related to them the sufferings which God had brought him through to teach him the necessity of strictly adhering to his law. He declared to them that sin would be punished, in whatever form it existed; and he entreated them to obey God, who would deal mercifully with them if they should love and fear him.

Adam was commanded to teach his descendants the fear of the Lord, and, by his example of humble obedience, lead them to highly regard the offerings which typified a Saviour to come. Adam carefully treasured what God had revealed to him, and handed it down by word of mouth to his children and children’s children. By this means the knowledge of God was preserved.

The Sabbath was instituted in Eden and observed by our first parents before the fall. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, and ate of the forbidden fruit, they were expelled from Eden; but they observed the Sabbath after their fall. They had experienced the bitter fruits of disobedience, and learned what every one who tramples upon God’s commands will sooner or later learn, that God means just what he says, and that he will surely punish the transgressor. Those who venture to lightly esteem the day upon which Jehovah rested, the day which he sanctified and blessed, the day which he has commanded to be kept holy, will yet know that all the precepts of his law are alike sacred, and that death is the penalty of the transgression.

On account of the special honors which God had conferred upon the seventh day, he required his people to number by sevens, lest they should forget their Creator who made the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. The descendants of Cain were not careful to respect the day upon which God had rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regardless of Jehovah’s special command. There were two distinct classes upon the earth. One class were in open rebellion against God’s law, while the other obeyed his commandments, and revered his Sabbath.

Jenny @ 8:51 am
January 16, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ And His Angels and Satan And His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

Chapter One.
                          The Fall of .                                                                -
 
                              By Mrs. E. G. White.
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                              (Continued.)

The was clothed with beautiful verdure, while myriads of fragrant flowers of every variety and hue sprang up in rich profusion around them. Every thing was tastefully and gloriously arranged. In the midst of the stood the , the of which surpassed all other trees. Its looked like and , and was to perpetuate . The contained healing .

Very happy were the holy pair in . Unlimited control was given them over every living thing. The and the sported together peacefully and harmlessly around them, or slumbered at their feet. of every variety of color and plumage flitted among the trees and flowers, and about , while their mellow-toned music echoed among the in sweet accord to the praises of their .

and were charmed with the beauties of their Eden home. They were delighted with the little songsters around them, wearing their bright yet graceful plumage, and warbling forth their happy, cheerful . The pair united with them, and raised their voices in harmonious songs of love, , and , to the and his dear , for the tokens of love which surrounded them. They recognized the order and harmony of , which spoke of and which were infinite. Some new beauty and additional glory of their Eden home they were continually discovering, which filled their hearts with deeper love, and brought from their lips expressions of gratitude and to their .

Jenny @ 7:08 pm