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

                                Chapter Seven.
                               The .
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                              By Mrs. E. G. White.
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Those who honored and feared to offend , at first felt the curse but lightly, while those who turned from him and despised his felt its effects more heavily, especially in stature and nobleness of form. The descendants of were called the ; the descendants of , the . As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt, and by intermarriage with them lost, through the influence of their , their peculiar, , and united with the sons of Cain in their . Many cast off the , and trampled upon his . But there were a few who did , who feared and honored their . and his family were among the few.

Sin was spreading abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy. The world was but in its infancy in the days of Noah, yet iniquity had become so deep and wide-spread, that God repented that he had made man. Goodness and purity seemed to be almost extinct; while hatred of the law of God, emulation, envy, sedition, strife, and the most cruel oppression and violence, were corrupting the earth under its inhabitants. The thoughts and imaginations of man’s heart were evil continually.

A heavy, double curse was resting upon the earth in consequence, first, of Adam’s transgression, and, secondly, because of the murder committed by Cain; yet this did not at once change the face of nature. It was still rich and beautiful in the bounties of God’s providence. The quiet valleys and spreading plains, robed with verdure and adorned with shrubs and bright hued flowers colored by the Divine Artist, the lovely birds whose glad songs filled the groves with music, the graceful hills and winding streams, the trailing vines and stately trees, charming the eye with their beauty and supporting life with their fruit,–all seemed little less fair than Eden.

Gold and silver existed in abundance. The race of men then living was of very great stature, and possessed wonderful strength. The trees were vastly larger, and far surpassed in beauty and perfect proportions anything which mortals can now look upon. The wood of these trees was of fine grain and hard substance–in this respect more like stone. It required much more time and labor, even of that powerful race, to prepare the timber for building, than it requires in this degenerate age to prepare trees that are now growing upon the earth, even with the weaker strength which men now possess. These trees were of great durability, and would know nothing of decay for very many years. But notwithstanding the richness and beauty of the earth, when compared with its state before the curse was pronounced upon it, there was manifest evidence of certain decay.

The people used the gold, silver, precious stones, and choice wood, in building houses for themselves, each striving to excel the other. They beautified and adorned their houses and lands with the most ingenious works, and provoked God by their wicked deeds. They formed images to worship, and taught their children to regard these pieces of workmanship made with their own hands, as gods, and to worship them. They did not choose to think of God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and rendered no grateful thanks to Him who had bestowed upon them all which they possessed. They even denied the existence of the God of Heaven, and gloried in, and worshiped, the works of their own hands. They corrupted themselves with those things which God had placed upon the earth for man’s benefit. They prepared beautiful walks, overhung with fruit trees of every description, and under these majestic and lovely trees, with their wide-spread branches, which were green from the commencement of the year to its close, they placed their idols. Whole groves, because of the shelter of their branches, were dedicated to these idol gods, and made attractive as a resort for the people in their idolatrous worship.

The groves of Eden were God’s first temples, from which ascended purest worship to the Creator. The sorrowing exiles from Paradise could never forget that happy home. The waving trees and sheltering groves had for them a peculiar charm; for they reminded them of Eden and the joyful converse which they had once enjoyed with God and angels. And as they listened to the murmur of the wind among the leaves it almost seemed that they could again distinguish the sound of that voice that was heard in the garden in the cool of the day. The oak and the palm-tree, the drooping willow and the fragrant cedar, the olive and the cypress, were sacred to our first parents. Their verdant branches, spreading abroad and reaching upward to heaven, seemed to them to be praising their Creator. To Adam there was something almost human and companionable in the trees, carrying him back to many pleasing incidents of his life in Eden.

If the hearts of God’s people were softened as they should be by his grace, they would become acquainted with him, as they discern his wisdom and power in the things of his creation. Every green leaf, with its delicate veins, every opening bud and blooming flower, every lofty tree stretching upward to heaven, the earth clothed with its carpet of living green, is an expression of the love of God to man, not to lead us to worship nature, but to attract our hearts through nature up to nature’s God. The forest trees swaying in the wind, break forth into singing and praise to God, and rebuke the silence and indifference of man.

Adam had described Eden to his children and children’s children. Again and again the story was repeated, and his love for trees and flowers and groves was transmitted to his descendants. But instead of bowing down in the solemn groves to acknowledge the love of God and to worship him, they desecrated these groves by their idols. It was an abuse of the tender and sacred memories which Adam cherished–the association of the groves with the worship of the true and living God–that led the idolatrous children of Cain to build their altars and set up their images in the groves and under every green tree. And as they put God out of their hearts, their course of conduct was in accordance with their sacrilegious sacrifices and worship. The characters of men became more and more debased.

Instead of doing justice to their neighbors, they carried out their own unlawful wishes. They had a plurality of wives, which was contrary to God’s wise arrangement at the beginning. God gave to Adam one wife–showing to all who should live upon the earth, his order and law in that respect. The transgression and fall of Adam and Eve brought sin and wretchedness upon the human race, and man followed his own carnal desires, and changed God’s order. The more men multiplied wives to themselves, the more they increased in crime and unhappiness. If any one chose to take the wives, or cattle, or anything belonging to his neighbor, he did not regard justice or right, but if he could prevail over his neighbor by reason of strength, or by putting him to death, he did so, and exulted in his deeds of violence. Men loved to destroy the lives of animals. They used the flesh for food, and this increased their ferocity and violence, and caused them to look upon the blood of human beings with astonishing indifference.

God proposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long lived race that had corrupted their ways before him. He would not suffer them to live out the days of their natural life, which would have been hundreds of years. It was only a few generations since Adam had access to that tree which was to prolong life. After his disobedience he was not suffered to eat of the tree of life and perpetuate an existence in sin. In order for man to possess an endless life he must continue to eat of the fruit of the tree of life. Deprived of this, his life would gradually wear out.

More than one hundred years before the flood, the Lord sent an angel to Noah, to make known unto him his purpose in regard to the sinful race, that his Spirit would not always strive with man, but that he would send a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy man and beast. He would not leave the race ignorant of his design; but would, through Noah, warn the world of its coming destruction, that the inhabitants might be left without excuse. Noah was to preach to the people, and also to prepare an ark as God should direct him for the saving of himself and family. Not only was he to preach, but his example in building the ark was to be a continual testimony of warning to the world, showing that he believed what he preached. His simple, childlike faith, and his implicit obedience, notwithstanding the opposition he received, was an evidence to the world of his sincerity. He was firm as a rock to duty, directing the work of that singular building, under the guidance of the Divine Architect. Every blow struck upon the ark was a witness to the people.

This period was the testing time for Noah. He knew that he was the object of popular contempt and scorn with that corrupt generation. He met with unbelief and mockery everywhere. But the greater the iniquity surrounding him, the more earnest and firm and persevering was he in his obedience, showing that there was one man in the world who would be true to God. He was a faithful and unbending witness for God, kind and courteous to all, resenting no insult. He was as one who heard not the reviling and blasphemy that greeted him on every side.

Noah was bearing to the inhabitants of the earth an important message of warning, the reception or rejection of which would decide the destiny of their souls. He believed God, he believed that he had the truth, and he moved straight forward in the path of faith and obedience, gaining strength from God daily, by communion with him. Noah was a man of prayer; and in this close connection with God he found all his courage and firmness. He preached, and warned, and entreated the people; but they would not change their course. They bought, they sold, they planted, they builded, they married and were given in marriage, they indulged in feasting and gluttony, and debased their souls, showing contempt for the message of Noah. Their speeches and actions became more vile and corrupt as the period of their probation was closing. The whole world seemed to be against Noah; but he had the testimony from God, “Thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”

As far as human wisdom could see, the event predicted by Noah was not likely to occur. Rain had never fallen; a mist or dew had watered the earth. The brooks and rivers had safely flowed along their channels, emptying into the sea. The bodies of water had been kept in their place by God’s decree, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.” Men then talked about the fixed laws of nature, that could not be set aside to bring about any such event as Noah had foretold. They wished to believe, and to have all others believe, that God could not change the order of the natural world; thus they sought to prescribe the limits of his power, making him a slave to his own laws. The people in Noah’s day possessed sharp intellects, and they sought to show, on scientific grounds, that it was impossible for his prophecy to be fulfilled. Noah was laughed to scorn because of his warnings; he was regarded as a fanatic. Noah’s implicit trust in God annoyed while it condemned them; but they could not move this faithful reprover from his position. The Lord had given the warning, and that was enough for Noah. The arguments of the philosophers were nothing to him, when the message of God was sounding in his ears, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Noah, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. He had that fear which should characterize the life of every Christian. The perfect faith of Noah intensified his fear. The threatened wrath of God, which was to fall upon man and beast, and upon the earth, led him to prepare the ark. His faith, and his fear of God’s anger, produced obedience. Noah did not hesitate to obey God. He urged no excuse, that the labor of building that ark was great and expensive. He believed God, and invested in the ark all that he possessed, while the wicked world scoffed and made themselves merry at the deluded old man.

They had more opportunity for their unbelief and mockery, because God did not at once carry out his purpose. But the lapse of time did not cause the faith of Noah to waver; his trust in God was unfailing, and he accepted without a murmur the hardships and sacrifice involved. Noah’s faith, combined with action, condemned the world; for he was a faithful preacher of righteousness, rebuking, warning, and exhorting the wicked. Their reproach and abuse was sometimes almost unendurable; yet the patriarch stayed his soul on God, and called upon him for help in his great need. Through derision, insult, and mockery, he went to and fro as a man with a great mission to fulfill. Privileges had been neglected, precious souls degraded, and God insulted; and the day of retributive justice came slowly on; man’s unbelief did not hinder the event.

God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark, and explicit directions in regard to its construction in every particular. It was three stories high, but there were no windows in the sides, all the light being received from one in the top. The different apartments were so arranged that the window in the top gave light to all. The door was in the side. The ark was made of the cypress, or gopher wood, which would know nothing of decay for hundreds of years. It was a building of great durability, which no wisdom of man could invent. God was the designer and Noah his master-builder.

The work of completing the building was a slow process. Every piece of timber was closely fitted, and every seam covered with pitch. All that men could do was done to make the work perfect; yet, after all, it was impossible that it could of itself withstand the violence of the storm which the Lord in his fierce anger was to bring upon the earth. God alone by his miraculous power, could preserve the building upon the angry, heaving billows.

A multitude at first apparently received the warning of Noah, yet they did not fully turn to God with true repentance. There was some time given them before the flood was to come, in which they were placed upon probation– to be proved and tried. They failed to endure the trial. The prevailing degeneracy overcame them, and they finally joined others who were corrupt, in deriding and scoffing at faithful Noah. They would not leave off their sins, but continued in polygamy, and in the indulgence of their base passions.

With heart filled with sorrow that his warnings had been slighted and neglected, Noah makes, with quivering lips and trembling voice, his last appeal to the people. And while their voices are raised, in jest and scoffing, suddenly they see the beasts, the most ferocious as well as the most gentle, of their own accord coming, from mountain and forest, and marching quietly into the ark. A noise like a rushing wind is heard; and lo, birds of every description come from all directions, clouding the heavens with their numbers, and file, in perfect order, into that ark. Philosophers were appealed to in vain to explain from natural laws the singular phenomenon. Here was a mystery beyond their depth. The world looked on with wonder–some with fear, but they had become so hardened by rebellion that this most signal manifestation of God’s power had but a momentary effect upon them. For seven days these animals were coming into the ark, and Noah was arranging them in the places prepared for them.

And as the doomed race beheld the sun shining in its glory, and the earth clad in almost Eden beauty, they drove away their rising fears by boisterous merriment; and by their deeds of violence seemed to be encouraging upon themselves the visitation of the already awakened wrath of God.

Jenny @ 9:05 am
February 20, 1879 The Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels
Filed under: EG White Articles

                                Chapter Six.
                            Seth and Enoch.
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                            By Mrs. E. G. White.
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was a worthy , and was to take the place of in right-doing. Yet he was a son of , like , and from the nature of Adam no more natural than did Cain. He was , but by the , in receiving the of his father Adam, he honored in doing his will. He separated himself from the corrupt descendants of Cain, and labored, as Abel would have done had he lived, to turn the minds of to revere and obey .

learned from the lips of Adam the painful story of the fall, and the precious story of God’s condescending in the gift of his Son as the world’s . He believed and relied upon the promise given. Enoch was a holy man. He served God with singleness of heart. He realized the corruptions of the human family, and separated himself from the descendants of Cain, and reproved them for their great wickedness. There were those upon the earth who acknowledged God, who feared and worshiped him. Yet righteous Enoch was so distressed with the increasing wickedness of the ungodly that he would not daily associate with them, fearing that he should be affected by their infidelity, and that he might not ever regard God with that holy reverence which was due his exalted character. His soul was vexed as he daily beheld them trampling upon the authority of God. He chose to be separate from them, and spent much of his time in solitude, giving himself to reflection and prayer. He waited before God, and prayed to know his will more perfectly, that he might perform it. God communed with Enoch through his angels, and gave him divine instruction. He made known to him that he would not always bear with man in his rebellion–that it was his purpose to destroy the sinful race by bringing a flood of waters upon the earth.

The beautiful garden of Eden, from which our first parents had been driven, remained until God determined to destroy the earth by a flood. The Lord had planted that garden, and especially blessed it; and in his wonderful providence he withdrew it from the earth, and will return it again, more gloriously adorned than before it was removed. God purposed to preserve a specimen of his perfect work of creation free from the curse which sin had brought upon the earth.

The Lord opened more fully to Enoch the plan of salvation, and by the spirit of prophecy carried him down through the generations which should live after the flood, and showed him the great events connected with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.

Enoch was troubled in regard to the dead. It seemed to him that the righteous and the wicked would go to the dust together, and that would be their end. He could not see the life of the just beyond the grave. In prophetic vision he was instructed in regard to the Son of God, who was to die man’s sacrifice, and was shown the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, attended by the angelic host, to give life to the righteous dead, and ransom them from their graves. He also saw the corrupt state of the world at the time when Christ should appear the second time–that there would be a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation arrayed in rebellion against the law of God, denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon his blood, and despising his atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory and honor, while the wicked were separated from the presence of the Lord, and consumed with fire.

Enoch faithfully rehearsed to the people all that had been revealed to him by the spirit of prophecy. Some believed his words, and turned from their wickedness to fear and worship God. Such often sought Enoch in his places of retreat, and he instructed them, and prayed for them that God would give them a knowledge of his will. He finally chose certain periods for retirement, and would not suffer the people to find him, for they interrupted his holy meditations and communion with God. He did not exclude himself at all times from the society of those who loved him and listened to his words of wisdom; neither did he separate himself wholly from the corrupt. He met with the righteous and the wicked at stated times, and labored to turn the ungodly from their evil course, and instruct them in the fear of God, while he taught those who had the knowledge of God to serve him more perfectly. He would remain with them as long as he could benefit them by his godly conversation and holy example, and then would withdraw himself for a season from all society–from the just, the scoffing and idolatrous, to remain in solitude, hungering and thirsting for communion with God, and that divine knowledge which he alone could give him.

Enoch continued to grow more heavenly while communing with God. His face was radiant with a holy light which would remain upon his countenance while instructing those who would hear his words of wisdom. His dignified appearance struck the people with awe. The Lord loved Enoch, because he steadfastly followed him, and abhorred iniquity, and earnestly sought a more perfect knowledge of his will, that he might perform it. He yearned to unite himself still more closely to God, whom he feared, reverenced, and adored. The Lord would not permit Enoch to die like other men, but sent his angels to take him to Heaven without seeing death. In the presence of the righteous and the wicked, Enoch was removed from them. Those who loved him thought that God might have left him in some of his places of retirement; but after seeking diligently, and being unable to find him, they reported that he was not, for God took him.

By the blessings and honors which he bestowed upon Enoch, the Lord teaches a lesson of the greatest importance, that all will be rewarded, who by faith rely upon the promised Sacrifice, and faithfully obey God’s commandments. Here, again, two classes are represented which were to exist until the second coming of Christ–the righteous and the wicked, the loyal and the rebellious. God will remember the righteous, who fear him. On account of his dear Son, he will respect and honor them, and give them everlasting life. But the wicked, who trample upon his authority, he will destroy from the earth, and they will be as though they had not been.

After Adam’s fall from a state of perfect happiness to a condition of sin and misery, there was danger that man would become discouraged, and inquire, “What profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord,” since a heavy curse is resting upon the human race, and death is the portion of us all? But the instructions which God gave to Adam, and which were repeated by Seth, and fully exemplified by Enoch, cleared away the gloom and darkness, and gave hope to man, that as through Adam came death, through Jesus, the promised Redeemer, would come life and immortality.

In the case of Enoch, the desponding faithful were taught that, while living among a corrupt and sinful people, who were in open and daring rebellion against their Creator, if they would obey him, and have faith in the promised Redeemer, they would work righteousness like the faithful Enoch, be accepted of God, and finally exalted to his heavenly throne.

Enoch, separating himself from the world, and spending much of his time in prayer and in communion with God, represents God’s loyal people in the last days, who will be separate from the world. Unrighteousness will prevail to a dreadful extent upon the earth. Men will give themselves up to follow every imagination of their corrupt hearts, and carry out their deceptive philosophy, and rebel against the authority of high Heaven.

God’s people will separate themselves from the unrighteous practices of those around them, and will seek for purity of thought, and holy conformity to his will, until his divine image will be reflected in them. Like Enoch, they will be fitting for translation to Heaven. While they endeavor to instruct and warn the world, they will not conform to the spirit and customs of unbelievers, but will condemn them by their holy conversation and godly example. Enoch’s translation to Heaven just before the destruction of the world by a flood, represents the translation of all the living righteous from the earth previous to its destruction by fire. The saints will be glorified in the presence of those who have hated them for their loyal obedience to God’s righteous commandments.

Enoch instructed his family in regard to the flood. Methuselah, the son of Enoch, listened to the preaching of his grandson Noah, who faithfully warned the inhabitants of the old world that a flood of waters was coming upon the earth. Methuselah and his sons and his grandsons lived in the time of the building of the ark. They, with some others, received instruction from Noah, and assisted him in his work.

Seth was one of more noble stature than Cain or Abel, and resembled Adam more than did any of his other sons. The descendants of Seth separated themselves from the wicked descendants of Cain. They cherished the knowledge of God’s will, while the ungodly race of Cain had no respect for God and his sacred commandments. But when men multiplied upon the earth, the children of Seth saw that the daughters of the descendants of Cain were very beautiful, and they departed from God and displeased him by taking wives as they chose of the idolatrous race of Cain.

Jenny @ 8:59 am