to Be Rescued From Error
Review and Herald
October 23, 1894
Truth to Be Rescued From Error
By Mrs. E. G. White
The children of God are commanded, "As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.... And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."
Never was there a time when we needed more special connection with God than at the present time; for there is a constant tendency in human nature that makes men lean on their own understanding. Men trust in men, leaving God out of life and character. There must be more earnest efforts to live out the life of Christ, and the advocates of the truth must learn not to lean upon any man or set of men. There must be repentance of sins, Christ-like meekness, and lowliness of heart. Men must be found who have an individual experience, who cannot be enticed from the path of right, of justice, of meekness, of patience, of forbearance, of Christian courtesy. Men must be found who will not manifest anything but a Christ-like spirit when opposed by talkative, open-mouthed men who put light for darkness and darkness for light. Men are needed in this time who know that the evidences which God has given are to be relied upon in the face of all the assertions that will come from the enemies of the faith. Talk is very cheap; it is a common article of commerce, and is much more largely dealt in than is prayer or the words that God has spoken through his chosen apostles and prophets.
We may have faith in men who profess to be followers of Christ, only as we see that they are meeting God's great standard of righteousness, not some ideal of their own, but that they are actually copying the perfection of the character of Jesus Christ.
Let not any man feel that the work of God is under his special guardianship; but realize that it is under the control of Omniscience. The Lord will choose men for these times who will be workers together with him. He will choose men of resolute minds, who will follow his guidance, and act in harmony with the great I AM; who will be actuated by heroic principles, and will accomplish the will of God in preventing evil and promoting good in the world. Privations, trials, and hardships will not discourage them; but they will stand forth as examples of undaunted devotion. It is this class that to all intents and purposes are the defenders of the faith once delivered to the saints. In times of proving and trial, in the day of trouble such as never was, it will be revealed who have builded their characters from material that will stand the test. God's true workmen will be forced to speak the truth and unmask hypocrisy and deception in defending every portion of the word of God. Accusation upon accusation from men of high position will come against those who would be true to God, and they will be compelled to stand in defense of the truth. But the servants of the Lord will be men of opportunity, of energy and tact, and will be ready to promote the interests of truth under every circumstance. They will not be selfish, self-important, self-sufficient persons; they will be men who have the mind of Christ. They will be kind, affectionate, loving, prompt, tender, yet resolute. They will be God-fearing men, and in the face of opposition they will move forward, firm and steadfast, to defend Bible truth. Such men will press the triumphs of the cross of Christ to the very end of the conflict. They will boldly, and yet in the Spirit of Christ, confront the agents of Satan who will seek to suppress religious liberty, and they will not give place to them for an hour.
There will be those, who, after a feeble resistance, will yield one point of truth after another. The reason they will do this is that they have never valued truth as they should. They have never enthroned the truth in the inner sanctuary of the heart, and they have not been sanctified through the truth. They will give way to the powers that be, and render obedience to men rather than to God. But those who stand firm to the truth will answer those who demand their surrender to the traditions of men and their compliance with the custom of the majority, that they owe allegiance to a higher authority than that of the State. They will declare that they cannot set aside the Sabbath of the great Creator for a man-made institution. They will declare that as partakers of the divine nature, they are placed in a position where the ordinances of men, when conflicting with the commands of God, are of no force nor value. Those who are empowered with authority will say to them as they said to Paul, "Thou art beside thyself;" and when persuasion and entreaty are in vain, heavier pressure will be brought to bear, and the steadfastness of Christ's followers will be tested to the uttermost. Every conceivable device that men and demons can invent will be brought to bear against them to overcome them; but those who have learned how to cling to God will not abate one jot or tittle of truth.
The fact that times of trouble and persecution are before the people of God must not deter them in the least from proclaiming the truth. They are to proclaim the truth because it is truth. Gems of thought are to be gathered up and redeemed from their companionship with error; for by their misplacement in the association of error, the Author of truth has been dishonored. The precious gems of the righteousness of Christ, and truths of divine origin, are to be carefully searched out and placed in their proper setting, to shine with heavenly brilliancy amid the moral darkness of the world. Let the bright jewels of truth which God gave to man, to adorn and exalt his name, be carefully rescued from the rubbish of error, where they have been claimed by those who have been transgressors of the law, and have served the purposes of the great deceiver on account of their connection with error. Let the gems of divine light be reset in the framework of the gospel. Let nothing be lost of the precious light that comes from the throne of God. It has been misapplied, and cast aside as worthless; but it is heaven-sent, and each gem is to become the property of God's people and find its true position in the framework of truth. Precious jewels of light are to be collected, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit they are to be fitted into the gospel system. God has poured his Spirit upon his servants, and qualified them to use their ability and talent in revealing truth to those who sit in darkness; but the very ability God has given by which to reveal truth to others, men, perverting their talents, employ to deceive; for they use their gifts as did Satan when he deceived the angels of heaven, and exalt self, causing their God-given abilities to administer to their own glory. These become confused by error, their minds are darkened by the enemy, and the truths which God imparted to them are buried by them in a mass of error, or basely perverted to serve the cause of evil. But these heaven-given rays of light are not to be lost to the world. These truths are to be as a lamp unto our feet, and as a light unto our path. It is these gems that will give attractiveness to the gospel plan, and they are to shine as stars amid the moral darkness of the world.
Jesus has said, "Gather up the fragments, ... that nothing be lost." Many have seen no further meaning in this than the gathering up of the fragments after the feeding of the five thousand; but in all the teachings of Jesus spiritual applications are to be made. When he said, "Gather up the fragments," it was as if he bade them mark all his teachings, gather up every fragment of truth, and of the light which he has given, to let nothing be lost. Open up the truth to others and let every fragment have its place. In dignity and simplicity speak that which your Master has spoken to you, and present that which he has taught you by his daily walk and conversation. Hold up his life and example to those with whom you associate. He has filled every position, from the humblest to the most exalted, with acceptance to the Father, and you are to gather up the fragments of his words and works, that nothing be lost. As you advance heavenward, make use of every common, every-day habit and custom to illustrate truth, and in every calling, however menial, live out the life of Christ. In this way you will be to men a continual revelation of what Christ would have men be in your position.
The great plan of human redemption is as yet but faintly understood, because men do not place themselves in the divine channel of light. There is too much following of men, and limiting the light by men's opinions and traditions. The wonderful truth of God is to be sought out by every mind, and the results of many minds are to be brought together from many sources as God's hereditary trust, and the divine power will work in such a way that true harmony will exist. In the revelation of Christ to the world the necessity of men will be met, and the work of God will move forward with beautiful harmony, as truth is disclosed to the world. Through careful study, through prayerful meditation, men will be enabled to place the truth before men in simplicity, so that the humblest minds can comprehend it, can receive it, and become elevated through its sanctifying influence, if they will but appropriate it, and practice its principles in their daily lives.
Through all ages God has spoken and worked by human instrumentalities. God has given to men their faculties, and he expects them to use them and by use to improve their abilities. They are to employ these faculties in rescuing truth from the rubbish of error where it has been made to serve the cause of the great adversary. The gems of truth are imperishable, and the Lord would have them gathered up and placed in their proper relation, that they may embellish and adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour. Truth is to be communicated from one human agent to another and to be molded into the life and character of those who receive it, in order that glory may redound to God. Truth that has found its proper setting, flashes brilliant rays of divine light into darkened minds, and meets the wants and necessities of the minds and hearts of fallen men who could not be reached by any other agency. It is by living out the truth in human life that souls are to be reached. As the Son of God in human form was perfect in his life, so he requires that his followers shall be perfect in their lives. He was made in all things like unto his brethren. He hungered, he thirsted, he was weary, he slept, he wept, and yet he was the blameless Son of God, he was God in the flesh. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, and we have not a high-priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows how to succor those that are tempted. In living out the truth of God, man is continually assured that supernatural help will be granted to him, and that while he retains his human nature, yet through an unseen agency he receives the impress of the divine nature through the truth as it is in Jesus.