Seek First the Kingdom of God

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

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January 24, 1893
"Seek First the Kingdom of God"

By Mrs. E. G. White

"Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." The Lord Jesus will scrutinize every talent, and expect interest in proportion to the amount of capital intrusted. By his own humiliation and agony, Christ has paid the purchase money for our salvation, and he has a right to our services. The very name of servant implies the doing of work, the bearing of responsibility. All our capabilities, all our opportunities, have been intrusted to us for wise improvement, that Christ may receive his own with usury. The heavenly Master ascended on high, and led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men,—divine treasures of truth to be presented to all the world. What use are we individually making of these gifts, the talents in our hands? Are we like the unwise and unfaithful servant, burying these talents in the world, where they will bring no returns to God? It behooves all with careful fidelity to improve the talents intrusted to them; for talents will increase as they are used for the good of humanity and the glory of God.

Every soul should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. We are not to use up all the strength of brain, bone, and muscle in worldly business interests; for if we do, we imperil our spiritual interests, and we shall lose an eternity of bliss. The whole unfallen universe is interested in the great work which Jesus came to our world to accomplish, even the salvation of our souls. And shall not man on earth co-operate with our Redeemer, who has ascended into heaven to make intercession for us? Shall we show no special zeal, no devoted interest, in the work that was devised in heaven to be carried forward in the world for the good of men? Shall we who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ refuse to do the work left in our hands,—refuse to co-operate with the heavenly agencies in the work of saving the fallen? Shall we not go even to the ends of the earth to let the light of truth given to us of heaven shine forth to our fellow-men?

We are to be diligent workers; an idle man is a miserable creature. But what excuse can be offered for idleness in the great work which Christ gave his life to accomplish? The spiritual faculties cease to exist if they are not exercised, and it is Satan's design that they shall perish. All heaven is actively engaged in the work of preparing a people for the second coming of Christ to our world, and "we are laborers together with God." The end of all things is at hand. Now is our opportunity to work. "The night cometh, in which no man can work." We should proclaim Christ and him crucified, thus preparing the way for his second appearing. Lift him up, the Man of Calvary. Place yourselves where you may receive heavenly inspiration and be able to point the weary, the heavy-laden, the brokenhearted, the perplexed soul, to Jesus, the source of all spiritual strength. Be faithful minutemen, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. With pen and voice proclaim that Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Unite with the great Master-worker, follow the self-denying Redeemer through his pilgrimage of love on earth. The same Jesus that walked with his disciples, that taught them upon earth, that toiled and suffered in his human nature, is with us in his divine power. He is at our right hand to help in every emergency. Let us lift up Jesus, and reveal the Bible foundation for our faith. We are all to proclaim the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Jesus came to magnify the law, and make it honorable. He died to exalt the law of God, testifying of its changeless character; and as we proclaim God's law, we may look unto Jesus and be comforted with the assurance, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."

Satan is now working with all his insinuating, deceiving power, to lead men away from the work of the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with mighty power. When the enemy sees that the Lord is blessing his people, and preparing them to discern his delusions, he will work with his masterly power to bring in fanaticism on one hand and cold formalism on the other, that he may gather in a harvest of souls. Now is the time to watch unceasingly. Watch for the first step of advance that Satan may make among us.

There are dangers to be guarded against on the right hand and on the left. Those who are inexperienced, who have newly come to the faith, will need to be strengthened, and to have a correct example set before them. Some will not make a right use of the doctrine of justification by faith. They will present it in a one-sided manner, making everything of faith, and belittling works. Others will seize the points that have a leaning toward error, and will ignore works altogether. Now, genuine faith always works by love; it supplies a motive power. Faith is not an opiate, but a stimulant. Looking to Calvary will not quiet your soul into nonperformance of duty, but will create faith that will work, purifying the soul from all selfishness. In laying hold of Christ by faith, we but just begin our work. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits, that must be overcome through vigorous warfare. Every soul must fight the fight of faith. He who is a follower of Christ, cannot deal deceitfully; he cannot be hard-hearted and devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in speech. He cannot be a surmiser of evil, an accuser of the brethren. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, using harsh words, and censuring and condemning those around him.

The labor of love springs from the work of faith. You are to "let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." We are to "be zealous of good works;" "be careful to maintain good works." And the True Witness says, "I know thy works." While it is true that our busy activities will not in themselves insure salvation, it is also true that faith which unites us to Christ will stir the soul to activity; and good fruit, which is good works, will be the result of faith.

Those who have no time to give attention to their own souls, to examine themselves daily whether they be in the love of God, and to place themselves in the channel of light, will have time to give to the suggestions of Satan, and the working out of his plans. Satan will insinuate himself little by little, until he can have a controlling influence on the soul, and induce men gradually to adopt worldly policy. The specious devices of Satan will be brought to make of none effect the special work of God at this time.

There are men who are careless in regard to the spirit which they carry with them in their business. They hide their light under a bushel. They say, Religion is religion, business is business. But all our work in this world, even in a business line, is God's work, and should be done with a heart full of his love, and of heavenly enlightenment. But if we need the heavenly enlightenment in business employments in the world, how much more do we need his grace and help in the business especially connected with his precious cause. There must be no coldness, no formality, no deadness in his work. The hardness of heart that is manifest in business lines among us as a people, is an offense to God.

Men connected with our institutions in responsible position are intrusted with sacred interests, and they cannot be safe men unless they make God their trust every moment, unless they are men of earnest prayer and fervent piety, in their home life, in the work appointed them, in all their business. There is danger that these men will cheat their souls by neglecting to receive the ever-present help of the Holy Spirit, because they have not a true sense of their own weakness. They fail to become channels of light, and if they will continue to be devoid of light, they will fail of the eternal blessedness hereafter. No one can stand safely in a neutral position.

The workers in our institutions need the divine endowment daily. But instead of drawing nearer to God when they accept positions of trust, many think they have so much to do, that they cannot attend religious meetings, and their voices are seldom heard in the congregation of the saints. They act as if they were now so far advanced that they needed not to engage in fervent prayer to God. They do not feel their constant need of education and training in the school of Christ, that they may learn his meekness and lowliness of heart, and they become lifted up in self. Traits of character are manifested by them which are unchristlike. They must be transformed, or they will do harm; for with these unchristlike characteristics they are not qualified for the place. They need to bring their powers under the control of the Spirit of God, that they may realize the necessity of seeking spiritual help, of "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Those who desire wisdom from God, who wish to follow Jesus at every step, will seek for the light, and it will shine in their hearts. "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name."

Satan is constantly at work to wound and poison the soul. In order to withstand his efforts, we must breathe the atmosphere of heaven. We must individually get hold and keep hold of Christ. The truth of God, dwelling in the heart, and guiding the life, will be our safeguard. With the truth in our possession, we may humbly and firmly advance from light to a greater light, and we shall be guided into every good and holy way. Unless the truth of God transforms the character, it is of no value to the receiver. Those who are in earnest about the future life, will not neglect the opportunities within their reach in this life. They will not only place themselves with the learners of the truth, but will feel that they are under obligation to God to learn all that is possible for them to know of spiritual and heavenly things; they will carry every matter in prayer to God.

Coming nigh to God inspires confidence, and stimulates the soul to action. The body would die if deprived of suitable nourishment, and so with the soul; in order to have spiritual strength, or even life, it must be nourished by the word, which is spirit and life. It must be constantly fed by the truth, which connects the soul with Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being. Every man in a responsible position needs the sunbeams of Christ's righteousness constantly to illuminate his soul, or his course will do much harm. Every person who is in a position to command, needs to come as often as possible into association with the worshiping assemblies, that he may be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere, and have greater depth of experience in divine things.

To keep your soul in the love of God you must place yourselves in the channel of light, and breathe in a holy atmosphere; for through neglect of any means of grace which God has ordained to impart spiritual strength and grace, you bring blindness upon your souls, and hardness into your hearts, and Satan will lead you to look at things in a perverted light. If you have no respect for the messages which God sends you by his chosen servants, what power has he in reserve that will reach your case and correct your errors, so that you shall not be led into false paths? The garden of your heart must be cultivated. The poisonous, Satanic plants must be uprooted, the soil must be prepared, thoroughly plowed by the word of God, and the precious seeds of truth must be sown and tended by a wise, skillful gardener.

"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." The parable of the man from whom an evil spirit had been cast out, who did not fill the soul with the love of Christ, illustrates the necessity of not only emptying the heart, but of supplying the vacuum with a divine occupant. The demon desired to return to the heart from which he had been expelled. He came, and though it was swept and garnished, he found it still empty, and entered in with seven other spirits more evil than himself, so that the last state of the man was worse than the first. The man in this parable refused to do the work of Satan; but the trouble with him was that after the heart was swept and garnished, he failed to invite the presence of the heavenly guests. It is not enough to make the heart empty; we must have the vacuum filled with the love of God. The soul must be furnished with the graces of the Spirit of God. We may leave off many bad habits, and yet not be truly sanctified, because we do not have a connection with God. We must unite with Christ. There is a reservoir of power at our command, and we are not to remain in the dark, cold, sunless cave of unbelief; or we shall not catch the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.

To be a Christian requires more than a profession of faith. There must be an earnest effort to conquer through the grace freely given of God. All things around us must be made to be helps to growth in grace and the knowledge of Christ. Satan, the great rebel, is ever seeking to entice us to sin against God. He will introduce false imaginings, and sway the understanding against the revealed will of God, the lower passions against purity and self-denial, the independent judgment against God's decisions, the wisdom from beneath against the wisdom from above. But the Holy Spirit has come into the world to subdue all things unto himself, and shall God's will be put in the background, and man's will be held as supreme? Can man's will be the controlling power in God's great contest for the recovery of his own?—No, for those who are laborers together with God must have the mind of Christ, and work with pen and voice in the Spirit of Christ to meet wrong tendencies, to correct errors, that have been coming in among us. The truth must no longer be kept in the outer court, but be brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. The religion of Christ requires not only the putting away of pride, malice, covetousness, injustice, but the cultivation of the precious graces of humility, unselfishness, kindness, love, generosity, and nobility of soul. The Christian should be constantly aspiring, pressing on from grace to grace, from faith to a greater faith, from glory to a greater glory.

(To be continued.)

We shall have to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Because finite men do not comprehend the power and greatness of God, science, falsely so-called, and religion will be placed in opposition to each other, and "of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." There will be among us those who will so blind their eyes that they will fail to perceive the most wonderful and important truths for this time. Truths which are essential to the safety and salvation of men will be set aside, while ideas that are in comparison to the truth as the merest atoms, will be dwelt upon, and magnified by the power of Satan, so that they will appear of the utmost importance. The moral sight of those who forsake truth has become dim; and yet they do not feel their need of the heavenly anointing, that they may discern spiritual things. They think themselves too wise to err. But those who have not a daily experience in the things of God will not move wisely. They may have a legal religion, a form of godliness, there may be an appearance of light in the church; all the machinery—much of it human invention—may appear to be working well, and yet the church may be as destitute of the grace of God as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain.

Scores of men have preached the word when they themselves had not faith in it, and did not obey its teachings. They were unconverted, unsanctified, unholy. But if we would stand the test, piety must be brought into the life. What we want is inspiration from the cross of Calvary. Then God will open eyes to see that we are not to expect to do any work for the Master successfully, unless we connect with Christ. If we are indeed laborers together with God, we shall not have a dead, scientific religion, but our hearts will be infused with a living power, even the Spirit of Jesus. All those who are truly converted will be drawn out of, and away from, themselves. With the blessing of Christ upon them day by day, they will be channels for communicating light and blessings to others.

Those who are wavering between Christ and the world, need the converting power of God. When they see what sin is, and what is the righteousness of Christ, they will no longer dwell in the cave of unbelief. God calls upon them to come out of the cave, and stand with him. No longer question your need of a personal Saviour. The heart, as well as the understanding, must be enlarged. It is not enough to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth; there must be a heart work done. The soul-temple must be cleansed from the buyers and sellers, and must be opened for the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Christ drew a decided line of distinction between his disciples and the world. Listen to these words from his prayer offered just before his agony in Gethsemane: "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

We must comply with the terms of salvation, or we are lost. At the hour when we leave the service of Satan for the service of Christ, when true conversion takes place, and by faith we turn from transgression to obedience, the severest of the heart struggles take place. But many accept the theory of truth, and compromise with the world, the flesh, and the Devil. The soul that has truly experienced the transforming grace of Christ has chosen Christ for its portion; it yields to the gracious influence of his Holy Spirit, and thus the character is formed according to the divine pattern. We are to feel, to act, as one with Christ.

It is the work of the heavenly angels to unite with human agencies in shedding light amid the moral darkness that rests upon the earth. Christ says to his followers, "Ye are the light of the world." Shall we envelop our light in a thick covering of worldly policy? Shall we seek for scientific measurement of how much light shall emanate from us to the world? God help us to live under the direct rays of the Sun of Righteousness, that we may be channels of light to the world. There are many false beacons established, to lead unwary souls to make shipwreck of faith; but the true light of the world must shine, not smothered, not put under a bushel nor under a bed, but set on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house—the world. The true light is to stand in distinction from all other lights. The system of truth must stand distinct from all other systems, whether of religion or of morals; for it sheds forth light emanating from Christ. Our great work is to reveal Christ to the world, and thus reveal the Father.

There are men of the world who will volunteer to be our guides; they regard their course as wise, but they are of the class who, professing to be wise, need to become fools in order to become wise in God's wisdom. They lead away from the path where the voice of Jesus is heard, saying, "This is the way; walk ye in it." They are false teachers, blind leaders of the blind. They divert the attention from the very work to be done in this period of the world's history. But those who follow the Leader step by step, will hear and recognize the voice of the True Shepherd.

We are to learn from Christ how to work, how to be as he was, self-denying, self-sacrificing. If we have his Spirit, we shall realize the worth of souls, and work for their salvation. Our work is to be done wholly through the grace of Christ. We are to have a continual sense of our weakness and frailty and be led to Jesus in earnest prayer for his wisdom and efficiency. There will be times of despondency, as we realize our unlikeness to Christ; we see ourselves small, weak, and compassed with infirmities; but we are to depend upon Jesus, and commit our ways unto the Lord; and while we trust to him in humility, obedient to his word, heavenly wisdom will be imparted to us that we may do the Master's work. Our life may seem a tangle; but if we commit ourselves wholly to the wise Master-worker, he will bring out the pattern of life and character according to his plan, for our good and his own glory.

Do not take your eyes off Jesus. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips that we may not trust in our finite, human wisdom, but that our thoughts may be brought into subjection to Christ, our characters be molded after the mind of Christ. Why should we not walk with God, as did Enoch? Why should we not have the transforming grace of Christ daily? Has he not promised to us great and precious things? Who can find words to explain the rich promises of God? "Behold," said John, "what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not."

In the last conflict in the great controversy between good and evil, God has called us to give the final warning to the world. The Christian world are honoring a false Sabbath, and we are to show them its true character and foundation. We must make it plain to them that they are honoring a man-made institution in place of that which God himself has sanctified. Every rival to God must be made to appear as an idol. Solemn is our responsibility.

The people of the world will try to induce us to soften down our message, to suppress some of its more distinctive features. They say, "Why do you make the seventh-day Sabbath so prominent in your teaching? This difference is always thrust before us. We would harmonize with you if you would not say so much on this point. Let arguments in the Sentinel be free from mention of the seventh-day Sabbath, and we will give it our influence and support." This is their invitation to compromise, and there has been a disposition on the part of some of our workers to adopt this policy. But those who favor this action entertain deceptive sentiments, are bound by false modesty and caution, and manifest a disposition to withhold the confession of our faith. Seventh-day Adventists have discussed the feasibility of conceding to these demands; but shall we permit the world to shape the messages that God has given us to bear to them? Shall we entertain the proposals of Satan, and thereby entangle our souls, and the souls of others, for the sake of policy? Shall we betray sacred trusts? If the world are in error and delusion, breaking the law of God, is it not our duty to show them their sin and danger? We must proclaim the third angel's message.

What is the Sentinel for?—It is to be as the voice of the watchman on the walls of Zion, ready to sound the danger signal. We should cry aloud, and spare not, and show the people their transgressions. We are not to cringe, and beg pardon of the world for telling them the truth. We should scorn concealment. Unfurl your true colors to the gaze of men and angels. Let it be understood that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise. In our opinions and faith there must not be the least appearance of wavering. The world has a right to expect something of us, and will look upon us as dishonest, as hiding our real sentiments and principles out of policy, if we present even the semblance of being uncommitted.

The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which Christ said he would send into the world, was to bear an unwavering testimony: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin [What is sin?—The transgression of the law], and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." On no account will a real believer of the truth present an appearance of neutrality in that which concerns the salvation of souls. We are not to voice the sentiment of the world. Jesus says, "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." The Lord calls upon all to consider whom they will serve and whom they mean to worship,—whether they will be swayed to the right or to the left by the opinions and position of the world, or stand firm to truth. Shall we be time-servers? Now, before we advance another step, let us look carefully to see what are our feelings, our aims, and purposes.

(Concluded next week.)

Those who are more desirous of securing promotion and a good name in the world than of maintaining right principles, will betray sacred trusts. They will cripple their own influence, they will darken counsel by their words, and make false reasoning to look sound and right. All the success and patronage that can be secured by policy plans will serve only as a snare to those who work on this principle.

Some are flattering themselves that a more auspicious time is coming, when God will vindicate his honor by lifting up his holy law. Many who now look upon the cross as too heavy to bear, think they will then obey the truth, and triumph with it. But in maintaining the right, it is not safe, because of circumstances, to yield in any degree firm adherence to duty, or to teach others that they may yield with comparative safety. Such a course is like that of Judas, who sold his Lord to his enemies, fully believing that Christ would manifest his miraculous power, and give his enemies another evidence of his divinity. Judas never recovered the ground lost through his presumption. To place ourselves in a position where we have an appearance of yielding, is a new position for this people. It is a new experience, a departure from the principles to which we have adhered, which have made us what we are today, a people whom God has prospered, a people who have the Lord of hosts with them.

Brethren in the office of publication, you who have a connection with sacred things, God bids you to be careful where you place your feet. He holds you accountable for the light of truth, that it shall shine forth in clear and distinct rays to the world. The world will never help you by its devices to let your light shine. They stand under their leader, the great deceiver, who works through his human agents to eclipse the light. God calls upon you to shine. With intense solicitude trim your lamps, take the oil of grace in your vessels, and keep your lamps trimmed and burning, that your light may shine bright and clear amid the moral darkness of this world. All who hold the truth should hold it in righteousness, and appreciate its value and sacredness. They should ask wisdom of God, that they may send its rays into all the highways and byways of life. If we are sanctified by the truth, our souls will be pervaded by a deep and abiding sense of its importance, and it will be our meat and drink to obey the truth, and pass along the precious light to others.

Many who claim to believe the truth have rested in the theory, and have not felt the necessity of maintaining vital connection with the pure, sacred springs from which they must derive their life and inspiration. When they should have been earnestly praying to heaven, humbling their hearts before God, they have been busy with human calculations, human imaginings, have been exalting self in place of exalting the Lord. Yet they seemed unaware of their danger of leaving the precious principles of truth. We need to pray continually that God will help us to abide in the truth, and not be swayed from its principles by those who are not sanctified to God, or allow the opinions of worldlings to mold our institutions.

But although we are to stand firm as a rock to principle, we should be courteous and Christ-like in our dealings with all men. In meekness and love we should tell the people why we cannot accept the papal Sabbath, because it is a mark of special dishonor to God, whom we love and worship. But while we sacredly observe the Sabbath of the Lord, it is not our work to compel others to observe it. God never forces the conscience. That is Satan's work. But God is the author of the Sabbath, and it must be presented to men in contrast with the false Sabbath, that they may choose between the truth of God and the error of the enemy.

An effort is now on foot to enforce the observance of Sunday, and while the Sunday question is coming to the front, an opportunity is given to present to the world the true Sabbath in contrast with the false. The Lord is far ahead of us, he has permitted this Sunday question to be pressed to the front, in order that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment may be presented before legislative assemblies. The leading men of the nation are to have their attention called to the testimony of God's word in favor of the true Sabbath. If the testimony does not convert them, it is a witness that will condemn them. The Sabbath question is the great testing question for this time.

No greater contempt could be shown to the Creator than the contempt manifested for the day which he has sanctified and blessed. And as Satan with his human agents pushes the warfare against God, by leading men to trample on the Sabbath, the few who do honor God should be aroused to greater zeal and earnestness in its defense. The Calebs must press to the front. The greater the contempt heaped upon the law, the stronger must be our love for it, and the more earnest our efforts to exalt it. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

The prophet Isaiah says concerning those who advocate the truth of God, "They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations." What is that?—The Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Raise it up by pen, by voice, and ring out the truth in every way possible. "And thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy Father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

This is a work for those who see the Sabbath of the fourth commandment trodden down. They are to give it the exalted position it deserves. Isaiah says of Christ and his followers, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations."

This is the work now to be done on earth. Those who are living in transgression of the holy law of God will not find the truth palatable. When it is made plain that Sunday is a spurious Sabbath, founded in the power of the man of sin, they will say in language too plain to be misunderstood, "We want not a knowledge of thy ways, O Lord." Others will say as did Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?" But in the face of all opposition we must hold aloft the banner of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. It takes both of these to make up the burden of the message to be given to the world.

We need divine wisdom and skill that we may improve every opportunity that the providence of God shall prepare for the presentation of truth. While Satan will make masterly efforts to suppress truth, we must stand firm to our principles, reflecting light to the world. We should be alarmed at the least manifestation of a disposition to hush the voices that proclaim the third angel's message. That angel represents the people of God, who give the last warning to the world. Let not the fear of man, the desire for patronage, be allowed to obscure a ray of heaven's light. Should the sentinels of truth now fail to sound the warning, they would be unworthy of their position as light-bearers to the world; but should the standard fall from their hands, the Lord would raise up others who would be faithful and loyal.

It will require moral courage to do God's work unflinchingly. Those who do this can give no place to self love, to selfish considerations, ambition, love of ease, or desire to shun the cross. We are commanded to "cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet. "Shall we labor to make the name of God a praise in the earth? Shall we obey his voice, or shall we listen to the soothing voice of the evil one, and be rocked to a fatal slumber just on the eve of eternal realities? The truth is everything to us, or it is nothing. Let those who want to make a name in the world, go with the world; but let those who would serve God, obey God, and not man. In the great conflict between faith and unbelief, the whole Christian world will be involved. All will take sides. Some may not apparently engage in the conflict on either side. They may not appear to take sides against the truth, but they will not come out boldly for Christ, through fear of losing property or suffering reproach. All such are numbered with the enemies of Christ; for Christ says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

Conservative traditions received from educated men, and from the writings of great men of the past, are not safe guides for us in these last days; for the great struggle before us is such as the world has never seen before. Those who have not acted a part in this work in the past, need to move with great caution in regard to accepting or refusing what may be presented to them as truth. They need to penetrate much deeper than their limited spiritual knowledge, or their present habits or opinions would lead them to do. We are not one of us safe unless we live as seeing Him who is invisible, even with past experience in the work; and we certainly are not safe, if we have not had that experience. Daily, hourly, we must be actuated by the principles of Bible truth,—righteousness, mercy, and the love of God. He who would have moral and intellectual power must draw from the divine source. At every point of decision inquire, "Is this the way of the Lord?" With your Bibles open before you, consult sanctified reason and a good conscience. Your heart must be moved, your soul touched, your reason and intellect awakened, by the Spirit of God; and then holy principles revealed in the word of God will give light to the soul. The true source of wisdom and virtue and power is the cross of Calvary. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. He says, "Without me ye can do nothing."

Let no man seek to go about God's work in any one of its branches in his own strength; for if he does, the fruit will not be such as will abide unto eternal life. He appears to build on the foundation; but he puts upon it wood, hay, and stubble,—material that will be consumed. Our ideas must be elevated. Lift him up, the Man of Calvary; let the language of the soul be, "He must increase; I must decrease." It is very hard for self to occupy a subordinate place. It lifts up itself in many ways, runs without Christ, works without prayer and consecration. Man's wisdom is foolishness; but many do not yet know this. They form connections with persons no more pious or consecrated than themselves. They counsel and plan with them, and if their devising is accepted, it will surely lead away from the right path. Their self-sufficiency is great, they do not feel the necessity of prayer at every step. They judge after the sight of the eyes, and the hearing of the ears, but have not the discernment that God gives, which would enable them to look beneath the surface. They favor those who should not be favored, and turn from those who should find help and comfort and justice at their hands. What government are we under? We shall have to make a decided choice either to be under Satan's rule, or under the rule of Him whom John saw while on the isle of Patmos, who hath prepared his throne in the heavens," and whose "kingdom ruleth over all."