The truth is a power, and those who see its force will stand boldly and fearlessly in its defense. Truth must be apprehended by the intellect, received into the heart, and its principles incorporated into the character; and then there must be a constant effort to win others to accept it, for God holds men responsible for the use they make of the light He imparts to them.
The Lord calls upon all His people to improve the ability He has given them. The mental powers should be developed to the utmost; they should be strengthened and ennobled by dwelling upon spiritual truths. If the mind is allowed to run almost entirely upon trifling things and the common business of everyday life, it will, in accordance with one of its unvarying laws, become weak and frivolous, and deficient in spiritual power.
Times that will try men’s souls are just before us, and those who are weak in the faith will not stand the test of those days of peril. The great truths of revelation are to be carefully studied, for we shall all want an intelligent knowledge of the word of God. By Bible study and daily communion with Jesus we shall gain clear, well-defined views of individual responsibility and strength to stand in the day of trial and temptation. He whose life is united to Christ by hidden links will be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
More thought should be given to the things of God, and less to temporal matters. The world-loving professor, if he will exercise his mind in that direction, may become as familiar with the word of God as he now is with worldly business. “Search the Scriptures,” said Christ; “for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.” The Christian is required to be diligent in searching the Scriptures, to read over and over again the truths of God’s word. Willful ignorance on this subject endangers the Christian life and character. It blinds the understanding and corrupts the noblest powers. It is this that brings confusion into our lives. Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine.
Great changes are soon to take place in the world, and everyone will need an experimental knowledge of the things of God. It is the work of Satan to dishearten the people of God and to unsettle their faith. He tries in every way to insinuate doubts and questionings in regard to the position, the faith, the plans, of the men upon whom God has laid the burden of a special work and who are zealously doing that work. Although he may be baffled again and again, yet he renews his attacks, working through those who profess to be humble and God-fearing, and who are apparently interested in, or believers of, present truth. The advocates of truth expect fierce and cruel opposition from their open enemies, but this is far less dangerous than the secret doubts expressed by those who feel at liberty to question and find fault with what God’s servants are doing. These may appear to be humble men; but they are self-deceived, and they deceive others. In their hearts are envy and evil surmisings. They unsettle the faith of the people in those in whom they should have confidence, those whom God has chosen to do His work; and when they are reproved for their course they take it as personal abuse. While professing to be doing God’s work they are in reality aiding the enemy.
Brethren, never allow anyone’s ideas to unsettle your faith in regard to the order and harmony which should exist in the church. Many of you do not see all things clearly. The directions in regard to order in the tabernacle service were recorded that lessons might be drawn from it by all who should live upon the earth. Men were selected to do various parts of the work of setting up and taking down the tabernacle, and if one strayed in carelessly and put his hands to the work assigned to another, he was to be put to death. We serve the same God today. But the death penalty has been abolished; had it not been, there would not now be so much careless, disorderly work in His cause. The God of heaven is a God of order, and He requires all His followers to have rules and regulations, and to preserve order. All should have a perfect understanding of God’s work.
It is unsafe to cherish doubt in the heart even for a moment. The seeds of doubt which Pharaoh sowed when he rejected the first miracle were allowed to grow, and they produced such an abundant harvest that all subsequent miracles could not persuade him that his position was wrong. He continued to venture on in his own course, going from one degree of questioning to another, and his heart became more and more hardened until he was called to look upon the cold, dead faces of the first-born.
God is at work, and we are not doing one half that must be done to prepare a people to stand in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed. Woe be to the man that shall in the least degree seek to hinder the work which God is doing. We must labor for others; we must try to weaken the hold of our brethren upon their earthly treasures; for many will sell their birthright to eternal life for worldly advantages. How much better to encourage them to lay up their treasure in heaven than complainingly to drop the words: “It is money, money, that these men are continually calling for; and they are getting rich by it.” How sweet are words like these to the world-loving professor! How they strengthen his courage to withhold from God the proportion which belongs to Him and which should be returned to Him in tithes and offerings! The curse of the Lord will rest upon those who fail to render to Him His own. Let us work in harmony with God. His servants have a message to bear to money lovers; why should they not bear a close testimony in regard to bringing all the tithes into the storehouse, when the Lord Himself has set them the example?
The religion of Christ subdues the selfish spirit and transforms the mind and the affections; it lays low the pride of men, that God alone may be exalted. This is what Brother A wants. He needs a practical faith in God. He needs to see and feel the glory of serving Christ; he needs to exalt principle and elevate the Christian standard; he needs to store his mind with the rich promises, the warnings, the counsels and threatenings, of God’s word; he needs to see the importance of having faith and corresponding works, that he may fairly represent, at home, in the church, and in his business, the purity and elevated character of religion. He should place himself in connection with Christ, that he may have spiritual power. His connection with the world, and with influences adverse to the spirit of truth, have greater power over him than the Spirit of Christ. Here is his danger; and he will eventually make shipwreck of faith unless he changes his course of action and firmly connects with the Source of light.
Testimonies, vol. 5, 272–275.