Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen a generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:7–9.]
These words apply to every one to whom the Holy Spirit was manifested, and who appreciated its light. But there is a great work for those who have been illuminated to do for the Master. “Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” [John 12:35, 36.] In order to increase our spiritual endowment, it is necessary to walk in the light. In view of the event of Christ’s soon coming, we must vigilantly be working to prepare our own souls, to keep our own lamps trimmed and burning, and to urge upon others the necessity of getting ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. Watching and working must go together; faith and works must be united, or our characters will not be symmetrical and well-balanced, perfect in Christ Jesus. Should we give our lives up to prayerful meditation, our lights would grow dim, for light is given to us that we may impart it to others, and the more we impart light, the brighter our own light will become. If there is any one thing in the world in which we may manifest enthusiasm, it may be manifested in seeking the salvation of the souls for whom Christ died. Work of this kind will not cause us to neglect personal piety. The exhortation is given for us to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
To have an eye single to the glory of God means to have singleness of purpose, to show forth the work that has been wrought in your heart, that subdues your will to the will of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the glory of God. The world has been looking upon you to see what would be the after-influence of the work of revival that came to the College, the Sanitarium, the Office of publication, and to the members of the church in Battle Creek [Michigan]. What testimony have you borne in your daily life and character? God expected you all to do your best, not to please, amuse, and glorify yourselves, but to honor him in all your ways, returning unto him according to the light and privileges that he had given you through the endowment of his grace. He expected you to testify before heavenly intelligences, and to be living witnesses to the world, of the power of the grace of Christ. The Lord tested you, to see if you would treat his rich blessing as a cheap, light matter, or regard it as a rich treasure to be handled with reverent awe. If all had treated the gift of God in this manner,—for the work was of God,—then, according to the measure of each one’s responsibility, the grace given would have been doubled, as were the talents of him who traded diligently with his lord’s money.
God has been testing the fidelity of his people, proving them to see what use they would make of his intrusted precious blessing. This blessing came from our Intercessor and Advocate in the heavenly courts; but Satan was ready to enter any avenue that was open for him, in order that he might turn the light and blessing into darkness and cursing. How may the blessing be turned into a curse? By persuading the human agent not to cherish the light, or not to reveal to the world that it has been effective in transforming the character. Imbued with the Holy Spirit, the human agent consecrates himself to co-operate with divine agencies. He bears the yoke of Christ, lifts his burdens, and works in Christ’s line to gain precious victories. He walks in the light as Christ is in the light. The scripture is fulfilled to him, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” [11 Corinthians 3:18.]
Another year has now passed into eternity with its burden of record; and the light which shone from heaven upon you was to prepare you to arise and shine, to show forth the praises of God to the world as his commandment-keeping people. You were to be living witnesses; but if no special endeavor of a high and holy character bears testimony before the world, if no higher effort has been made than that which is seen in the popular churches of the day, then the name of God has not been honored, and his truth has not been magnified before the world, by presenting divine credentials in the people who have received great light. If they have had no greater appreciation of the manifest power of God than to eat and drink, and rise up to play, as did ancient Israel, then how can the Lord trust his people with rich and gracious manifestations? If they act directly contrary in almost every respect to the known will of God, and are found in carelessness, in levity, in selfishness, in ambition and pride, corrupting their way before the Lord, how can he give them another outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
God has the richest blessing for his people; but he cannot bestow it until they know how to treat the precious gift in showing forth the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:1, 2.] A portion of the joy which was set before Christ, was the joy of seeing his truth armed with the omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit, impressing his image upon the life and character of his followers
Divine intelligences co-operate with human agencies as they seek to magnify the law and make it honorable. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. [Psalm 19:7.] It is in the converted soul that the world sees a living testimony. Then shall the Lord of heaven have room to work? Shall he find a place in the hearts of those who claim to believe the truth? Shall his pure, disinterested benevolence meet with a response from the human agent? Shall the world see a display of the glory of Christ in the characters of those who profess to be his disciples? Shall Christ be favored and glorified in seeing his own sympathy and love pouring forth in streams of goodness and truth from his human agents? In implanting his gospel in the heart, he is pouring out the resources of heaven for the blessing of the world. “We are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.]
What has the rich blessing of God done for those who were humble and contrite in heart to receive it? Has the blessing been cherished? Have the receivers been showing forth the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light? There are some who are already questioning the work that was so good, and that should have been most highly appreciated. They are looking upon it as a certain species of fanaticism. It would be surprising if there were not some, who, not being well-balanced in mind, have spoken and acted indiscreetly; for whenever and wherever the Lord works in giving a genuine blessing, a counterfeit is also revealed, in order to make of none effect the true work of God. Therefore we need to be exceedingly careful, and walk humbly before God, that we may have spiritual eyesalve that we may distinguish the working of the Holy Spirit of God from the working of that spirit that would bring in wild license and fanaticism. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Those who are really beholding Christ will be changed into his image, even by the Spirit of the Lord, and will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God will inspire men with love and purity; and refinement will be manifest in their characters.
But because some have misappropriated the rich blessing of heaven, shall others deny that Jesus, the Saviour of the world, has passed through our churches, and that to bless? Let not doubt and unbelief question this; for in so doing, you are treading on dangerous ground. God has given the Holy Spirit to those who have opened the door of their hearts to receive the heavenly gift. But let them not yield to the temptation afterward to believe that they have been deceived. Let them not say, “Because I feel darkness, and am oppressed with doubt, and never saw Satan’s power so manifest as now, therefore I was mistaken.” I warn you to be careful. Sow not one expression of doubt. God has wrought for you, bringing sound doctrines of truth into actual contact with the heart. Blessing was given you, that it might produce fruit in sound practices and upright characters.
The sin for which Christ reproved Chorazin and Bethsaida was the sin of rejecting evidence that would have convinced them of the truth, had they yielded to its power. The sin of the scribes and Pharisees was the sin of placing the heavenly work which had been wrought before them, in the darkness of unbelief, so that the evidence which should have led them into a settled faith was questioned, and the sacred things which should have been cherished were regarded as of no value. I fear that the people have permitted the enemy to work along these very lines, so that the good which emanated from God, the rich blessing which he has given, have come to be regarded by some as fanaticism. If this attitude is preserved, then when the Lord shall again let his light shine upon the people, they will turn from the heavenly illumination, saying, “I felt the same in 1893, and some in whom I have had confidence, said that the work was fanaticism.” Will not those who have received the rich grace of God, and who take the position that the working of the Holy Spirit was fanaticism, be ready to denounce the operations of the Spirit of God in the future, and the heart thus be proof against the solicitations of the still, small voice? The love of Jesus may be presented to those who thus barricade themselves against it, and exercise no constraining power upon them. The riches of the grace of heaven may be bestowed and yet rejected, instead of being cherished and gratefully recognized. With the heart men did believe unto righteousness, and for a time confession was made unto salvation; but, sad to relate, the receiver did not co-operate with heavenly intelligences, and cherish the light by working the works of righteousness.
Review and Herald, February 6, 1894.
Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.