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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    L. T. NICOLA

    Reading for Monday, December 23

    CONSECRATION is defined to be “the act or ceremony of separating from a common to a sacred use, or of devoting and dedicating a person or thing to the service of God.” To consecrate is “to make or declare to be sacred; to appropriate to sacred uses: to set apart, dedicate, or devote to the service of God.”GCB December 1895, page 605.2

    But as said by another, “Consecration makes not a place sacred but only solemnly declares it so.” This is equally true of a person. We cannot make ourselves sacred or holy. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one,” says Job. No sinful, imperfect, fallible, erring creature can really make anything sacred or holy. A divine being alone can do that. The help of God, the direct interposition of the Holy Spirit can alone bring about such a result. Consecration, dedication, devoting one’s self to God, and sanctification, are terms closely related to each other. There are various scriptures in which the thought couched in these terms is solemnly inculcated, and the necessity of reaching such a condition taught, if we ever have a hope of salvation worth anything.GCB December 1895, page 605.3

    There are various illustrations in the Bible of what consecration really is. Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated to the priest’s office. Exodus 30:30. Before this act, they were simply individuals of the nation, in position like others, with nothing more to do in the service of the sanctuary and the removal of sin than some others. God chose in his wisdom to take this family to occupy a special relationship to himself to stand between himself and the people as mediators, typical of Him who should be a “priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”GCB December 1895, page 605.4

    When Aaron and his successors were thus set apart, a beast was offered, the candidate placed his hands upon the head of the victim, then its blood was taken and placed upon the tip of the right ear, upon the thumb of the right hand, the great toe of the right foot, and upon his garments. The beast was called the ram of consecration; the priest’s garments were called consecrated garments, etc. Thus they were specially set apart to the service of the Lord to be his, and his alone. These particulars most forcibly indicate that all their powers of hearing, doing, seeing, and moving, in short, all their ability and opportunities, were to be given to the Lord and his work. They were to eat of this beast of consecration, wearing the consecrated garments, and thus realize that they were not their own, but the Lord’s. Exodus 30:30; 29:19-28; 1-3.GCB December 1895, page 605.5

    These priests were all types of Christ. They served “unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.” Hebrews 8:1-5. It was therefore important that they be thoroughly consecrated to God to thus properly represent “the Son, who is consecrated forevermore.” Hebrews 7:28. And we are to have “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” Hebrews 10:19, 20.GCB December 1895, page 605.6

    Our great High Priest is consecrated, holy, undefiled, free from sin, our perfect example; and has thus opened up a way of life, a living way which he has consecrated for us. If we walk in this living way opened up through Christ and his perfect example, shall we not be consecrated also? wholly devoted to him in all things, obedient, blameless, true, and faithful as he was in character? — Most assuredly. “But ye are a chosen 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.” “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:9, 5.GCB December 1895, page 605.7

    The consecration of the ancient priests, therefore, was typical not only of Christ himself, but of all who really follow his example, for these are priests of God in a spiritual sense, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.GCB December 1895, page 605.8

    That which was necessarily implied, therefore, by the application of the blood in the consecration of the ancient priests, to the ear, hand, and foot, — a surrender of all their powers to God who had called them, — is equally applicable to us. Yea, even more so, for we are to follow him who was separate from sinners, pure, holy, faithful, and true, through the strength which he is most ready to impart to every one of us. “What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. This complete surrender to God of all our powers, physical, mental, and spiritual, is entire consecration to him. It is the same thing in substance as a dedication of all to him, a separation from the world in the true sense, an elevation of our powers to God, a true sanctification, which is the separation, setting apart, or appointing of a thing, or person to God’s service. The priests were thus set apart, as we have seen. The seventh day was thus set apart for holy purposes at the creation of the world. The temple and all its appurtenances were thus appointed. The godly Hannah thus devoted little Samuel, even before his birth, to the Lord, when his priests had given themselves to Satan. 1 Samuel 1:1-18. And Samuel most faithfully followed this vow by consecrating all his powers to God.GCB December 1895, page 606.1

    And so, as seems to the writer most probable, Jephthah’s daughter was devoted to God, in substantial fulfillment of his vow to sacrifice the first object which met him on his return from a victory the Lord gave him. Had she been a creature that could have been offered acceptably to God as a burnt offering, she would have been so offered. But human sacrifice is an abomination to him when so offered. Hence she was devoted to a life of seclusion, and the daughters of Israel came “to talk with” her four days in the year. Judges 11:30-40, margin.GCB December 1895, page 606.2

    Jeremiah, even before his birth, was set apart by God himself as a prophet of the Lord. So was John the Baptist, and the Lord doubtless by his providence overruled many of the circumstances of their childhood to give them the proper preparation for their most important work. Jeremiah 1:4-6; Luke 1:5-25. And is it any more than every one of us ought to do, to devote all our powers to God who has done such great things for us, and made us such grand and precious promises? Could less be asked of us in view of his goodness, mercy, and most generous offers for the future?GCB December 1895, page 606.3

    Even in worldly concerns we see something akin to this devotion of all the powers to certain objects which are considered of special importance. Every youth who succeeds and makes anything of himself, even in this world, devotes himself to some pursuit, and makes every opportunity, and power, and circumstance count, if possible, to effect the object in view. In common life one trains himself as a farmer, seeks to learn the best methods of raising crops, the various qualities of soils, the best fertilizers, the most successful methods to exterminate troublesome insects and other enemies, that he may make a good living.GCB December 1895, page 606.4

    The mechanic begins early to devote his powers to a training which will make him a good workman, a successful builder or machinist. He serves his apprenticeship, labors earnestly for years to be master of his trade, reads books, and studies plans of buildings and engineering. The lawyer, doctor, clergyman, and scientist follow the same general plan of devoting themselves to their professions by giving years of study, and ofttimes thousands of dollars, to acquire the information and experience they need to be successful in their vocations, make a reputation, and accomplish something in life; and everybody thinks these plans wise and necessary. So, especially of the military profession. A youth of sixteen wishes to enter the army. He secures an appointment to the military school, goes through the severe discipline and training, studies hard to become familiar with science and the various regulations connected with the handling of vast bodies of men, and then goes to the field to be made the target of bullets, and exposes his life for his country. He risks all, that he may be a soldier to give his life for the safety, honor, and glory of his native land, and make himself a name and reputation among mankind. So it is in the navy, the scientific field, and in all the affairs of this life. These all devote themselves with more or less earnestness to the profession chosen for a livelihood, for wealth, honor, distinction, and a name. And it is safe to say they would gain little of either without such devotion. Paul refers to this familiar fact in illustrating the Christian life. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” 2 Timothy 2:3-7.GCB December 1895, page 606.5

    The inference is unavoidable that the soldier of Jesus Christ who enlists under the banner of Prince Immanuel, must devote himself thoroughly to the work of his Master; must make a full surrender to him; must be absorbed in his work, follow his perfect example, study the directions of his word, and make his cause and work the great object of his life, thus being fully consecrated to his service.GCB December 1895, page 607.1

    The object of consecration is that we may become holy like our great Exemplar, and fully conformed to his life and image, and not only thus be fitted to dwell with him forever, but, in a proper condition, to be a blessing to others in this world - to help in rescuing souls from ruin. The Scripture saith, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” And it declares that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. 1 Peter 1:16; Hebrews 12:14. Complete holiness as seen in God and Christ is to be perfect in a moral sense. It is to be “pure in heart, temper, and disposition;” free from sin, or sinful affections. Man is “more or less holy as he is more or less sanctified or purified from evil dispositions,” and “conformed in a greater or less degree to the image of God, and his life is regulated by the divine precepts.” A true consecration, such as God accepts, will surely bring one to this condition of moral purity where he will keep the two great commandments. He will reach that point where he will love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself; and so will keep all the ten precepts which grow out of these two all-embracing ones. In other words, genuine consecration brings every one really possessing it, back to that purity which man lost at the fall. This is the great object of the grand scheme of human redemption, to fully restore to all who will accept its conditions that state of purity and moral excellence which were lost when man went into sin and rebellion. Such will live forever with Christ and the Father in a world of purity, joy, and endless bliss. Real consecration then is a most important matter. But is there not a danger that many will think they have it when they do not? Can we always tell whether we are really consecrated to God or not? Can we consecrate ourselves? Is it a work of the human agent? Or is God’s power necessary in order to obtain it? These are questions worthy of careful consideration.GCB December 1895, page 607.2

    That there are many who have firmly believed they were fully consecrated to God when they were really far from him, we cannot doubt. The human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Christ said the Jews would think they were doing God service when they killed his disciples. And Paul said he verily thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus told the disciples early in his ministry that they knew not what spirit they were of; and we are warned to examine ourselves whether we be in the faith. In view of these statements and many others, we all need to guard against the deceptions of our natural hearts. The temptations of Satan are very subtle, and our poor human hearts are very weak and sinful. Selfish and proud, vain and foolish, we can never thoroughly understand ourselves, our dangers, and Satan’s devices, unless we live so near to God that he illuminates our minds by his Holy Spirit. We are all in great danger of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, because we do not think soberly, according to the measure of faith and God’s grace which he unerringly bestows. Many really think they are trusting God when they are simply in an easy, pleasant frame of mind, with little realizing sense of their dangers, and lack of earnestness.GCB December 1895, page 607.3

    It is greatly to be doubted whether any one just entering upon the service of God with ever so good motives and purposes, and with a strong desire to please God and be faithful to him, has really at first understood what full, thorough consecration is, no more than a pupil with the best motives to become a thorough scholar can really, when he first enters the school of science, comprehend the grand truths of science. The mind at first is incapable of grasping all this at once. In fact, so great, so deep, sublime, and wonderful, are the grand truths of God and religion that even the apostle Paul after a long experience and most astounding revelations of the heavenly world and the divine truths of the scheme of redemption, could exclaim, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” Romans 11:33.GCB December 1895, page 607.4

    It would be hardly reasonable, then, to suppose that a mere babe in Christ could comprehend at once all the depths of a genuine, thorough consecration, or realize the dangers, temptations, deceptions, and Satanic snares to be met in the Christian pathway. It is indeed a great mercy to the beginner in the Christian pilgrimage that he cannot realize beforehand all the experiences he will be called to pass through. It will be enough to meet them when they come. If he keeps ever in mind the precious assurance, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” and lives a life of humble trust, he will be able to be a triumphant conqueror through Christ who strengtheneth him.GCB December 1895, page 607.5

    Knowing then our infirmities and weaknesses, and filled with love for us - desiring us to become proficient in our glorious profession and an honor to his cause - the Lord has devised means to greatly assist us in becoming fully consecrated. He designs not merely that we should desire and determine to be consecrated, and feel and believe that we are such, but that we shall actually reach that most important condition, having our minds and hearts fully submitted to him, with every thought in subjection to his righteous will, our greatest interest to know and do his will in everything. While it is not for a moment to be supposed or taken for granted that by merely desiring or resolving we can arrive at such a condition of full subjection to his will, neither should we suppose man has no part to act in the matter but sit idly waiting for the Lord to do it all for him.GCB December 1895, page 607.6

    To accomplish anything of importance in this world, man must enlist his affections, his will, his efforts, his whole strength; and is it not as necessary to do this in spiritual things as in temporal? Are they not vastly more important, far more deserving of our efforts? The Lord says, “Come, let us reason together.” After considering the strong reasons he has to present, we must decide to obey. The decision is ours to make. We must listen, weigh, and decide. “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God.” John 7:17, R.V. The will must be enlisted to do his will, then he will be given wisdom to decide what is in harmony with God’s truth. The enlistment of the will then is an important matter. “Strive to enter in by the narrow door! for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.” Luke 13:24, R.V. Strive is a stronger word than seek. It is said the original word means “agonize.” The whole will must be enlisted and our greatest strength exerted, or we shall be among the mere seekers, and fail. Hence the apostle compares the heavenly course to an earthly race, or contention for the mastery, where it is well known all of our powers must be put forth to conquer. He could say with strictest truth of his own efforts through Christ’s grace at last, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” etc. “We are laborers together with God.” “And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:8, 9. Our beloved Sister White says in a recent testimony on education:—GCB December 1895, page 608.1

    “The aggressive power of the truth of God is dependent upon the cooperation of the human agent with God, in piety and zeal in the unselfish efforts to get the light of truth before others.”GCB December 1895, page 608.2

    God honors us, then, by giving us a part to act in his work and in the propagation of the truth for the salvation of others. He does more than this. He imparts strength to labor efficiently, without which our efforts would accomplish nothing of real value. Neither should we have any disposition to labor unselfishly for God and our fellow-men but for the drawings of the Holy Spirit. We are as much dependent on him for the spiritual strength to labor acceptably as for our very existence. He is the Author of all strength, power, and wisdom. So we ourselves have nothing of which to glory. All comes from God. Yet those facts in no sense relieve us of the necessity of elevating ourselves to God, willing to know and do his will, striving with all our hearts to run the heavenly race.GCB December 1895, page 608.3

    We can but work if the Spirit of Christ is in us. We shall in that case even do as he did; and he was untiring in his efforts to do his Father’s will, and perform the work fully which he sent him to do. Thus in consecrating or dedicating or giving ourselves to God, we are to honestly enlist our powers in his service to the very best of our knowledge and ability; yet ever realizing that our own strength alone is utterly insufficient to make such a surrender as will be acceptable to God, because of the blindness of our hearts caused by sin, the weakness of our moral natures, and the deceptive nature of our human hearts. But whenever the honest purpose of the heart exists to be the Lord’s, and his alone, he comes to our help. He does this as we can bear it, revealing us to ourselves step by step, till we see our own weakness and helplessness.GCB December 1895, page 608.4

    Here comes in the assistance of God’s agencies and workers - the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold that perisheth though it be tried in the fire. Paul seems to have had a wonderful conception of the importance of these agents of heaven sent to our help, such as few of us ever realize. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Justification by faith is a wonderful experience which cannot well be overestimated. But there is more to follow. “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein ye stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This access to God by faith, enabling us to draw constant grace, strength, and power from him to do our work successfully, and rejoice in the hope of sharing in the glory of God at last, is truly most precious. But there is something else of which Paul speaks in still stronger terms. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:1-5.GCB December 1895, page 608.5

    To “glory,” is “to exult with joy, to rejoice.” Paul then greatly rejoiced at tribulations. Tribulation is derived from the Latin word tribulum, “a threshing sledge.” It means “that which occasions distress or vexation; severe affliction.” There is nothing pleasant about tribulation. Yet he says tribulation worketh, — one of God’s workmen to bring about greater patience in us.GCB December 1895, page 609.1

    Patience is one of the most precious of the heavenly graces. It is meeting the ills of life without discouragement, anger, or discontent; keeping a sweet, submissive temper in the midst of sorrow, affliction, and suffering. True patience enables us to control every passion, hold in check a hasty, fiery spirit, and enables us to consider with calmness all unpleasant experiences, submitting ourselves wholly to God. “Tribulation worketh patience,” hence no man knows by experience that he is possessed with patience till called to endure trouble, sorrow, pain, and tribulation. The affliction comes; we cry to God for grace to bear it, trusting in him for strength to do so; then another, and having learned something of how to get over one trouble, we are better prepared to gain a second victory. And every repetition increases our courage, confidence, and trust in God, till at last we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”GCB December 1895, page 609.2

    Prosperity, joy, having our own way, never give patience. True humility united with grace and submission to God, enable us to exercise patience. No man can have a thorough experience till he has gained a knowledge of patience. And without a deep experience, we cannot exercise constant hope in God.GCB December 1895, page 609.3

    Paul’s lesson on chastening and affliction in Hebrews 12:3-11, ending with, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby,” is one of great importance. All true disciples must learn it. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons: for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not.” Our earthly fathers chastened us after their own pleasure, sometimes unwisely, but our heavenly Father always “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” We shall not then be likely to obtain true holiness or consecration without trials and chastisement - painful experiences, by which we gain patience and experience, hope and self-control. With these scriptures agrees Peter’s testimony, “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ;” also many others.GCB December 1895, page 609.4

    We see, then, that full consecration to God, a thorough comprehension of his character and power to imitate Christ, does not come through joyful experiences alone, for he was tempted in all points, and endured the greatest suffering and affliction. We are to be perfected through trials and tribulation the same as he was. We are not to droop and become discouraged by these things, but rejoice that we are accounted worthy to suffer for his name. His grace is sufficient to lift us above every trial and give us great moral victories.GCB December 1895, page 609.5

    Through these various processes the blessed Lord carries on his great work of transformation in us. As we see and discern the weaknesses of our nature, the besetting sins, the pride, ambition, earthliness, deception, passions, unbelief, hatred, envy, love of pleasure and the world, and are led by the spirit to abhor them, and by his help gain the victory over them, we thus become overcomers; and he that overcometh will inherit all things. Our consecration becomes more and more perfect as we see these deformities, and repent of them, and plead with God for grace to gain the victory over them. We need from time to time to compare our lives with God’s word, and thus examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith, and prove our own selves. Jesus Christ will be in us unless we are reprobates. This is the work he is constantly helping us to perform. And as we do obtain his help and gain these precious victories, his Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are his children, and that he owns and accepts us. As he does this we have the evidence that our consecration is genuine as far as we have gone in the good way.GCB December 1895, page 609.6

    What will be the outward manifestations by which a true consecration is shown? — It will be, in brief, a miniature exhibition of Christ’s life-work on earth. While no mortal, sinful man can hope to equal the purity and moral excellence of the only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, yet as every truly consecrated disciple will have as a dweller within him, the Spirit of Christ, without which we are none of his, there will be reflected in his life the characteristics of Him from whom that Spirit proceeds. With that Spirit ruling and reigning in us, we are bound to reflect his image in our life, in our intercourse with our fellow-men, in our integrity, in our efforts to bless others and save souls around us.GCB December 1895, page 609.7

    The Scriptures represent true disciples as the servants of Christ, ever ready to do his bidding. Yea, as bond servants, purchased by his blood, wholly owned by him, his children, stamped by his image, we shall, therefore, if truly consecrated, make his commands and example the rule of our lives, our greatest pleasure, our whole aim and purpose. Whatever we can ascertain to be of greatest interest to him, will be of corresponding interest to us. His life will be our pattern, his character our highest ideal, and the objects for which he labored and sacrificed will be those of greatest interest to us.GCB December 1895, page 610.1

    Our Saviour’s great purpose for six thousand years has been to restore that which was lost by the fall. God created this world to be inhabited by holy, happy beings. Sin entered, and ruined all. The curse has reigned, and death and ruin have followed. The race was doomed but for Christ’s interference. He came to seek and to save what was lost; and he will never be discouraged till he has set judgment in the earth. Our earth, as the result, will have more than its pristine glory. All who will renew their loyalty, will be supremely blessed and eternally happy, while those who will persist in refusing Christ, and continue to take Satan as their leader, will perish with him. And we shall have a clean universe. This in substance is the great controversy between Immanuel and Diabolus, now rapidly nearing its close.GCB December 1895, page 610.2

    To rescue the lost and perishing, to win them back to their allegiance by infinite love and mercy, has been the one grandest exhibition of divine compassion ever exhibited to the universe. In this great scheme of redemption there have been many important crises, when the mightiest consequences hung apparently in the balance, and where divine power especially interfered to bring about good results. God has always, at these junctures, had faithful servants who understood enough of his will through the light he imparted and the tracing of his providence, to enter into the work he allotted to them. Noah was a preacher of righteousness as the deluge was impending, to warn a wicked world. Abraham believed God and obeyed him when the whole world besides were rapidly going into idolatry. He became the father of the faithful. Moses was prepared for the great crisis of leading out a gainsaying and disobedient people to the promised land. Ezra and Nehemiah stood at the post of duty when the restoration of that theocracy was to occur according to the prophet Jeremiah’s prediction. John the Baptist and the apostles in the great crisis of the first advent, helped in the work, and faithfully performed their part. The great reformers wrought an important work for God and humanity in bringing out a people from the midnight gloom of the Dark Ages. All of these were consecrated agent helpers in the work of Christ, owned and accepted of him, and thought not their lives dear to themselves if they could help in the salvation of their fellow-men.GCB December 1895, page 610.3

    These stand out as beacon lights in the darkness of the ages, and true examples for us to follow in this age of wonderful events. In all these important epochs a few were true to Christ, but the great masses were not. These noble worthies of faith are held up before us by Paul in Hebrews 11, as true witnesses for God. But we are to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, the only perfect example. His example covers a far wider range than his most perfect follower could possibly set.GCB December 1895, page 610.4

    Though Lord of glory, Jesus was subject to his parents, to set a perfect example to youth and children. We sometimes forget that thirty years of his life passed before he commenced his ministry or even preached a sermon. Very likely more than half of this time he was a hard-working laborer and mechanic, working at a regular trade to help in the support of the family. The gospel record is very brief in its account of this portion of his life. But we cannot doubt but that it was a life of faithfulness and integrity, purity and simplicity, godliness, sincerity, and perfect uprightness - such a life as would be a perfect example to all laboring men. The record of his ministry and death has been given quite fully by the evangelists. I will not undertake to add in any way to these records. Here we have the perfect example for the public laborer, in spirit, earnestness, modesty, faithfulness, devotion to his Father, nobility of soul, love for the suffering, self-sacrifice for others, and perfection in all things. Here we can study the Master of all teachers, the ideal of all laborers, the example of all ages, which can never be improved upon.GCB December 1895, page 610.5

    We have reached the final culmination of the long, weary six thousand years of sin, rebellion, and the curse. The last desperate struggle is now on. Satan with his ages of duplicity, hatred of God, cunning schemes to ruin the race and overthrow God’s government, has an experience in desperate malignity which will be used to his very utmost to destroy souls, to thwart the efforts of Christ and his servants to rescue the perishing, and to make the experience of God’s people as wretched as possible. The current of the world, under the lead of the prince of this world, will be hard to press against. The great confederacy foretold by the prophet, embracing every force which Satan can marshal against us, will be united against God and his truth. These forces are rapidly drawing toward each other for the final union and conflict against God’s truth for the last days. The bitterness characteristic of Satan’s hatred, is already being manifested by his agents. But far greater evidences of it are waiting in store for us. The spirit of persecution is in the very air already, not in our country alone, but in nations scattered in various parts of the world.GCB December 1895, page 610.6

    Christ’s words, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves,” will doubtless soon have ample verification in our experiences. Already many of our people have been made to feel the bitterness of separation from their families; confinement in cold, damp, filthy jails, where some have lost their lives in consequence; banishment to distant inhospitable countries, as in Russia; work in chain-gangs, and other harsh experiences. These are coming thicker and faster as the end draws nearer. We have plainly reached the times spoken of in Scripture, and made very prominent in the spirit of prophecy, when our people shall be made to feel the heavy hand of oppression. The current events plainly tend to demonstrate that soon we shall be between the upper and nether millstone of human and satanic oppression. As far as worldly appearances indicate, our lot is to be anything but pleasant. Our hearts might indeed sink in fear, had we not the most blessed assurances that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. Its the old, old story of the great controversy of the ages of sin and rebellion. God has never left his people to perish. Yea, we have the most blessed assurances that at this particular juncture, the Lord will cut the work short in righteousness. He will never leave his people to go through the awful experiences of the Dark Ages; but will specially interfere for their deliverance, as fully as he did at the crossing of the Red Sea, when coming out of the great trough of the dark, deep waters, Israel mounted the high lands on the other shore, and saw their enemies engulfed in the foaming deep. Then the triumphant song of Moses rang out in glorious victory. So the one hundred and forty-four thousand will triumph, only in a far more glorious manner, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb on the sea of glass above. While worldly prospects look dark ahead of us, the eye of faith lit up with heavenly light can see victory perched upon our banners.GCB December 1895, page 611.1

    Our Leader has never lost a battle. He gained the victory over Satan, death, and Hades, and all power in heaven and earth is in his hands. He will never fail nor be discouraged. His hand is put to the work, and how gloriously it is progressing in all directions. To be sure, a great work is before us, but we have mighty helpers to accomplish it, and they will surely succeed. If we can discern the thoughts of our divine Leader, this last and present conflict must be of special interest to him. After six thousand years of contention with the powers of darkness, woe, and sin, the triumph of justice and the subjection of rebellion is just in view. Then peace, love, and endless joy, will prevail. Those for whom he gave his life, many of whom gave their lives in return as martyrs for Jesus, and over whom he watched with loving eyes in their struggle with evil in this world, who have slept in hope, will all be gathered to himself. “Then he shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.” His great heart of love longs to bless them. He will, at the glorious supper when those many miles of tables loaded with the excellent fruits of paradise are surrounded by all the hosts of the saved, show his love to them by girding himself and serving them in the city of God. Who can doubt but that to him is a blessed joy for which he longs. O, what ravishing joys will all then experience. All our sorrows - weary feelings forever past, and all safely housed in the mansions above! The prospect is glorious to Christ and the angels. It is almost realized in these closing scenes of earth. All heaven is interested in this final struggle. We are in the last few paces of the final home stretch. A very few years more, and the grand and glorious eternity of bliss will begin.GCB December 1895, page 611.2

    How then shall we show that our consecration is genuine in this leading crisis of the ages? This is a question of surpassing interest which we should study well. If our Saviour and all heaven are so greatly interested in this closing work, and we are in perfect harmony of mind and will and heart and effort, shall we not also have a far deeper interest in the success of this work than in all else besides? The present truth is the greatest thing in the world. This statement will strike the worldling as extravagant; also the half-hearted Sabbath-keeper, and all who are pleasure lovers - mere hangers-on, careless, indifferent, and backslidden. And none but those truly consecrated to the work can realize its importance. But all such will see, and all others ought to see, that the statement is perfectly true. Eternity is greater than time. Heaven far excels this poor world lying under the curse. That city of God with foundations of precious stones; whose streets are of pure gold, and gates of solid pearl; where the tree of life is; and that pure river of water of life clear as crystal coming forth from the throne of God; where are the mansions of glory to belong to the poorest saint forevermore; and where God and Christ and angels dwell, and every truly good person who has ever lived will be eternally; and not one tear of sorrow be shed, or one pang of pain be felt through the ages of the ages, — how different from the greatest cities of earth, London, Paris, New York, Chicago, etc., where the rich oppress the poor, and homes of squalor and filth abound, and many suffer the pangs of hunger; where death reigns, and none are secure; and sin, blasphemy, and war are constant occupants; and lust, and brutality, and every vile passion abound.GCB December 1895, page 611.3

    What comparison is there between the schemes of the czar, or the statesmen of Europe who fling human life away, causing torrents of blood to flow to gratify vain ambitions, when laid beside the efforts of all heaven to save the perishing from ruin, and give them bliss forever more? The trouble with most of us is that the world has too strong a hold upon our hearts. This poor world ruined by sin, groaning under the curse, full of woe and misery, led by its god, Satan, is the enemy of grace - a foe to be overcome. The world, the flesh, and the devil are the great triumvirs we must conquer. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The love of this world distracts our attention far too much. If we are fully consecrated, the things of God will be the great theme of our thoughts, and we shall be in full sympathy with Christ our Lord, and work with our whole souls for those things of such surpassing interest to him.GCB December 1895, page 612.1

    But says one, “I have no gift to labor in the cause; I cannot preach, nor be a Bible worker, canvass acceptably, nor be a medical missionary, nor do much in tract and missionary work.” Doubtless there are many who are saying this, and some of them, if fully consecrated, could do far more for God directly in some of these employments than they dream it possible when not consecrated. But very likely there are many who cannot accomplish very much in such direct labor in the Master’s cause. Can they therefore not be laborers at all with God in the work of saving men? In every well-equipped army going forth to conquer, there are generals, colonels, majors, and other officers who are very essential to a successful campaign. But without the privates what could the officers accomplish? So in the church in all ages. There has likely never been a majority of the body of believers who have been gifted laborers in word and doctrine. The great body of the laity, however, are far from being useless, if properly consecrated to the work. From them come the great body of the tithes and offerings which enable the laborers to go forth. By the means they have contributed, they share a part in all the labors of the minister, as truly as he who stands in the desk. These who form the numerous membership, if consecrated to God, represent the truth in the localities where they live, and by their godly lives they hold the standard high, and souls are attracted to the truth. They can have access to many of their neighbors, and save them. They bring up their children, and by proper training and suitable educational advantages, enable them to become active laborers. And by giving to the best of their ability, they furnish the sinews of war, by which the servants of our great Captain are enabled to go out with tents and in many other ways, to gather the precious whet for the harvest. The laity should be just as thoroughly consecrated to do their work as the minister to do his. And their consecration will be shown by principles of sacrifice, noble benevolence, a Christlike spirit, a longing to rescue all within their reach, and do all in their power to sustain the work to the utmost extent of their ability.GCB December 1895, page 612.2

    The work before us is to warn the world of that great day of God’s wrath now impending, and rescue all in our power. Our message is world-wide. We are to gather out the jewels from the rubbish. The jewels are those who will follow truth and love it better than any form of error - those who will accept Christ, welcome his presence, and live humble lives of obedience. All other will be deceived to their ruin by the god of this world. We are to hunt them in all parts of our world for the final harvest. The harvest is the end of the world. The everlasting gospel is now being preached in its last and closing phase when the “hour of his judgment is come.” “This gospel of the kingdom,” or as rendered by others, “This glad news of the coming reign,” is “to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” This is the work before us. It is to go with a loud voice to every nation, tongue, and people. It is to enlighten the earth with its glory. We cannot in truth circumscribe this message and work. Never did truth look so hopeful as to-day. Light-beacons are breaking through the darkness in points of interest in all parts of the globe. Never was it making such rapid progress. The earth is already beholding this light in nearly all nations. How gladly should all true soldiers rejoice!GCB December 1895, page 612.3

    The way to show our true consecration, dear fellow-laborers, is to be in heart-felt sympathy with Christ and the angels in this glorious work in all its departments, and in its varied manifestations. We must value it far higher than any worldly good. We must seek, with the strength he will impart, to lift to our utmost in every worthy enterprise, and be ever found at our post of duty. Our consecration will be manifestly shown by being engaged heart and soul in that which engages Christ’s closing work as priest. He is seeking to save all who will accept him, and give him their hearts. We are bond-servants of Christ, merely his agents, honored greatly by the privilege of being workers with him in the same great and noble enterprise. O, may we realize it, and faithfully fulfill this high privilege. GEO. I. BUTLER.GCB December 1895, page 612.4

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