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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    L. T. NICOLA


    A MERE theory of what is truth, is no safeguard against worldliness. On the other hand, those who have the clearest ideas of the plan of salvation, are the most conspicuous marks for the shafts of Satan. By entangling these in the snares of the world, he prevents them from using even their theory to enlighten others. As probation draws nearer its close, fascinating schemes will be multiplied by which to induce people to compromise their faith and standing before God. The last days are emphatically predicted to be “perilous times,” that is, times that are full of danger. 2 Timothy 3:1. That which makes these days so full of danger, is the abandoned conduct of those who have a form of godliness, but deny its power. Verses 2-4.GCB October 1, 1896, page 754.7

    This danger is not so much that of receiving bodily injury, as of drinking in the spirit of one’s surroundings, and so becoming callous to the promptings of the word of God. Such is the danger that abounds, even for those who profess the truth; and if we have faith in the prophecies which point to our time, we must admit that they do indeed chide for their misdoings those who profess to be the children of God.GCB October 1, 1896, page 754.8

    Turning to the book of Revelation, we find in the third chapter, a message to the Laodiceans. Verse 14. The name here given signifies “the judging of the people.” This identifies the people addressed, as those who live in the time of judgment. In verse 20, the speaker, who is the “Amen, the faithful and true witness,” says that, at the time when this prophecy applies, he is standing at the door, as though he were about to come in upon those he addresses. The last days are evidently under consideration, and the Saviour holds a serious charge against those then living who are making high pretensions. We are doubtless the people addressed, and called “lukewarm.” This is a temperature which provokes nausea and vomiting, and is therefore decidedly obnoxious to the stomach. We are lukewarm, and are threatened with being spewed out of the mouth of Christ.GCB October 1, 1896, page 754.9

    The cause of this displeasing state is plainly told: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” We are looked upon as individually saying, I have enough, and am quite satisfied; I need nothing you can give. But this is not all. The statement of itself does not constitute the basis of the charge. He does not talk here to common sinners, who have no regard for the truth, but to those who have been counted his - who are represented as being already in his mouth, though about to be spewed out. Though we announce ourselves as rich and self-satisfied, the Saviour says that we are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and yet do not sense it. How terrible! Something in our surroundings has deadened our sensibilities, or they would not be so terribly benumbed; while drinking in the spirit of the world a formal round of service has been carried on, till gradually we have been denuded of our royal garments, and deprived of spiritual eye-sight. He has called to us for a long time, offering white raiment, and eye-salve, but the steady reply has been, We have enough; we do not need it. Now, he stands at the door, ready to come in, and must soon spew us from his mouth, — cast us from him as a nauseating potion, — unless we permit him to remedy our defects.GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.1

    What can be done for a people in such condition? The situation is truly appalling, and yet this is the true condition of God’s professing children to-day. The times are indeed perilous, since Satan especially operates against those who hold the theory of the truth, to deaden their sensibilities to the real situation of things. This is his studied plan by which to entrap the unwary, as was clearly revealed many years ago:—GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.2

    “As the people of God approach the perils of the last days, Satan holds earnest consultation with his angels as to the most successful plan of overthrowing their faith. He sees that the popular churches are already lulled to sleep by his deceptive power. By pleasing sophistry and lying wonders he can continue to hold them under his control. Therefore he directs his angels to lay their snares especially for those who are looking for the second advent of Christ, and endeavoring to keep all the commandments of God.GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.3

    “Says the great deceiver: ‘We must watch those who are calling the attention of the people to the Sabbath of Jehovah; they will lead many to see the claims of the law of God; and the same light which reveals the true Sabbath, reveals also the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and shows that the last work for man’s salvation is now going forward. Hold the minds of the people in darkness till that work is ended, and we shall secure the world and the church also.GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.4

    “‘The Sabbath is the great question which is to decide the destiny of souls. We must exalt the Sabbath of our creating. We have caused it to be accepted by both worldlings and church-members; now the church must be led to unite with the world in its support. We must work by sings and wonders to blind their eyes to the truth, and lead them to lay aside reason and the fear of God, and follow custom and tradition....GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.5

    “‘But our principal concern is to silence this sect of Sabbath-keepers. We must excite popular indignation against them. We will enlist great men and worldly-wise men upon our side, and induce those in authority to carry out our purposes. Then the Sabbath which I have set up shall be enforced by laws the most severe and exacting. Those who disregard them shall be driven out from the cities and villages, and made to suffer hunger and privation. When once we have the power, we shall show what we can do with those who will not swerve from their allegiance to God.GCB October 1, 1896, page 755.6

    “‘But before proceeding to extreme measures, we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth; but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination, will cause their fall.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.1

    “‘Go, make possessors of lands and money drunk with the cares of this life. Present the world before them in its most attractive light, that they lay up their treasures here, and fix their affections on earthly things. We must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God’s cause from obtaining means to use against us. Keep the money in our own ranks. The more means they obtain, the more they will injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make them care more for money than for the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom and the spread of the truths we hate, and we need not fear their influence; for we know that every selfish, covetous person will fall under our power, and will finally be separated from God’s people.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.2

    “‘Through those who have a form of godliness but know not the power, we can gain many who would otherwise do us great harm. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God will be our most effective helpers. Those of this class who are apt and intelligent will serve as decoys to draw others into our snares. Many will not fear their influence because they profess the same faith. We will thus lead them to conclude that the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed, and that by conformity to the world they would exert a greater influence with worldlings. Thus they will separate from Christ; then they will have no strength to resist our power, and ere long they will be ready to ridicule their former zeal and devotion.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.3

    “‘Until the great, decisive blow shall be struck, our efforts against commandment-keepers must be untiring. We must be present at all their gatherings. In their large meetings especially our cause will suffer much, and we must exercise great vigilance, and employ all our seductive arts to prevent souls from hearing the truth and becoming impressed by it.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.4

    “‘I will have upon the ground, as my agents, men holding false doctrines mingled with just enough truth to deceive souls. I will also have unbelieving ones present, who will express doubts in regard to the Lord’s message of warning to his church. Should they read and believe these admonitions, we could have little hope of overcoming them. But if we can divert their attention from these warnings, they will remain ignorant of our power and cunning, and we shall secure them into our ranks at last. God will not permit his word to be slighted with impunity. If we can keep souls deceived for a time, God’s mercy will be withdrawn, and he will give them up to our full control.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.5

    “‘We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticize, and judge, and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these sins, God banished us from his presence, and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate.’” — “Great Controversy,” Vol. IV. (Old Ed.), pp.337-340.GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.6

    The foregoing extracts were published fifteen years ago, and any who will carefully study the history of our work since that time cannot fail to see a complete fulfillment of the words. A few quotations more from the later writings of Sister White may open our eyes more fully to the state of things:—GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.7

    “There is a great need that our brethren overcome secret faults. The displeasure of God, like a cloud, hangs over many of them. The churches are weak. Selfishness, uncharitableness, covetousness, envy, evil-surmising, falsehood, theft, robbery, sensuality, licentiousness, and adultery, stand registered against some who claim to believe the solemn, sacred truth for this time. How can these accursed things be cleansed out from the camp, when men who claim to be Christians are practising them constantly? They are somewhat careful of their ways before men, but they are an offense to God. His pure eyes see, a witness records all their sins, both open and secret; and unless they repent, and confess their sins before God, unless they fall on the Rock and are broken, their sins will remain charged against them in the books of record. O, fearful histories will be opened to the world at the judgment - histories of sins never confessed, of sins not blotted out. O that these poor souls might see that they are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. Then the thoughts of the heart, as well as the actions, will be revealed. I tell you, my brethren and sisters, there is need of humbling your souls before God. Cease to do evil; but do not stop here. Learn to do well. You can glorify God only by bearing fruits to his glory.”GCB October 1, 1896, page 756.8

    What a sad state of things is here portrayed. But think; every individual sin thus set forth is on record above. We may hide these in some measure from our fellow men, but they appear in their full measure in the books of heaven. Are any present upon whom any of these terrible things rest? If so, in Heaven’s name put them away. Get the spiritual eye-salve, that you may see the thing clearly, and then with the help of the Lord divorce yourselves from them, now and forever.GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.1

    Satan will try to have you procrastinate; but do not heed his suggestions. It is but a subtle effort to get you completely in his power. You must be free from sin soon, or be forever lost. Make the decision now, in this very meeting.GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.2

    The voice from heaven cries: “O, why do they delay? Why are they not seized by a terrific fear that it will be too late, too late? No oil in their vessels with their lamps! The end is near. We are on the very borders of the eternal world; and, O, how tardy, how dilatory to secure the oil of grace to replenish the lamps that are going out! God help the sinners in Zion!”GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.3

    Can any rest under such an appeal as this? If so, it only shows more fully the consummation of the words of the True Witness, that just before the Lord comes, some will say that they are rich and have no need, because they do not know their true condition. In the year 1892, just at the time when our people were enjoying a heavenly refreshing, and the cause was prospering everywhere, the Lord saw that some would still cling to their sins, and what the result would be. The question was then asked by his servant: “Will the presidents of conferences and the ministers of the people seek the Lord earnestly, put away their sins, empty their souls of their idols? Or will they continue to go on half-hearted, neglecting solemn duties, while Satan triumphs, whispering to his evil angels, and to his human confederacy in evil, ‘HOPELESS, IRREDEEMABLE BANKRUPTCY’?”GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.4

    Have these whisperings sounded in your midst? If so, may you know now the source from which they come, and dispel any such influence from your midst. Do you not know that God’s cause is made up of the rank and file of believers? Then, so long as the believers themselves are not bankrupt, the cause of God cannot be. Jesus lives and reigns, and as long as he has true followers, his cause must move onward to victory. Things are sometimes permitted to move slowly for some time, that it may be shown who have faith in God, and who have been walking by sight.GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.5

    Let every one now buckle on the armor anew, to press on in the work of saving souls. Let each have such a flame of love for the truth that others may be warmed to action. There is great need of this. “The heavenly Merchantman counsels you, ‘Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, ... and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’” Who will heed the admonition now? J. O. CORLISS.GCB October 1, 1896, page 757.6

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