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Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists

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    Perseverance Amid Trials

    It was in this place that Eld. Rosqvist was forbidden to preach, by the church council, and because he continued preaching, was arrested at the instigation of the priest, fined, and finally brought to prison.HS 195.3

    On Sunday afternoon I spoke of the time of trial and persecution awaiting God's people, and their duty to hold fast the truth. God has presented in his word sacred truths, and he expects us to accept them without regard to our own convenience, or good name, or worldly profit. Whenever a doctrine or duty is brought before us, the all-important question to be decided is, Is it enforced by the word of God? Does the Lord require this of us? If so, whatever may be the cross involved, we should unhesitatingly accept it.HS 195.4

    If we love God and keep his commandments, we need not expect the world to be in sympathy with us, any more than it was with Christ. Says John, “The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” And in all ages the defenders of the faith have realized the truth of the words of Paul, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Because the truth contradicts the doctrines of men, and condemns their unrighteous practices, it excites the most bitter opposition. The majority, even of those who bear Christ's name, are unwilling to follow his example of self-denial and cross-bearing; and as they become more and more alienated from him, they cannot distinguish between the heavenly and the earthly; their peace is disturbed by the fact that there is a people that serve God and renounce every sinful practice. Men who are trampling upon God's requirements feel a constant rebuke from the course of those who render obedience to him; and this is why such enmity is manifested against all who are true to God. For this reason the Pharisees rejected Christ, and the same spirit still exists, and will continue to exist until the close of time.HS 195.5

    Said Christ to his apostles: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake.” “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake; but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord.”HS 196.1

    Such is the treatment which the servants of Christ receive because they teach truths that are not in harmony with the doctrines of a world-loving church. And have not some of our brethren, even in this place, felt the force of these words of Christ? Have they not met, in the priests of the church, the same spirit that Christ encountered in the Pharisees? They have been forbidden to preach the truth. They have been brought before councils, and scourged in the synagogues, subjected to the stripes of reproach and falsehood, presented to the people as heretics, men not fit to be at large. The church authorities, like the chief priests and scribes of the Jews, have brought them to Pilate, to pronounce sentence against them, and have caused them to be thrust into prison. But all this is only a small matter in comparison with what is to be. The most bitter and cruel persecution always comes from those who have the form of religion without the spirit and power of godliness. There is nothing at which religious prejudice will hesitate.HS 196.2

    That which especially excites the enmity of the world in our day is the presentation of the claims of the fourth commandment. And this is the special work for the people of God at this time. The prophet John, looking down to the last days, saw that the temple of God was open in heaven, and the ark of his testament was seen. That ark contains God's holy law, and John sees a people whose eyes are directed to the temple; their attention is fixed upon the law contained in the ark. “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Heaven is watching this work with the deepest interest. Angels are watching the development of character, and are weighing moral worth. They are bidden to place a mark upon those who are loyal to God's commandments; such will have special help from God to endure the test and proving of the time of trouble.HS 196.3

    If we are seeking earnestly for the truth, we shall find it. The Saviour's promise is, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.” “The entrance of Thy words giveth light;” and we shall know, “if we follow on to know the Lord, his going forth is prepared as the morning.” As the sun, rising higher and higher in the heavens, sends forth its rays with ever-increasing brightness to the noontide glory, so the Sun of Righteousness sheds its light, shining more and more unto the perfect day.HS 196.4

    Those who cling to old customs and hoary errors have lost sight of the fact that light is ever increasing upon the path of all who follow Christ; truth is constantly unfolding to the people of God. We must be continually advancing if we are following our Leader. It is when we walk in the light that shines upon us, obeying the truth that is open to our understanding, that we receive greater light. We cannot be excusable in accepting only the light which our fathers had one hundred years ago. If our God-fearing fathers had seen what we see, and heard what we hear, they would have accepted the light, and walked in it. If we desire to imitate their faithfulness, we must receive the truths open to us, as they received those presented to them; we must do as they would have done, had they lived in our day.HS 197.1

    Just before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed for his disciples, “Sanctify them through Thy truth; thy word is truth.” It is the duty of every one to search the Scriptures for himself. We cannot accept the assertions of men as infallible. To those who oppose and denounce our faith we say, Show us from the Bible that we are in error. God's word is to judge us at the last day, and we want to know what saith the Scripture. We are regarded with jealousy and bitterness because we will not accept as evidence the assertions of men and the testimony of the Fathers; but we cannot purchase peace and unity by sacrificing the truth. The conflict may be long and painful, but at any cost we must hold fast the word of God. “The Bible, and the Bible only,” must be our watchword.HS 197.2

    I would say to those who have turned their feet into the way of God's commandments, It is not enough to profess to keep the law of God; do you carry its precepts into your daily life? To profess the truth and not be sanctified through it, is to dishonor God. We want the truth on every point, and we are to put it in practice daily. Come to Christ in simplicity and faith, and he will enlighten your understanding, and enable you to walk so humbly and circumspectly before your fellow-men that they can speak no evil of you except for the same reason that men spoke evil of Christ. While you follow in the path of humble obedience day by day, you will be gaining a living experience in the things of God,—an experience which you must have in order to stand in the troublous times before you.HS 197.3

    I thank God that the light has come to this place. Although it may seem that you are all alone here, yet you are not alone; for Christ is with you; you are in blessed company. You have the words coming down the line from prophets and apostles, to encourage you to steadfastness. Many of these holy men lost their lives for their faithfulness to God. If you suffer for the truth's sake, remember that this is no more than others have done before you. What trials and afflictions Paul endured, yet he says: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”HS 197.4

    As the wickedness of the wicked increases, opposition will be brought to bear upon you closer and closer. Satan has many batteries prepared to open upon the people of God. You will have troubles and difficulties to meet, such as you never experienced before, and there will seem to be no way of escape. But if you have learned to trust in God, you know that he will not leave you; you have the assurance that he will hear your prayers, for he has been to you all that he has promised. You can hang your helpless soul on Jesus, and in the time of trial he will prove to you a never-failing helper.HS 197.5

    Those who here acknowledge God as their ruler, by obeying the laws of his government, will be accounted worthy of a place in his family in heaven; for they have proved that they will reverence him and obey his will in the future life. When the final hour of trial comes, God will send his angels to guard them. When the voice that once shook the earth shall shake not only the earth but also heaven, then the voice of our Lord will be heard saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” They will see him as he is; they will escape those things that are coming upon the earth, and will stand within the heavenly courts; for Christ has promised, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”HS 198.1

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