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    Chapter 12—What Manner of Persons Ought We to Be?

    The past two weeks have given me an opportunity to think through this very important topic of divine guidance in the remnant of God’s church. It has done my soul good to review the evidences and to think through the many wonderful experiences which God has seen fit to give us as a people. Again I am forced to the same conclusion. I believe in these five great facts of faith upon which Christianity is based. I believe that God has seen fit in times past, and in modern times, to speak through holy men, men chosen by Him to become messengers to bear His message to the people of the world, primarily for the church.DGRGC 166.1

    As I think about it today, I am more convinced than ever that we have the truth for this time, and that God has been good to the remnant church—to us who are assembled here today. The text which I would like to leave with you on this, my last opportunity to study this subject at this time, is the text found in 2 Peter 3:9-14.DGRGC 166.2

    The second coming of Christ has become a great obsession with me, and I find a longing in my heart that Christ might come very quickly. As I travel about and meet people everywhere, see the conditions which are prevailing in various parts of the world, I am convinced that time is very short. In my travels as I mingle with men of the world, and talk with them about conditions prevailing in the world today, I find without exception that thinking men are greatly concerned, and fearful for today and for tomorrow. These men have no such hope as I have in my heart—a hope born from the study of the Scriptures, and of the messages sent by God’s servant.DGRGC 166.3

    I believe we have come to a time when our hope for the second coming will soon be fulfilled. With that in mind, I invite you to think about the 11th verse of 2 Peter 3, as translated by Weymouth:DGRGC 166.4

    “Since all these things are thus on the verge of dissolution, what sort of man ought I to be in all holy living and godly conduct?”DGRGC 167.1

    That is not exactly the way the passage reads, but that is the way it reads to me today. What sort of a man ought I to be, and I hope that each one of you will put the personal pronoun in that place, and make it first person, singular number. It means just that.DGRGC 167.2

    As I have been thinking through the instruction given by the servant of the Lord, I have come to this conclusion again that the instruction is for me personally, and the appeal is to me as to what kind of a person I am going to be from today on. It is not my business primarily to think about you and your condition—the kind of a person that you ought to be. That is your problem. My problem is, what kind of a person I ought to be. If each of us will answer that question for ourselves, I feel confident that we shall be ready for this great event which is described here in such graphic terms.DGRGC 167.3

    On this vital question I turn now to the counsel from the servant of the Lord, and as I read the counsel for myself I hope that each one of you will make a personal application. Ellen G. White says,DGRGC 167.4

    “I make myself a criterion for no one else.” 63White, Ellen G., Medical Ministry, 285.DGRGC 167.5

    “Let no one think himself a criterion for all, that everyone must do exactly as he does.” 64White Ellen G., Counsels on Health, 156.DGRGC 167.6

    “If there are those who are better in health when eating three meals, it is their privilege to have three.” 65White, Ellen G., Letter No. 30, 1903, quoted inCounsels on Diet and Foods, 178.DGRGC 167.7

    “We are not to be as the Pharisees, bound about by set rules and regulations.... We are to be careful not to make laws like the Pharisees, or to teach for doctrines the commandments of men.” 66White, Ellen G., Medical Ministry, 284.DGRGC 167.8

    “Those who have a partial knowledge of the principles of reform are often the most rigid, not only in carrying out their view themselves, but in urging them on their families, and their neighbours. The effect of their mistaken reform, as seen in their own ill-health, and their efforts to force their views upon others, give many a false idea of dietetic reform, and lead them to reject it altogether.” 67White, Ellen G., The Ministry of Healing, 318.DGRGC 167.9

    “Shun the extremes, both of indulgence and of restriction. 68The Ministry of Healing, 319. ... These extremes frequently do more harm in a short time than could be undone by a lifetime of consistent living.” 69The Ministry of Healing, 324.DGRGC 168.1

    “It is impossible to make an unvarying rule to regulate everyone’s habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all.” 70The Ministry of Healing, 319.DGRGC 168.2

    “Some are continually anxious lest their food, however simple and healthful, may hurt them. To these let me say, Do not think that your food will injure you; do not think about it at all. Eat according to your best judgment; and when you have asked the Lord to bless the food for the strengthening of your body, believe that He hears your prayer, and be at rest.” 71White, Ellen G., The Ministry of Healing, 321.DGRGC 168.3

    “Carefully consider your diet. Study from cause to effect. Cultivate self-control. Keep appetite under the control of reason. Never abuse the stomach by over-eating, but do not deprive yourself of the wholesome, palatable food that health demands.” 72The Ministry of Healing, 323.DGRGC 168.4

    It has been my privilege while here in India to live in the home of your Division secretary. Each day they have very kindly passed to me a dish containing honey, and if I am not mistaken, I think it comes from Assam, which makes it even more delectable. Therefore, it is especially good, but unfortunately, each time I have had to pass that dish of honey by, and I shall give you the reason why.DGRGC 168.5

    Many years ago I found that by eating honey, even so small an amount as a teaspoonful, I could give myself a real old fashioned stomach ache for about three days. Therefore, this instruction is very good for me. “Carefully consider your diet. Study from cause to effect.” This I have done and no one can persuade me knowingly to eat honey. Now you may eat it. You may enjoy it. You may not have the reaction that I have. But, since I have that reaction, I would not want you to force your idea on me that honey is the best food in the world, no matter where it comes from.DGRGC 168.6

    I think, dear friends, that is true of many foods, and I have learned over a period of years of studying my own health habits, what is good for me and what is not. There are a number of fruits and vegetables which do not agree with me. I cannot with safety put them inside my body. So I pass them by with this good instruction, “Keep your appetite under the control of reason.” However, I would not want to force my idea regarding honey on somebody else, because I notice that many people enjoy honey very much indeed.DGRGC 169.1

    “The narrow ideas of some would-be health reformers have been a great injury to the cause of hygiene.” 73White, Ellen G., The Ministry of Healing, 323.DGRGC 169.2

    “Those who are governed by principle will be firm and decided in standing for the right; yet in all their associations they will manifest a generous, Christlike spirit and true moderation.” 74The Ministry of Healing, 324.DGRGC 169.3

    “Health reform must not be urged in a radical manner.... We must be careful to make no innovations, because under the influence of extreme teaching there are conscientious souls who will surely go to extremes. Their physical appearance will injure the cause of health reform; for few know how to properly supply the place of that which they discard.... Thus health reform is brought into disrepute.” 75White, Ellen G., “Counsels on Diet and Foods, 352, 353.DGRGC 169.4

    Now the strangest thing about the very radical in this matter, and those who are most insistent in passing their ideas on to the other person is that they are usually thin, emaciated, scrawny—just the opposite of what I would like to be as an example of health. Therefore, with Mrs. White I would suggest that if that is what your health reform has made of you, you had better not talk about it, for you are a poor specimen of the health messages. I wish that all strong advocates of health reform could at least be specimens of health.DGRGC 169.5

    What manner of a person should I be? Let that be the thought which each and everyone of us will keep in our minds as we go from this series of studies on health and on the instruction from the Spirit of prophecy.DGRGC 169.6

    I close this part of my message with this sentence, “The God who gives His beloved sleep has furnished them also suitable food to sustain the physical system in a healthy condition,” and I thank God for that, I find very few places in the world which do not enjoy the blessings from heaven of a fine and bountiful supply of good, wholesome, nourishing food. There are only a few places in the world that I have found so far where I would have to digress from my habits of eating which I have enjoyed for over forty years.DGRGC 170.1

    It is possible for me to be advocating healthful living and at the same time not be a very good example of my preaching. Seventh-day Adventist preachers generally are the poorest examples of healthful living of any group I have come across in all the world. The reason is that they have not learned the real meaning of the full health message. The majority do not eat meat. They do not drink tea and coffee, and a lot of things that we might mention, but they are the hardest working group of people I think you will find anywhere.DGRGC 170.2

    In fact, very few of them think of taking physical exercise as a part of their daily programme, while Mrs. White tells them that working in a garden is as much a part of the preacher’s work as to preach a sermon. Frankly, how many of our ministers believe that and carry it out? She also tells us that “we should have regular periods of sleep and rest and relaxation.” Judging by the activities of the past two weeks, I have been associating with a group of committee men who have not been living the health reform message. Now, of course, that is putting it very strong and very straight, but healthful living includes all of that. Dear friends, I appeal to you today that all of us become more sensible in this business of healthful living.DGRGC 170.3

    Yes, for a long time I lived that tense, intensive way. About two years ago I began to have very strange feelings in my back. It felt like needles all over my back, and I assure you it was very uncomfortable, very disagreeable, and so I went to a doctor. I asked him, “Is there something wrong? I can’t see back there, but there is a peculiar feeling that causes me trouble and discomfort.”DGRGC 170.4

    He asked me to describe my feelings, and then said, “Tell me how you live and what your daily programme is.” I told him. Then he looked at me very seriously and said, “My brother, my advice to you is to resign your present work, stop your current way of living, begin living the full health message, if you know what that is!”DGRGC 171.1

    Very humbly and somewhat sheepishly I asked him, “What do you want me to do?” He replied, “I want you to put into your programme two hours a day out in the garden, or out in the open air doing some real, useful physical labour. I want you in bed from ten o’clock at night until six o’clock in the morning, and sleep and rest.” Then he gave me the whole programme of healthful living. About that time the brethren said, “Now you may drop out of the Seminary, and join the White Publications office.” Thus it came about that I had the privilege of some sixteen months actually living the full health message for the second time in my life. It was no time at all until I had a beautiful garden around my house. We had trees and grass and flowers growing in profusion, and it became a sort of showplace for the people from the city who came out to the country to visit us from time to time.DGRGC 171.2

    Yes, I think the health message is a most wonderful message for me. I have decided to live it out as carefully as possible, including not only what I eat, but how I use my time, my strength, and energy. Believing that Christ is coming soon, that this world is on the verge of dissolution, the apostle writes, “What sort of a man should D. E. Rebok be?” And I have decided, dear friends, to study my physical nature and try to bring it into complete harmony with the full instruction that has come through the Scriptures and through the writings of the servant of the Lord.DGRGC 171.3

    But there is another part of a man’s being. Man does not just eat. He does not live to eat, but rather I am told that a man ought to eat in order to live; that his living is primary, and eating is only a means to an end. There is something far more important than my physical being. And I want to emphasize that part in these words from several passages of Scripture:DGRGC 171.4

    Romans 14, and I shall begin reading with the 15th verse, and I read it from Weymouth:DGRGC 172.1

    “Still, if your brother is pained by the food you are eating, you are no longer following the guidance of love. Do not by your food ruin a man for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what is a boon to you and others bring reproach, for the kingdom of God does not consist in eating and drinking, but in uprightness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit; and whoever in this way serves Christ, pleases God and is approved by men. Therefore let us aim at whatever makes for peace, and the spiritual upbuilding of one another.”DGRGC 172.2

    This phase of my living is equally important with the physical, namely, my character, my moral life, the kind of an individual I really am. I find it described in 1 Corinthians 10:31 in these words:DGRGC 172.3

    “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”DGRGC 172.4

    Whatever I do includes much more than what I eat, and what I drink. My eating and drinking has become just a sort of necessity; in fact, we spend very little time at home thinking about eating and drinking. My wife says I am very easily satisfied, and therefore our problem of eating is not a big problem. But she admits that there is another angle to my living that is not so easily disposed of, and that is the way I talk, the way I conduct myself, my attitude of mind and body, the way I deal with my fellow men, the way I mingle with my fellow workers, the kind of an example I live before the people in the church and the people out of the church. She tells me that this is the place upon which I need to put some emphasis, and I agree with her.DGRGC 172.5

    Colossians 3 gives me the method by which I may heed the instruction from her and from the servant of the Lord, for both of them seem to agree that I have some things to care for along this other line, namely, my character—whether or not the Christian virtues are being developed, cultivated, in my daily life and experience. To me, dear brethren and sisters, this is a very important part of my living.DGRGC 172.6

    I read in Colossians 3:1-4:DGRGC 173.1

    “If however you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, enthroned at God’s right hand. Give your minds to the things that are above, not to the things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ appears—He is our true Life—then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Weymouth.)DGRGC 173.2

    This is the great objective of my life today, to somehow learn to live in such a way that I may become the sort of a man that Christ is, so that when He comes I shall be like Him, and He will recognize me as one of His own, and at that day I shall have the courage to look up into His face and recognize Him as my personal Saviour and my King of kings. This then is the kind of instruction that I now read for myself:DGRGC 173.3

    “Therefore put to death your earthward inclinations—fornication, impurity, sensual passion, unholy desire, and all greed, for that is a form of idolatry. It is on account of these very sins that God’s wrath is coming, and you also were once addicted to them, while you were living under their power.” (Weymouth.)DGRGC 173.4

    Is that the end of it? No. If we have had that type of earthly or earthward inclinations in the past, the instruction is, Put them to death. Cut them off. Get rid of them.DGRGC 173.5

    Continuing:DGRGC 173.6

    “But now you must rid yourselves of every kind of sin—angry and passionate outbreaks, ill-will, evil speaking, foul-mouthed abuse—so that these may never soil your lips. Do not speak falsehoods to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its doings, and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being remoulded into full knowledge so as to become like Him who created it.” (Weymouth.)DGRGC 173.7

    We now go back and think of some of those texts which we have read in order that we may be hewed by the prophets, moulded and fashioned by them. How can I get rid of all these things that would tend to pull me down and keep me tied to the earth—such things as anger, passionate outbreaks, evil speaking, ill-will, and foul-mouthed abuse? How can I get rid of them? The answer is, by being moulded and fashioned by the prophets. There is the specific purpose for having the gift of prophecy in the ancient church, and in the modern.DGRGC 173.8

    In that new creation there be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free man: and I would like to add a few others. There will be neither Indian nor Chinese, Japanese nor Javanese, nor Australians. There will be nothing of that kind. There will be no division by race or creed or colour. There will be no geographical divisions among God’s people, who are living in harmony with the instruction given through the prophet. “But Christ is all, and in all,” and what a difference that makes in every man who allows the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, to come in and take up his abode in the heart.DGRGC 174.1

    Yesterday a representative from the city government came out here to this estate, and he looked around while we were waiting for Brother Israel, and he said, “Sir, have you been in India very long?” I replied, “No, only two weeks.” He said, “Have you seen India?” I hesitated in my answer, “I have seen Poona. No, I have not seen too much of Poona—I have seen the Salisbury Estate.”DGRGC 174.2

    “Well,” he said, “you have not yet seen India.” I agreed. He continued, “As a matter of fact, when you are here on this estate you are not seeing India as she is.” I frankly asked him, “What makes the difference?” He did not answer, but I can give you the answer. It is Jesus in the heart of a man or woman, a boy or a girl, which makes the difference. I thank God for what I see on this estate. I see men and women, boys and girls, who have had this very experience about which I am talking—“Christ is all, and in all”—that makes the difference. Oh, that we might see that difference made in millions of the people in this great country in which we are today!DGRGC 174.3

    “Clothe yourselves” [you see over there he says to put off, to get rid of, and now he turns to the other side of it, and says put on or] “Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own people holy and dearly loved, with tenderheartedness, kindness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another and readily forgiving each other, if any one has a grievance against another.” 76Colossians 3:12, 15. (Weymouth.)DGRGC 174.4

    Is not that a wonderful way to live? That is what it means to be the sort of a man that Christ will welcome into His kingdom. The kind of a person who, when he is roughly treated or abused, and who if slapped on one cheek, can with a smile offer the other and say: “Brother, do it to this one also.” The kind of a man who, when he is reviled, or when something is said against him, can stand with a smile and say: “Brother, that is nothing compared to the way they treated my Master, my Saviour.” The kind of a man who, when sharp words are spoken to him, can smile and return a soft answer. The kind of a man who, when he is cheated or deceived can smile and say, “Brother, do not worry about that. I know you were in difficulties, let me give you more than I am duty bound to give.”DGRGC 175.1

    It is that kind of a person, dear friends, that I want to be, and I find it in my heart today to be that sort of an individual—holy and dearly loved, tenderhearted and kind, lowly in mind, meek and longsuffering; willing to bear with the mistakes of others, and readily forgiving them.DGRGC 175.2

    I came across this paragraph in my reading, and I want to share it with you:DGRGC 175.3

    “As children of God, we should be constantly gaining in fitness for the heavenly mansions which Christ told His disciples He was going away to prepare for them. He who lays hold upon the righteousness of Christ may become a perfect man in Christ Jesus. Working from a high standpoint, seeking to follow the example of Christ, we shall grow up into His likeness, possessing more and more refinement.” 77White, Ellen G., “Testimonies to Ministers,” p. 150.DGRGC 175.4

    I like that paragraph, and I said to myself, “That is the kind of an experience I want in my daily life, gaining in fitness for my heavenly mansion which He is preparing over there for me.” Is that making it too realistic? Is that making it too common, bringing it down on my level of understanding?DGRGC 175.5

    “All who would enter the city of God must during their earthly life set forth Christ in their dealings. It is this that constitutes them the messengers of Christ, His witnesses.” 78White, Ellen G., Testimonies for the Church 9:23.DGRGC 175.6

    It is my aim to be there, dear friends, and I plan to be in that city of God, in His everlasting kingdom. Mrs. White says if I would enter the city of God, I must, during my earthly life set forth Christ in all of my dealings.DGRGC 176.1

    I came across another very interesting paragraph along the same line:DGRGC 176.2

    “Religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where He is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection.” 79White, Ellen G., The Review and Herald, May 24, 1892.DGRGC 176.3

    It is that kind of an experience that will come to us as we read and study and meditate upon the messages from the servant of the Lord. We must pass over some of these quickly for lack of time.DGRGC 176.4

    “Some of us have a nervous temperament, and are naturally as quick as a flash to think and to act; but let no one think that he cannot learn to become patient. Patience is a plant that will make rapid growth if carefully cultivated. By becoming thoroughly acquainted with ourselves, and then combining with the grace of God a firm determination on our part, we may be conquerors, and become perfect in all things, wanting in nothing.” 80White, Ellen G., Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 134.DGRGC 176.5

    That is a good paragraph. It somehow or other describes so many of us. It describes me! Of course, it is so easy to let go and give vent to that temper that is down inside. It seems to be so close to the surface, and breaks forth so easily when that explosion inside takes place. Then I try to explain, “You see, I am that way by nature. My father was that way. He was that kind of a man, and so I am just that way.” Is that all it takes to get rid of it? Oh, no! I cannot blame it on my father, nor on my mother either. The instruction is that when I feel that I would give vent to my feelings from inside and think as quick as a flash, and act in the same way, it is then that I need to take hold of myself.DGRGC 176.6

    Mrs. White puts it in this way:DGRGC 176.7

    “When tempted to say sarcastic things, refrain. Censure no one, condemn no one. Let the life argue for Jesus, and the lips be opened with wisdom to defend the truth. The consistent life, the long forbearance, the spirit unruffled under provocation, is always the most conclusive argument and the most solemn appeal. We are often brought into positions that are trying, where human nature longs to break forth, but in such cases, be still, do not retaliate.” 81White, Ellen G., “Morning Talks,” given in 1883, p. 467.DGRGC 176.8

    Let me add just one more, and then I shall draw my conclusions.DGRGC 177.1

    “The largest share of life’s annoyances, its heartaches, its irritations, is due to uncontrolled temper. In one moment, by hasty, passionate, careless words, may be wrought evil that a whole lifetime’s repentance cannot undo. O, the hearts that are broken, the friends estranged, the lives wrecked, by the harsh, hasty words of those who might have brought help and healing! ... In his own strength man cannot rule his spirit. But through Christ, he may gain self-control.” 82White, Ellen G., The Signs of the Times, May 25, 1904.DGRGC 177.2

    I cannot refrain from reading one more:DGRGC 177.3

    “When unkind, discouraging words are spoken to you, do not retaliate.” 83White, Ellen G., The Review and Herald, April 7, 1904.DGRGC 177.4

    I have often told my wife that if I could just learn to hold back when something happens to me, when somebody speaks in a rather sharp, caustic way; if I could just learn to hold back, there would be no argument, there would be no trouble. My difficulty, and I think some of you are somewhat like me, is that when someone speaks to me in that kind of a voice, my tendency is to give it back, twice as strong and twice as hard as he gave it to me. Is that the way it is in your experience? Some of us, I know, are like that, but the instruction is, “When unkind, discouraging words are spoken to you, do not retaliate.”DGRGC 177.5

    There will never be a fight so long as just one man is wanting to engage in the fight. It takes at least two, and for me as a Christian, I cannot with safety be that second person.DGRGC 177.6

    “Do not reply unless you can return a pleasant answer. Say to yourself, ‘I will not disappoint my Saviour.’ The Christian woman is a gentlewoman. On her lips is ever the law of kindness. She utters no hasty words. To speak gentle words when you are irritated will bring sunshine into your heart, and make your path more smooth. A schoolgirl, when asked for a definition of meekness, said, ‘Meek people are those who give soft answers to rough questions.’” Mrs. White quotes that and includes it in her message. She then concludes: “Christ says, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’ They will be fit subjects for the kingdom of heaven; for they are willing to be taught.” 84White, Ellen G., The Review and Herald, April 7, 1904.DGRGC 177.7

    My brother, my sister, that part of our living, our being, must be cultivated and strengthened, for the question asked by Peter is, “What sort of a man ought I to be in view of the fact that we are living on the verge of eternity—on the verge of the dissolution of this old world?” For one, I want to consecrate myself to God anew today, thank Him for His messages given through the prophets of old and the prophet of modern times, that I might know how to live, and be the kind of man that God wants me to be.DGRGC 178.1

    God has given us His Word. He has given us the messages through His servant, Ellen G. White, with no other purpose than to cause us to desire in our hearts to be made into men and women fit for an entrance into His Kingdom.DGRGC 178.2

    Printed and published by O. A. Skau, at and for the Oriental Watchman Publishing House, Salisbury
    Park, Poona 1, India. 3,000—895-55.

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