October 2, 1868, I was shown the state of God's professed people. Many of them were in great darkness, yet seemed to be insensible of their true condition. The sensibilities of a large number seemed to be benumbed in regard to spiritual and eternal things, while their minds seemed all awake to their worldly interests. Many were cherishing idols in their hearts and were practicing iniquity which separated them from God and caused them to be bodies of darkness. I saw but few who stood in the light, having discernment and spirituality to discover these stumbling blocks and remove them out of the way. Men who stand in very responsible positions at the heart of the work are asleep. Satan has paralyzed them in order that his plans and devices may not be discerned, while he is active to ensnare, deceive, and destroy.
Some who occupy the position of watchmen to warn the people of danger have given up their watch and recline at ease. They are unfaithful sentinels. They remain inactive, while their wily foe enters the fort and works successfully by their side to tear down what God has commanded to be built up. They see that Satan is deceiving the inexperienced and unsuspecting; yet they take it all quietly, as though they had no special interest, as though these things did not concern them. They apprehend no special danger; they see no cause to raise an alarm. To them everything seems to be going well, and they see no necessity of raising the faithful, trumpet notes of warning which they hear borne by the plain testimonies, to show the people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins. These reproofs and warnings disturb the quiet of these sleepy, ease-loving sentinels, and they are not pleased. They say in heart, if not in words: "This is all uncalled for. It is too severe, too harsh. These men are unnecessarily disturbed and excited, and seem unwilling to give us any rest or quietude 'Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them.' They are not willing that we should have any comfort, peace, or happiness. It is active labor, toil, and unceasing vigilance alone which will satisfy these unreasonable, hard-to-be-suited watchmen. Why don't they prophesy smooth things, and cry: Peace, peace? Then everything would move on smoothly."
These are the true feelings of many of our people. And Satan exults at his success in controlling the minds of so many who profess to be Christians. He has deceived them, benumbed their sensibilities, and planted his hellish banner right in their midst, and they are so completely deceived that they know not that it is he. The people have not erected graven images, yet their sin is no less in the sight of God. They worship mammon. They love worldly gain. Some will make any sacrifice of conscience to obtain their object. God's professed
people are selfish and self-caring. They love the things of this world, and have fellowship with the works of darkness. They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have not love toward God nor love for their neighbors. They are idolaters, and are worse, far worse, in the sight of God than the heathen, graven-image worshipers who have no knowledge of a better way.
Christ's followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust.
I saw that but few among us answer to this description. Their love to God is in word, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works, testify of them that they are not children of the light but of darkness. Their works have not been wrought in God, but in selfishness, in unrighteousness. Their hearts are strangers to His renewing grace. They have not experienced the transforming power which leads them to walk even as Christ walked. Those who are living branches of the heavenly Vine will partake of the sap and nourishment of the Vine. They will not be withered and fruitless branches, but will show life and vigor, and will flourish and bear fruit to the glory of God. They will be careful to depart from all iniquity and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.
Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by
departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. Satan works side by side with professed Christians; yet they are so destitute of spiritual discernment that they do not detect him. They have not the burden of the work. The solemn truths they profess to believe are not a reality to them. They have not genuine faith. Men and women will act out all the faith which they in reality possess. By their fruits ye shall know them. Not their profession, but the fruit they bear, shows the character of the tree. Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records; but they have a spotted record in heaven. The recording angel has faithfully written their deeds. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel.
Very many who profess to be servants of Christ are none of His. They are deceiving their souls to their own destruction. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are not living in obedience to His will. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Many, while professing to be servants of Christ, are obeying another master, working daily against the Master whom they profess to serve. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Earthly and selfish interests engage the soul, mind, and
strength of God's professed followers. To all intents and purposes they are servants of mammon. They have not experienced a crucifixion to the world, with its affections and lusts. But few among the many who profess to be Christ's followers can say in the language of the apostle: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." If willing obedience and true love characterize the lives of the people of God, their light will shine with a holy brightness to the world.
The words which Christ addressed to His disciples were designed for all who should believe on His name: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men." A profession of godliness without the living principle is as utterly valueless as salt without its saving properties. An unprincipled professed Christian is a byword, a reproach to Christ, a dishonor to His name. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The good works of God's people have a more powerful influence than words. By their virtuous life and unselfish acts the beholder is led to desire the same righteousness which produced so good fruit. He is charmed with that power from God which transforms selfish human beings into the divine image, and God is honored, His name glorified. But the Lord is
dishonored and His cause reproached by His people's being in bondage to the world. They are in friendship with the world, the enemies of God. Their only hope of salvation is to separate from the world and zealously maintain their separate, holy, and peculiar character Oh! why will not God's people comply with the conditions laid down in His word? If they would do this they would not fail to realize the excellent blessings freely given of God to the humble and obedient.
I was amazed as I beheld the terrible darkness of many of the members of our churches. The lack of true godliness was such that they were bodies of darkness and death, instead of being the light of the world. Many professed to love God, but in works denied Him. They did not love, serve, nor obey Him. Their own selfish interests were primary. With a large number there seemed to be an alarming lack of principle. They were swayed by unconsecrated influence and seemed to have no root in themselves. I inquired what these things meant. Why was there such a destitution of spirituality, so few who had a living experience in religious things? I was referred to the words of the prophet: "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; that I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from Me through their idols."
The people of God were represented to me as in a backslidden state. They have not an eye single to the glory of God. Their own glory is prominent. They seek to glorify themselves
and yet call themselves Christians. Holiness of heart and purity of life was the great subject of the teachings of Christ. In His Sermon on the Mount, after specifying what must be done in order to be blessed, and what must not be done, He says: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Perfection, holiness, nothing short of this, would give them success in carrying out the principles He had given them. Without this holiness the human heart is selfish, sinful, and vicious. Holiness will lead its possessor to be fruitful and abound in all good works. He will never become weary in well-doing, neither will he look for promotion in this world. He will look forward for promotion to the time when the Majesty of heaven shall exalt the sanctified ones to His throne. Then shall He say unto them: "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." The Lord then enumerates the works of self-denial and mercy, compassion and righteousness, which they had wrought. Holiness of heart will produce right actions. It is the absence of spirituality, of holiness, which leads to unrighteous acts, to envy, hatred, jealousy, evil surmisings, and every hateful and abominable sin.
I have tried in the fear of God to set before His people their danger and their sins, and have endeavored, to the best of my feeble powers, to arouse them. I have stated startling things, which, if they had believed, would have caused them distress and terror, and led them to zeal in repenting of their sins and iniquities. I have stated before them that, from what was shown me, but a small number of those now professing to believe the truth would eventually be saved--not because they could not be saved, but because they would not be saved in God's own appointed way. The way marked out by our divine Lord is too narrow and the gate too strait to admit them
while grasping the world or while cherishing selfishness or sin of any kind. There is no room for these things; and yet there are but few who will consent to part with them, that they may pass the narrow way and enter the strait gate.
The words of Christ are plain: "Strive [agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Not all professed Christians are Christians at heart. There are sinners in Zion now, as there were anciently. Isaiah speaks of them in referring to the day of God: "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure."
There are hypocrites now who will tremble when they obtain a view of themselves. Their own vileness will terrify them in that day which is soon to come upon us, a day when "the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." Oh, that terror might now lay hold upon them, that they might have a vivid sense of their condition and arouse while there is mercy and hope, confess their sins, and humble their souls greatly before God, that He might pardon their transgressions and heal their backslidings! The people of God are unready for the fearful, trying scenes before us, unready to stand pure from evil and lust amid the perils and corruptions of this degenerate age. They have not on the armor of righteousness, and are unprepared to war against the prevailing iniquity. Many are not obeying the commandments
of God, yet they profess so to do. If they would be faithful to obey all the statutes of God they would have a power which would carry conviction to the hearts of the unbelieving.
I have sought to do my duty. I have pointed out the special sins of some. I was shown that in the wisdom of God the sins and errors of all would not be revealed. All would have sufficient light to see their sins and errors, if they desired to do so and earnestly wished to put them away, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. They could see what sins God marked and reproved in others. If these were cherished by themselves, they should know that they were abhorred of God and were separated from Him; and that unless they earnestly and zealously set about the work of putting them away they would be left in darkness. God is too pure to behold iniquity. A sin is just as grievous in His sight in one case as in another. No exception will be made by an impartial God. All who are guilty are addressed in these individual testimonies, although their names may not be attached to the special testimony borne; and if individuals pass over and cover up their own sins because their names are not especially called, they will not be prospered of God. They cannot advance in the divine life, but will become darker and darker, until the light of heaven will be entirely withdrawn.
Those who profess godliness, yet are not sanctified by the truth which they profess, will not change materially their course of action, which they know is hateful before God, because they are not subjected to the trial of being reproved individually for their sins. They see, by the testimonies of others, their own case faithfully pointed out before them. They are cherishing the same evil. By continuing their course of sin, they are violating their consciences, hardening their hearts, and stiffening their necks, just the same as though the testimony had been borne directly to them. In passing on and
refusing to put away their sins and correct their wrongs by humble confession, repentance, and humiliation, they choose their own way, and are given up to the same, and are finally led captive by Satan at his will. They may become quite bold because they are able to conceal their sins from others and because the judgments of God do not come in a visible manner upon them. They may be apparently prosperous in this world. They may deceive poor, shortsighted mortals and be regarded as patterns of piety while in their sins. But God cannot be deceived. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him: but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God." Although the life of a sinner may be prolonged upon the earth, yet not in the earth made new. He shall be of that number whom David mentions in his psalm: "For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth."
Mercy and truth are promised to the humble and penitent, but judgments are prepared for the sinful and rebellious. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne." A wicked and adulterous people will not escape the wrath of God and the punishment they have justly earned. Man has fallen; and it will be the work of a lifetime, be it longer or shorter, to recover from that fall, and regain, through Christ, the image of the divine, which he lost by sin and continued transgression. God requires a thorough transformation of soul, body, and spirit in order to regain the estate lost through Adam. The Lord mercifully sends rays of light to show man his true
condition. If he will not walk in the light he manifests a pleasure in darkness. He will not come to the light lest his deeds shall be reproved.
The case of N. Fuller has caused me much grief and anguish of spirit. That he should yield himself to the control of Satan to work wickedness as he has done is terrible. I believe that God designed that this case of hypocrisy and villainy should be brought to light in the manner it has been, that it might prove a warning to others. Here is a man who was acquainted with the teachings of the Bible, and who had listened to testimonies borne by me in his presence against the very sins which he was practicing. More than once he had heard me speak decidedly in regard to the prevailing sins of this generation, that corruption was teeming everywhere, that base passions controlled men and women generally, that among the masses crimes of the darkest dye were continually practiced, and they were reeking in their own corruption. The nominal churches are filled with fornication and adultery, crime and murder, the result of base, lustful passion; but these things are kept covered. Ministers in high places are guilty; yet a cloak of godliness covers their dark deeds, and they pass on from year to year in their course of hypocrisy. The sins of the nominal churches have reached unto heaven, and the honest in heart will be brought to the light and come out of them.
From the light that God has given me, fornication and adultery are estimated by a large number of the first-day Adventists as sins which God winks at. These sins are practiced to a great extent. They do not acknowledge the claims of God's law upon them. They have broken the commandments of the great Jehovah and zealously teach their hearers to do the same, declaring that the law of God is abolished and has no claims upon them. In accordance with this free state of things, sin does not appear so exceedingly sinful; "for by the
law is the knowledge of sin." We may expect to find in this company men who will deceive, and lie, and give loose rein to lustful passions. But men and women who acknowledge the Ten Commandments binding, who observe the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, should carry out in their lives the principles of all ten of the precepts given in awful grandeur from Sinai.
Seventh-day Adventists, who profess to be looking for and loving the appearing of Christ, should not follow the course of worldlings. These are no criterion for commandment keepers. Neither should they pattern after first-day Adventists, who refuse to acknowledge the claims of the law of God and trample it under their feet. This class should be no criterion for them. Commandment-keeping Adventists occupy a peculiar, exalted position. John viewed them in holy vision and thus described them: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
The Lord made a special covenant with ancient Israel: "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." He addresses His commandment-keeping people in these last days: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an 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." "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
Not all who profess to keep the commandments of God possess their bodies in sanctification and honor. The most solemn message ever committed to mortals has been entrusted to this people, and they can have a powerful influence if they
will be sanctified by it. They profess to be standing upon the elevated platform of eternal truth, keeping all of God's commandments; therefore, if they indulge in sin, if they commit fornication and adultery, their crime is of tenfold greater magnitude than is that of the classes I have named, who do not acknowledge the law of God as binding upon them. In a peculiar sense do those who profess to keep God's law dishonor Him and reproach the truth by transgressing its precepts.
It was the prevalence of this very sin, fornication, among ancient Israel, which brought upon them the signal manifestation of God's displeasure. His judgments then followed close upon their heinous sin; thousands fell, and their polluted bodies were left in the wilderness. "But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
Seventh-day Adventists, above all other people in the world, should be patterns of piety, holy in heart and in conversation. I related in the presence of N. Fuller that the people whom God had chosen as His peculiar treasure were required to be elevated, refined, sanctified, partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust. Should they who make so high a profession indulge in sin and iniquity, their guilt would be very great. The Lord reproves the sins of one, that others may take warning and fear.
Warnings and reproofs are not given to the erring among Seventh-day Adventists because their lives are more blame-worthy than are the lives of professed Christians of the nominal churches, nor because their example or their acts are worse than those of the Adventists who will not yield obedience to the claims of God's law, but because they have great light, and have by their profession taken their position as God's special, chosen people, having the law of God written in their hearts. They signify their loyalty to the God of heaven by yielding obedience to the laws of His government. They are God's representatives upon the earth. Any sin in them separates them from God and, in a special manner, dishonors His name by giving the enemies of His holy law occasion to reproach His cause and His people, whom He has called "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," that they should show forth the praises of Him that hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The people who are at war with the law of the great Jehovah, who consider it a special virtue to talk, write, and act the most bitter and hateful things to show their contempt of that law, may make exalted profession of love to God, and apparently have much religious zeal, as did the Jewish chief priests and elders; yet, in the day of God, "Found wanting" will be said of them by the Majesty of heaven. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." The mirror which would discover to them the defects in their characters, they are infuriated against, because it points out their sins. Leading Adventists who have rejected the light are fired with madness against God's holy law, as the Jewish nation were against the Son of God. They are in a terrible deception, deceiving others and being deceived
themselves. They will not come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved. Such will not be taught. But the Lord reproves and corrects the people who profess to keep His law. He points out their sins and lays open their iniquity because He wishes to separate all sin and wickedness from them, that they may perfect holiness in His fear and be prepared to die in the Lord or to be translated to heaven. God rebukes, reproves, and corrects them, that they may be refined, sanctified, elevated, and finally exalted to His own throne.
Elder Fuller has heard the testimony borne in public, that the professed people of God were not all holy, that some were corrupt. God sought to elevate them, but they refused to come up upon a high plane of action. The corrupt animal passions bore sway, and the moral and intellectual powers were overborne and made their servants. Those who do not control their base passions cannot appreciate the atonement or place a right value upon the soul. Salvation is not experienced or understood by them. The gratification of animal passion is the highest ambition of their lives. God will accept nothing but purity and holiness; one spot, one wrinkle, one defect in the character, will forever debar them from heaven, with all its glories and treasures.
Ample provisions have been made for all who sincerely, earnestly, and thoughtfully set about the work of perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Strength, grace, and glory have been provided through Christ, to be brought by ministering angels to the heirs of salvation. None are so low, so corrupt and vile, that they cannot find in Jesus, who died for them, strength, purity, and righteousness, if they will put away their sins, cease their course of iniquity, and turn with full purpose of heart to the living God. He is waiting to strip them of their garments, stained and polluted by sin, and to put upon them the white, bright robes of righteousness; and He bids them live and not die. In Him they may flourish. Their branches
will not wither nor be fruitless. If they abide in Him, they can draw sap and nourishment from Him, be imbued with His Spirit, walk even as He walked, overcome as He overcame, and be exalted to His own right hand.
Elder Fuller has been warned. The warnings given to others condemned him. The sins reproved in others reproved him and gave him sufficient light to see how God regarded crimes of such a character as he was committing, yet he would not turn from his evil course. He continued to pursue his fearful, impious work, corrupting the bodies and souls of his flock. Satan had strengthened the lustful passions which this man did not subdue, and engaged them in his cause to lead souls to death.
While he professed to keep the law of God, he was, in a most wanton manner, violating its plain precepts. He has given himself up to the gratification of sensual pleasure. He has sold himself to work wickedness. What will be the wages of such a man? The indignation and wrath of God will punish him for sin. The vengeance of God will be aroused against all those whose lustful passions have been concealed under a ministerial cloak. While professing to be a shepherd of the flock, he was leading the flock to certain ruin. These dreadful results are the fruits of the carnal mind, which "is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
I was referred to this scripture: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Professed Christians, if no further light is given you than that contained in this text, you will be without excuse if you suffer yourselves to be controlled by base passions.
The word of God is sufficient to enlighten the most
beclouded mind and may be understood by those who have any desire to understand it. But notwithstanding all this, some who profess to make the word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow. Yet those who serve their own lusts turn from all this light. They will not cease their course of sin, but continue to take pleasure in unrighteousness in the face of the threatenings and vengeance of God against those who do such things.
I have long been designing to speak to my sisters and tell them that, from what the Lord has been pleased to show me from time to time, there is a great fault among them. They are not careful to abstain from all appearance of evil. They are not all circumspect in their deportment, as becometh women professing godliness. Their words are not as select and well chosen as those of women who have received the grace of God should be. They are too familiar with their brethren. They linger around them, incline toward them, and seem to choose their society. They are highly gratified with their attention.
From the light which the Lord has given me, our sisters should pursue a very different course. They should be more reserved, manifest less boldness, and encourage in themselves "shamefacedness and sobriety." Both brethren and sisters indulge in too much jovial talk when in each other's society. Women professing godliness indulge in much jesting, joking, and laughing. This is unbecoming and grieves the Spirit of God. These exhibitions reveal a lack of true Christian refinement. They do not strengthen the soul in God, but bring great darkness; they drive away the pure, refined, heavenly angels and bring those who engage in these wrongs down to a low level.
Our sisters should encourage true meekness; they should not be forward, talkative, and bold, but modest and unassuming, slow to speak. They may cherish courteousness. To be kind, tender, pitiful, forgiving, and humble, would be becoming and well pleasing to God. If they occupy this position they will not be burdened with undue attention from gentlemen in the church or out. All will feel that there is a sacred circle of purity around these God-fearing women, which shields them from any unwarrantable liberties.
With some women professing godliness, there is a careless, coarse freedom of manner which leads to wrong and evil. But those godly women whose minds and hearts are occupied in meditating upon themes which strengthen purity of life, and which elevate the soul to commune with God, will not be easily led astray from the path of rectitude and virtue. Such will be fortified against the sophistry of Satan; they will be prepared to withstand his seductive arts.
Vainglory, the fashion of the world, the desire of the eye, and the lust of the flesh are connected with the fall of the unfortunate. That which is pleasing to the natural heart and carnal mind is cherished. If the lust of the flesh had been rooted out of their hearts they would not be so weak. If our sisters would feel the necessity of purifying their thoughts, and never suffer in themselves a carelessness of deportment which leads to improper acts, they need not in the least stain their purity. If they viewed the matter as God has presented it to me, they would have such an abhorrence of impure acts that they would not be found among those who fall through the temptations of Satan, no matter whom he might select as the medium.
A preacher may be dealing in sacred, holy things, and yet not be holy in heart. He may give himself to Satan to work wickedness and to corrupt the souls and bodies of his flock.
Yet if the minds of women and youth professing to love and fear God were fortified with His Spirit, if they had trained their minds to purity of thought and educated themselves to avoid all appearance of evil, they would be safe from any improper advances and be secure from the corruption prevailing around them. The apostle Paul wrote concerning himself: "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
If a minister of the gospel does not control his baser passions, if he fails to follow the example of the apostle and so dishonors his profession and faith as to even name the indulgence of sin, our sisters who profess godliness should not for an instant flatter themselves that sin or crime loses its sinfulness in the least because their minister dares to engage in it. The fact that men who are in responsible places show themselves to be familiar with sin should not lessen the guilt and enormity of the sin in the minds of any. Sin should appear just as sinful, just as abhorrent, as it had been heretofore regarded; and the minds of the pure and elevated should abhor and shun the one who indulges in sin, as they would flee from a serpent whose sting was deadly.
If the sisters were elevated and possessed purity of heart, any corrupt advances, even from their minister, would be repulsed with such positiveness as would never need a repetition. Minds must be terribly befogged by Satan when they can listen to the voice of the seducer because he is a minister, and therefore break God's plain and positive commands and flatter themselves that they commit no sin. Have we not the words of John: "He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him"? What saith the law? "Thou shalt not commit adultery." When a man professing to keep God's holy law, and ministering in
sacred things, takes advantage of the confidence his position gives him and seeks to indulge his base passions, this fact should of itself be sufficient to enable a woman professing godliness to see that, although his profession is as exalted as the heavens, an impure proposal coming from him is from Satan disguised as an angel of light. I cannot believe that the word of God is abiding in the hearts of those who so readily yield up their innocency and virtue upon the altar of lustful passions.
My sisters, avoid even the appearance of evil. In this fast age, reeking with corruption, you are not safe unless you stand guarded. Virtue and modesty are rare. I appeal to you as followers of Christ, making an exalted profession, to cherish the precious, priceless gem of modesty. This will guard virtue. If you have any hope of being finally exalted to join the company of the pure, sinless angels, and to live in an atmosphere where there is not the least taint of sin, cherish modesty and virtue. Nothing but purity, sacred purity, will stand the grand review, abide the day of God, and be received into a pure and holy heaven.
The slightest insinuations, from whatever source they may come, inviting you to indulge in sin or to allow the least unwarrantable liberty with your persons, should be resented as the worst of insults to your dignified womanhood. The kiss upon your cheek, at an improper time and place, should lead you to repel the emissary of Satan with disgust. If it is from one in high places who is dealing in sacred things, the sin is of tenfold greater magnitude, and should lead a God-fearing woman or youth to recoil with horror, not only from the sin he would have you commit, but from the hypocrisy and villainy of one whom the people respect and honor as God's servant. He is handling sacred things, yet hiding his baseness of heart under a ministerial cloak. Be afraid of anything like this familiarity. Be sure that the least approach to it is evidence of
a lascivious mind and a lustful eye. If the least encouragement is given in this direction, if any of the liberties mentioned are tolerated, no better evidence can be given that your mind is not pure and chaste as it should be, and that sin and crime have charms for you. You lower the standard of your dignified, virtuous womanhood, and give unmistakable evidence that a low, brutal, common passion and lust has been suffered to remain alive in your heart and has never been crucified.
As I have been shown the dangers of those who profess better things, and the sins that exist among them,--a class who are not suspected of being in any danger from these polluting sins,--I have been led to inquire: Who, O Lord, shall stand when Thou appearest? Only those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall abide the day of His coming.
I feel impelled by the Spirit of the Lord to urge my sisters who profess godliness to cherish modesty of deportment and a becoming reserve, with shamefacedness and sobriety. The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ's followers. These fashionable exhibitions of familiarity should not exist among Christians fitting for immortality. If lasciviousness, pollution, adultery, crime, and murder are the order of the day among those who know not the truth, and who refuse to be controlled by the principles of God's word, how important that the class professing to be followers of Christ, closely allied to God and angels, should show them a better and nobler way. How important that by their chastity and virtue they stand in marked contrast to that class who are controlled by brute passions.
I have inquired: When will the youthful sisters act with propriety? I know there will be no decided change for the better until parents feel the importance of greater carefulness in educating their children correctly. Teach them to act with reserve and modesty. Educate them for usefulness, to be helps,
to minister to others rather than to be waited upon and be ministered unto.
Satan controls the minds of the youth in general. Your daughters are not taught self-denial and self-control. They are petted, and their pride is fostered. They are allowed to have their own way until they become headstrong and self-willed, and you are put to your wit's end to know what course to pursue to save them from ruin. Satan is leading them on to be a proverb in the mouth of unbelievers because of their boldness, their lack of reserve and womanly modesty. The young boys are likewise left to have their own way. They have scarcely entered their teens before they are by the side of little girls of their own age, accompanying them home and making love to them. And the parents are so completely in bondage through their own indulgence and mistaken love for their children that they dare not pursue a decided course to make a change and restrain their too-fast children in this fast age.
With many young ladies the boys are the theme of conversation; with the young men, it is the girls. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." They talk of those subjects upon which their minds mostly run. The recording angel is writing the words of these professed Christian boys and girls. How will they be confused and ashamed when they meet them again in the day of God! Many children are pious hypocrites. The youth who have not made a profession of religion stumble over these hypocritical ones and are hardened against any effort that may be made by those interested in their salvation.
There ought to be picked men at the heart of the work, men who in every emergency can be relied upon to keep the fort, men who are unselfish, abounding in generosity and all good works, whose lives are hid in God, and who consider the better life of more value than food and clothing. "Is not the
life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" God calls for faithful sentinels right at the heart of the work, who will love souls for whom Christ died, and who will bear the burden for perishing souls, looking forward to that recompense of reward which will be theirs when they enter into the joy of their Lord and behold souls saved through their instrumentality to live as long as God shall live, and be happy, eternally happy, in His glorious kingdom. Oh, that we could arouse fathers and mothers to a sense of their duty! Oh, that they would feel deeply the weight of responsibility resting upon them! Then they might forestall the enemy and gain precious victories for Jesus. Parents are not clear in this matter. They should closely investigate their lives, analyze their thoughts and motives, and see if they have been circumspect in their course of action. They should watch closely to see if their example in conversation and deportment has been such as they would wish their children to imitate. Purity and virtue should shine out in their words and acts before their children.
I have been shown families where the husband and father has not preserved that reserve, that dignified, godlike manhood, which is befitting a follower of Christ. He has failed to perform the kind, tender, courteous acts due to his wife, whom he has promised before God and angels to love, respect, and honor while they both shall live. The girl employed to do the work has been free and somewhat forward to dress his hair and to be affectionately attentive, and he is pleased, foolishly pleased. In his love and attention to his wife he is not as demonstrative as he once was. Be sure that Satan is at work here. Respect your hired help, treat them kindly, considerately, but go no further. Let your deportment be such that there will be no advances to familiarity from them. If you have words of kindness and acts of courtesy to give, it is always safe to give them to your wife. It will be a great blessing to her, and will
bring happiness to her heart, to be reflected upon you again.
I have been shown also that the wife has let her sympathies and interest and affection go out to other men, who may be members of the family. She makes these her confidants, shows a preference for their society, and relates to them her troubles and perhaps her private family matters.
This is all wrong. Satan is at the bottom of it; and unless you are alarmed and stop just where you are, he will lead you to ruin. You cannot observe too great caution and encourage too much reserve in this matter. If you have tender, loving words and kindly attentions to bestow, let them be given to him whom you have promised before God and angels to love, respect, and honor while you both shall live. Oh, how many lives are made bitter by the breaking down of the walls which enclose the privacies of every family and which are calculated to preserve its purity and sanctity! A third person is taken into the confidence of the wife, and her private family matters are laid open before the special friend. This is the device of Satan to estrange the hearts of the husband and wife. Oh, that this would cease! what a world of trouble would be saved! Lock within your own hearts the knowledge of each other's faults. Tell your troubles alone to God. He can give you right counsel and sure consolation, which will be pure, having no bitterness in it.
I am acquainted with a number of women who have thought their marriage a misfortune. They have read novels until their imaginations have become diseased, and they live in a world of their own creating. They think themselves women of sensitive minds, of superior, refined organizations, and imagine that their husbands are not so refined, that they do not possess these superior qualities, and therefore cannot appreciate their own supposed virtue and refined organizations. Consequently these women think themselves great
sufferers, martyrs. They have talked of this and thought upon it until they are nearly maniacs upon this subject. They imagine their worth superior to that of other mortals, and it is not agreeable to their fine sensibilities to associate with common humanity. These women are making themselves fools; and their husbands are in danger of thinking that they do possess a superior order of mind.
From what the Lord has shown me, the women of this class have had their imaginations perverted by novel reading, daydreaming, and castle-building, living in an imaginary world. They do not bring their own ideas down to the common, useful duties of life. They do not take up the life burdens which lie in their path, and seek to make a happy, cheerful home for their husbands. They rest their whole weight upon them, not bearing their own burden. They expect others to anticipate their wants and do for them, while they are at liberty to find fault and to question as they please. These women have a lovesick sentimentalism, constantly thinking they are not appreciated, that their husbands do not give them all the attention they deserve. They imagine themselves martyrs.
The truth of the matter is, if they would show themselves useful their value might be appreciated; but when they pursue a course to constantly draw upon others for sympathy and attention, while they feel under no obligation to give the same in return, passing along reserved, cold, and unapproachable, bearing no burden for others and having no feeling for their woes, there can be in their lives but little that is valuable. These women have educated themselves to think and act as though it was a great condescension in them to marry the men they did, and that therefore their fine organizations would never be fully appreciated. They have viewed things all wrong. They are unworthy of their husbands. They are a constant tax upon their care and patience, when they might be helps, lifting
the burdens of life with them, instead of dreaming over unreal life found in novels and love romances. May the Lord pity the men who are bound to such useless machines, fit only to be waited upon, to breathe, eat, and dress.
These women who suppose they possess such sensitive, refined organizations make very useless wives and mothers. It is frequently the case that they withdraw their affections from their husbands, who are useful, practical men, and show much attention to other men, and with their lovesick sentimentalism draw upon the sympathies of others, tell them their trials, their troubles, their aspirations to do some elevated work, and reveal the fact that their married life is a disappointment, a hindrance to their doing the work they had hoped to do.
Oh, what wretchedness exists in families that might be happy! These women are a curse to themselves and a curse to their husbands. In supposing themselves to be angels, they make themselves fools, and are nothing but heavy burdens. The common duties of life which the Lord has left for them to do, they leave right in their path, and are restless and complaining, always looking for an easy, more exalted, and more agreeable work. Supposing themselves to be angels, they are found human after all. They are fretful, peevish, dissatisfied, jealous of their husbands because the larger portion of their time is not spent waiting upon them. They complain of being neglected when their husbands are doing the very work they ought to do. Satan finds easy access to this class. They have no real love for anyone but themselves. Yet Satan tells them that if such a one were their husband, they would be happy indeed. They are easy victims to the device of Satan, being readily led to dishonor their own husbands and to transgress the law of God.
I would say to women of this description: You can make or destroy your own happiness. You can make your position
happy or unbearable. The course which you pursue will create happiness or misery for yourself. Have these persons never thought that their husbands must tire of them in their uselessness, their peevishness, their faultfinding, their passionate fits of weeping while imagining their case so pitiful? Their irritable, peevish disposition is indeed weaning from them the affections of their husbands and driving them to seek for sympathy, and peace, and comfort elsewhere than at home. A poisonous atmosphere is in their dwelling, and home is to them anything but a place of rest, peace, or happiness. The husband is subject to Satan's temptation, and his affections are placed on forbidden objects, and he is lured on to crime and finally lost.
Great is the work and mission of women, especially those who are wives and mothers. They can be a blessing to all around them. They can have a powerful influence for good if they will let their light so shine that others may be led to glorify our heavenly Father. Women may have a transforming influence if they will only consent to yield their way and their will to God, and let Him control their mind, affections, and being. They can have an influence which will tend to refine and elevate those with whom they associate. But this class are generally unconscious of the power they possess. They exert an unconscious influence which seems to work out naturally from a sanctified life, a renewed heart. It is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree of divine planting. Self is forgotten, merged in the life of Christ. To be rich in good works is as natural as their breath. They live to do others good and yet are ready to say: We are unprofitable servants.
God has assigned woman her mission; and if she, in her humble way, yet to the best of her ability, makes a heaven of her home, faithfully and lovingly performing her duties to her husband and children, continually seeking to let a holy
light shine from her useful, pure, and virtuous life to brighten all around her, she is doing the work left her of the Master, and will hear from His divine lips the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. These women who are doing with ready willingness what their hands find to do, with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens, and training their children for God, are missionaries in the highest sense. They are engaged in an important branch of the great work to be done on earth to prepare mortals for a higher life, and they will receive their reward. Children are to be trained for heaven and fitted to shine in the courts of the Lord's kingdom. When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor. Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source.
God requires all to do with faithfulness the duties of today. This is much neglected by the larger share of professed Christians. Especially is present duty lost sight of by the class I have mentioned, who imagine that they are of a finer order of beings than their fellow mortals around them. The fact that their minds turn in this channel is proof that they are of an inferior order, narrow, conceited, and selfish. They feel high above the lowly and humble poor, such as Jesus says He has called. They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing some great work that others cannot do. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism
to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason why they shun any of these duties not so agreeable is found in their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives.
I was pointed to the Majesty of heaven. When He whom angels worshiped, He who was rich in honor, splendor, and glory, came to the earth, and found Himself in fashion as a man, He did not plead His refined nature as an excuse to hold Himself aloof from the unfortunate. In His work He was found among the afflicted, the poor, distressed, and needy ones. Christ was the embodiment of refinement and purity; His was an exalted life and character; yet in His labor He was found not among men of high-sounding titles, not among the most honorable of this world, but with the despised and needy. I came, says the divine Teacher, "to save that which was lost." Yes; the Majesty of heaven was ever found working to help those who most needed help. May the example of Christ put to shame the excuses of that class who are so attracted to their poor selves that they consider it beneath their refined taste and their high calling to help the most helpless. Such have taken a position higher than their Lord, and in the end will be astonished to find themselves lower than the lowest of that class whom their refined, sensitive natures were shocked to mingle with and work for. True, it may not always be agreeable to unite with the Master and become co-workers with Him in helping the very class who stand most in need of help; but this is the work which Christ humbled Himself to do. Is the servant greater than his Lord? He has given the example, and enjoins upon us to copy it. It may be disagreeable, yet duty demands that just such a work be performed.
Faithful and picked men are needed at the head of the work. Those who have not had an experience in bearing burdens, and who do not wish to have that experience, should not, on any account, live there. Men are wanted who will watch for
souls as they that must give an account. Fathers and mothers in Israel are wanted at this important post. Let the selfish and self-caring, the stingy, covetous souls, find a location where their miserable traits of character will not be so conspicuous. The more isolated such ones are, the better for the cause of God. I appeal to the people of God, wherever they may be found: Awake to your duty. Take it to heart that we are really living amid the perils of the last days.
I hope that the case of N. Fuller will awaken you, fathers and mothers, to see the necessity of thorough work in your houses, among yourselves and your children, that not one of you may be so deluded by Satan as to regard sin as this poor, much-to-be-pitied man has done. Those who have participated with him in crime would never have been left to be deceived and ruined had they possessed a high sense of virtue and purity, and cherished a constant and lively horror of sin and iniquity. While living under and proclaiming the most solemn message ever borne to mortals, presenting the law of God as a test of character and as the seal of the living God, they are transgressing its holy precepts. The consciences of those who do this have become seared and terribly hardened. They have resisted the influences of the Spirit of God until they can use sacred truth as a cloak to hide the deformity of their corrupted souls. This man has been terribly deluded by Satan. He has been serving vicious passions while professing to be consecrated to the work of God, ministering in sacred things. He has considered himself in health while there was no soundness in him.
I have felt deeply as I have seen the powerful influence of animal passions in controlling men and women of no ordinary intelligence and ability. They would be capable of engaging in a good work, of exerting a powerful influence, were they not enslaved by base passions. My confidence in humanity
has been terribly shaken. I have been shown that persons of apparently good deportment, not taking unwarrantable liberties with the other sex, were guilty of practicing secret vice nearly every day of their lives. They have not refrained from this terrible sin even while most solemn meetings have been in session. They have listened to the most solemn, impressive discourses upon the judgment, which seemed to bring them before the tribunal of God, causing them to fear and quake; yet hardly an hour would elapse before they would be engaged in their favorite, bewitching sin, polluting their own bodies. They were such slaves to this awful crime that they seemed devoid of power to control their passions. We have labored for some earnestly, we have entreated, we have wept and prayed over them; yet we have known that right amid all our earnest effort and distress the force of sinful habit has obtained the mastery, and these sins have been committed.
Through severe attacks of sickness or by powerful conviction the consciences of some of the guilty have been aroused and have so scourged them that it has led to confession of these things with deep humiliation. Others are equally guilty. They have practiced this sin nearly their whole lifetime and, in their broken-down constitutions and sievelike memories, are reaping the result of this pernicious habit; yet they are too proud to confess. They are secretive, and have not shown compunctions of conscience for this great sin. My confidence in the Christian experience of such is very small. They seem to be insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. The sacred and common are alike to them. The common practice of a vice so degrading as the polluting of their own bodies has not led to bitter tears and heartfelt repentance. They feel that their sin is against themselves alone. Here they mistake. Are they diseased in body or mind, others are made to feel, others suffer. The imagination is at fault, the memory is deficient,
mistakes are made, and there is a deficiency everywhere which seriously affects those with whom they live and who associate with them. Mortification and regret are felt because these things are known by others.
I have mentioned these cases to illustrate the power of this soul-and-body-destroying vice. The entire mind is given up to low passion. The moral and intellectual faculties are over-borne by the baser powers. The body is enervated, the brain weakened. The material deposited there to nourish the system is squandered. The drain upon the system is great. The fine nerves of the brain, being excited to unnatural action, become benumbed and in a measure paralyzed. The moral and intellectual powers are weakening, while the animal passions are strengthening and being more largely developed by exercise. The appetite for unhealthful food clamors for indulgence. When persons are addicted to the habit of self-abuse, it is impossible to arouse their moral sensibilities to appreciate eternal things or to delight in spiritual exercises. Impure thoughts seize and control the imagination and fascinate the mind, and next follows an almost uncontrollable desire for the performance of impure actions. If the mind were educated to contemplate elevating subjects, the imagination trained to reflect upon pure and holy things, it would be fortified against this terrible, debasing, soul-and-body-destroying indulgence. It would, by training, become accustomed to linger upon the high, the heavenly, the pure, and the sacred, and could not be attracted to this base, corrupt, and vile indulgence.
What can we say of those who are living right in the blazing light of truth, yet daily practicing and following in a course of sin and crime? Forbidden, exciting pleasures have a charm for them and hold and control their entire being. Such take pleasure in unrighteousness and iniquity, and must perish outside of the city of God, with every abominable thing.
I have sought to arouse parents to their duty, yet they sleep on. Your children are practicing secret vice, and they deceive you. You have such implicit confidence in them that you think them too good and innocent to be capable of secretly practicing iniquity. Parents fondle and pet their children, and indulge them in pride, but do not restrain them with firmness and decision. They are so much afraid of their willful, stubborn spirits that they fear to come in contact with them; the sin of negligence, which was marked against Eli, will be their sin. The exhortation of Peter is of the highest value to all who are striving for immortality. He addresses those of like precious faith:
"Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
We are in a world where light and knowledge abound, yet many claiming to be of like precious faith are willingly ignorant. Light is all around them, yet they do not appropriate it to themselves. Parents do not see the necessity of informing themselves, obtaining knowledge, and putting it to a practical use in their married life. If they followed out the exhortation of the apostle, and lived upon the plan of addition, they would not be unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But many do not understand the work of sanctification. They seem to think they have attained to it, when they have learned only the first lessons in addition. Sanctification is a progressive work; it is not attained to in an hour or a day, and then maintained without any special effort on our part.
Many parents do not obtain the knowledge that they should in the married life. They are not guarded lest Satan take advantage of them and control their minds and their lives. They do not see that God requires them to control their married lives from any excesses. But very few feel it to be a religious duty to govern their passions. They have united themselves in marriage to the object of their choice, and therefore reason that marriage sanctifies the indulgence of the baser passions. Even men and women professing godliness give loose rein to their lustful passions, and have no thought that God holds them accountable for the expenditure of vital energy, which weakens their hold on life and enervates the entire system.
The marriage covenant covers sins of the darkest hue. Men and women professing godliness debase their own bodies through the indulgence of the corrupt passions, and thus lower themselves beneath the brute creation. They abuse the powers which God has given them to be preserved in sanctification
and honor. Health and life are sacrificed upon the altar of base passion. The higher, nobler powers are brought into subjection to the animal propensities. Those who thus sin are not acquainted with the result of their course. Could all see the amount of suffering which they bring upon themselves by their own sinful indulgence, they would be alarmed, and some, at least, would shun the course of sin which brings such dreaded wages. So miserable an existence is entailed upon a large class that death would to them be preferable to life; and many do die prematurely, their lives sacrificed in the inglorious work of excessive indulgence of the animal passions. Yet because they are married they think they commit no sin.
Men and women, you will one day learn what is lust and the result of its gratification. Passion of just as base a quality may be found in the marriage relation as outside of it. The apostle Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives "even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church." It is not pure love which actuates a man to make his wife an instrument to minister to his lust. It is the animal passions which clamor for indulgence. How few men show their love in the manner specified by the apostle: "Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might [not pollute it, but] sanctify and cleanse it; . . . that it should be holy and without blemish." This is the quality of love in the marriage relation which God recognizes as holy. Love is a pure and holy principle; but lustful passion will not admit of restraint, and will not be dictated to or controlled by reason. It is blind to consequences; it will not reason from cause to effect. Many women are suffering from great debility and settled disease because the laws of their being have been
disregarded; nature's laws have been trampled upon. The brain nerve power is squandered by men and women, being called into unnatural action to gratify base passions; and this hideous monster, base, low passion, assumes the delicate name of love.
Many professed Christians who passed before me seemed destitute of moral restraint. They were more animal than divine. In fact, they were about all animal. Men of this type degrade the wife whom they have promised to nourish and cherish. She is made an instrument to minister to the gratification of low, lustful propensities. And very many women submit to become slaves to lustful passion; they do not possess their bodies in sanctification and honor. The wife does not retain the dignity and self-respect which she possessed previous to marriage. This holy institution should have preserved and increased her womanly respect and holy dignity; but her chaste, dignified, godlike womanhood has been consumed upon the altar of base passion; it has been sacrificed to please her husband. She soon loses respect for the husband, who does not regard the laws to which the brute creation yield obedience. The married life becomes a galling yoke; for love dies out, and frequently distrust, jealousy, and hate take its place.
No man can truly love his wife when she will patiently submit to become his slave and minister to his depraved passions. In her passive submission, she loses the value she once possessed in his eyes. He sees her dragged down from everything elevating, to a low level; and soon he suspects that she will as tamely submit to be degraded by another as by himself. He doubts her constancy and purity, tires of her, and seeks new objects to arouse and intensify his hellish passions. The law of God is not regarded. These men are worse than brutes; they are demons in human form. They are unacquainted with the elevating, ennobling principles of true, sanctified love.
The wife also becomes jealous of the husband and suspects that if opportunity should offer he would just as readily pay his addresses to another as to her. She sees that he is not controlled by conscience or the fear of God; all these sanctified barriers are broken down by lustful passions; all that is god-like in the husband is made the servant of low, brutish lust.
The world is filled with men and women of this order; and neat, tasty, yea, expensive houses contain a hell within. Imagine, if you can, what must be the offspring of such parents. Will not the children sink still lower in the scale? The parents give the stamp of character to their children. Therefore children that are born of these parents inherit from them qualities of mind which are of a low, base order. And Satan nourishes anything tending to corruption. The matter now to be settled is: Shall the wife feel bound to yield implicitly to the demands of her husband, when she sees that nothing but base passions control him, and when her reason and judgment are convinced that she does it to the injury of her body, which God has enjoined upon her to possess in sanctification and honor, to preserve as a living sacrifice to God?
It is not pure, holy love which leads the wife to gratify the animal propensities of her husband at the expense of health and life. If she possesses true love and wisdom, she will seek to divert his mind from the gratification of lustful passions to high and spiritual themes by dwelling upon interesting spiritual subjects. It may be necessary to humbly and affectionately urge, even at the risk of his displeasure, that she cannot debase her body by yielding to sexual excess. She should, in a tender, kind manner, remind him that God has the first and highest claim upon her entire being, and that she cannot disregard this claim, for she will be held accountable in the great day of God. "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." "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
If she will elevate her affections, and in sanctification and honor preserve her refined, womanly dignity, woman can do much by her judicious influence to sanctify her husband, and thus fulfill her high mission. In so doing, she can save both her husband and herself, thus performing a double work. In this matter, so delicate and so difficult to man age, much wisdom and patience are necessary, as well as moral courage and fortitude. Strength and grace can be found in prayer. Sincere love is to be the ruling principle of the heart. Love to God and love to the husband can alone be the right ground of action.
Let the wife decide that it is the husband's prerogative to have full control of her body, and to mold her mind to suit his in every respect, to run in the same channel as his own, and she yields her individuality; her identity is lost, merged in that of her husband. She is a mere machine for his will to move and control, a creature of his pleasure. He thinks for her, decides for her, and acts for her. She dishonors God in occupying this passive position. She has a responsibility before God which it is her duty to preserve.
When the wife yields her body and mind to the control of her husband, being passive to his will in all things, sacrificing her conscience, her dignity, and even her identity, she loses the opportunity of exerting that mighty influence for good which she should possess to elevate her husband. She could soften his stern nature, and her sanctifying influence could be exerted in a manner to refine and purify, leading him to strive earnestly to govern his passions and be more spiritually minded, that they might be partakers together of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The power of influence can be great to lead the mind to high and noble themes, above the low, sensual indulgences for which the heart unrenewed by grace naturally seeks. If the wife feels that in order to please her husband she must come down to his standard, when animal passion is the principal basis of his love and controls his actions, she displeases God; for she fails to exert a sanctifying influence upon her husband. If she feels that she must submit to his animal passions without a word of remonstrance, she does not understand her duty to him nor to her God. Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively exhaust the vitality. No woman should aid her husband in this work of self-destruction. She will not do it if she is enlightened and has true love for him.
The more the animal passions are indulged, the stronger do they become, and the more violent will be their clamors for indulgence. Let God-fearing men and women awake to their duty. Many professed Christians are suffering with paralysis of nerve and brain because of their intemperance in this direction. Rottenness is in the bones and marrow of many who are regarded as good men, who pray and weep, and who stand in high places, but whose polluted carcasses will never pass the portals of the heavenly city.
Oh, that I could make all understand their obligation to God to preserve the mental and physical organism in the best condition to render perfect service to their Maker! Let the Christian wife refrain, both in word and act, from exciting the animal passions of her husband. Many have no strength at all to waste in this direction. From their youth up they have weakened the brain and sapped the constitution by the gratification of animal passions. Self-denial and temperance should
be the watchword in their married life; then the children born to them will not be so liable to have the moral and intellectual organs weak, and the animal strong. Vice in children is almost universal. Is there not a cause? Who have given them the stamp of character? May the Lord open the eyes of all to see that they are standing in slippery places!
From the picture that has been presented before me of the corruption of men and women professing godliness, I have feared that I should altogether lose confidence in humanity. I have seen that a fearful stupor is upon nearly all. It is almost impossible to arouse the very ones who should be awakened, so as to have any just sense of the power which Satan holds over minds. They are not aware of the corruption teeming all around them. Satan has blinded their minds and lulled them to carnal security. The failures in our efforts to bring others up to understand the great dangers that beset souls have sometimes led me to fear that my ideas of the depravity of the human heart were exaggerated. But when facts are brought to us showing the sad deformity of one who has dared to minister in sacred things while corrupt at heart, one whose sin-stained hands have profaned the vessels of the Lord, I am sure that I have not drawn the picture any too strong.
I have been bearing a very strong testimony, both in writing and in speaking, hoping to awaken God's people to understand that they have fallen upon perilous times. I have felt sick at heart at the indifference manifested by those who should understand the workings of Satan, and who ought to be awake and guarded. I have seen that Satan is leading the minds of even those who profess the truth to indulge in the terrible sin of fornication. The mind of a man or woman does not come down in a moment from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to transform the human to the divine, or to degrade those formed in the image
of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. Though formed in the image of his Maker, man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him. As he ceases to watch and pray, he ceases to guard the citadel, the heart, and engages in sin and crime. The mind is debased, and it is impossible to elevate it from corruption while it is being educated to enslave the moral and intellectual powers, and bring them in subjection to grosser passions. Constant war against the carnal mind must be maintained; and we must be aided by the refining influence of the grace of God, which will attract the mind upward and habituate it to meditate upon pure and holy things.
The body is not kept under by many professed Sabbathkeepers. Some have embraced the Sabbath whose minds have ever been depraved. And when they embraced the truth they did not feel the necessity of turning square about and changing their whole course of action. They have been for years following the inclinations of an unregenerate heart, and have been swayed by the corrupt passions of their carnal natures, which had defaced the image of God in them and defiled everything they touched; therefore their entire future life would be all too short, at the longest, to climb Peter's ladder of Christian perfection, preparatory to their entering into the kingdom of God. But there are not many who feel that they cannot be saved by a profession of the truth, unless they become sanctified through the truth in answer to the prayer of our divine Lord to His Father: "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth."
Men and women who profess to be disciples of Christ and to keep all the commandments of God will have to feel in their daily lives the true spirit of agonizing to enter in at the strait gate. The agonizing ones are the only ones who will urge their passage through the strait gate and narrow way that
lead to life eternal, to fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. Those who merely seek to enter in will never be able. The entire Christian life of many will be spent in no greater effort than that of seeking, and their only reward will be to find it an utter impossibility for them to enter in at that strait gate.
I have been surprised to see how many families are blinded by Satan so that they have no sense of his workings, his wiles and deceptions, practiced in their very midst. Parents seem to be stupefied by the paralyzing influence of the evil one, and yet think they are all right. I have been shown that Satan seeks to debase the minds of those who unite in marriage, that he may stamp his own hateful image upon their children. Because they have entered into the marriage relation, many think that they may permit themselves to be controlled by animal passions. They are led on by Satan, who deceives them and leads them to pervert this sacred institution. He is well pleased with the low level which their minds take; for he has much to gain in this direction. He knows that if he can excite the baser passions, and keep them in the ascendancy, he has nothing to be troubled about in their Christian experience; for the moral and intellectual faculties will be subordinate, while the animal propensities will predominate and keep in the ascendancy; and these baser passions will be strengthened by exercise, while the nobler qualities will become weaker and weaker.
He can mold their posterity much more readily than he could the parents, for he can so control the minds of the parents that through them he may give his own stamp of character to their children. Thus many children are born with the animal passions largely in the ascendancy, while the moral faculties are but feebly developed. These children need the most careful culture to bring out, strengthen, and develop the moral and intellectual powers, that these may take the lead. But the workings of Satan are not perceived; his wiles are not
understood. Children are not trained for God. Their moral and religious education is neglected. The animal passions are constantly strengthened, while the moral faculties become enfeebled.
Some children begin to practice self-pollution in their infancy; and as they increase in years, the lustful passions grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength. Their minds are not at rest. Girls desire the society of boys, and boys that of the girls. Their deportment is not reserved and modest. They are bold and forward, and take indecent liberties. The habit of self-abuse has debased their minds and tainted their souls. Vile thoughts, and the reading of novels, love stories, and vile books excite their imagination, and just such suit their depraved minds. They do not love work, and when engaged in labor they complain of fatigue; their backs ache; their heads ache. Is there not sufficient cause? Are they fatigued because of their labor? No, no! Yet the parents indulge these children in their complaints, and release them from labor and responsibility. This is the very worst thing that they can do for them. They are thus removing almost the only barrier that prevents Satan from having free access to their weakened minds. Useful labor would in some measure be a safeguard from his decided control of them.
We have some knowledge of Satan's manner of working and how well he succeeds in it. From what has been shown me, he has paralyzed the minds of parents. They are slow to suspect that their own children can be wrong and sinful. Some of these children profess to be Christians, and parents sleep on, fearing no danger, while the minds and bodies of their children are becoming wrecked. Some parents do not even take care to keep their children with them when in the house of God. Young girls attend meetings and take their seats, it may be, with their parents, but more frequently back in the
congregation. They are in the habit of making an excuse to leave the house. Boys understand this, and go out before or after the exit of the girls, and then, as the meeting closes, they accompany them home. Parents are none the wiser for this. Again, excuses are made to walk, and boys and girls assemble in the fair grounds, or some other secluded place, and there play and have a regular high time, with no experienced eye upon them to caution them. They imitate men and women of advanced age.
This is a fast age. Little boys and girls commence paying attentions to one another when they should both be in the nursery, taking lessons in modesty of deportment. What is the effect of this common mixing up? Does it increase chastity in the youth who thus gather together? No, indeed! it increases the first lustful passions; after such meetings the youth are crazed by the devil and give themselves up to their vile practices.
Parents are asleep and know not that Satan has planted his hellish banner right in their households. What, I was led to inquire, will become of the youth in this corrupt age? I repeat, Parents are asleep. The children are infatuated with a lovesick sentimentalism, and the truth has no power to correct the wrong. What can be done to stay the tide of evil? Parents can do much if they will. If a young girl just entering her teens is accosted with familiarity by a boy of her own age, or older, she should be taught to so resent this that no such advances will ever be repeated. When a girl's company is frequently sought by boys or young men, something is wrong. That young girl needs a mother to show her her place, to restrain her, and teach her what belongs to a girl of her age.
The corrupting doctrine which has prevailed, that, as viewed from a health standpoint, the sexes must mingle together, has done its mischievous work. When parents and
guardians manifest one tithe of the shrewdness which Satan possesses, then can this association of sexes be nearer harmless. As it is, Satan is most successful in his effort to bewitch the minds of the youth; and the mingling of boys and girls only increases the evil twentyfold. Let boys and girls be kept employed in useful labor. If they are tired, they will have less inclination to corrupt their own bodies. There is nothing to be hoped for in the case of the young, unless there is an entire change in the minds of those who are older. Vice is stamped upon the features of boys and girls, and yet what is done to stay the progress of this evil? Boys and young men are allowed and encouraged to take liberties by immodest advances of girls and young women. May God arouse fathers and mothers to work earnestly to change this terrible state of things, is my prayer.
I have been looking over the Testimonies given for Sabbathkeepers and I am astonished at the mercy of God and His care for His people in giving them so many warnings, pointing out their dangers, and presenting before them the exalted position which He would have them occupy. If they would keep themselves in His love and separate from the world, He would cause His special blessings to rest upon them and His light to shine round about them. Their influence for good might be felt in every branch of the work and in every part of the gospel field. But if they fail to meet the mind of God, if they continue to have so little sense of the exalted character of the work as they have had in the past, their influence and example will prove a terrible curse. They will do harm and only harm. The blood of precious souls will be found upon their garments.
Testimonies of warning have been repeated. I inquire: Who have heeded them? Who have been zealous in repenting of their sins and idolatry, and have been earnestly pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus? Who have shown the inward work of God, leading to self-denial and humble self-sacrifice? Who that have been warned have so separated themselves from the world, from its affections and lusts, that they have shown a daily growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Whom do we find among the active ones, that feel the burden for the church? Whom do we see that God is especially using, working by and through them to elevate the standard, and to bring the church up to it, that they may prove the Lord and see if He will not pour them out a blessing?
I have waited anxiously, hoping that God would put His Spirit upon some and use them as instruments of righteousness to awaken and set in order His church. I have almost despaired as I have seen, year after year, a greater departure from that simplicity which God has shown me should characterize the life of His followers. There has been less and less interest in, and devotion to, the cause of God. I ask: Wherein have those who profess confidence in the Testimonies sought to live according to the light given in them? Wherein have they regarded the warnings given? Wherein have they heeded the instructions they have received?
I saw that great changes must be wrought in the hearts and lives of very many before God can work in them by His power for the salvation of others. They must be renewed after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness. Then the love of the world, the love of self, and every ambition of life calculated to exalt self will be changed by the grace of God and employed in the special work of saving souls for whom Christ died. Humility will take the place of pride, and haughty self-esteem will be exchanged for meekness. Every power of the heart will be controlled by disinterested love for all mankind. Satan, I saw, will arouse when they in earnest commence the work of reformation in themselves. He knows
that these persons, if consecrated to God, could prove the strength of His promises and realize a power working with them that the adversary would not be able to gainsay or resist. They would realize the life of God in the soul.
One family in particular have needed all the benefits they could receive from the reform in diet, yet these very ones have been completely backslidden. Meat and butter have been used by them quite freely, and spices have not been entirely discarded. This family could have received great benefit from a nourishing, well-regulated diet. The head of the family needed plain, nutritious food. His habits were sedentary, and his blood moved sluggishly through the system. He could not, like others, have the benefit of healthful exercise; therefore his food should have been of the right quality and quantity. There has not been in this family the right management in regard to diet; there has been irregularity. There should have been a specified time for each meal, and the food should have been prepared in a simple form and free from grease; but pains should have been taken to have it nutritious, healthful, and inviting. In this family, as also in many others, a special parade has been made for visitors, many dishes prepared and frequently made too rich, so that those seated at the table would be tempted to eat to excess. Then in the absence of company there was a great reaction, a falling off in the preparations brought on the table. The diet was spare and lacked nourishment. It was considered not so much matter "just for ourselves." The meals were frequently picked up, and the regular time for eating not regarded. Every member of the family was injured by such management. It is a sin for any of our sisters to make such great preparations for visitors, and wrong their own families by a spare diet which will fail to nourish the system.
The brother referred to felt a lack in his system; he was not nourished, and he thought that meat would give him the
needed strength. Had he been suitably cared for, his table spread at the right time with food of a nourishing quality, all the demands of nature would have been abundantly supplied. The butter and meat stimulate. These have injured the stomach and perverted the taste. The sensitive nerves of the brain have been benumbed, and the animal appetite strengthened at the expense of the moral and intellectual faculties. These higher powers, which should control, have been growing weaker, so that eternal things have not been discerned. Paralysis has benumbed the spiritual and devotional. Satan has triumphed to see how easily he can come in through the appetite and control men and women of intelligence, calculated by the Creator to do a good and great work.
The case above referred to is not an isolated one; if it were, I would not introduce it here. When Satan takes possession of the mind, how soon the light and instruction that the Lord has graciously given, fade away and have no force! How many frame excuses and make necessities which have no existence, to bear them up in their course of wrong in setting aside the light and trampling it underfoot! I speak with assurance. The greatest objection to health reform is that this people do not live it out; and yet they will gravely say they cannot live the health reform and preserve their strength.
We find in every such instance a good reason why they cannot live out the health reform. They do not live it out, and have never followed it strictly, therefore they cannot be benefited by it. Some fall into the error that because they discard meat they have no need to supply its place with the best fruits and vegetables, prepared in their most natural state, free from grease and spices. If they would only skillfully arrange the bounties with which the Creator has surrounded them, parents and children with a clear conscience unitedly engaging in the work, they would enjoy simple food, and would then be
able to speak understandingly of health reform. Those who have not been converted to health reform, and have never fully adopted it, are not judges of its benefits. Those who digress occasionally to gratify the taste in eating a fattened turkey or other flesh meats, pervert their appetites, and are not the ones to judge of the benefits of the system of health reform They are controlled by taste, not by principle.
I have a well-set table on all occasions. I make no change for visitors, whether believers or unbelievers. I intend never to be surprised by an unreadiness to entertain at my table from one to half a dozen extra who may chance to come in. I have enough simple, healthful food ready to satisfy hunger and nourish the system. If any want more than this, they are at liberty to find it elsewhere. No butter or flesh meats of any kind come on my table. Cake is seldom found there. I generally have an ample supply of fruits, good bread, and vegetables. Our table is always well patronized, and all who partake of the food do well, and improve upon it. All sit down with no epicurean appetite, and eat with a relish the bounties supplied by our Creator.
A wonderful indifference has been manifested upon this important subject by those right at the heart of the work. The lack of stability in regard to the principles of health reform is a true index of their character and their spiritual strength. They are deficient in thoroughness in their Christian experience. Conscience is not regarded. The basis or cause of every right action existing and operating in the renewed heart secures obedience without external or selfish motives. The spirit of truth and a good conscience are sufficient to inspire and regulate the motives and conduct of those who learn of Christ and are like Him. Those who have no strength of religious principle in themselves are easily swayed, by the example of others, in a wrong direction. Those who have never learned
their duty from God, and acquainted themselves with His purposes concerning them, are not reliable in times of severe conflict with the powers of darkness. They are swayed by external and present appearances. Worldly men are governed by worldly principles; they can appreciate no other. But Christians should not be governed by these principles. They should not seek to strengthen themselves in the performance of duty by any other consideration than a love to obey every requirement of God as found in His word and dictated by an enlightened conscience.
In the renewed heart there will be a fixed principle to obey the will of God, because there is a love for what is just, and good, and holy. There will be no hesitating, conferring with the taste, or studying of convenience, or moving in a certain course because others do so. Everyone should live for himself. The minds of all who are renewed by grace will be an open medium, continually receiving light, grace, and truth from above, and transmitting the same to others. Their works are fruitful. Their fruit is unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
But very few have an experimental knowledge of the sanctifying influence of the truths which they profess. Their obedience and devotion have not been in accordance with their light and privileges. They have no real sense of the obligation resting upon them to walk as children of the light, and not as children of darkness. If the light that has been given to these had been given Sodom and Gomorrah, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, and would have escaped the signal wrath of God. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have been privileged with the clear light, and have had a vast amount of labor, but have not profited by it. They have neglected the great salvation which God in mercy was willing to
bestow. They were so blinded by the devil that they verily thought themselves rich and in the favor of God, when the True Witness declares them to be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.