By Mrs. E. G. White
God can not display the knowledge of His will, and the wonders of His grace, among the unbelieving world, unless He has witnesses scattered all over the earth. This is God’s plan: that men and women who are partakers of this great salvation through Jesus Christ, should be His missionaries, bodies of light throughout the world, to be as signs to the people—living epistles, known and read of all men; their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour, and that they have not received the grace of God in vain. The people must be warned to prepare for the coming Judgment. To those who have been listening only to fables, God will give an opportunity to hear the sure word of prophecy, whereunto they do well that they take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. God will present the sure word of truth to the understanding of all who will take heed, that they may contrast truth with the fables which have been presented to them by men who claim to understand the Word of God, and profess to be qualified to instruct those in darkness.
Many who have called themselves Adventists have been time-setters. Time after time has been set for Christ to come, but repeated failures have been the result. The definite time of our Lord’s coming is declared to be beyond the ken of mortals. Even the angels who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation, know not the day nor the hour. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Because the times repeatedly set have passed, the world is in a more decided state of unbelief than before in regard to the near advent of Christ. They look upon the failures of the time-setters with disgust; and because men have been so deceived, they turn from the truth substantiated by the Word of God that the end of all things is at hand.
Those who presumptuously preach definite time, in so doing gratify the adversary of souls; for they are advancing infidelity rather than Christianity. They produce scripture, and by false interpretation show a chain of argument which apparently proves their position. But their failures show that they are false prophets, that they do not rightly interpret the language of Inspiration. The Word of God is truth and verity; but men have perverted its meaning. These errors have brought the truth of God for these last days into disrepute. Adventists are derided by ministers of all denominations. Yet God’s servants must not hold their peace. The signs foretold in prophecy are fast fulfilling around us. This should arouse every true follower of Christ to zealous action.
In Noah’s day, the inhabitants of the old world laughed to scorn what they termed the superstitious fears and forebodings of the preacher of righteousness. He was denounced as a visionary character, a fanatic, an alarmist. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” Men will reject the solemn message of warning in our day as they did in Noah’s time. They will refer to those false teachers who have predicted the event and set the definite time, and will say that they have no more faith in our warning than in theirs. This is the attitude of the world today. Unbelief is wide spread, and the preaching of Christ’s coming is mocked at and derided. This makes it all the more essential that those who believe present truth should show their faith by their works. They should be sanctified through the truth which they profess to believe; for they are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death.
Noah preached to the people of his time that God would give them one hundred and twenty years in which to repent of their sins, and find refuge in the ark; but they refused the gracious invitation. Abundant time was given them to turn from their sins, overcome their bad habits, and develop righteous characters. But inclination to sin, tho weak at first with many, strengthened through repeated indulgence, and hurried them on to irretrievable ruin. The merciful warning of God was rejected with sneers, with mocking, and derision, and they were left in darkness, to follow the course their sinful hearts had chosen. But their unbelief did not hinder the predicted event. It came, and great was the wrath of God which was seen in the general ruin.
These words of Christ should sink into the hearts of all who believe in Christ’s soon coming. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Our danger is presented before us by Christ Himself. He knew the perils we should meet in these last days, and would have us prepare for them. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” They were eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and swept them all away. The day of God will find men absorbed in like manner in the business and pleasures of the world, in feasting and gluttony, and indulging perverted appetite in the defiling use of liquor, and the narcotic, tobacco. This is already the condition of our world, and these indulgences are found even among God’s professed people. Lawyers, mechanics, farmers, traders, and even ministers from the pulpit, are crying “Peace and safety,” when destruction is fast coming upon them.
What a responsible position, to unite with the Redeemer of the world in the salvation of men! This work calls for self-denial, sacrifice, and benevolence; for perseverance, courage, and faith. Why there are so little results seen of those who minister in word and doctrine, is, they have not the fruit of the grace of God in their hearts and lives. They have not faith. Many who profess to be ministers of Jesus Christ, manifest a wonderful submission in seeing the unconverted all around them going to perdition. A minister of Christ has no right to be at ease, and sit down submissively to the fact that the truth is powerless, and souls are not stirred by its presentation. They should resort to prayer, and should work and pray without ceasing. Those who submit to remain destitute of spiritual blessings, without an earnest wrestling for those blessings, consent to have Satan triumph. Persistent, prevailing faith is necessary. God’s ministers must come into close companionship with Christ, and follow His example in all things—in purity of life, in self-denial, in benevolence, in diligence, in perseverance. They should remember that a record will one day appear in evidence against them for the least omission of duty.