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Early Writings

by Ellen G. White

Table of Contents    Chapters:  

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The Church and the World United

Uniting Christianity with the world is Satan's most effective means of silencing it.
Uniting Christianity with the world is Satan's most effective means of silencing it.

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

After this I saw Satan consulting with his angels and considering what they had gained. True, they had, through fear of death, kept some timid souls from embracing the truth; but many, even of the most timid, had received the truth, and thereupon their fears and timidity immediately left them. As these witnessed the death of their brethren and beheld their firmness and patience, they knew that God and angels assisted them to endure such sufferings, and they grew bold and fearless. And when called to yield their own lives, they maintained their faith with such patience and firmness as caused even their murderers to tremble. Satan and his angels decided that there was a more successful way to destroy souls, one that would be more certain in the end. Although Christians were made to suffer, their steadfastness, and the bright hope that cheered them, caused the weakest to grow strong and enabled them to approach the rack and the flames undaunted. They imitated the noble bearing of Christ when before His murderers, and by their constancy and the glory of God which rested upon them, they convinced many others of the truth. {EW 226.1}

Satan therefore decided that he must come in a milder form. He had already corrupted the doctrines of the Bible, and traditions which were to ruin millions were taking deep root. Restraining his hate, he decided not to urge on his subjects to such bitter persecution, but lead the church to contend for various traditions, instead of for the faith once delivered to [227] the saints. As he prevailed on the church to receive favors and honors from the world, under the pretense of receiving benefits, she began to lose favor with God. Shunning to declare the straight truths which shut out the lovers of pleasure and friends of the world, she gradually lost her power. {EW 226.2}

The church is not now the separate and peculiar people she was when the fires of persecution were kindled against her. How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! I saw that if the church had always retained her peculiar, holy character, the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted to the disciples would still be with her. The sick would be healed, devils would be rebuked and cast out, and she would be mighty and a terror to her enemies. {EW 227.1}

I saw a very large company professing the name of Christ, but God did not recognize them as His. He had no pleasure in them. Satan seemed to assume a religious character and was very willing that the people should think they were Christians. He was even anxious that they should believe in Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. Satan and his angels fully believe all this themselves, and tremble. But if this faith does not provoke to good works, and lead those who profess it to imitate the self-denying life of Christ, Satan is not disturbed; for they merely assume the Christian name, while their hearts are still carnal, and he can use them in his service even better than if they made no profession. Hiding their deformity under the name of Christian, they pass along with their unsanctified natures, and their evil passions unsubdued. This gives occasion for the unbeliever to reproach Christ with their imperfections, and causes those who do possess pure and undefiled religion to be brought into disrepute. [228] {EW 227.2}

The ministers preach smooth things to suit carnal professors. They dare not preach Jesus and the cutting truths of the Bible; for if they should, these carnal professors would not remain in the church. But as many of them are wealthy, they must be retained, although they are no more fit to be there than Satan and his angels. This is just as Satan would have it. The religion of Jesus is made to appear popular and honorable in the eyes of the world. The people are told that those who profess religion will be more honored by the world. Such teachings differ very widely from the teachings of Christ. His doctrine and the world could not be at peace. Those who followed Him had to renounce the world. These smooth things originated with Satan and his angels. They formed the plan, and nominal professors carried it out. Pleasing fables were taught and readily received, and hypocrites and open sinners united with the church. If the truth had been preached in its purity, it would soon have shut out this class. But there was no difference between the professed followers of Christ and the world. I saw that if the false covering had been torn off from the members of the churches, there would have been revealed such iniquity, vileness, and corruption that the most diffident child of God would have had no hesitancy in calling these professed Christians by their right name, children of their father, the devil; for his works they did. {EW 228.1}

Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with disgust upon the scene; yet God had a message for the church that was sacred and important. If received, it would make a thorough reformation in the church, revive the living testimony that would purge out hypocrites and sinners, and bring the church again into favor with God. {EW 228.2}

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