Christ demands all. If He required less, His sacrifice was too dear, too great to make to bring us up to such a level. Our holy faith cries out, Separation. We should not be conformed to the world, or to dead, heartless professors. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." This is a self-denying way. And when you think that the way is too strait, that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; when you say, How hard to give up all, ask yourselves the question, What did Christ give up for me? This question puts anything that we may call self-denial in the shade. Behold Him in the garden, sweating great drops of blood. A solitary angel is sent from heaven to strengthen the Son of God. Follow Him on His way to the judgement hall, while He is derided, mocked, and insulted by that infuriated mob.
Behold Him clothed in that old purple kingly robe. Hear the coarse jest and cruel mocking. See them place upon that noble brow the crown of thorns, and then smite Him with a reed, causing the thorns to penetrate His temples, and the blood to flow from that holy brow. Hear that murderous throng eagerly crying for the blood of the Son of God. He is delivered into their hands, and they lead the noble sufferer away, pale, weak, and fainting, to His crucifixion. He is stretched upon the wooden cross, and the nails are driven through His tender hands and feet. Behold Him hanging upon the cross those dreadful hours of agony until the angels veil their faces from the horrid scene, and the sun hides its light, refusing to behold. Think of these things, and then ask, Is the way too strait? No, no.
In a divided, half-hearted life, you will find doubt and darkness. You cannot enjoy the consolations of religion, neither the peace which the world gives. Do not sit down in Satan's easy chair of do-little, but arise, and aim at the elevated standard which it is your privilege to attain. It is a blessed privilege to give up all for Christ. Look not at the lives of others and imitate them and rise no higher. You have only one true, unerring Pattern. It is safe to follow Jesus only. Determine that if others act on the principle of the spiritual sluggard you will leave them and march forward toward the elevation of Christian character. Form a character for heaven. Sleep not at your post. Deal faithfully and truly with your own soul.
You are indulging an evil which threatens to destroy your spirituality. It will eclipse all the beauty and interest of the sacred pages. It is love for storybooks, tales, and other reading which does not have an influence for good upon the mind that is in any way dedicated to the service of God. It produces a false, unhealthy excitement, fevers the imagination, unfits the mind for usefulness, and disqualifies it for
any spiritual exercise. It weans the soul from prayer and love of spiritual things. Reading that will throw light upon the sacred volume, and quicken your desire and diligence to study it, is not dangerous, but beneficial. You were represented to me with your eyes turned from the Sacred Book and intently fixed upon exciting books, which are death to religion. The oftener and more diligently you peruse the Scriptures, the more beautiful will they appear, and the less relish will you have for light reading. The daily study of the Scriptures will have a sanctifying influence upon the mind. You will breathe a heavenly atmosphere. Bind this precious volume to your hearts. It will prove to you a friend and guide in perplexity.
You have had objects in view in your life, and how steadily and perseveringly have you laboured to attain those objects! You have calculated and planned until your anticipations were realised. There is an object before you now worthy of a persevering, untiring, lifelong effort. It is the salvation of your soul--everlasting life. And this demands self-denial, sacrifice, and close study. You must be purified and refined. You lack the saving influence of the Spirit of God. You mingle with your associates and forget that you have named the name of Christ. You act and dress like them.
Sister K, I saw that you have a work to do. You must die to pride and let your whole interest be in the truth. Your eternal interest depends upon the course you now pursue. If you obtain eternal life, you must live for it and deny self. Come out from the world, and be separate. Your life must be marked with sobriety, watchfulness, and prayer. Angels are watching the development of character and weighing moral worth. All our words and acts are passing in review before God. It is a fearful, solemn time. The hope of eternal life is not to be taken up upon slight grounds; it must be settled between God and your own soul. Some will lean upon others' judgement and experience rather than be at the
trouble of a close examination of their own hearts, and will pass along for months and years with no witness of the Spirit of God, or evidence of their acceptance. They deceive themselves. They have a supposed hope, but lack the essential qualifications of a Christian. First there must be a thorough heart work, then their manners will take that elevated, noble character which marks the true followers of Christ. It requires effort and moral courage to live out our faith.
God's people are peculiar. Their spirit cannot mingle with the spirit and influence of the world. You do not wish to bear the Christian name and yet be unworthy of it. You do not desire to meet Jesus with a profession only. You do not wish to be deceived in so important a matter. Thoroughly examine the grounds of your hope. Deal truly with your own soul. A supposed hope will never save you. Have you counted the cost? I fear not. Now decide whether you will follow Christ, cost what it will. You cannot do this and yet enjoy the society of those who pay no heed to divine things. Your spirits cannot mingle any more than oil and water.
It is a great thing to be a child of God, and a joint-heir with Christ. If this is your privilege, you will know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. God looketh upon the heart. I saw that you must seek Him earnestly, and raise your standard of piety higher, or you will certainly fail of everlasting life. You may ask the question: Did Sister White see this? Yes; and I have tried to place it before you and give you the impressions which were given me. May the Lord help you to take heed.
Dear brother and sister, watch your children with jealous care. The spirit and influence of the world are destroying all desire in them to be true Christians. Let your influence be to draw them from young companions who have no interest in divine things. They must make a sacrifice if they win heaven at last.