Hold Fast and Repent
by Ellen White
YOU to whom are committed the sacred, testing truths for this time, are you faithful to
your God-given trust? Everyone wields an influence over the destiny of other souls.
"Ye are the light of the world." Matthew 5:14. A faithful discharge of duty on
your part will have a telling influence on the impenitent; but if you neglect the work
which God has given to you, some soul will be lost. Consider this matter, I pray you, in
the light of God's Word; and may your souls feel the burden of your intrusted
responsibility. Oh that there might be a turning to the Lord by every member of the
church, that the earnest, fervent piety of each might be a message of warning to the
sinner! "Be zealous and repent," is the word of God to his professed people.
"I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place,
except thou repent." Revelation 2:5.
Many of our people are backsliding from God. We need to arouse. Let every soul that has
named the name of Christ depart from iniquity. We want a pure Christianity. Great dangers
are lurking for us on every side. When they most need the presence of God, many have it
least. They are in danger of becoming like the Jewish nation, who knew not the Scriptures
nor the power of God. Like the teachers of Israel, you may explain Bible truth to others,
and yet not practice it in your daily life. If the Jews had possessed an experimental
knowledge of the Scriptures, they would not have been ignorant of the power of God. Like
them, we have great light and privileges; but many do not respond to these, and herein
lies their peril. When Jesus wept over Jerusalem, His tears were for all who abuse present
privileges. He wept that so many who profess His name fail to become what God designed
them to be; that they continue in sin and weakness, while He is willing and able to save
them if they will but come to Him. The Saviour says, "What more could I have done
that I have not done in it?" He has dealt with His people as a loving father with a
wayward and rebellious child. But He sees grace resisted, privileges abused, opportunities
slighted. Where He had a right to expect earnest, vital piety, He sees insincerity, hollow
formalism, and Pharisaic pride. Neglect of light is chargeable on those whom God has
intrusted with great and solemn truths. Ingratitude for God's mercies, abuse of
blood-bought privileges, stand registered against many in the books of heaven, and are
treasuring up for them wrath against the day of wrath. Vengeance will surely be visited on
those who have had so great light, yet are so cold and unimpressible that no light shines
from them to the world.
God has loaded us with His benefits. Immortal blessings have been poured upon us in
great measure. Messengers have been sent with warnings, reproofs, and entreaties. God's
servants have wept and prayed over the lukewarm state of the church. Some may arouse, but
only to fall back into unconsciousness of their sin and peril. Passion, worldliness,
malice, envy, pride, strife for supremacy make our churches weak and powerless. Some of
Christ's ambassadors are carrying a heavy burden on their souls, because their message is
treated by so many as an idle tale. The eye of Jesus, looking down the ages, was fixed
upon our time when He said, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong unto thy peace!" Luke 19:42 (first part). It is still
thy day, O church of God, whom He has made the depository of His law. But this day of
trust and probation is fast drawing to a close. The sun is fast westering. Can it be that
it will set, and thou not know the things that belong unto thy peace? Must the irrevocable
sentence be passed, "But now they are hid from thine eyes"? Luke 19:42 (last
part). I tell you there is need to be alarmed. It is time to seek God earnestly, saying
with Jacob, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Genesis 32:26. It
will be of no avail to make a spasmodic effort, only to fall back into spiritual lethargy
and lukewarmness. The past, with the slighted mercies, the admonitions unheeded, the
earthly passions uncorrected, the privileges unimproved, the soul temple filled with
desecrated shrines--all are recorded in the books of heaven. But most solemn moments are
still before you. Because of past neglect, the efforts you make must be the more earnest.
The Saviour speaks to His people, "Be zealous therefore . . . and repent."
Revelation 3:19. It is not ministers whom you have slighted; it is not the warnings of men
that you have rejected; it is not my delegated prophets that you have refused to hear, but
your Redeemer, your only hope. If ye are destroyed, it is yourselves alone that are
responsible. Ye will not come to me that ye might have life. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
. . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her
brood under her wings, and ye would not!" Luke 13:34. I desired to save you, but ye
would not be doers of my Word. The arm strong to save, is also strong to punish. Jesus is
now looking from heaven above with yearning pity upon thee, even thee in this thy day, O
thoughtless, careless soul. But unless there is in our churches a general arousing, unless
there is an individual work of confessing and putting away sin, unless all shall give
earnest heed to the things that belong to their peace, the words of Christ may at any
moment be applicable to them: "Now they are hid from thine eyes." I intrusted
thee with a solemn, sacred message of truth to be made known to others, but thou hast been
unfaithful to thy holy trust. Souls have not been enlightened, warned, and urged to
repentance. Their blood will I require at thy hand.
Will our churches humble themselves before the Lord in this day of atonement? Will they
put away the sins which defile their garments of character, and separate them from God?
The present is our day of visitation. Look not to a future, more convenient season, when
the cross to be lifted will be less heavy, when the inclinations of the carnal heart will
be subdued with less effort. "To-day" saith the Spirit of God, "if ye will
hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Hebrews 4:7. Today go about the work, else
you may be one day too late. The impression that you have now may not be as strong
tomorrow. Satan's snare may close about you. The candlestick may be moved out of its
place, and you left in darkness. "See that you refuse not him that speaketh."
Hebrews 12:25. Says the true Witness, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock."
Revelation 3:20. Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the Word of God, or through His
delegated messengers, is a knock at the door of the heart; it is the voice of Jesus,
asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, your determination to open becomes weaker
and weaker. If the voice of Jesus is not heeded at once, it becomes confused in the mind
with a multitude of other voices, the world's care and business engross the attention, and
conviction dies away. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous
unconsciousness of the shortness of time, and of the great eternity beyond. The heavenly
Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance.
Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test
your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness
to triumph? Will you squander God's talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of
the blessings He has given?
There are some whose hold on life is weakening. Disease is preying upon them. Soon will
come the time for the separation from all earthly things. Will they venture to trifle with
God now? Will they rob Him by withholding help from His cause? Are there any who will
prefer perishable, earthly treasure to the heavenly, immortal substance? Christ is making
His last appeal to hearts. How importunate His entreaty, how reluctant He is to give you
up to separation from His love and presence forever! Still is heard the step of Him who
waiteth at your door; His voice is yet pleading for entrance; but there is a point beyond
which His forbearance will not reach. Shall the words be written over the doomed doorway,
"Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone"? Hosea 4:17. Shall it be spoken
concerning you, He is joined to his idol of sensuality: let him alone? He is joined to his
idol of earthly treasure: let him alone? He is joined to his idolatry of self: let him
alone? The Sun of righteousness may set this very day for those who have had great light
and privileges, and have not improved them. You have no time to loiter, no time to consult
your convenience. It is now, even now, that you are to be zealous and repent. Oh, it is
peace that you need--Heaven's forgiveness, peace, and love in the soul! Money cannot buy
it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain to it; but Jesus offers it as a
gift. It is yours if you will but reach out your hand and grasp it. Many are weary of
their half-hearted service. Their souls cry out after the living God. We are so weak, so
helpless, yet so desirous for a better state of things, that we turn away from a religion
that has no divine manifestation. We cannot be satisfied with a form of godliness. We must
have the deep movings of the Spirit of God in the soul.
Let the minister of God in his labors lean upon the arm of infinite power. Let him lay
bare his soul in the secret place alone before God. Let him with loathing put away soul
defilement. Let the weary, discouraged soul cry as did Jacob, for the Comforter. Never
trust in what you yourself can do. Your wisdom is but foolishness. Ever keep in heart the
knowledge that we are laborers for God. The Lord is leading His church in these last days
as He led ancient Israel. While He gives them warnings, reproofs, and encouragement
through His delegated servant, Christ, the angel of the covenant, who in the pillar of
cloud and of fire went before the Hebrew host, is the Leader of His people today. Provoke
Him not with your murmurings, by your selfish withholding from His cause, by cherishing
iniquity; for in the face of great light He will not pardon your continual transgressions.
The warning to the Sardis church is applicable at this time: "I know thy works, that
thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things
which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If
therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know
what hour I will come upon thee." Revelation 3:1-3. And to us also the promise is
extended. "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their
garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh,
the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the
book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Revelation 3:4-5. Review and Herald, November 2, 1886.