Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame - The same metaphor as in Isaiah 57:20; : The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. These are like the sea in a storm, where the swells are like mountains; the breakers lash the shore, and sound like thunder; and the great deep, stirred up from its very bottom, rolls its muddy, putrid sediment, and deposits it upon the beach. Such were those proud and arrogant boasters, those headstrong, unruly, and ferocious men, who swept into their own vortex the souls of the simple, and left nothing behind them that was not indicative of their folly, their turbulence, and their impurity.
Wandering stars - Αστερες πλανηται· Not what we call planets; for although these differ from what are called the fixed stars, which never change their place, while the planets have their revolution round the sun; yet, properly speaking, there is no irregularity in their motions: for their appearance of advancing, stationary, and retrograde, are only in reference to an observer on the earth, viewing them in different parts of their orbits; for as to themselves, they ever continue a steady course through all their revolutions. But these are uncertain, anomalous meteors, ignes fatui, wills-o'-the-wisp; dancing about in the darkness which themselves have formed, and leading simple souls astray, who have ceased to walk in the light, and have no other guides but those oscillating and devious meteors which, if you run after them, will flee before you, and if you run from them will follow you.
The blackness of darkness - They are such as are going headlong into that outer darkness where there is wailing, and weeping, and gnashing of teeth. The whole of this description appears to have been borrowed from 2 Peter 2, where the reader is requested to see the notes.
Raging waves of the sea - Compare 2 Peter 2:18. They are like the wild and restless waves of the ocean. The image here seems to be, that they were noisy and bold in their professions, and were as wild and ungovernable in their passions as the billows of the sea.
Foaming out their own shame - The waves are lashed into foam, and break and dash on the shore. They seem to produce nothing but foam, and to proclaim their own shame, that after all their wild roaring and agitation they should effect no more. So with these noisy and vaunting teachers. What they impart is as unsubstantial and valueless as the foam of the ocean waves, and the result is in fact a proclamation of their own shame. Men with so loud professions should produce much more.
Wandering stars - The word rendered “wandering” ( πλανῆται planētai) is that from which we have derived the word “planet.” It properly means one who wanders about; a wanderer; and was given by the ancients to planets because they seemed to wander about the heavens, now forward and now backward among the ether stars, without any fixed law. - Pliny, Nat. Hist. ii. 6. Cicero, however, who saw that they were governed by certain established laws, says that the name seemed to be given to them without reason. - De Nat. Deo. ii. 20. So far as the “words” used are concerned, the reference may be either to the planets, properly so called, or to comets, or to “ignes fatui,” or meteors. The proper idea is that of stars that have no regular motions, or that do not move in fixed and regular orbits. The laws of the planetary motions were not then understood, and their movements seemed to be irregular and capricious; and hence, if the reference is to them, they might be regarded as not an unapt illustration of these teachers. The sense seems to be, that the aid which we derive from the stars, as in navigation, is in the fact that they are regular in their places and movements, and thus the mariner can determine his position. If they had no regular places and movements, they would be useless to the seaman. So with false religious teachers. No dependence can be placed on them. It is not uncommon to compare a religious teacher to a star, Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:1. Compare Revelation 22:16. To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever - Not to the stars, but to the teachers. The language here is the same as in 2 Peter 2:17. See the notes at that verse.
To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever - Not to the stars, but to the teachers. The language here is the same as in 2 Peter 2:17. See the notes at that verse.
I saw that if God's people in Wisconsin would prosper, they must take a decided position in regard to these things, and thereby cut off the influence of those who are causing distraction and division by teaching sentiments contrary to the body. Such are wandering stars. They seem to emit a little light; they profess and carry along a little truth, and thus deceive the inexperienced. Satan endows them with his spirit, but God is not with them; His Spirit does not dwell in them. Jesus prayed that His disciples might be one, as He is one with the Father, “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” The oneness and unity of God's truth-believing remnant people carries powerful conviction to the world that they have the truth, and are the peculiar, chosen people of God. This oneness and unity disconcerts the enemy, and he is determined that it shall not exist. The present truth, believed in the heart and exemplified in the life, makes God's people one, and gives them a powerful influence. 1T 327.1
Had professed Sabbathkeepers in Wisconsin earnestly sought and labored to be in union with the prayer of Christ, to be one as He is one with the Father, Satan's work would have been defeated. If all had sought to be in union with the body, the fanaticism which has brought so deep a stain upon the cause of present truth in northern Wisconsin would not have arisen; for it is the result of drawing off from the body, and seeking to have an original, independent faith, regardless of the faith of the body. 1T 327.2
In the last vision given at Battle Creek I was shown that an unwise course was taken at —— in regard to the visions at the time of the organization of the church there. There were some in —— who were God's children, and yet doubted the visions. Others had no opposition, yet dared not take a decided stand in regard to them. Some were skeptical, and they had sufficient cause to make them so. The false visions and fanatical exercises, and the wretched fruits following, had an influence upon the cause in Wisconsin to make minds jealous of everything bearing the name of visions. All these things should have been taken into consideration, and wisdom exercised. There should be no trial or labor with those who have never seen the individual having visions, and who have had no personal knowledge of the influence of the visions. Such should not be deprived of the benefits and privileges of the church, if their Christian course is otherwise correct, and they have formed a good Christian character. 1T 327.3Read in context »
According to the light which God has given me, there will yet be a large company raised up in the East to consistently obey the truth. Those who follow in the distracted course they have chosen will be left to embrace errors which will finally cause their overthrow; but they will for a time be stumbling blocks to those who would receive the truth. Ministers who labor in word and doctrine should be thorough workmen, and should present the truth in its purity, yet with simplicity. They should feed the flock with clean provender, thoroughly winnowed. There are wandering stars professing to be ministers sent of God who are preaching the Sabbath from place to place, but who have truth mixed up with error and are throwing out their mass of discordant views to the people. Satan has pushed them in to disgust intelligent and sensible unbelievers. Some of these have much to say upon the gifts and are often especially exercised. They give themselves up to wild, excitable feelings and make unintelligible sounds which they call the gift of tongues, and a certain class seem to be charmed with these strange manifestations. A strange spirit rules with this class, which would bear down and run over anyone who would reprove them. God's Spirit is not in the work and does not attend such workmen. They have another spirit. Still, such preachers have success among a certain class. But this will greatly increase the labor of those servants whom God shall send, who are qualified to present before the people the Sabbath and the gifts in their proper light, and whose influence and example are worthy of imitation. 1T 414.1
The truth should be presented in a manner which will make it attractive to the intelligent mind. We are not understood as a people, but are looked upon as poor, weak-minded, low, and degraded. Then how important for all who teach, and all who believe the truth, to be so affected by its sanctifying influence that their consistent, elevated lives shall show unbelievers that they have been deceived in this people. How important that the cause of truth be stripped of everything like a false and fanatical excitement, that the truth may stand upon its own merits, revealing its native purity and exalted character. 1T 414.2
I saw that it is highly important for those who preach the truth to be refined in their manners, to shun oddities and eccentricities, and present the truth in its purity and clearness. I was referred to Titus 1:9: “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” In verse 16 Paul speaks of a class who profess that they know God, but in works deny him, being “unto every good work reprobate.” He then exhorts Titus: “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.... Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” This instruction is written for the benefit of all whom God has called to preach the word, and also for the benefit of His people who hear the word. 1T 415.1Read in context »
There will ever be flashing meteors to arise; but the trail of light they leave immediately goes out in darkness that seems denser than it was before. These sensational religious excitements that are created by the relation of anecdotes and the exhibition of eccentricities and oddities are all surface work, and those of our faith who are charmed and infatuated by these flashes of light will never build up the cause of God. They are ready to withdraw their influence upon the slightest occasion and to induce others to attend those gatherings where they hear that which weakens the soul and brings confusion to the mind. It is this withdrawal of the interest from the work that makes the cause of God languish. We must be steadfast in the faith; we must not be movable. We have our work before us, which is to cause the light of truth, as revealed in the law of God, to shine in upon other minds and lead them out of darkness. This work requires determined, persevering energy and a fixed purpose to succeed. 4T 74.1
There are some in the church who need to cling to the pillars of our faith, to settle down and find rock bottom, instead of drifting on the surface of excitement and moving from impulse. There are spiritual dyspeptics in the church. They are self-made invalids; their spiritual debility is the result of their own wavering course. They are tossed about here and there by the changing winds of doctrine, and are often confused and thrown into uncertainty because they move entirely by feeling. They are sensational Christians, ever hungering for something new and diverse; strange doctrines confuse their faith, and they are worthless to the cause of truth. 4T 74.2
God calls for men and women of stability, of firm purpose, who can be relied upon in seasons of danger and trial, who are as firmly rooted and grounded in the truth as the eternal hills, who cannot be swayed to the right or to the left, but who move straight onward and are always found on the right side. There are some, who, in time of religious peril, may almost always be looked for in the ranks of the enemy; if they have any influence, it is on the wrong side. They do not feel under moral obligation to give all their strength to the truth they profess. Such will be rewarded according to their works. 4T 75.1Read in context »