Let Israel hope in the Lord - In such circumstances of affliction and distress, let not the people of God despair. In the darkest night, in calamities deep and prolonged, let not those who love God despair. The morning will dawn; the light will break in the east; deliverance and joy will come. The Hebrew here is, “Trust, O Israel, in the Lord.” The design of the Psalmist seems to be, from his own experience, to persuade others - the afflicted people of God - to put their trust in Him in whom he had himself hoped. From the very depths of affliction, guilt, and almost despair, he had looked to the Lord: encouraged and persuaded by his example, he would now entreat the people of God everywhere and always, in like manner, to trust him.
For with the Lord there is mercy - He is merciful, and in his mercy we may trust.
And with him is plenteous redemption - It is ample; it is full; it abounds. It is not limited; it is not exhausted; it cannot be exhausted. So we may always feel when we come before God, that his mercy is ample for all the needs of all the sinful and the suffering; that the provisions of his grace are unexhausted and inexhaustible. Applying this, as we may, to the work of the Saviour, we may feel that the redemption which is in him is adequate to the needs of a world, and that although numberless million have been saved by it, yet that it is still as rich, as full, and as free as it was in the beginning; as the ocean, though from the beginning of the world it has supplied the materials for rain and dew to water the hills, the vales, the continents, and the islands, is still full; as the light of the sun, though for thousands of ages it has poured its light on the planets, and on all the vast space between itself and those orbs, and has sent out its light into the vast regions beyond, still shines with undiminished splendor, and pours its floods of day and of glory on all those worlds.
As noted in the preface to this third edition, Testimonies to Ministers consists of materials drawn from several sources, primarily Ellen G. White articles which have appeared in the Review and Herald and pamphlets bearing testimonies to the Battle Creek church and to the leading workers of the cause. The larger part of the content of this volume was written in the years 1890-1898, with some earlier and later materials drawn in to augment certain areas of counsel. Section I, “The Church of Christ,” gives assurance of the tender regard in which God holds his church, and contains clear-cut promises of the church's triumph. This is followed by Warnings and Counsels to Ministers and Administrators. TM xv.1
The decade of the 1890's was an interesting, yet in some ways distressing, period in the experience of Seventh-day Adventists. The church was growing, more than doubling its membership in the ten-year period. With rapidity its workers were entering new countries. Institutions at home and abroad were brought into being. The original provisions for organization devised at the first general conference session in 1863 were being rapidly outgrown. Older established institutions were expanding and entering upon a period of popularity with both Seventh-day Adventists and the world. This growth was fraught with many perils, from liberalism on one hand to consolidation and centralization on the other hand. Then, in and through the experience of this period, there were elements reflecting the aftermath of the 1888 General Conference session held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where certain doctrinal issues were discussed heatedly and at length. A number of men identified themselves with one camp or the other, with their decisions influenced not alone by the doctrinal arguments presented, but also molded by attitudes toward the spirit of prophecy counsels. In some cases these attitudes were not wholesome. Through most of this period, Ellen White was in Australia, laboring to build up the work in that newly entered land and leading out in the establishment of a college and a sanitarium in that continent. TM xv.2Read in context »
Here is the ground upon which we should exercise compassion toward our fellow sinners. “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:11. “Freely ye have received,” Christ says, “freely give.” Matthew 10:8. COL 245.1
In the parable, when the debtor pleaded for delay, with the promise, “Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all,” the sentence was revoked. The whole debt was canceled. And he was soon given an opportunity to follow the example of the master who had forgiven him. Going out, he met a fellow servant who owed him a small sum. He had been forgiven ten thousand talents; the debtor owed him a hundred pence. But he who had been so mercifully treated, dealt with his fellow laborer in an altogether different manner. His debtor made an appeal similar to that which he himself had made to the king, but without a similar result. He who had so recently been forgiven was not tenderhearted and pitiful. The mercy shown him he did not exercise in dealing with his fellowservant. He heeded not the request to be patient. The small sum owed to him was all that the ungrateful servant would keep in mind. He demanded all that he thought his due, and carried into effect a sentence similar to that which had been so graciously revoked for him. COL 245.2
How many are today manifesting the same spirit. When the debtor pleaded with his lord for mercy, he had no true sense of the greatness of his debt. He did not realize his helplessness. He hoped to deliver himself. “Have patience with me,” he said, “and I will pay thee all.” So there are many who hope by their own works to merit God's favor. They do not realize their helplessness. They do not accept the grace of God as a free gift, but are trying to build themselves up in self-righteousness. Their own hearts are not broken and humbled on account of sin, and they are exacting and unforgiving toward others. Their own sins against God, compared with their brother's sins against them, are as ten thousand talents to one hundred pence—nearly one million to one; yet they dare to be unforgiving. COL 245.3Read in context »