Backbiters - Καταλαλους, from κατα, against, and λαλεω, I speak; those who speak against others; false accusers, slanderers.
Haters of God - Θεοστυγεις, atheists, contemners of sacred things, maligners of providence, scorners, etc. All profligate deists are of this class; and it seems to be the finishing part of a diabolic character.
Despiteful - Ὑβριστας, from ὑβριζω, to treat with injurious insolence; stormy, boisterous; abusing both the characters and persons of those over whom they can have any power.
Proud - Ὑπερηφανους, from ὑπερ, above or over, and φαινω, I show or shine. They who are continually exalting themselves and depressing others; magnifying themselves at the expense of their neighbors; and wishing all men to receive their sayings as oracles.
Boasters - Αλαζονας, from λαζομαι, to assume; self-assuming, vain-glorious, and arrogant men.
Inventors of evil things - Εφευρετας κακων . Those who have invented destructive customs, rites, fashions, etc.; such as the different religious ceremonies among the Greeks and Romans - the orgies of Bacchus, the mysteries of Ceres, the lupercalia, feasts of the Bona Dea, etc., etc. Multitudes of which evil things, destructive and abominable ceremonies, are to be found in every part of the heathen worship.
Disobedient to parents - Though filial affection was certainly more recommended and cultivated than many other virtues, yet there are many instances on record of the grossest violation of this great branch of the law of nature.
Backbiters - Those Who calumniate, slander, or speak ill of those who are absent. Whisperers declare secretly, and with great reserve, the supposed faults of others. Backbiters proclaim them publicly and avowedly.
Haters of God - There is no charge which can be brought against people more severe than this. It is the highest possible crime; yet it is a charge which the conduct of people will abundantly justify, and the truth of which all those experience who are brought to see their true character. To an awakened sinner there is often nothing more plain and painful than that he is a hater of God. His heart rises up against Him, and his Law, and his plan of saving people; and he deeply feels that nothing can subdue this but the mighty power of the Holy One. This is a charge which is not unfrequently brought against people in the Bible; see John 7:7; John 15:18, John 15:24-25; John 3:19-20. Surely, if this be the native character of man, then it is “far gone from original righteousness.” No more striking proof of depravity could be given; and in no creed or confession of faith is there a more painful and humiliating representation given of human wickedness, than in this declaration of an inspired apostle, that people are by nature haters of God.
Despiteful - This word denotes those who abuse, or treat with unkindness or disdain, those who are present. Whisperers and backbiters are those who calumniate those who are absent.
Proud - Pride is well understood. It is an inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one‘s superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, etc. (Webster). Of the existence of this everywhere, there is abundant proof. And it was particularly striking among the ancients. The sect of the Stoics was distinguished for it, and this was the general character of their philosophers. People will be proud where they suppose none are superior; and it is only the religion that reveals a great and infinite God, and that teaches that all blessings are his gift, and that he has given us the station which we occupy, that will produce true humility. We may add, that the system of paganism did not disclose the wickedness of the heart, and that rids was a main reason why they were elevated in self-esteem.
Boasters - Those who arrogate to themselves what they do not possess, and glory on it. This is closely connected with pride. A man who has an inordinate self-conceit, will not be slow to proclaim his own merits to those around him.
Inventors of evil things - This doubtless refers to their seeking to find out new arts or plans to practice evil; new devices to gratify their lusts and passions; new forms of luxury, and vice, etc. So intent were they on practicing evil, so resolved to gratify their passions, that the mind was excited to discover new modes of gratification. In cities of luxury and vice, this has always been done. Vices change their form, people become satiated, and they are obliged to resort to some new form. The passions cease to be gratified with old forms of indulgence, and consequently people are obliged to resort to new devices to pamper their appetites, and to rekindle their dying passions to a flame. This was eminently true of ancient Rome; a place where all the arts of luxury, all the devices of passion, all the designs of splendid gratification, were called forth to excite and pamper the evil passions of people. Their splendid entertainments, their games, their theaters, their sports - cruel and bloody - were little else than new and ever-varying inventions of evil things to gratify the desires of lust and of pride.
Disobedient to parents - This expresses the idea that they did not show to parents that honor, respect, and attention which was due. This has been a crime of paganism in every age; and though among the Romans the duty of honoring parents was enjoined by the laws, yet it is not improbable that the duty was often violated, and that parents were treated with great neglect and even contempt. “Disobedience to parents was punished by the Jewish Law with death, and with the Hindus it is attended with the loss of the child‘s inheritance. The ancient Greeks considered the neglect of it to be extremely impious, and attended with the most certain effects of divine vengeance. Solon ordered all persons who refused to make due provision for their parents to be punished with infamy, and the same penalty was incurred for personal violence toward them.” Kent‘s Commentaries on American Law, vol. ii. p. 207; compare Virg. AEniad, ix. 283. The feelings of pride and haughtiness would lead to disregard of parents. It might also be felt that to provide for them when aged and infirm was a burden; and hence, there would arise disregard for their wants, and probably open opposition to their wishes, as being the demands of petulance and age. It has been one characteristic of paganism every where, that it leaves children to treat their parents with neglect. Among the Sandwich islanders it was customary, when a parent was old, infirm, and sick beyond the hope of recovery, for his own children to bury him alive; and it has been the common custom in India for children to leave their aged parents to perish on the banks of the Ganges.
Licentiousness the Special Sin—A terrible picture of the condition of the world has been presented before me. Immorality abounds everywhere. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age. Never did vice lift its deformed head with such boldness as now. The people seem to be benumbed, and the lovers of virtue and true goodness are nearly discouraged by its boldness, strength, and prevalence.3 CG 440.1
I was referred to Romans 1:18-32, as a true description of the world previous to the second appearing of Christ.4 CG 440.2
It is sin, not trial and suffering, which separates God from His people and renders the soul incapable of enjoying and glorifying Him. It is sin that is destroying souls. Sin and vice exist in Sabbathkeeping families.5 CG 440.3Read in context »
Through the Jewish nation it was God's purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man. COL 286.1
It was for the accomplishment of this purpose that God called Abraham out from his idolatrous kindred and bade him dwell in the land of Canaan. “I will make of thee a great nation,” He said, “and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.” Genesis 12:2. COL 286.2
The descendants of Abraham, Jacob and his posterity, were brought down to Egypt that in the midst of that great and wicked nation they might reveal the principles of God's kingdom. The integrity of Joseph and his wonderful work in preserving the lives of the whole Egyptian people were a representation of the life of Christ. Moses and many others were witnesses for God. COL 286.3
In bringing forth Israel from Egypt, the Lord again manifested His power and His mercy. His wonderful works in their deliverance from bondage and His dealings with them in their travels through the wilderness were not for their benefit alone. These were to be as an object lesson to the surrounding nations. The Lord revealed Himself as a God above all human authority and greatness. The signs and wonders He wrought in behalf of His people showed His power over nature and over the greatest of those who worshiped nature. God went through the proud land of Egypt as He will go through the earth in the last days. With fire and tempest, earthquake and death, the great I AM redeemed His people. He took them out of the land of bondage. He led them through the “great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought.” Deuteronomy 8:15. He brought them forth water out of “the rock of flint,” and fed them with “the corn of heaven.” Psalm 78:24. “For,” said Moses, “the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.” Deuteronomy 32:9-12. Thus He brought them unto Himself, that they might dwell as under the shadow of the Most High. COL 286.4Read in context »
The chief requisite of language is that it be pure and kind and true—“the outward expression of an inward grace.” God says: “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. And if such are the thoughts, such will be the expression. Ed 235.1
The best school for this language study is the home; but since the work of the home is so often neglected, it devolves on the teacher to aid his pupils in forming right habits of speech. Ed 235.2
The teacher can do much to discourage that evil habit, the curse of the community, the neighborhood, and the home—the habit of backbiting, gossip, ungenerous criticism. In this no pains should be spared. Impress upon the students the fact that this habit reveals a lack of culture and refinement and of true goodness of heart; it unfits one both for the society of the truly cultured and refined in this world and for association with the holy ones of heaven. Ed 235.3Read in context »
The prayer which Nathanael offered while he was under the fig tree came from a sincere heart, and it was heard and answered by the Master. Christ said of him: “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” The Lord reads the hearts of all and understands their motives and purposes. “The prayer of the upright is His delight.” He will not be slow to hear those who open their hearts to Him, not exalting self, but sincerely feeling their great weakness and unworthiness. 4T 534.1
There is need of prayer,—most earnest, fervent, agonizing prayer,—such prayer as David offered when he exclaimed: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.” “I have longed after Thy precepts;” “I have longed for Thy salvation.” “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” “My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto Thy judgments.” This is the spirit of wrestling prayer, such as was possessed by the royal psalmist. 4T 534.2
Daniel prayed to God, not exalting himself or claiming any goodness: “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for Thine own sake, O my God.” This is what James calls the effectual, fervent prayer. Of Christ it is said: “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly.” In what contrast to this intercession by the Majesty of heaven are the feeble, heartless prayers that are offered to God. Many are content with lip service, and but few have a sincere, earnest, affectionate longing after God. 4T 534.3Read in context »