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    Should Christians Be Members of Secret Societies?
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with
Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of
God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and
walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and
will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor.
   The Lord's injunction, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14), refers
not only to the marriage of Christians with the ungodly, but to all alliances in which the parties are
brought into intimate association, and in which there is need of harmony in spirit and action. The Lord
gave special direction to Israel to keep themselves distinct from idolaters. They were not to intermarry
with the heathen nor form any confederacy with them: "Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a
covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
but ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: for thou shalt worship
no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Ex. 34:12-14).
    "For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a
special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set
his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the
fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he
had sworn unto your fathers. . . . Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God,
which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a
thousand generations" (Deut. 7:6-9).
Again the Lord declares through the prophet Isaiah:
    "Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far
countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; ... Take counsel together, and it shall
come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us. For the Lord spake thus
to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying,
Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye
their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be
your dread" (Isa. 8:9-13).
   There are those who question whether it is right for Christians to belong to the Free Masons and
other secret societies. Let all such consider the scriptures just quoted. If we are Christians at all, we
must be Christians everywhere, and must consider and heed the counsel given to make us Christians
according to the standard of God's Word.
Cooperation With Divine Agencies
    The people of God on earth are the human agents that are to cooperate with divine agencies for
the salvation of men. To the souls that have joined themselves to Him, Christ says, "You are one with
Me, 'labourers together with God'" (1 Cor. 3:9). God is the great and unperceived actor; man is the
humble and seen agent, and it is only in cooperation with the heavenly agencies that he can do
anything good. It is only as the mind is enlightened by the Holy Spirit that men discern the divine
agency. And hence Satan is constantly seeking to divert minds from the divine to the human, that man
may not cooperate with Heaven. He directs the attention to human inventions, leading men to trust
in man, to make flesh their arm, so that their faith does not take hold upon God.
    "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of
light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in
thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" (Matt. 6:22, 23).
    And when our light becomes darkness, how shall we be a light to the world?
   The work of our personal salvation also depends upon our cooperation with the divine agencies.
God has imparted to us moral powers and religious susceptibilities. He has given His Son as a
propitiation for our sins, that we might be reconciled to God. Jesus lived a life of self-denial and
sacrifice, that we might follow His example. He has given the Holy Spirit to be in Christ's stead in
every place where help is needed. He employs the heavenly intelligences to bring divine power to
combine with our human efforts. But we must accept the gift of God, we must repent, and believe in
Christ. We must watch, we must pray, we must obey the requirements of God. We must practice
self-denial and self-sacrifice for Christ's sake. We must grow up into Christ by constant connection
with Him. Whatever turns the mind away from God to trust in man, or conform to a human standard,
will prevent us from cooperating with God in the work of our own salvation. This is why the Lord
forbade His people to form any alliance with the heathen, "lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee"
(Ex. 34:12). He said, "They will turn away thy son from following me" (Deut. 7:4). And the same
principle applies to the association of Christians with the ungodly.
In Covenant Relation
     When we accepted Christ as our Redeemer, we accepted the condition of becoming laborers
together with God. We made a covenant with Him to be wholly for the Lord; as faithful stewards of
the grace of Christ, to labor for the up building of His kingdom in the world. Every follower of Christ
stands pledged to dedicate all his powers of mind and soul and body to Him who has paid the ransom
money for our souls. We engaged to be soldiers, to enter into active service, to endure trials, shame,
reproach, to fight the fight of faith, following the Captain of our salvation.
    In your connection with worldly societies are you keeping your covenant with God? Do these
associations tend to direct your own mind or that of others to God, or are they diverting the interest
and attention from Him? Do they strengthen your connection with the divine agencies, or turn your
mind to the human in place of the divine?
   Are you serving, honoring, and magnifying God, or are you dishonoring Him and sinning against
Him? Are you gathering with Christ or scattering abroad? All the thought and plan and earnest
interest devoted to these organizations has been purchased by the precious blood of Christ; but are
you doing service for Him when uniting yourselves with atheists and infidels, men who profane the
name of God, tipplers, drunkards, tobacco devotees?
    While there may be in these societies much that appears to be good, there is, mingled with this,
very much that makes the good of no effect, and renders these associations detrimental to the interests
of the soul. We have another life than that which is sustained by temporal food. "Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). "Except ye
eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). Jesus said,
"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life" (John 6:54). Our bodies are built
up from what we eat and drink. And as in the natural, so in the spiritual economy; it is that which our
minds dwell upon which sustains the spiritual nature. Our Saviour said, "It is the spirit that
quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are
life" (John 6:63). Spiritual life must be sustained by communion with Christ through His Word. The
mind must dwell upon it, the heart must be filled with it. The Word of God laid up in the heart and
sacredly cherished and obeyed, through the power of the grace of Christ can make man right, and keep
him right; but every human influence, every earthly invention, is powerless to give strength and
wisdom to man. It cannot restrain passion, or correct deformity of character. Unless the truth of God
controls the heart, the conscience will be warped. But in these worldly societies the mind is turned
away from the Word of God. Men are not led to make it the study and the guide of life.
Is God Honored?
   I ask you who take pleasure in these associations, who love the gathering for indulgence in wit and
merriment and feasting, Do you take Jesus with you? Are you seeking to save the souls of your
companions? Is that the object of your association with them? Do they see and feel that there is in you
a living embodiment of the Spirit of Christ? Is it manifest that you are a witness for Christ, that you
belong to a peculiar people, zealous of good works? Is it manifest that your life is governed by the
divine precepts, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy mind" (Matt. 22:37), and, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matt. 19:19)? To speak
to the hearts and consciences of those that are ready to perish, is beyond the power of one who does
not himself surrender all for Christ. But where do your fluency and warmth of speech show that your
interest is centered?
    In these societies what are the favorite subjects of conversation? What are the themes that excite
interest and give pleasure? Are they not the gratification of the senses --eating and drinking and
pleasure seeking? The presence of Christ is unknown in these gatherings. No reference is made to
Him. His companionship is not desired. Where and when is God honored by such associations?
Wherein is the soul in the least benefited? If you do not influence your companions for good, are they
not influencing you for evil? Will it do to lay aside the lamp of life, God's Word, and mingle freely
with this class of associates, and come to their level? Do you think you can find something to satisfy
the hunger of the soul apart from truth and the favor of God? Shall those who profess to believe the
truth for this time be at home in such scenes, when God is not in all their thoughts?
    In the same room where these societies have had their gatherings, the congregations have met to
worship God. Can you during the sacred hour of divine service forget the scenes of merriment and
feasting, and indulgence in the wine cup? All this God writes in His book as intemperance. How does
it blend with eternal realities? Do you forget that at all these pleasure gatherings there is a Witness
present, as at the feast of Belshazzar? Could the curtain that separates us from the invisible world be
rolled back, you would behold the Saviour grieved to see men absorbed in the pleasures of the table,
in hilarity and witticism, that put Christ, the center of the world's hope, out of their thoughts.
    Those who cannot discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not, may be
charmed with these societies that have no connection with God, but no earnest Christian can prosper
in such an atmosphere. The vital air of heaven is not there. His soul is barren, and he feels as destitute
of the refreshing of the Holy Spirit as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain.
    At times the follower of Christ may by circumstances be compelled to witness scenes of unholy
pleasure, but it is with a sorrowful heart. The language is not the language of Canaan, and the child
of God will never choose such associations. When he is necessarily brought into society that he does
not choose, let him lean upon God, and the Lord will preserve him. But he is not to sacrifice his
principles in any case, whatever the temptation.
Not of Christ
   Christ will never lead His followers to take upon themselves vows that will unite them with men
who have no connection with God, who are not under the controlling influence of His Holy Spirit.
The only correct standard of character is the holy law of God, and it is impossible for those who make
that law the rule of life to unite in confidence and cordial brotherhood with those who turn the truth
of God into a lie, and regard the authority of God as a thing of nought.
    Between the worldly man and the one who is faithfully serving God, there is a great gulf fixed.
Upon the most momentous subjects--God and truth and eternity-- their thoughts and sympathies and
feelings are not in harmony. One class is ripening as wheat for the garner of God, the other as tares
for the fires of destruction. How can there be unity of purpose or action between them?
    "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be
a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4).
   "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will
hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24).
    But we are to beware of indulging a spirit of bigotry and intolerance. We are not to stand aside
from others in a spirit that seems to say, "Come not near me; I am holier than thou." Do not shut
yourselves away from your fellow men, but seek to impart to them the precious truth that has blessed
your own heart. Let it be manifest that yours is the religion of love.
    "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
   But if we are Christians, having the Spirit of Him who died to save men from their sins, we shall
love the souls of our fellow men too well to countenance their sinful pleasures by our presence or our
influence. We cannot sanction their course by associating with them, partaking in their feasts and their
councils, where God does not preside. Such a course, so far from benefiting them, would only cause
them to doubt the reality of our religion. We should be false lights, by our example leading souls to
    I lately read of a noble ship that was plowing its way across the sea, when at midnight, with a
terrific crash, it struck upon a rock; the passengers were awakened only to see with horror their
hopeless condition, and with the ship they sank to rise no more. The man at the helm had mistaken
the beacon light, and hundreds of souls were at a moment's warning launched into eternity. If we
present a phase of character that misrepresents Christ, we present a false light, and souls will surely
be misled by our example.
Danger of Spiritual Declension
   And Christians who connect themselves with worldly associations are injuring themselves as well
as misleading others. Those who fear God cannot choose the ungodly for companions, and be
themselves unharmed. In these societies they are brought under the influence of worldly principles
and customs, and through the power of association and habit the mind becomes more and more
conformed to the worldling's standard. Their love for God grows cold, and they have no desire for
communion with Him. They become spiritually blind. They can see no particular difference between
the transgressor of God's law and those who fear God and keep His commandments. They call evil
good, and good evil. The brightness of eternal realities fades away. The truth may be presented to
them in ever so forcible a manner, but they do not hunger for the bread of life, or thirst for the waters
of salvation. They are drinking at broken cisterns that can hold no water. Oh, it is an easy thing, by
association with the world, to catch their spirit, to be molded by their views of things, so that we do
not discern the preciousness of Jesus and the truth. And just to the degree that the spirit of the world
dwells in our heart, it will control our life.
   When men are not under the control of the Word and the Spirit of God, they are captives of Satan,
and we know not to what lengths he may lead them in sin. The patriarch Jacob beheld those who take
pleasure in wickedness. He saw what would be the result of association with them, and in the Spirit
he exclaimed, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not
thou united" (Gen. 49:6). He lifts up the danger signal, to warn every soul against such associations.
The apostle Paul echoes the warning: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness"
(Eph. 5:11). "Be not deceived: Evil company doth corrupt good manners" (1 Cor. 15:33, R.V.).
   The soul is deceived when it trusts to worldly policy and human inventions instead of trusting in
the Lord God of Israel. Can man find a better guide than the Lord Jesus? a better counselor in doubt
and trial? a better defense in danger? To set aside the wisdom of God for human wisdom is a
soul-destroying delusion.
   If you would see what man will do when he rejects the influence of the grace of God, look to that
scene in the judgment hall, when the infuriated mob, headed by Jewish priests and elders, clamored
for the life of the Son of God. See the divine Sufferer standing by the side of Barabbas, and Pilate
asking which he should release unto them. The hoarse cry, swelled by hundreds of passionate, Satan-
inspired voices, is, "Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas" (Luke 23:18)! And when
Pilate asked what was to be done with Jesus they cried, "Crucify him, crucify him" (Luke 23:21)!
    Human nature then is human nature now. When the divine Remedy that would have saved and
exalted human nature is despised, the same spirit still lives in the hearts of men, and we cannot trust
to their guidance and maintain our loyalty to Christ.
God Looks Beneath the Surface
    These societies, that are not controlled by the love and fear of God, will not be found true and
upright toward man. Many of their transactions are contrary to justice and equity. He who is of too
pure eyes to behold evil will not, cannot, be a party to many things that take place in these
associations. Your own conscience will bear witness to the truth of what I say. The talent and skill
and inventive power with which God has endowed men are, in these associations, too often perverted
to instruments of cruelty, of iniquity, of selfishness in practicing fraud upon their fellow men.
    Of course all this is denied by the members of these bodies. But God looks beneath the pleasant,
attractive appearance, to the secret, underlying motives and the real working of the association. While
some of them claim to make the Word of God in a certain sense the basis of their organization, they
depart far from the principles of righteousness. The vows imposed by some of these orders require
the taking of human life when the secrets of the order are divulged. Members are also pledged, under
certain circumstances, to clear the guilty from deserved punishment. Toward those who work against
the order, they are required to pursue a course that is not at all in harmony with the law of God.
   We cannot swerve from the truth, we cannot depart from right principles, without forsaking Him
who is our strength, our righteousness, and our sanctification. We should be firmly rooted in the
conviction that whatever in any sense turns us aside from truth and justice in our association and
partnership with men, cannot benefit us, and greatly dishonors God. Every species of deceit or
conniving at sin is abhorrent to Him.
   Fraud runs all through these secret associations, and none can be bound up with them and be free
men before God and heaven. The moral nature is dragged down to that which God pronounces unjust,
which is contrary to His will and His commandments. One who professes to love God, may in these
associations be placed in positions which are called honorable, but in the eyes of God he is tarnishing
his honor as a Christian, and separating farther and farther from the principles of righteousness and
true holiness. He is perverting his powers, that have been purchased by the blood of Jesus. He is
selling his soul for nought.
    In the revelation of His righteous judgments, God will break up all these associations; and when
the judgment shall sit and the books be opened, there will be revealed the un-Christlikeness of the
whole confederacy. Those who choose to unite with these secret societies are paying homage to idols
as senseless and as powerless to bless and save the soul as are the gods of the Hindus.
     These societies offer some advantages which from a human point of view appear like great
blessings, but not so when judged by the Lord's measurement. Behind their apparent advantages are
concealed satanic agencies. The larger the income drawn into the treasury, the more and deeper is the
evil. The ungodly gain which has enriched these societies will, when traced out in all its bearings, be
seen to be a curse. The words which Eliphaz spoke to Job are true in respect to these associations: "I
saw him 'taking root,' but I 'cursed his habitation'" (Job 5:3). They are Satan's traps, his net to entangle
A Question of Loyalty to God
    Very many things are sanctioned and upheld by the world when they are an offense to the Holy
One of Israel. It was seemingly a small thing for Eve to depart from God's specified restrictions and
do the thing He told her not to do, and for Adam to follow her example; but that very thing was
planned by the archdeceiver to destroy the souls of men by leading them to follow their own
imaginations rather than the revealed will of God. So in these associations principles are held that
bring men under the deceptive power of Satan, leading away from safe paths into rebellion against
God and disregard of His holy standard of righteousness. "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into
temptation" (Mark 14:38), is the oft-repeated injunction of our Saviour. Watch, watch with diligence
and care, lest Satan succeed in ensnaring the souls of those for whom Christ has paid the ransom
money of His own blood.
    God calls upon you who would be His children to act as under the divine eye, to adopt the holy
standard of righteousness. His justice and His truth are the principles that should be established in
every soul. He who preserves his integrity toward God, will be upright toward man. No man who truly
loves God, will, for the sake of a bribe of gold and silver, of honor, or any other earthly advantage,
expose his soul to temptation. "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37).
   Christians must sever every tie that binds them to these secret orders that are not under the control
of God. They cannot be loyal to these organizations and loyal to God. Either the connection with these
bodies must be severed or you will assimilate more closely to them, and as the result will come to
unite more fully with them, and will sever the ties that bind you to those who love and fear God. The
Christian will abandon those things which are a hindrance to his spirituality, be the sacrifice ever so
great. Better lose money, possessions, and life itself, than to imperil the vital interests of the soul.
Stewards of God
    You who have connected yourselves with these secret societies are trusting in a staff that will be
broken in pieces; you do not trust in the Lord God of Israel, diligently searching to know His will and
to follow in His way. When you invest money in these organizations, you do so in the hope of making
provision for the future. You have given them time and thought and labor and money, while the cause
of Christ has been neglected. Every dollar paid into these organizations is as truly turned away from
the cause of God as if sunk in the ocean. But was not this capital entrusted to you of God to use in His
service, for the salvation of your fellow men? By investing it where it cannot honor God or benefit
men, you are repeating the sin of the slothful servant who hid his Lord's talent in the earth.
    The Lord had entrusted to the unfaithful servant not a large capital, but only one talent. That one
talent the man did not invest for the interest of God; he hid it in the earth, complaining that the Lord
was a hard Master, reaping where He had not sown, and gathering where He had not strown. The
selfishness he manifested, and the complaints he made, as though God would require of him that
which He had no right to claim, showed that he did not know God, or Jesus Christ, whom He had
sent. Everything he possessed was the Lord's own property, and was entrusted to him to use for God.
When he says, "I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth" (Matt. 25:25), he acknowledged
that the talent was from God.
    And what saith the Lord?--"Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I
sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed" (Matt. 25:26). Here He repeats the servant's words,
not acknowledging their truth, but showing what, even according to his own account, the servant
ought to have done. The Lord virtually says: "You made no effort to trade upon My entrusted capital,
and to gain an increase to promote My glory in the earth. "Thou oughtest . . . to have put my money
to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore
the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall
be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not {traded on his Lord's goods} shall
be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness"
(Matt. 25: 27-30). To every soul to whom the light of truth has come is this lesson given.
   We should never forget that God has placed us on trial in this world, to determine our fitness for
the future life. None can enter heaven whose characters are defiled by the foul blot of selfishness.
Therefore God tests us here by committing to us temporal possessions, that our use of these may show
whether we can be entrusted with eternal riches. It is only as the self-sacrificing life of Christ is
reflected in our life that we can be in harmony with heaven, and be fitted to enter there.
Where Are We Placing Our Treasures?
    But the great study and ambition of the world is to obtain material, temporal advantages, to the
neglect of spiritual good. Thus it is with some members of the church. When at last they shall be
called to render their account to God, they will not only be ashamed but astonished that they did not
discern the true riches, and have not laid up treasure in the heavens. They have bestowed their gifts
and offerings upon the enemies of truth, expecting a time to come in this life when they would receive
the returns for what they have invested. They could entrust their means to secret societies, but when
the cause of God is in need of the means He has committed to His human agents, they feel no interest,
they do not consider the gift that the Lord has made to them. They are blinded by the god of this
   They say: "I have nothing to give to this enterprise; for I shall receive no returns. In paying to the
lodge, I am providing for the future, and, besides this, I must bear my share of expense for the
entertainments that gratify my taste. I cannot give up these enjoyments. Why does the church look to
me to help meet these constantly recurring demands? 'Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man,
reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and
went and hid thy talent in the earth' {Matt. 25:24, 25}, expecting that some time I would be benefited
by it."
    The Saviour bids us: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where
your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:19-21).
    Many are laying up their treasure in these secret societies, and can we not see that their heart is
there? However powerful may be the evidences of truth, little by little it loses its brightness, loses its
force, heaven fades from the mind, the eternal weight of glory, the gift of God for a life of obedience,
appears a matter unworthy of notice in comparison with the supposed benefits to be realized in laying
up earthly treasure. Souls are starving for the bread and water of life; but what is that to him whose
heart is set on this world? Many a man is saying by his actions, if not in words, "I cannot let go my
interest in these earthly treasures, to secure that which is eternal. The life to come is too remote for
me to count upon. I choose the earthly goods, and I will run the risk of the future. God is good and
merciful." Slothful servant! your portion is just as surely appointed with hypocrites and unbelievers
as you continue to pursue this course. The fascination of the club room, the suppers, and the
world-loving associates, has led, as did Belshazzar's feast, to forgetfulness of God and dishonoring
of His name.
Will You Cooperate With God?
    There is a blindness upon human minds that is willful. Jesus said, "This people's heart is waxed
gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should
see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be
converted, and I should heal them" (Matt. 13:15). The work of God for the salvation of men is the one
work of supreme importance to be carried forward in our world; but many do not see this, because
their interest is more with the ranks of the enemy than with the loyal soldiers of Christ. They do not
see the necessity of the cooperation of the human with the divine agency. The Lord has bidden us:
"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to
will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12, 13). This is the plan which God has revealed to us
to guide us in all the plans and purposes of life. But while men pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will
be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10), many reject the very means by which God would
establish His kingdom.
    When they are willing to count all things but loss that they may win Christ, their eyes will be
opened to see things as they really are. Then they will turn away from the earthly attractions to the
heavenly. Then they will see the true nature of the worldly, selfish enjoyments that they now value
so highly, and these things that they now hold so dear will be given up.
    All heaven is looking upon you who claim to believe the most sacred truth ever committed to
mortals. Angels are waiting with longing desire to cooperate with you in working for the salvation
of souls. Will you refuse this heavenly alliance in order to maintain your connection with society
where God is not honored, where His commandments are trampled upon? How would the truth ever
have been brought to you if others had felt so little interest in its advancement as some of you
manifest? The cause of God demands our help, that it may be established upon a proper basis, and
that the truth may be carried forward into new fields, to those who are ready to perish. Can you who
claim to be sons of God refuse to aid in this work? Will you, in order to receive an earthly return,
withhold your means from the treasury of God, and let His work be shamefully neglected? It is
grievous to consider what might have been accomplished in the saving of souls if the heart and
service of all who profess to believe the truth had been undividedly given to God. Work has been
negligently done. If self had been hid in Christ, sinners might, through wise, ingenious methods, have
been won to the truth, and today be in cooperation with God.
    Now, before the time comes when you must render up your account to God, I urge you to give
heed to His word, "Lay up for yourselves" a "treasure in the heavens" (Matt. 6:20; Luke 12:33), not
in secret societies. Consider that there is only one Proprietor of the universe, and that every man, with
his time, his intellect, his resources, belongs to the One who has paid the ransom for the soul. God
has a righteous claim to constant service and supreme affection. God's will, not your pleasure, is to
be your criterion. And though you should accumulate a fortune less rapidly, you are laying up treasure
in heaven. Who of the church is resolved to maintain his spirituality? Who will develop an experience
that reveals Christian fervor, persevering energy? Who, like Jesus, will not fail nor be discouraged,
not in grasping means for the service of self, but in laboring together with God?
    All who are striving for the crown of everlasting life will be tempted as was their Master before
them. He was proffered the kingdoms of the world if He would pay homage to Satan. Had Christ
 yielded to this temptation, the world would have passed forever under the sway of the wicked one.
 But, thank God, His divinity shone through humanity. He did that which every human being may do
 in the name and strength of Jesus. He said, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt
 worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 4:10). If this is the way you meet
 temptation, Satan will leave you, as he left Christ, and angels will minister unto you, as they
 ministered unto Him.
    To those who have thought and talked of the great advantages to be gained by worldly association,
 the Lord declares, through the prophet Malachi:
      "Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so
 much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his
 ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud
 happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered" (Mal.
     These are the thoughts of many, if the words are not spoken.
     "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it,
 and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought
 upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels;
 and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern
 between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do
 wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that
 it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mal. 3:16 to 4:1).
    Here are the people that in the world are judged to be greatly favored; but there comes a time when
 the children of God are distinguished as those who are honored of God because they have honored
    "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons
 of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons
 of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall
 be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself,
 even as he is pure" (1 John 3:1-3).
The Better Way
    While temporal honor and riches and power are the great objects of ambition with the men of this
world, the Lord points out something more worthy of our highest aspirations:
    "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory
in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he
understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and
righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised" (Jer. 9:23-25).
    "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect,
precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he
is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same
is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which
stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen
generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises
of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:6-9).
   "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be
brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves
according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy
in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the
Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your
sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as
silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the
precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:13-19).--Pamphlet
published in 1893, Should Christians Be Members of Secret Societies?
Cannot Receive the Seal of God
   Those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel cannot be united with the Free
Masons or with any secret organization. The seal of the living God will not be placed upon anyone
who maintains such a connection after the light of truth has shone upon his pathway. Christ is not
divided, and Christians cannot serve God and mammon. The Lord says, "Come out from among them,
and be ye separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father
unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:17, 18).
                             Letter 21, 1893. {2 Select Messages 120-140}
 Avoiding Labor Conflicts
               [APPEARING IN PAMPHLET, COUNTRY LIVING, pp. 7, 9, 10-12.]
    The time is fast coming when the controlling power of the labor unions will be very oppressive.
Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities,
into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying
and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and
over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together,
and where you will be free from the interference of enemies.--Letter 5, 1904.
 Avoid Party Strifes
   Men have confederated to oppose the Lord of hosts. These confederacies will continue until Christ
shall leave His place of intercession before the mercy seat, and shall put on the garments of vengeance.
Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God.
Professed saints and avowed unbelievers take their stand with these parties. This is no time for the
people of God to be weaklings. We cannot afford to be off our guard for a moment. --Testimonies,
vol. 8, p. 42 (1904).
   The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such
as has not been since the world began.--Letter 200, 1903.
Conflicts Between Trade Confederacies and Labor Unions
    The work of the people of God is to prepare for the events of the future, which will soon come
upon them with blinding force. In the world gigantic monopolies will be formed. Men will bind
themselves together in unions that will wrap them in the folds of the enemy. A few men will combine
to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and
those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men.--Letter 26, 1903.
Preparing for the Issue
    The trades unions and confederacies of the world are a snare. Keep out of them, and away from
them, brethren. Have nothing to do with them. Because of these unions and confederacies, it will soon
be very difficult for our institutions to carry on their work in the cities. My warning is: Keep out of
the cities. Build no sanitariums in the cities. Educate our people to get out of the cities into the
country, where they can obtain a small piece of land, and make a home for themselves and their
   Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach
the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy
meetinghouses in the cities. But ere long there will be such strife and confusion in the cities, that those
who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that
is given me.--General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.
To Preserve Our Individuality
     For years I have been given special light that we are not to center our work in the cities. The
turmoil and confusion that fill these cities, the conditions brought about by the labor unions and the
strikes, would prove a great hindrance to our work. Men are seeking to bring those engaged in the
different trades under bondage to certain unions. This is not God's planning, but the planning of a
power that we should in no wise acknowledge. God's Word is fulfilling; the wicked are binding
themselves up in bundles ready to be burned.
    We are now to use all our entrusted capabilities in giving the last warning message to the world.
In this work we are to preserve our individuality. We are not to unite with secret societies or with
trades unions. We are to stand free in God, looking constantly to Christ for instruction. All our
movements are to be made with a realization of the importance of the work to be accomplished for
God.--Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 84 (1902).
In Disregard of the Decalogue
 (The Ten-Commandments)
    These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be
burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly
keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire
   "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,
and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself" (Luke 10:27). These words sum up the whole duty
of man. They mean the consecration of the whole being, body, soul, and spirit, to God's service. How
can men obey these words, and at the same time pledge themselves to support that which deprives
their neighbors of freedom of action? And how can men obey these words, and form combinations
that rob the poorer classes of the advantages which justly belong to them, preventing them from
buying or selling, except under certain conditions?--Letter 26, 1903.
Unions that are Formed or shall be Formed
   Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are
formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and
understand what is before us?--Letter 201, 1902.
                                    {2 Select Messages 141-144}