Bible Studies

03- Awake To the Times 1893 G.C. Sermon

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 I will take up the subject where we stopped last night and read just two sample statements of those we had in mind when the hour closed last night. Here is one:

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Committee and the friends and opponents of this measure: Allow me to call attention to one thing and that is a fact to which we all assent. None of this company will be here in 1993. At that time all of us shall be of one mind in regard to the value and sacredness of the Lord's day, for the sentence has gone forth against every man,'Set thine house in order.'

'How fast they fall! Those we have known, As leaves from autumn branches grown, Are quickly seated.' But while men die, the Nation lives. May the God of nations so guide us and our posterity that 'America' may be sung until the end of time. --From the speech of C. B. Botsford, before the House Committee on the World's Exposition

Another one: There is just one general reason, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the Committee, I would like to give why this Fair ought to be kept closed on the Sabbath. If these gates are open on the Sabbath it will be perilous to us as a nation and it will be perilous to Chicago and to the interests of the Fair. There is one thing we are to remember, and that is that God still reigns, God is still on the throne. God has not abdicated, and He has declared that the nation or the country that will not serve Him shall perish. And more than this, we are to remember that the ten commandments are the very basis of all our laws, National and State, which subserve our liberties and our rights. Take the fifth commandment, take the sixth commandment against murder and protection to life, protection to person; it is based on that sixth commandment. Take the seventh commandment. Now here is the fourth commandment in the very heart of these ten commandments, and that has never been repealed any more than has the fifth commandment or the sixth commandment or the seventh commandment or the eighth commandment. And therefore we are to remember that if we touch this commandment of God, standing thus in the very heart of these ten commandments, we touch the honor of God; we touch the law of God, for Christ has emphasized that fourth commandment. He said, 'The Sabbath was made for man.' What did He mean by that? He meant thereby that it was not made for the Jew only but for man everywhere in every age and in every condition.  He said the Sabbath was made for man. It was made for man in all ages, in all time. He said the Sabbath was made for man; it was made for man's highest good in every age of the world, for his good morally and physically. And therefore it is, dear friends, if we touch that fourth commandment, which lies at the very root of all the other commandments, we touch the honor of God and the commandments of God. It has never been repealed, and if we touch that God will bring a curse upon us as a nation, because He distinctly told His people anciently that He would punish them for the profanation of the Sabbath day. And therefore it is, dear friends, that we as a nation cannot afford to touch this commandment. What it becomes us to do is, therefore, to set to the nations of the world a good example of the American Sabbath; set them an example of the Christian Sabbath; set them an example of the Sabbath as God has ordained it. A heathen prince once visited Queen Victoria, and desired the Queen to give him the secret of the government's greatness. Queen Victoria sent for a Bible, and handing that to him said, There is the secret of the nation's greatness.' And the secret of our greatness as a nation is the Bible that is enthroned in all the laws on the line of the Sabbath. That is the foundation of our laws.--From the speech of Rev. F. A. McCarrel, before the House Committee on World's Fair, Jan. 11, 1893.

I read these simply as samples of the arguments that were presented to the Committee to persuade Congress to stand fast in the position where the government has been placed.

Now brethren, you remember I took a text last night that was to last a week. Tonight I want to read another passage in the same line. It is this:

Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of this time and the significance of the events that are now taking place about us. I point you to the aggressive movements now being made for the restriction of religious liberty.

That is what we want to study tonight. And as I, with the help of the Lord, shall bring before your minds things that are, I want you to be as anxious to receive and see these things as God is that we shall, in order that we may see and meet His mind in this respect.

There are doubtless people in this house who were here about three years ago when a subject was given me,  which was, I think, "The Present Crisis." Those who were here will remember that in referring to our work at that time, which was petitioning Congress and remonstrating against all this legislation, I called attention to the fact that that was our work at that time. It was to circulate these petitions everywhere through all the land, that by this means we might waken the minds of the people of the United States against that matter, and to have their petitions go to Congress in such abundance that Congress might see what the principle is and that we might perhaps delay that legislation. The idea was that of getting the truth before the people by that means. And you will remember that I called attention to this thought: that that work would continue only until Sunday had been adopted, until some Sunday law should be passed, and then all our petitioning would be past and our work in that direction would be stopped, because it would be of no use for us to protest against Congress doing a thing which was already done.

Well, we are there now. We are now in the place that I referred to that night about three years ago. From the evidence that was given last night, it is clearly seen that the government of the United States is now in the hands of a hierarchy and no longer in the hands of the representatives of the people. Government as our forefathers established it, is gone, irretrievably gone now. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is gone. The authority of the government from the people, expressed in the Constitution, and the government to be conducted according to the Constitution is gone. The Constitution has been overridden, and now it is ignored. It was ignored by the Committee the other day; in fact shut out entirely, and a hierarchy heard upon hierarchical positions giving hierarchical arguments only. When that is so--when the Constitution itself is shut out from before, and from the consideration of, a committee of Congress, whose only authority is the Constitution, and this other matter is received instead--then where has the government gone? Do you know? Where has it gone?

[Answers from the audience: "Into the hands of the churches."]

Well, from the extracts I read last night, it is confessed that Congress dare not act according to their own view,  according to the principles which they themselves hold, for fear of what the churches will do and that they dare not act in a way that fair-minded men desire them to act, because of a fear of what the churches will do in creating more mischief and more trouble to the nation than if they acted the other way. That is precisely the reason that Judge Hammond gave in justifying his decision in an article which was printed afterward in the same paper in which his decision was printed, that when churches demand legislation of that kind it was correct statesmanship to grant it, because Protestants were a fighting people and if they did not give them what they wanted, they would cause such trouble in the nation that the State would perish. That is the thought. What is that but just simply saying that the principles that actuate the professed Protestant churches of the United States are identical with the papal principles from beginning to end? And the reason which they gave for the legislation at the first is simply papal principles outright. That resolution which the churches sent up to Congress demanding this legislation, is as follows:

Resolved that we do hereby pledge ourselves and each other that we shall from this day henceforth refuse to vote for or support for any office or position of trust, any member of Congress either Senator or Representative,  who shall vote for any further aid of any kind for the World's Fair, except on conditions named in these resolutions.

Richard W. Thompson of Indiana, who was Secretary of the Navy under President Hayes's administration has well said: "To allow any church to dictate before hand what laws should or should not be passed is to deprive the people of authority of government which they ordained in their own hands and to transfer it to such church."  And that is so. That has been done and from the words that they have spoken and the representations which we read last night, it stands as a literal fact before the world tonight that the government of the United States is no longer a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," as our fathers made it, but the subjection of the people by the churches and for the churches. The Church rules the government; she has it in her hands,  and she is holding it there, and she proposes to hold it there.

Now when that had been done, it was perfectly proper for us, or anybody else, and all the people, to demand that it should be undone. Having done it even for the reasons for which it was done, Congress could have undone it,  could have opened its eyes and stepped back again precisely where it was before. Congress could have undone this thing and left it where they should have left it at the first, and then the churches would have had to make another effort to gain possession of the government. But instead of listening to that demand upon the only basis they have a right to consider any question--the basis of the Constitution--they shut out the Constitution and all argument upon the Constitution, openly refused to hear it, and played into the hands of the churches which had already secured this, and thus fixing indelibly in the legislation of the country that thing which has been done.

Then that is virtually the second step. When the first step was taken the next step could have been taken backward; that would have undone it. But instead of taking that step, what is being done is only to confirm what has been done, and then the thing never can go back.

Now what errand have we to Washington any more? What place have we in Washington any more with petitions or hearings protesting against religious legislation? None at all. We have no more such errands to Washington. There is no place for any of our petitions there any more. That is the situation as it is now.

Some have asked, "Well, suppose new legislation comes up; can't we send up a protest against that and go and ask a hearing upon that?" What would be the basis of our argument? What would be the basis of our protest?  That it is unconstitutional? But the Constitution has been overridden in this; and we would be met with the reply that it has been done already, and that this is constitutional. That has been declared. And when this is taken as constitutional, everything else follows. When I presented the idea that they might have been mistaken in the representations which were made to them, I was met with, "Your argument is not respectful to Congress."

Elder Fifield: Suppose another National Sunday bill comes before another committee, might not that committee listen to a constitutional argument?

Elder Jones: Well, suppose they did; what would be the force of it? The Constitution has been overridden already. This thing is unconstitutional. Sunday legislation is all unconstitutional. But all that has been done.  And what would be the force of any argument against any other Sunday bill; that is, on the ground of its unconstitutionality? Where is the force of it? There would be simply none at all.

So you can see that everything is gone, brethren. That is what I want you to think of; that the thing is gone. And the basis, the only basis which we ever had a right to go there upon--the Constitution--is taken from us. We had the right to go there upon that basis because the Constitution is God's idea in government. The principle of the government of the United States is God's idea for governments. And when we were holding up the Constitution and the principles of it as the idea of God, as we did every time, and as the right idea, that was the thing that we had to do. God had given that as an example to all the world and as a light to all the world, as the right ideas in government, and we had the right to appeal to it.

They wanted us to argue the other day against shutting the Fair on Sunday. You see we could not do that. And more than that, we can't argue against it being shut on Sunday for the reason that Sunday is not the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, because to argue that way would be simply allowing and admitting that Congress had properly incorporated the fourth commandment into legislation and that if they would only recognize the day of the fourth commandment instead of Sunday, we would not have anything to say. But we have everything to say against that. That would be only to give away everything. Consequently we could not leave our position on the Constitution. But when they shut us out, they shut out the Constitution. I say always we are in splendid company, for in being shut out by that committee from any constitutional argument, we are in splendid company,  for we are in the company of the Constitution of the United States, and in order to get rid of us they had to shut out the Constitution. That is the company in which we belong.

So the sum of the whole matter is, we have no more errands to Washington such as we have had. Of course whenever there come up other such questions, that will be a good place to put our principles before Congressmen, as we spread the truth before all the people. But we have no more errands there with petitions or protests against religious legislation. That thing is gone.

Now that thing is done, and there is no more protesting against the doing of it. But is all our work done now?  Have we nothing more to do in the world? Does all our work stop now, and we have nothing more to do in the world? No. Our work is not stopped. We have a work to do, but our work cannot be done in that way any more.  Then what is our work? To warn against what is already done. But that which is done, is the making of the image of the beast. Then does not that bring us face to face with the third angel's message as it reads in words? Does not this bring you and me, and shut us up, to the third angel's message as it reads? There is no outlet but that, to speak the third angel's message as it reads in words against the thing that has been done. The third angel's message reads in words, "If any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand." Then does not that show, in itself, that the image is there, and the mark is set up to be received?

I say again we cannot protest against the doing of the thing, because it has already been done. We cannot go to Congress and use constitutional arguments against religious legislation; we cannot protest against the making of the image to the beast. We cannot protest against the government recognizing the false Sabbath. That is set up, and it is put in place of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment by the definite act of Congress itself. Then that action has put the government of the United States into the hands of the churches. It has established the mark of the beast as the Sabbath of the nation and for all the world, and it has done it in place of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment in express words in the legislation.

What was the papacy? It was not simply the union of religion and the State; that was there in paganism. The papacy is the church ruling the State, the Church in possession of the State and the powers of the State and using them to enforce church decrees. It is a literal fact that the government of the United States is now confirmed in the hands of the professed Protestant churches, and that they are using it to enforce a church decree above all other decrees. That is what they did it for. That is what they are now doing. Is that like the papacy? Does that look like the papacy? Yes sir. So I say again, we are therefore shut up to the third angel's message. The facts are before our faces and we are shut up to that as our only work.

If we are to have any connection at all with public affairs we have got to have it in some other way than that in which we have had hitherto, and the only way in which we can have any connection with them at all is just simply to warn people against receiving or admitting the rightfulness of the thing that is done.

We are shut up to that one thing and there is no other way out. Every man from this day forth who professes to work in the third angel's message can carry that message or give that message in no other way than in the words which that message speaks, "If any man worship the beast and his image."

But never before 1892 had one of us the right to say that and warn the people against the worship of the image,  because the image was not yet made. We have told the people that it was coming and that when certain things came, the image would be made, and the warning then would be, Do not you worship it. That has been our message, but that is not our message any more. We cannot tell them that now. We cannot protest against the making of it; we cannot do that now.That thing is done. We are shut up therefore to this one thing. I say again,  There is no way out but to preach the third angel's message as it reads: "If any man worship the beast and his image." But there is a word there that comes just before that: "The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice." What is that, then, but the loud cry of the third angel's message coming right in now. Does not that show us that when the time comes for the message to be given directly as it reads in words that the loud cry is right at that time? We have had enough before us in all these other things to show that, but is it not there in the words of the message itself, that when the message goes to the world in the words in which it is given, that is the loud cry? For it goes that way, with a loud voice.

Now another thought: How many of the nations of the earth besides this were there until this time that had no union of religion and the State? None. How many nations at all are there now that have it not? None. But a union of religion and the State, a union of Church and State, that is Satan's way of doing things. Paganism was Satan's way of doing things, and so was the papacy. And what is this now in our own nation? The image of the papacy.  Through what instrument did Satan make war against the church of God when Christ was born? Through paganism. Through what instrument did he make war against the church in the wilderness? Through the papacy.  Through what instrument does he make war against the remnant? Through the image of the papacy? (See Rev.  12.) But until now the image was not made. Now it is made. Until now he did not have the government of the United States in his hands to wield against the truth of God. He has it now. How much then of the power of the world has Satan now in his hands to wield against the church and the Sabbath of God? He has it all. Hasn't he?  Now you and I are pledged by years of profession to stand by the Sabbath of the Lord. We are pledged to that.  But now opposed to this is every particle of power that this earth knows, with Satan the chief to wield the power.  Then are we not brought face to face with this fact: That as certainly as we maintain our allegiance to the Sabbath of the Lord we shall have to do it in the face of all the power that this earth knows? Then does it not follow that in order to do that we must have with us a power that is greater than all the power that this earth knows? Can a man, of himself, stand successfully against all the power of earth? No, sir. Well, then, are we not shut up to this, that we must have a power working for us that is greater than all the power of the earth put together? Is it not time then, that that angel should come down from heaven having great power?

That angel coming down and adding his voice to the other makes the loud cry. We therefore just now, at the point where that angel has come down with great power, and we need not be afraid. Though all the power of the earth be against the Sabbath of the Lord and against us for standing by it, the power of God is given to every one who will be faithful to him.

Is not the message that the Saviour gave to his disciples precisely the message that is given to us? They were to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Here is our message. The everlasting gospel to preach "unto every nation, kindred, tongue and people" (Rev. 14:6). It is the same thing. He said to them, "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth." Here Jesus Christ has a power in the earth that is greater than all the powers of earth. So if Jesus was only in the earth and was living on the earth, as He was once before, He would have more power than all the earth has besides anyway. "All power is given to me in heaven and earth: go ye therefore." Why go? Because He has the power.

Go ye therefore and teach all nations these things, and lo I am with you. Is He? Is He with us, brethren? Let us stop saying He will be with us. He does not say it. Let us stop saying it; it is not faith at all. We say: "He says, 'I will be with you.'" And we ask Him to be with us, and then we wonder whether He is or not. He says, "Go ye; I am with you." Is He? Then thank Him that it is so. If you get into difficulties let Him help you out. It is Satan's office to present difficulties, to hedge up the way; but thank the Lord, when the Lord is with us, Satan cannot hedge up the way. He may put a Red Sea in front of us, and through we will go, for God can open the sea. The Lord is with us, and we want it a more personal thing than that He "will be," anyway. We want a power with us every moment, working with us, in us, and for us, and we want to be sure that it is so. How can we know it? He says so. Then let us say so, too.

There are two points that we have noticed thus far: One is that we are shut up to give the third angel's message as it reads; the other is that we are shut up to this one thing, that as certainly as we stand in our allegiance to the commandments of God, we have to do it in the face of all the power that this earth knows, with Satan using that power. And that shuts us up to this one thing, that we need therefore, in order to stand at all, in order to stand a minute, we need a power that is greater than all the power of this world put together. And the blessedness of it is, There He stands and says, "I am with you." Thank the Lord.

Now another thought, I think perhaps that will about fill the time for this evening, and these three points will be enough for tonight: Congress did take up the fourth commandment, did make it the basis and the reasons for that Sunday legislation. But it went further. It did not let that commandment stay there as it reads. It did not leave the commandment there as God gave it. It did not leave the commandment there as it is given in the Bible, and as it was put into the Record. It did not leave it there for the World's Fair Directory to interpret, each man for himself as to what it means. Congress went beyond all that and interpreted the fourth commandment to mean "the first day of the week commonly called Sunday," as "the Christian Sabbath," "the Sabbath of the nation," and as that which should be observed and honored, for this nation and for the world, by shutting the Fair on Sunday. Then I ask, what is that but the government of the United States by a definite and decided act putting Sunday in the place of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment?

Let us look back a little now. The mystery of iniquity was working in Paul's day. The apostasy began; the apostasy went on; the church adopted Sunday, but could she compel anybody to keep it? No. Could she bring any restrictions, any force, to bear upon people who would keep the Sabbath of the Lord to compel them to put Sunday in the place of the Sabbath of the Lord, so long as the church stood alone? No. But she wanted to compel people to keep it instead of the Sabbath of the Lord. That apostate church wanted the Sunday sabbath kept instead of the Sabbath of the Lord and that people should recognize and observe it instead of the Sabbath.  She could not do it alone.

What then did she do to accomplish her purpose? She took hold of earthly power. She seized the power of the State. How much power did that government represent in the world at that time? The Roman Empire was the world power then; so that Church then secured all the power of the world, and by that she compelled people to receive Sunday instead of the Sabbath of the Lord. Then was it not by that act that she succeeded in definitely putting the Sunday in the place of the Sabbath of the Lord? But what was that but making void the law of God?  She took the seal of His law, the heart of His law, that which reveals Him, the seal showing that He is what He is;  she by force took that away and put her own sign in its stead. What was that but supplanting God in the minds of the people of the world? And it was by that act that she succeeded in her purpose of making void the law of God. That was the beast. That made the beast. We have preached all these years that the papacy has made void the law of God. And that is correct.

Let us return now to our own time and the question that is before us. Have not the Protestant churches kept Sunday a long time? Have they not opposed the keeping of the Sabbath of the Lord a long time? But they could not compel anybody to keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. In a measure, it is true,  they could enforce the observance of Sunday in the States. But we know, and they have all confessed, that all efforts through State laws in this direction, we almost wholly nullified by the fact that the National Government was against it all, and we all know that one of the great reasons for their strenuous efforts to get the National Government committed to Sunday was to make the State laws effective. Then in order to make their purpose effective in exalting Sunday against the Sabbath of the Lord, these churches, professed Protestantism, had to seize the government of the United States, the power of this government, as the former apostasy seized the power of the Roman government. And now she has got it. And in the definite act by which she got it, she aimed at the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, to put it out of the way and to put the Sunday in its stead. Then have not these by this definite act also made void the law of God? When the other was done that made the beast! What is this? It is the image. Is it not time, then, for the third angel's message to be given in its own words? "If any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand."

Ah, and the Lord hath sent us a word just now, too. "It is time for thee, Lord, to work." Why? "Because they have made void thy law" (Psalm 119:126). Then is not that word the prayer that God has put into our mouths at this time? Are you offering it? Are you living day by day and hour by hour in the presence of that terrible fact that it is time for God Himself to work, if His integrity is going to be maintained to all the world? It is a terrible fact; it is a fearful position. It brings us to the point of such consecration as not a soul of us ever dreamed of before; unto the place of such consecration, of such devotion, as will hold ourselves in the presence of God,  with that fearful thought that "It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law."

What is that but a confession, and a proper confession, too, "Lord what can we do? Here is all the power of the earth against us. What can we do against this great company?" Is not the prayer of Jehoshaphat our prayer now,  "O our God, we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do;  but our eyes are upon thee." And they "stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives, and their

children."

"What does Joel tell us to do? "Sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breast: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"

We stand pledged to the Lord and before the world that we depend upon God; that He loves His people; that He manifests Himself in behalf of those whose hearts are toward Him. Brethren, there is that fearful word also that touches that very thought, that came to us from Australia. It is in the testimony entitled, "The Crisis Imminent."  What does that say? "Something great and decisive is to take place, and that right early. If any delay, the character of God and His throne will be compromised." Brethren, by our careless, indifferent attitude, we are putting God's throne into jeopardy. Why cannot He work? God is ready. Are not God's workmen ready? But if there is any delay, "the character of God and His throne is jeopardized." Is it possible that we are about to risk the honor of God's throne? Brethren, for the Lord's sake and for His throne's sake, let us get out of the way. Let us get out of the way. The only way to get out of the way of God is to flee to Him. That is the only way to get out of His way, and that is where He calls us now.

Here we stand. He has given us the prayer. O, of all things when God has given us the prayer--how heartily and confidently can we present the prayer, and ourselves upon it. He has given us the prayer, He has told us the word; "It is time for thee, Lord, to work, for they have made void thy law."

Then another thing; If we need anything to cause us to be sure that that is all so, there is that word that was read last Sabbath, from that last word that came from Australia:

Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of this time, the significance of the events that are now taking place about us. I point you to the aggressive movements now being made for the restriction of religious liberty. God's memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false sabbath stands before the world.

Not, is going to be torn down. But has been torn down. The testimony that came last winter--last year this time,  said that a great move would be made "to exalt the false sabbath." What now? "God's memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false sabbath stands before the world."

How fast God's word is fulfilled these days! One mail brings a testimony that such and such things "will be"; the next mail comes: "it is." One mail brings a word from the Lord that efforts are being made "to do" such and such things; the next mail brings words from the Lord, That thing "is done."

Brethren, should not we stand as minute men, ready to respond to God's word on the instant? There is no time,  then, to lag for an instant. Brethren, let us seek God with all the heart. These testimonies that Brother Prescott read the past hour, bringing us face to face with this thought of calling upon God for His Holy Spirit- -is not that the very evidence of all the work, of all the message, and everything else before us! Then is not the text applicable which I took last night:

The people who will now see what is soon to come upon us by what is being transacted before us, will no longer trust in human inventions, and will feel that the Holy Spirit must be recognized, received, presented before the people.

I read that sentence complete now:

God's memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false sabbath stands before the world; while the powers of darkness are stirring up the elements from beneath, the Lord God of heaven is sending power from above to meet the emergency by arousing his living agencies to exalt the law of heaven. Now, just now, is our time to work in foreign countries, as America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the papacy in forcing the consciences of men to honor the false sabbath.

Now not "to set up" the false sabbath, but to honor the false sabbath which has been set up, and which stands before the world.

Then this word came to us under date of August 30, 1882: After quoting the scripture from Rev. 3, it says this:

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.' The chosen people of God have lost their first love. Without this all their profession of faith will not save a soul from death. Suppose the attention should be turned away from every difference of opinion, and we should heed the counsel of the True Witness. When God's people humble the soul before Him, individually seeking His Holy Spirit with all the heart,  there will be heard from human lips such a testimony as is represented in this Scripture--'After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.' There will be faces aglow with the love of God, there will be lips touched with holy fire saying, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.'

Brethren, let that be a word that will come from every lip in this house, at this institute, in this church, before this institute and conference shall close. Has not God made the way plain enough? Has not He made it plain enough in the events that are standing before our faces, and from which we cannot hide our eyes? Then let us open our eyes and our hearts and bid the Lord come in and take full possession and use us just as He pleases.