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Cruel Persecution ( 19 )
Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
Cruel  Persecution
Related Phrase:   spirit of cruel persecution
"The most bitter and cruel persecution always comes from those who have the form of religion without the spirit and power of godliness," she told them. "There is nothing at which religious prejudice will hesitate." But she reassured the believers by adding, "Angels are watching the development of character, and are weighing moral worth. They are bidden to place a mark upon those who are loyal to God's commandments; such will have special help from God to endure the test and proving of the time of trouble."-- Historical Sketches, p. 196.  {EGWE 111.4}
What a revelation was all this to the persecutor of the believers. Clear but terrible light had broken in upon his soul. Christ was revealed to him as having come to earth in fulfillment of His mission, being rejected, abused, condemned, and crucified by those whom He came to save, and as having risen from the dead and ascended into the heavens. In that terrible moment he remembered that the holy Stephen had been sacrificed by his consent, and that through his instrumentality many worthy saints had met their death by cruel persecution.  {SR 270.1} 
What a revelation was all this to the persecutor! Now Saul knew for a certainty that the promised Messiah had come to this earth as Jesus of Nazareth and that He had been rejected and crucified by those whom He came to save. He knew also that the Saviour had risen in triumph from the tomb and had ascended into the heavens. In that moment of divine revelation Saul remembered with terror that Stephen, who had borne witness of a crucified and risen Saviour, had been sacrificed by his consent, and that later, through his instrumentality, many other worthy followers of Jesus had met their death by cruel persecution.  {AA 116.1}
When the glory was withdrawn, and Saul arose from the ground, he found himself totally deprived of sight. The brightness of Christ's glory had been too intense for his mortal eyes; and when it was removed, the blackness of night settled upon his vision. He believed that this blindness was a punishment from God for his cruel persecution of the followers of Jesus. In terrible darkness he groped about, and his companions, in fear and amazement, "led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus."  {AA 117.3}  {3SP 310.1}  {SR 271.1}  {7Red 41.3}
In this dark and trying hour the company of Lystrian believers, who through the ministry of Paul and Barnabas had been converted to the faith of Jesus, remained loyal and true. The unreasoning opposition and cruel persecution by their enemies served only to confirm the faith of these devoted brethren; and now, in the face of danger and scorn, they showed their loyalty by gathering sorrowfully about the form of him whom they believed to be dead.  {AA 184.1}
Such is the treatment which the servants of Christ receive because they teach truths that are not in harmony with the doctrines of a world-loving church. And have not some of our brethren, even in this place, felt the force of these words of Christ? Have they not met, in the priests of the church, the same spirit that Christ encountered in the Pharisees? They have been forbidden to preach the truth. They have been brought before councils, and scourged in the synagogues, subjected to the stripes of reproach and falsehood, presented to the people as heretics, men not fit to be at large. The church authorities, like the chief priests and scribes of the Jews, have brought them to Pilate, to pronounce sentence against them, and have caused them to be thrust into prison. But all this is only a small matter in comparison with what is to be. The most bitter and cruel persecution always comes from those who have the form of religion without the spirit and power of godliness. There is nothing at which religious prejudice will hesitate.  {HS 196.2}
The voice of Luther, that echoed in mountains and valleys, that shook Europe as with an earthquake, summoned forth an army of noble apostles of Jesus, and the truth they advocated could not be silenced by fagots, by tortures, by dungeons, by death; and still the voices of the noble army of martyrs are telling us that the Roman power is the predicted apostasy of the last days, the mystery of iniquity which Paul saw beginning to work even in his day. Roman Catholicism is rapidly gaining ground. Popery is on the increase, and those who have turned their ears away from hearing the truth are listening to her delusive fables. Papal chapels, papal colleges, nunneries, and monasteries are on the increase, and the Protestant world seems to be asleep. Protestants are losing the mark of distinction that distinguished them from the world, and they are lessening the distance between themselves and the Roman power. They have turned away their ears from hearing the truth; they have been unwilling to accept light which God shed upon their pathway, and are therefore going into darkness. They speak with contempt of the idea that there will be a revival of the past cruel persecution on the part of Romanists and those who affiliate with them. They do not recognize the fact that the word of God fully predicts such a revival, and will not concede that the people of God in the last days shall suffer persecution, although the Bible says, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."  {ST, February 19, 1894 par. 6}
spirit  of  cruel  persecution
He represented his people as a wild vine that he had taken from Egypt, and planted in Canaan, where he nourished and cared for it; but when he looked for it to bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes. His people forgot God, and went into rebellion, but he did not withdraw his love. He sent his prophets to warn them, he instituted the sacrificial system so that they might have before their minds the one great Sacrifice, the one efficient Offering that was prefigured in their typical system. But for all his love and care, Israel abused their privileges from age to age, and their religion became a hollow formalism. Christ saw Pharisaical pride, self-exaltation, cruel, Satanic attributes, developed and cherished by the people who bore his name. They would not accept his invitation of mercy, and from national apostasy came a spirit of cruel persecution that ended in killing the very messengers that he sent to warn them of the result of their evil course. Christ saw his vineyard spoiled through cruel husbandmen until it became fruitless through ingratitude, through grace resisted, through their refusal to accept the opportunities and privileges which the God of compassion and love provided for them. For a thousand years they multiplied transgression upon transgression, and even rejected the Son of God, and were ready to put him to death. The cloud of God's retributive judgment was about to burst upon them in unrestrained fury.  {ST, February 27, 1896 par. 4}
terrible  persecution
Nowhere were the reformed doctrines more generally received than in the Netherlands. In few countries did their adherents endure more terrible persecution. In Germany Charles V had banned the Reformation, and he would gladly have brought all its adherents to the stake; but the princes stood up as a barrier against his tyranny. In the Netherlands his power was greater, and persecuting edicts followed each other in quick succession. To read the Bible, to hear or preach it, or even to speak concerning it, was to incur the penalty of death by the stake. To pray to God in secret, to refrain from bowing to an image, or to sing a psalm, was also punishable with death. Even those who should abjure their errors were condemned, if men, to die by the sword; if women, to be buried alive. Thousands perished under the reign of Charles and of Philip II.  Great Controversy, page 239.3
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