The Signs of the Times, vol. 9


The Signs of the Times, Vol. 9


January 11, 1883

“Living Beneath Our Privileges” The Signs of the Times, 9, 2.

E. J. Waggoner

“I am sorry that I live so far beneath my privileges.” How often we hear a testimony similar to this. The phrase has become a stereotyped one, and like all stereotyped phrases, is used without thought as to its meaning. In the first place what are these “privileges”? It is the Christians privilege to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” We may “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We may cast all our care upon God, knowing that he cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7. We may “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” All who are weary and heavy laden and have the privilege of coming to Christ, and the promise of rest if they do so. It is our privilege to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” These and a multitude of similar things are not only privileges, but they are the duties. SITI January 11, 1883, page 15.1

Now if we do not enjoy these privileges whose fault is it? These blessings are offered to us; we are invited, yes, urged, to accept of them. If we say we are sorry that we do not possess them, do we tell the truth? If we really wanted them, would we not have them? If we should go out on the street and offer a boy a handful of coin, and he should stand and bewail his poverty, and tell how sorry he was that he had no money, while he made no offer to accept the gold in our outstretched hand, would we believe his sincerity? How long would it be before we would turn away from him, and put the money in our pocket? We would not stand long begging him to accept a gift at our hands. SITI January 11, 1883, page 15.2

Well, this is just the way it is between us and Christ. He offers us pardon and rest, and help for every trial, and pleads with us to accept it; and we stand and tell how weak we are, and how sorry we are that we are living so far beneath our privileges. Are we sorry? If we were, would we not make use of those privileges without any delay? SITI January 11, 1883, page 15.3

Is it not wonderful that the Lord does not turn away from us, and leave us alone? It is well for us that God is more longsuffering that man is. His patience and forbearance are beyond all measure. And yet these offers will not always last. Hear what he says: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.” That will be a terrible time; but what else ought we to expect, if we do not, “live up to our privileges.” SITI January 11, 1883, page 15.4

Let us not be unreasonable. It is not a question of whether we can overcome, but whether we will overcome. There is no merit in being continually in the Slough of Despond, or of languishing in Doubting Castle, and much of our so-called confessions of our shortcomings and weaknesses, are not manifestations of humility, but of culpable negligence. Christ says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” and “my grace is sufficient for thee.” Let us not say by our actions that we do not believe him. E. J. W. SITI January 11, 1883, page 15.5