The Youth’s Instructor


May 24, 1900

“The Violent Take It by Force”

Part 2.


There is need of earnest work, that we may have strength from God to resist the enemy when he shall come in like a flood. We must agonize in order to subdue self; for self-ease and self-indulgence are the most deceptive of sins, stupefying the conscience and blinding the understanding. Oh, that those who have heard the testing message would awake from their sleep, and no longer remain in careless indifference! We need the earnest desire of the importunate widow and the Syrophenician woman,—a determination that will not be repulsed. YI May 24, 1900, par. 1

Many, very many, are making a fatal mistake by failing to heed this lesson of God's providence. Peace and rest can be secured only by conflict. The powers of light and darkness are in array, and we must individually take a part in the struggle. Jacob wrestled all night with God before he gained the victory. As he pleaded with God in prayer, he felt a strong hand laid upon him; and thinking it to be the hand of an enemy, he put forth all his strength to resist him. He wrestled for hours, but gained nothing over his opponent, and he dared not relax his efforts for one moment, lest he should be overcome and lose his life. Thus the contest went on until the dawn of day, and neither had gained the victory. Then the stranger brought the conflict to a close. He touched the thigh of Jacob, and the wrestler's strength was paralyzed. It was not until then that Jacob learned who his opponent really was; and, falling crippled and weeping on his neck, he pleaded for his life. YI May 24, 1900, par. 2

The angel could easily have released himself from the grasp of Jacob, but he did not do this. “Let me go,” he pleaded, “for the day breaketh.” But the answer came from the suffering but determined Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” The suppliant's tears and prayers gained for him what he struggled in vain to obtain. “What is thy name?” the angel asked. “And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.... And he blessed him there.” YI May 24, 1900, par. 3

Jacob was in fear and distress while he sought in his own strength to obtain the victory. He mistook the divine visitor for an enemy, and contended with him while he had any strength left. But when he cast himself upon the mercy of God, he found that instead of being in the hands of an enemy, he was encircled in the arms of infinite love. He saw God face to face, and his sins were pardoned. YI May 24, 1900, par. 4

“The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” This violence takes in the whole heart. To be double minded is to be unstable. Resolution, self-denial, and consecrated effort are required for the work of preparation. The understanding and the conscience may be united; but if the will is not set to work, we shall make a failure. Every faculty and feeling must be engaged. Ardor and earnest prayer must take the place of listlessness and indifference. Only by earnest, determined effort and faith in the merits of Christ can we overcome, and gain the kingdom of heaven. Our time for work is short. Christ is soon to come the second time. May God help those who have heard the warning message to remember that “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” YI May 24, 1900, par. 5

Mrs. E. G. White