The Youth’s Instructor


October 11, 1900

We Are His Witnesses

Part 3.


The Lord continued to bless his followers as they bore their testimony. Believers were added to the church, the sick were healed, and wonderful works were wrought, “insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 1

Here were light and evidence that none could gainsay. But did these signs have weight with the priests and rulers?—No; they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. Satan was striving to make of none effect the work of Christ, to blot his name from the earth. But Heaven was determined to give evidence to the people that Jesus was the Son of God. An angel of the Lord was commissioned to go to the prison, and say to the disciples, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 2

Will the disciples obey the voice of God, or the voice of the men who have taken it upon themselves to close the door against knowledge and truth? “And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council; and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 3

Then the disciples told how the angel of God had released them from prison, and had bidden them go and preach Jesus to the people. “We ought to obey God rather than men,” they said. These faithful witnesses had a testimony to bear; for light from heaven had flashed upon them. “The God of our fathers,” they fearlessly declared, “raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 4

When these words were spoken, “they were cut to the heart.” But was their spirit softened? Did they repent of their wicked rejection of the Son of God?—No; the same spirit that had prompted them to action against Christ still raged in them, to silence the voice of the apostles. “They took counsel to slay them.” But there was one man in the council who recognized the voice of God in the word spoken to them. This man, Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, “commanded to put the apostles forth a little space.” He well knew the elements he had to deal with. He knew that the murderers of Christ would hesitate at nothing, if only they might carry out their purposes. “Ye men of Israel,” he said, “take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.... Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: but if it be of God, ye can not overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. YI October 11, 1900, par. 5

“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 6

Paul and Silas were imprisoned because they proclaimed the truth that Christ had bidden them teach. Many stripes were laid upon them, and their feet were placed in the stocks. But they did not think of murmuring. They did not say, It does not pay to preach Christ. Instead, they sang praises to God, that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. All heaven was interested in these men who were suffering for Christ's sake, and angels were sent to visit the prisoners. At their tread the prison doors were shaken open, and a bright light flooded the prison. The jailer awoke, and supposing the men to have escaped, was about to take his own life. But Paul cried out, “Do thyself no harm; for we are all here.” Then the jailer hastened into the prison, to see what manner of men these were whom he had treated so severely; and casting himself before them, he asked their forgiveness. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” he asked. “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 7

The apostles did not wait until they were refreshed, and their wounds were dressed, before they began their work. This is not the spirit manifested by the natural heart; but Paul and Silas had the spirit of Christ, not the spirit of revenge. And the jailer “took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” YI October 11, 1900, par. 8

We have a work to do in presenting Christ. We need to talk of Christ, and the practical lessons he gave, until our hearts are warmed with the love of God. We should not make much of the trials and opposition we meet. It is true they may close the door of influence for a time, but it will open to us the wider after a little. The work for us to do is rightly to represent our faith in our life and character as well as in our words. By living faith we must cling to the promises of God. YI October 11, 1900, par. 9

Christ says of his people, “Ye are the light of the world.” Let your light shine amid the moral darkness. You need the Spirit of Christ to dwell in your hearts by faith, if you would be prepared to teach men the way to heaven. YI October 11, 1900, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White