The Gospel Herald


September 1, 1898

Lessons from the Past


[From a personal letter to the Editor.]

Our lives in this world are as a voyage. We have storm and sunshine, but we are to consider that we are nearing the desired harbor. We shall soon be beyond the storms and tempests. Our present duty is to hearken to the voice, “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.” We must catch this invitation daily. GH September 1, 1898, par. 1

The past is contained in the book where all things are recorded. We cannot blot out the record, but we can learn many things from our past experience; therefore the past should teach its lessons. As we make the past our monitor, we may make it our friend also. As we call to mind the errors and disagreeable things of the past, let them teach us not to repeat them. Let nothing be traced in the future which will bring regret in the bye-and- bye. We may now avoid a bad showing for the future. GH September 1, 1898, par. 2

We are making our life history every day we live. Today [is ours, yesterday is] beyond our amendment or control. Today will soon be yesterday. If we make mistakes and grieve the Spirit of God today, it will be yesterday on the morrow, and the record will be engraved on the books of heaven. GH September 1, 1898, par. 3

The invitation is made to us today: “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest.” Christ has rest to give us if we will wear his yoke and learn his meekness and lowliness. In this lesson is restraint and obedience and the finding of rest. GH September 1, 1898, par. 4

Thank God that in humility and obedience are found just what we all need so much—rest in faith, and confidence in perfect trust. In this we have not manufactured an oppressive yoke for our own necks. We have taken the yoke of Christ in entire obedience and He can then give us rest. We find in obedience that peace, that grace, and that assurance which make the reality ours. We have found rest in Jesus. GH September 1, 1898, par. 5

“Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” GH September 1, 1898, par. 6

Jesus Christ has plentiful help and grace for all who will appreciate it. The Lord is our helper. “With the Lord is forgiveness.” He alone can blot out the sins of the past. He can strengthen the mind in the contemplation that the past is no more our enemy, but a friend to warn us off from the ground we should not approach. Thus the past becomes our true friend. GH September 1, 1898, par. 7

“As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” This is the yoke of Christ that He invites us to wear—the yoke of obedience. What is the result? “Learn of Me, ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” GH September 1, 1898, par. 8

“These things have I spoken unto you, that [through your perfect obedience] my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” The conscience bears its testimony of approval, that in sincerity, and the simplicity of true godliness, we have walked in his footsteps and not in the sparks of human wisdom and devising. GH September 1, 1898, par. 9

We can make the past to be not a burden, but a constant true friend and guide for the future. The present is that with which we have to do. One moment of time and then another fills up our one day of test and trial, and then it becomes yesterday. We must educate by precept and example, to make the most out of the present. Gather all the fragrance possible from the roses and the lilies and the pinks, and do not let us bruise our hands by grasping the thorns and letting them bruise us. This is what Satan would have us do. GH September 1, 1898, par. 10

“Learn of Me,” saith the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, “and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” It is the practical living out of the meekness and lowliness of Christ that ensures the finding of the rest and peace which He alone can give. GH September 1, 1898, par. 11

The past which has gone into eternity is in one sense to be our teacher, that we shall never repeat its failures and errors. The present is the period to reap advantages from the past. Let not the present be a time of brooding over past failures. Let us act in the living present, communing oft with God. He is everything to us. We are now making history. Let it not be of a character to harass us when it becomes past. The future holds its treasures for us. GH September 1, 1898, par. 12