The Signs of the Times


February 8, 1892

Faith and Works


God will work for us just in accordance with our faith. At the slow rate our people in many States are working, it would take a temporal millennium to warn the world. The angels are holding the four winds that they should not blow until the world is warned, until a people has decided for the truth, the honest of heart have been convicted and converted. Their power, their influence, and their means will then flow in the missionary channel. This is putting out the money to the exchangers, that when the Master shall come, his stewards may present the talents doubled in the ingathering of souls to Jesus Christ. But the wealthy farmers are some of them acting as if in the day of God the Lord only would require of them to present to him enriched, improved farms, building added to building, and they say, “Here, Lord, are thy talents; behold, I have gained all this possession.” If the acres of their farms were so many precious souls saved to Jesus Christ, if their buildings were so many souls to be presented to the Master, then he could say to these men, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But you cannot take these improved farms, or these buildings, into heaven. The fires of the last days will consume them. If you invest and bury your talents of means in these earthly treasures, your heart is on them, your anxiety is for them, your persevering labor is for them, your tact, your skill is cultivated to serve earthly, worldly possessions, and is not directed or employed upon heavenly things. And you come to look upon the means invested for larger plans in extending the work as so much means lost which brings no returns. This is all a mistake, because the earthly is exalted above the eternal. While the heart is on earthly treasures, it can only estimate such; it cannot appreciate the heavenly treasure. It is fully occupied just as the devil wants it should be; and the eternal is eclipsed by the earthly. ST February 8, 1892, par. 1

Burying Talents in the Earth

Now there are many diligently at work just as though their salvation depended upon their wonderful economy in investing means in the cause of God, as though the least money they consumed in plans and efforts to broaden and build up the work of God was a virtue. And money is held in farms and in business as though their salvation depended upon the improvements to be made upon their earthly property. Do these men know that they are bound up in selfishness? Do these men know that they are robbing God every day of their lives? Do they know that they are devoting their time, their physical and mental talents, in laying upon the foundation, hay, wood, and stubble? All the improvements of years will be consumed with the fires of the last day, and if they themselves are saved, it will be only as by fire. Their whole life work is in ashes. The reward that they might have gained if they had been faithful stewards, is lost, eternally lost. A host of souls that they might have saved are not saved, because of their neglect. All their powers God had given them to prove them as probationers, whether they are worthy to be intrusted with eternal riches. And there are many whose testimonies have been heard in meetings in continual cautions, lest some advance move shall be made calling for some of their means to reflect light to the world. They are found so buried up with earthly things that they have no right estimate of the eternal riches, and would not prize heaven if it were given them. Their taste, their appetite, their pursuits, their inclinations, are all of an earthly, worldly character; they are unfitted for heaven; they perish with their treasures. All our talents are to be used to the utmost. We are required to develop our abilities by exercise until they have reached the highest standpoint in doing—your farming? your building?—No; but God's work, as stewards of the grace of God. ST February 8, 1892, par. 2

Your powers are to be used as a blessing to the world. To take God's intrusted talents and employ them for earthly, selfish, worldly purposes, and neglect the work of God in winning souls to Christ,—unfaithful servants is charged upon all who do this and neglect a sacred responsibility. It is a fearful thing to take the powers of the body and of the mind, given you to be employed to be a blessing to the world, and use them in such a way that God is not honored. It is also a fearful thing to fold up the talent in a napkin, and hide it in the earth, or world, for fear God would demand it of you. This will be the cutting off of our own hopes of an eternal reward; it is the forfeiting of the crown of life, and showing that we have no esteem for an eternity of bliss. ST February 8, 1892, par. 3

Transformation Necessary

God calls upon you who have the precious light of truth to no longer have your time and talents devoted to selfish purposes, and thus lost to humanity, and lost to God, by folding up your talents and hiding them in the earth. All these talents must be employed to bring glory to the Giver. Accept your God-given responsibilities and take up your cross, denying yourself, or you cannot be disciples of Christ. God did not design that you should devote brain, bone, and muscle to earthly employments; he intended you should improve your talents to fill some grand and noble place in God's plans, in saving of souls, and in doing God's work. The selfish thoughts and feelings have dried up your souls. The moisture of heaven is not upon many of you. You are as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that were not visited by dew nor rain. Grand opportunities are being lost, and you are shriveled and dying spiritually of non-use of your talents. You cannot fulfill your solemn responsibilities to God unless you are transformed in character. Your unconscious influence in your spiritual attitude of selfish love of the world is saying to the world, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” Your guilt is similar to that of the inhabitants of the old world. You are planting and building, and your works testify that you are not looking and watching and waiting for our Lord's appearing. ST February 8, 1892, par. 4

Accountability to God

How can you, who are men and women blessed with so great light, so high and sacred privileges, render an account to God why you have done so little as his servants? why you have fulfilled life's grand works so unworthily? God lays responsibilities in your hands to do his work, to educate, to train all your powers to do his work with that efficiency which shall earn for you the, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Wherein does this faithfulness consist? in your withdrawing your interest, your time, your influence, from the work of God, and devoting all your powers to earthly, selfish purposes?—No, the blessing will be pronounced upon those who yoke up with Christ in doing his work. Ye are laborers together with God. You will reveal to the world all the faith you have. ST February 8, 1892, par. 5

You are not all compelled to go to heathen lands; there are souls just as precious in the sight of God and valuable as your own soul right within your own borders. And how few, very few, workers are employed in giving the message of warning in the large cities? What excuse will you have prepared to offer to God for this terrible neglect of your God-given responsibilities? These souls unsaved within your reach, I was shown, will confront you in the day of judgment. You worshiped your farms, you worshiped your money, you prided yourself upon your wisdom as wise financiers in worldly affairs; but how does all this weigh with God? He said of the rich man, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? Now the application: “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” The Lord has given you light in testimonies of warning, of reproof, and counsel, but you do but little in accordance with the light given. The words of Christ are explicit, but you are not doers of his words, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” ST February 8, 1892, par. 6

Do you contemplate that Christ sacrificed his majesty, his honor and glory, to bring salvation within your reach, and save every son and daughter of Adam? He for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. ST February 8, 1892, par. 7

“We are laborers together with God.” When he ascended on high, he left his work in the hands of his followers to carry it forward, as he has given us an example in his self-sacrificing life. He went about doing good. Do you follow his example in this? Does your own business seem of greater importance than the precious souls Jesus came to the world to save? Oh, that I could open many eyes that Satan has blinded. Oh, that pen and voice could have an influence to arouse you from your paralysis. Oh, that you could see that you are doing nothing while all heaven is engaged in intense activities to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. ST February 8, 1892, par. 8