The Signs of the Times


August 28, 1893

The Christian's Attitude in Trial


In all our afflictions Jesus was afflicted, and the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering. In this life we shall be proved to see whether or not we shall be able to bear the test of God. Satan's temptations will come upon us, and we shall be tried, but the question of most importance to us is, Shall we be overcome? or shall we be overcomers? Jesus has said, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” How precious, how full is this promise! Shall we not have the mind stored with heavenly truth, that, like our great Example, we may be able to meet Satan with the weapon of God's word, saying to him as he tempts us to do evil, “It is written”? Satan knows better than many professed Christians what is written, for he is a diligent student of the Bible, and he works to pervert the truth, and lead men into the paths of disobedience. He leads men to neglect the searching of the word of God; for he knows that it testifies against him, that his works are evil. It describes him as the apostate angel who fell from heaven, and drew many of the hosts of heaven after him in a course of rebellion against their Creator. ST August 28, 1893, par. 1

Satan is seeking continually to draw away the minds of men from God and his word. He knows that if he can cause men to neglect the word of God, he can soon cause them to depart from its precepts, and finally to forget their Maker. They will then take the suggestions and instructions of the adversary of God and man, and evil men and evil angels will form a confederacy against the God of heaven. ST August 28, 1893, par. 2

Those who would be loyal to God will be subject to trials and temptations; but if they are truly alive unto God, and have their life hid with Christ in God, they will also know what it is to have the blessings which God bestows upon the faithful and obedient. Every soul will have its trials, disappointments, sickness, and sorrow. Bereavements will come, and because of their own frailties and mistakes, or through sympathy for their friends, heavy grief will press upon the heart. But whatever may be the character of their sorrows, whether heavy or comparatively light, there is no necessity for becoming restless, impatient, rebellious, or morose. There is no need of speaking rash, faithless words. It is a great mistake to dictate to the Lord. Elijah knew not what he was doing when he said to God that he had had enough of life, and asked to die. The Lord did not take him at his word; for there was a great work for Elijah to do before he should be translated to heaven. ST August 28, 1893, par. 3

Instead of murmuring against God in times of trial, let us remember that Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, suffered being tempted. Jesus did not permit the enemy to plunge him into the mire of unbelief, despondency, and despair. But how often we permit it, and because we have but little moral power, not doing the works of Christ, we do not resist the first insinuations of the evil one! The promise is given: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” How precious to the tempted soul is this positive promise! If anyone is tempted, let him keep his eyes upon Jesus, and draw nigh to God, talking of his goodness and mercy. When the tempted soul realizes that Jesus is drawing nigh unto him, the annoyances that he thought unbearable will vanish. “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” ST August 28, 1893, par. 4

When this precious experience is ours, then there will be vital energy in the church. Love for Christ must be revived, and not permitted to grow cold. We must not only pray for unity with Christ and with one another, but actually have it, know what it means by real experience. Troublous times are before us, but this is not to worry us. To worry is to doubt; but we would impress upon all the necessity of going to God for help, whatever may be your afflictions and troubles. ST August 28, 1893, par. 5

Do not think to obtain help by going to the gods of Ekron. Jesus has left an invitation for every burdened soul. He says: “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 unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ST August 28, 1893, par. 6

John, who leaned upon the bosom of Christ, says, “We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.” If we can individually say this from the heart, we are indeed rich in faith, living on the promises of God. Amid our trials, disappointments, bereavements, and afflictions, we are to learn that God is love, and that he that dwelleth in God, dwelleth in love. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we [in heaven?] in this world.” We have reason ever to thank God that he knows all the storms, disappointments, and trials that come upon his people. He follows them through every experience, with tender, pitying love, and expresses his desire to heal our wounds, and restore unto us the joy of his salvation. ST August 28, 1893, par. 7

Jesus has said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” There is but one channel of light, but that is always accessible to us, and through that channel flow streams of forgiveness and love. The streams of God's mercy can cleanse the darkest stain, bring peace to the greatest sinner. The blood of Christ was shed for the sins of the world. In the sacrificial offering, offered by the Jews, was seen a symbol of Christ, whose blood was to be shed for the salvation of the world. In the sacrificial system the truth of the atonement was to be impressed upon the world, that all might know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Many have wondered why it was that God appointed so many sacrifices in the old dispensation; but it was to teach the world in ever-bleeding sacrifices concerning Christ, the victim of man's transgressions. The offering for sin was a most solemn, sacred offering, and was placed upon the altar with impressive ceremony, and every detail was explained by the priest to the people, that they might understand that the Son of God was to be made an offering for their sins. This is the central truth of the plan of salvation, and it should be often repeated in the hearing of both believers and unbelievers. ST August 28, 1893, par. 8

The angels behold with amazement the indifference with which men hear these sacred truths. They look with sorrow upon those who profess to believe advanced truth, to see how little they make manifest the fact that they are the purchase of the blood of the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” It is only through faith in the cleansing blood that we may have forgiveness of sin, that clings to us like a moral leprosy. Jesus need not have suffered for himself, for “he knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” yet he suffered agony in proportion to the purity and majesty of his character. Angels are amazed that those for whom so much has been done by the Son of God, still continue to cherish sin. The inexpressible sufferings of Christ were endured that the souls of men might be saved from sin and its penalty. Oh, why is it that men are so indifferent? Why is it that the plan of salvation is so little mentioned in our conversation? We dwell but lightly upon these vital truths, that mean so much to us, and continue willing captives of Satan and sin. Oh, that we might cultivate habits of contemplation of the self-sacrifice, self-denial, and love of Christ, until we should have a deeper sense of the malignant character of sin, and hate it as the vile thing that it is! Let the mind and heart awaken to gratitude, and let us come to the Father in the name of Jesus, asking for the forgiveness of sins, for the cleansing from all unrighteousness. Let us plead with God that he may “cleanse us with hyssop,” that we may be clean, wash us, that we may be “whiter than snow.” He will restore unto us the “joy of his salvation,” put within us a new heart, a right spirit, put a “new song” into our mouths, “even praise unto our God.” ST August 28, 1893, par. 9