The Signs of the Times


March 28, 1895

Temporal Interests to Be Subordinated


The cross of Christ is the mighty agency through which God has planned to move the world. Christ as the atoning sacrifice has influenced the heavenly intelligences to such a degree that it is their highest joy to work as the messengers of Christ, to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. O, how important has this world become! Every eye in the universe of God is looking upon this world, for here it is that the great battle is in progress. Christ, the prince of life, is in conflict with Satan, the prince of darkness, over every fallen soul, that he may rescue the human race from the slavery of Satan. Satan and his agencies are opposing every effort for the advancement of the good. ST March 28, 1895, par. 1

The cross of Christ is to be so distinctly presented before the world that every other power will be eclipsed, and the human race be drawn in homage to Christ Jesus. The Father has given everything into the hands of Christ,—all power, dominion, and glory have been bestowed upon the Son of God. When the eye is directed to Calvary, the soul beholds Jesus, the royal Sufferer, dying for the sin of man, in order that man may have another trial, another opportunity to obtain eternal life. When Jesus Christ is evidently set forth before the sinner's eyes, manifest in the flesh and crucified for him, the Spirit has taken of the things of Christ, and has shown them to the sinner, and the result has been transformation of character, the sinner becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. ST March 28, 1895, par. 2

But, though the greatest Gift of heaven has been bestowed in order to attract the attention of men heavenward, men are ensnared by the temptations of Satan, and their minds seem to be enchained to the earth. Our Saviour came to the world to correct this evil, and to fasten the affections of the soul on things above. He lifted up his voice in warning, saying, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The world's Redeemer calls the attention of men to the nobler life which they have lost sight of, and brings again unseen and eternal realities within range of their vision. He opens before their eyes the glories of heaven. ST March 28, 1895, par. 3

“These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth: I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Jesus takes men to the very threshold of heaven, and opens before them the sanctuary, flooded with the glory of the Lord of hosts, sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and the train of his glory filled the temple. It has been maintained by some, both by pen and voice, that it would incapacitate human beings for conducting wisely the affairs of this life, to look upon unseen realities. It has been argued that earthly matters would seem so inferior when contrasted with heavenly things, that every thought and impulse would be engaged with the world that is to come, and that earthly affairs would be neglected. ST March 28, 1895, par. 4

But Jesus presents to the mind the realities of the world to come, yet all his lessons, both to his disciples and to the promiscuous crowds that thronged his steps, were of a character to create a wholesome, appropriate interest in the affairs of this life, and to bring eternal realities before the mind as of supreme importance. He takes the world as it were in his hand, and assigns to it its proper place, and directs his disciples as to what are their duties in regard to the things of this life. He would have every son and daughter of Adam learn of him, the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. By both precept and example he taught them that every moment of life was fraught with eternal responsibility. He weeded life of its vanities and follies, distinguishing between the tares and the wheat, and presenting before men the pure, the precious, the desirable in comparison with the finite and perishable. ST March 28, 1895, par. 5

The Lord Jesus made the world. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Yet he who made all things, he who was equal with the Father, one with God, who was in the express image of his person and character, left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came into our world in order that humanity might touch divinity, and divinity sanctify humanity. He came that the fallen sons and daughters of Adam might be recovered from the effects of Adam's transgression and fall, and, through his divine, uplifting power, become sons and daughters of God. He sees that the world is largely under the control of the enemy of God and man, and cannot break the spell of infatuation that is over them. Satan, who first tempted Eve in Eden, and through her caused the fall of Adam, continues his temptations, seeking by every power to retain men in disobedience. Every lying device is put into operation to misrepresent the Father and to dispute the authority of his only-begotten Son. Satan casts a hellish shadow before the world to hide God and the world's Redeemer from sight, so that if they were viewed at all, it might be through the mists and fogs of superstition, tradition, and error, and not in truth. ST March 28, 1895, par. 6

The mission of Christ to our world was to set things in order, to bring life and immortality to light through the gospel. He saw the world chasing after happiness and finding it not, meeting with failure on every hand, and yet ever eager to give every flattering inducement a trial to attain that for which they sought. He pointed out to them the true source of happiness. The world's Redeemer would have them direct their attention to the world on high, and he gives them lessons in which eternal realities are ever brought to view, where he showed to men that which is good and imperishable. The treasure they seek is not to be found upon earth. They should set their affections on things above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. He said to them, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” ST March 28, 1895, par. 7

Satan has blinded the eyes of those who see nothing beyond the earthly, temporal interests. They are unable to behold things which are afar off, while they see with magnified vision the merest atoms of worldly interests assume large and attractive proportions. They are spiritually blind, and the Lord Jesus performs a greater miracle when he restores spiritual vision to those who have been blinded by the glitter and tinsel of this world, than if he healed the most malignant disease. He found the world, who have souls to save or to lose, mistaking phantoms for realities. ST March 28, 1895, par. 8

The great deceiver sought to blind the eyes of Christ by the glitter and tinsel of the world, and presented before him the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them. He who had fallen from heaven, pictured the world as possessing the gilding of the world above, in order that he might induce Christ to accept the bribe, and fall down and worship him. Calling him by his true name, Jesus rebukes the deceiver. Divinity flashed through suffering humanity, and he made manifest through his word the authority of heaven. He reveals to the deceiver that, though he had resumed the disguise of an angel of light, his true character was not hidden from the Saviour of the world. He called him Satan, the angel of darkness, who had left his first estate, and had refused allegiance to God. ST March 28, 1895, par. 9

Jesus overcomes the great deceiver, and sees his working with the children of disobedience to keep them in disobedience. He sees him deluding them by innumerable deceptions, and beholds men ready to take the offered bribe to have the world and worship the deceiver, rather than renounce the world and worship the Son of God. Absorbed in providing for their temporal necessities, engaged in the chase for the worldly advantages and attractions which Satan holds out before them, they stake all to win the glittering prize, and lose both worlds. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, urges them to have respect unto the recompense of the reward, to value their everlasting happiness, and to keep eternity in view. He seeks to heal the defective spiritual eyesight of the soul with whom he comes in contact and brings heaven before their vision. He knows the necessities of mortals. He does not lose sight of their temporal needs; but he presents also that which is nobler and higher than things that are temporal, and bids them consider the claims of the future immortal life. He would draw the mind and engage the attention in contemplating eternal realities. ST March 28, 1895, par. 10

Those who serve mammon, put Bible religion in a secondary place. But those who love and serve God will subordinate their temporal interests to their eternal interest, and, instead of spending all their energies in securing property, indulging in worldly pleasure, to secure that which is simply temporal and perishable, they will seek for immortality by patient continuance in welldoing, and exercise their spiritual energies in securing eternal treasure. ST March 28, 1895, par. 11