The Signs of the Times



January 6, 1890

“How Much Owest Thou?”


The tender mercies and loving-kindnesses of the Lord have been toward us all the days of our life, and the whole world should be filled with thankful voices, proclaiming the benevolence and love of God. The psalmist says: “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” When we were sold under sin, He who was rich in glory, for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. Well may we ask our souls, “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” The benevolence of Christ is exercised every day in the year. He gives daily his gifts unto men. His Holy Spirit is constantly at work, drawing the hearts of men, guiding them into all truth. Before the crucifixion of Christ, he told his sorrowing disciples that he would send them another Comforter, which should abide with them forever. The grace of Christ is multiplied toward us, and given without stint. The streams of salvation are continually flowing for us. ST January 6, 1890, par. 1

In view of what Christ has done and is doing for the children of men, should we not bring gratitude offerings to him? Should our gifts flow only to one another, and the Giver of every good and perfect gift be forgotten? The Lord has said, “Them that honor me, I will honor.” We should not wait to make an offering to God until we are out of debt. His cause demands the means that he has given to us in trust, and we should present a portion on the altar of God as freely as the infinite sacrifice was made for us. We have no time to lose in passing our treasures on to the bank of heaven. Whatever we may do, let us not forget God. If we love him with all the heart, we shall remember his claims upon us. God requires that we shall be like him, that we shall imitate the self-sacrificing example of Christ, and live a life of self-denial. We should prayerfully consider the question, “How much owest thou unto the Lord?” ST January 6, 1890, par. 2

Are there those who are robbing God in tithes and offerings? Seek to make your accounts straight; do not leave your obligation to God as the last thing to be settled. Let those who have borrowed, try to pay their debts; especially see to it that no poor person who has labored hard for his means, is left in perplexity because you fail to pay what you owe him. Let no injustice be done to your neighbors, but let everything be made right as far as possible between you and your fellow-men. This is keeping the last six commandments. ST January 6, 1890, par. 3

Let those who have means give of their means to the glory of God. Let them show that they appreciate the gift of God's dear Son, that they love him with undivided affection, and will manifest their faith in his mission and work by replenishing the treasury of God. The means that God intrusts to men is for the forwarding of his work in the earth. God's word appeals to you to give. There are souls to be saved. There are those who know not the truth, and they must be enlightened by missionary effort. How many have withheld their tithe? How many have withheld themselves from the service of God? When those who have for years withheld their tithes become convicted, and reckon up and see how large is the sum they owe to God, they must not become discouraged and do nothing to diminish the debt. If you can, pay the whole amount, but if you cannot, do the best you can, begin to pay tithes from the first of 1890. Confess to the Lord your robbery toward him, and give yourselves in full surrender as an offering to the Lord. Tell the Lord that if he will place it in your power, you will meet your obligation to him, and render back to him his own. ST January 6, 1890, par. 4

Do something, do it soon. In the sight of God, in the sight of heavenly angels, make decided moves toward a better life. What does God speak to us at this time? He says: “And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Let the purifying process go on in every soul. Pray that every sin may be revealed, that the corruption of the heart may be made plain; and when it is exposed, pray for grace to put away defilement. Make wrongs right between you and your brethren; and when you do your part, God will not fail to do his part. ST January 6, 1890, par. 5

Why delay? Why go on in weakness? Why not cast your soul in all its helplessness upon Christ, and lay hold on the merits of his precious blood? He waits to receive you. He longs to help you. And when the soul temple is cleansed from every defilement, you will have a new and precious experience. The Lord says: “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” But if the work of repentance and reformation is neglected, if you pass on your way, sinning in word and action, the Lord says: “I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” ST January 6, 1890, par. 6

If the Lord did not continue his guardian care over us by day and night, Satan would exercise his power against us, and we should be consumed. The Lord has appointed his angels to shield his people, that the wicked one may not destroy us. But because of the preserving care and tender mercies of the Lord, men become careless. The wise man says, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” The patience and forbearance of God should soften instead of hardening the hearts of men. Do not presume upon the forbearance of God, but rather seek to understand his dealings with the children of earth. An unerring register is kept with the accuracy of Omniscience of the iniquities of nations and individuals; Christ declares, “I know thy works.” But although the figures rapidly accumulate, God's mercy does not cease until a certain amount is reached, which marks the limit of divine forbearance. There is still time for wrongs to be righted by confession and restitution to man and God. By faith we may claim the merits of the blood of Christ, and those who will receive his counsel may be purged and made white. Shall we not now draw nigh to God? Shall there not be confession of sin while it is called today? The record in the books of heaven may be canceled by the shed blood of Jesus. The Lord says, “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” This is the charge the Lord makes against the unfaithful ones. ST January 6, 1890, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)