The Signs of the Times


August 18, 1909

The Value of Trial


The furnace fires are not to destroy, but to refine, ennoble, sanctify. Without trial we would not feel so much our need of God and His help; and we would become proud and self-sufficient. In the trials that come to us we should see the evidences that the Lord's eye is upon us, and that He means to draw us to Himself. It is not the whole, but the wounded, who need a physician; it is those who are pressed almost beyond the point of endurance who need a Helper. ST August 18, 1909, par. 1

The fact that we are called upon to endure trial, proves that the Lord sees something in us very precious, which He desires to develop. If He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name. He would not spend time in refining us. We do not take special pains in pruning brambles. Christ does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He tests. ST August 18, 1909, par. 2

The blacksmith puts the iron and steel into the fire that he may know what manner of metal they are. The Lord allows His chosen ones to be placed in the furnace of affliction, in order that He may see what temper they are of, and whether He can mold and fashion them for His work. ST August 18, 1909, par. 3

God the Purifier

It may be that much work needs to be done in your character-building, that you are a rough stone which must be squared and polished before it can fill a place in God's temple. You need not be surprised if, with chisel and hammer, God cuts away the sharp corners of your character, until you are prepared to fill the place He has for you. No human being can accomplish this work. Only by God can it be done. And be assured that He will not strike one useless blow. His every blow is struck in love, for your eternal happiness. He knows your infirmities, and works to restore, not to destroy. ST August 18, 1909, par. 4

When trials arise that seem unexplainable, we should not allow our peace to be spoiled. However unjustly we may be treated, let not passion arise. By indulging a spirit of retaliation, we injure ourselves. We destroy our own confidence in God, and grieve the Holy Spirit. There is by our side a witness, a heavenly messenger, who will lift up for us a standard against the enemy. He will shut us in with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Beyond this, Satan can not penetrate. He can not pass this shield of holy light. ST August 18, 1909, par. 5

While the work is progressing in wickedness, none of us need flatter ourselves that we shall have no difficulties. But it is these very difficulties that bring us into the audience-chamber of the Most High. We may seek counsel of One who is infinite in wisdom. Through conflict the spiritual life is strengthened. Trials well borne will develop steadfastness of character, and precious spiritual graces. The perfect fruit of faith, meekness, and love often matures best amid storm-clouds and darkness. ST August 18, 1909, par. 6

Paul's Experience

Paul was a man who knew what it meant to be a partaker of Christ's sufferings. His life was one of constant activity, notwithstanding he was subject to many infirmities. He was constantly followed by the hatred and malice of the Jews. They were exceedingly bitter against him, and did all in their power to hinder him in his work. Yet we hear his voice sounding down along the line to our time, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” None too highly does Paul estimate the privileges and advantages of the Christian life. ST August 18, 1909, par. 7

Paul says further, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” One of the lessons that we are to learn in the school of Christ is that the Lord's love for us is far greater than that of our earthly parents. We are to have unquestioning faith and perfect confidence in Him. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” ST August 18, 1909, par. 8

Visions of the Future

There are revealed in these last days visions of future glory, scenes pictured by the hand of God; and these should be dear to His church. What sustained the Son of God in His hour of betrayal and trial?—He saw of the travail of His soul, and was satisfied. He caught a view of the expanse of eternity, and saw the happiness of those who, through His humiliation, should receive pardon and everlasting life. He was wounded for their transgressions, bruised for their iniquities. The chastisement of their peace was upon Him, and with His stripes they were healed. His ear caught the shout of the redeemed. He heard the ransomed ones singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. ST August 18, 1909, par. 9

We must have a vision of the future, and of the blessedness of heaven. Stand on the threshold of eternity and hear the gracious welcome given to those who in this life have cooperated with Christ, regarding it as a privilege and honor to suffer for His sake. As they unite with angels, they cast their crowns at the feet of the Redeemer, exclaiming, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.... Honor and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” ST August 18, 1909, par. 10

“I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” ST August 18, 1909, par. 11

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” ST August 18, 1909, par. 12