The Signs of the Times


April 20, 1876

Christian Watchfulness


We are living in the last days. John exclaims: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Jesus Christ is the only refuge in these perilous times. Satan is at work in secrecy and darkness. Cunningly he draws away the followers of Christ from the cross, and brings them into self-indulgence and wickedness. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 1

Satan is opposed to everything that will strengthen the cause of Christ and weaken his own power. He is diligently laying plans to undermine the work of God. He never rests for a moment when he sees that the right is gaining the ascendency. He has legions of evil angels that he sends to every point where light from Heaven is shining upon the people. Here he stations his pickets to seize every unguarded man, woman, or child, and pass them over to his service. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 2

It is Satan's plan to weaken the faith of God's people in the testimonies. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the testimonies, once believed, are doubted, and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this, but he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 3

Very many do not realize that God holds them accountable for every advantage gained by the foe who is admitted to the fort. The desolation and ruin following lays at the door of the unfaithful sentinels, who, by their neglect, become agents in the hands of the adversary to win souls to destruction. Men professing this faith should seek wisdom and guidance of God and not trust in their own judgment and knowledge. They should, like Solomon, earnestly pray for faith and light, and he will give them freely of his abundant supply. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 4

God would have his work done intelligently, not in a hap-hazard manner. He would have it done with faith and careful exactitude, that he may place the sign of his approval upon it. Those who love him and walk with fear and humility before him, he will bless, and guide, and connect them with Heaven. If the workers rely upon him he will give them wisdom and correct their infirmities, so that they will be able to do the work of the Lord with perfection. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 5

Our good works alone will not save any of us, but we cannot be saved without good works. And after we have done all that we can do, in the name and strength of Jesus we are to say, “We are unprofitable servants.” We are not to think we have made great sacrifices and should receive great reward for our feeble services. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 6

We must put on the armor and be prepared to successfully resist all the attacks of Satan. His malignity and cruel power is not sufficiently estimated. When he finds himself foiled upon one point, he assumes new ground and fresh tactics, and tries again, working wonders in order to deceive and destroy the children of men. The youth should be carefully warned against his power, and patiently and prayerfully directed how to endure the trials sure to come upon them in this life. They should be led to cling to the Word of God and give attention to counsel and advice. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 7

The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to his offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, repenting, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer, Return unto me and I will return unto you. If the sinner still refuses to heed the voice of mercy which calls after him with tender, pitying love, his soul will be left in darkness. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 8

But if he neglects the opportunity presented him and goes on in his evil course, the wrath of God will, in an unexpected moment, break forth upon him. Those who, being often reproved, harden their hearts, shall be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It lays at the foundation of a proper education. Those who, having a favorable opportunity, have failed to learn this first great lesson, are not only disqualified for service in the cause of God, but are a positive injury to the community in which they live. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 9

Living faith in the merits of a crucified Redeemer will carry men through the fiery furnace of affliction and trial. The form of the Fourth will be with them in the fierce heat of the furnace, which will not leave even the smell of fire upon their garments. Children should be encouraged to become Bible students and have firm religious principles that will stand the test of the perils sure to be experienced by all those who live upon earth during the last days, in the closing history of the world. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 10

In this sinful world of ours, truth and falsehood are so mixed that one is not always clearly discerned from the other. But why has one who professes the truth so little strength? Because he understands not his own ignorance and his own weakness. If he knew this, if he was distrustful of himself, he would feel the importance of Divine help to preserve him from the wiles of the enemy. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 11

We need to be active, working Christians, unselfish in heart and life, having an eye single to the glory of God. Oh! what wrecks of weakness we meet everywhere! Silent lips, and fruitless lives! This is the result of falling under temptation. Nothing mars the peace of the soul like sinful unbelief. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 12

Christ asks for all. It will not do to withhold anything. He has purchased us with an infinite price, and he requires that all we have shall be yielded to him a willing offering. If we are fully consecrated to him in heart and life, faith will take the place of doubts, and confidence the place of distrust and unbelief. ST April 20, 1876, Art. A, par. 13