The Signs of the Times


February 8, 1883

Brotherly Love



“Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” Man by wicked works alienated himself from God, but Christ gave his life that all who would, might be freed from sin and re-instated in the favor of the Creator. It was the anticipation of a redeemed, holy universe that prompted Christ to make this great sacrifice. Have we accepted the privileges so dearly purchased? Are we followers of God as dear children, or are we servants of the prince of darkness? Are we worshipers of Jehovah, or of Baal? of the living God, or of idols? ST February 8, 1883, par. 1

No outward shrines may be visible, there may be no image for the eye to rest upon, yet we may be practicing idolatry. It is as easy to make an idol of cherished ideas or objects as to fashion gods of wood or stone. Thousands have a false conception of God and his attributes. They are as verily serving a false god as were the servants of Baal. Are we worshiping the true God as he is revealed in his word, in Christ, in nature, or are we adoring some philosophical idol enshrined in his place? God is a God of truth. Justice and mercy are the attributes of his throne. He is a God of love, of pity, and tender compassion. Thus he is represented in his Son, our Saviour. He is a God of patience and long-suffering. If such is the being whom we adore, and to whose character we are seeking to assimilate, we are worshiping the true God. ST February 8, 1883, par. 2

If we are following Christ, his merits, imputed to us, come up before the Father as sweet odor. And the graces of our Saviour's character, implanted in our hearts, will shed around us a precious fragrance. The spirit of love, meekness, and forbearance, pervading our life, will have power to soften and subdue hard hearts, and win to Christ bitter opposers of the faith. ST February 8, 1883, par. 3

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” “Do all things without murmurings and disputings; that ye may be blameless, and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” ST February 8, 1883, par. 4

Vainglory, selfish ambition, is the rock upon which many souls have been wrecked, and many churches rendered powerless. Those who know least of devotion, who are least connected with God, are the ones who will most eagerly seek the highest place. They have no sense of their weakness and their deficiencies of character. Unless many of our young ministers shall feel the converting power of God, their labors will be a hindrance rather than a help to the church. They may have learned the doctrines of Christ, but they have not learned Christ. The soul that is constantly looking unto Jesus will see his self-denying love and deep humility, and will copy his example. Pride, ambition, deceit, hatred, selfishness, must be cleansed from the heart. With many, these evil traits are partially subdued, but not thoroughly uprooted from the heart. Under favorable circumstances they spring up anew, and ripen into rebellion against God. Here lies a terrible danger. To spare any sin is to cherish a foe that only awaits an unguarded moment to cause our ruin. ST February 8, 1883, par. 5

Ministers should see that their own hearts are sanctified through the truth, and then labor to secure these results for their converts. It is pure religion that ministers and people need. Those who put away iniquity from their hearts, and stretch out their hands in earnest supplication unto God will have that help which he alone can give them. A ransom has been paid for the souls of men, that they may have an opportunity to escape from the thralldom of sin, and obtain pardon, purity, and Heaven. God hears the cry of the lowly and contrite. Those who frequent the throne of grace, offering up sincere, earnest petitions for divine wisdom and power, will not fail to become active, useful servants of Christ. They may not possess great talents, but with humility of heart, and firm reliance upon Jesus, they may do a good work in bringing souls to Christ. They can reach men through God. Ministers of Christ should ever feel that a sacred work engages all their souls, their efforts should be for the edification of the body of Christ and not to exalt themselves before the people. And while Christians should esteem the faithful minister as Christ's ambassador, they should avoid all praise of the man. ST February 8, 1883, par. 6

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” My brethren and sisters, how are you employing the gift of speech? Have you learned so to control the tongue that it shall ever obey the dictates of an enlightened conscience and holy affections? Is your conversation free from levity, pride and malice, deceit and impurity? Are you without guile before God? Words exert a telling power. Satan will, if possible, keep the tongue active in his service. Of ourselves we cannot control the unruly member. Divine grace is our only hope. Those who are eagerly studying how they may secure the pre-eminence, should study rather how they may gain that wisdom which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” He who has Christ formed within, the hope of glory, will “show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” ST February 8, 1883, par. 7

Peter exhorts the believers: “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” ST February 8, 1883, par. 8

When the right way is so plainly marked out, why do not the professed people of God walk in it? Why do they not study and pray and labor earnestly to be of one mind? Why do they not seek to cherish compassion for one another, to love as brethren, instead of rendering evil for evil, and railing for railing? Who does not love life and desire good days? yet how few comply with the conditions, to refrain the tongue from evil, and the lips from speaking guile. Few are willing to follow the Saviour's example of meekness and humility. Many ask the Lord to humble them, but are unwilling to submit to the needful discipline. When the test comes, when trials or even annoyances occur, the heart rebels, and the tongue utters words that are like poisoned arrows or blasting hail. ST February 8, 1883, par. 9

Evil-speaking is a two-fold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife, reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. How miserable is the tale-bearer, the surmiser of evil! He is a stranger to true happiness. ST February 8, 1883, par. 10

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Grace and peace rest upon those who refuse to join in the strife of tongues. When venders of scandal are passing from family to family, those who fear God will be chaste keepers at home. The time that is so often worse than wasted in idle, frivolous, and malicious gossip, should be given to higher and nobler objects. If the professed followers of Jesus would indeed become missionaries for God, visiting the sick and afflicted, and laboring patiently and kindly for the erring—in short, if they would copy the Pattern—the church would have prosperity in all her borders. ST February 8, 1883, par. 11

The sin of evil-speaking begins with the cherishing of evil thoughts. Guile includes impurity in all its forms. An impure thought tolerated, an unholy desire cherished, and the soul is contaminated, its integrity compromised. “Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” If we would not commit sin, we must shun its very beginnings. Every emotion and desire must be held in subjection to reason and conscience. Every unholy thought must be instantly repelled. To your closet, followers of Christ. Pray in faith, and with all the heart. Satan is watching to ensnare your feet. You must have help from above if you would escape his devices. ST February 8, 1883, par. 12

By faith and prayer all may meet the requirements of the gospel. No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must be first gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act, before passion can dominate over reason, or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin. “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” Cry unto the Lord, tempted soul. Cast yourself, helpless, unworthy, upon Jesus, and claim this very promise. The Lord will hear. He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and he will help in every time of temptation. ST February 8, 1883, par. 13

Have you fallen into sin? Then without delay seek God for mercy and pardon. When David was convicted of his sin, he poured out his soul in penitence and humiliation before God. He felt that he could endure the loss of his crown, but he could not be deprived of the favor of God. Mercy is still extended to the sinner. The Lord is calling to us in all our wanderings, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” The blessing of God may be ours, if we will heed the pleading voice of his Spirit. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” ST February 8, 1883, par. 14