The Signs of the Times


September 27, 1883

Walk in the Light

[Addressed to those assembled at the camp-meeting at San Jose, Cal., and read upon the camp-ground, Friday morning, September 14.]


The present is a time of dense darkness to the world; but the true light is shining, and God, in his great mercy, has permitted us to behold its brightness and to walk in its guiding rays. We are favored above any other people upon the earth. Our spiritual blessings are more and greater than have been granted to the church in any previous age. ST September 27, 1883, par. 1

What makes me tremble for the professed believers in present truth, is the fact that they do not appreciate the light, and follow its guidance. With all our opportunities for spiritual advancement, we are not, as a people, wise, humble, and holy. As the Lord caused the pillar of fire to shine upon ancient Israel, so has he shed upon us the light of his truth. He requires us, as rational, accountable beings, to walk in the light. If we refuse to do this, our light will become darkness, and the darkness will be in proportion to the light rejected. ST September 27, 1883, par. 2

We are living in the time when Christ is about to close his work of mediation in our behalf. All should now closely examine their hearts to see whether they are in the faith. Instead of indulging doubt and unbelief, they should humble themselves before God, cultivate faith in his word and his work, and labor earnestly for the salvation of souls. It is no time now for caviling, dissension, and disunion. Where these exist, we may know that self is not dead. Those who have received the truth into the heart will be so filled with joy and gratitude, and so absorbed in the desire that others may share its great blessings, that they will lose sight of petty doubts and evil surmisings. In their disinterested labor for the salvation of souls, they forget self and selfish interests. Instead of acting the part of Judas the betrayer, or of Peter when he denied his Lord, they earnestly seek to follow the example of Christ, and carry forward the work which he came on earth to do. ST September 27, 1883, par. 3

When I think how strong we might be if we would take hold of the strength of the Mighty One, and then see how weak we are, because we do not claim the promises of God, my soul cries out in anguish, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach;” “wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” ST September 27, 1883, par. 4

There are among us many who profess the truth, but who refuse to be crucified with Christ. The Author of our salvation labored and suffered for us. His whole life was one long scene of toil and privation. He could have done as many of his professed followers choose to do; he could have passed his days on earth in ease and plenty, and appropriated to himself all the pleasures and enjoyments of this life. But he sought not his own comfort or gratification; he lived to do good, to save others from shame, suffering, and ruin. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” ST September 27, 1883, par. 5

Can those who are partakers of this great salvation, who are objects of this wondrous condescension, this infinite love, cherish one feeling of dissatisfaction or indulge one murmuring thought, because they are not free from trials, toils, and conflicts? Do we desire a better portion in this life than was given to our Lord? Can we not yet comprehend the great privileges which are ours through the grace of Christ? If Jesus had not died as our sacrifice, and risen again as our Mediator, we could never have known peace, never have felt joy; we must have experienced the horrors of darkness and the miseries of despair. Then let only praise and gratitude to God be the language of our hearts. All our lives we have been partakers of his heavenly benefits, recipients of the blessings of Christ's atonement; therefore it is impossible for us to conceive the hopeless state of ignorance and misery into which we had fallen and from which the Saviour raised us. When we feel the pains, the sorrows, the bereavements to which we are all subject, we should not, by one murmuring word or thought, dishonor our Redeemer. In the hour of trial and affliction let us consider that we cannot tell how much greater our sufferings would be, had we not a compassionate Saviour; we cannot determine how much less we suffer than our sins deserve. ST September 27, 1883, par. 6

Oh that we might, as a people, seek the Lord as never before! Oh that we might renounce our sins, break down our pride, and with contrition of soul cast ourselves unreservedly upon Christ, believing that he accepts us just now, not because we are worthy, but because he died for us. God grant that all who have named the name of Christ may depart from iniquity! All that God could do for us has been done. Jesus is now looking upon the people for whom he suffered and died, and is saying, What more can I do for my vineyard than I have already done? Can we wish to be free from trials and reproach for the truth's sake? Can we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced, and not be willing to share his humiliation? ST September 27, 1883, par. 7

Our sins mingled the bitter cup which he drank in our stead, that he might put to our lips the cup of blessing. He endured the cross, despising the shame, that he might reconcile us to God, that whosoever would come unto him might take of the water of life freely. In view of the cross of Christ, can you, my brethren and sisters, wish or expect to enter his kingdom in any other way than through much tribulation? We have a work to do which we have neglected. We do not love to follow where Jesus leads the way. Our Heavenly Father requires of his church and people according to the grace and truth given them; and his requirements are just and right. All these must be fully met, or in the Judgment they will condemn the transgressor. ST September 27, 1883, par. 8

All who profess Christ are accountable for the talents committed to their trust. Christians must stand on that elevated ground which the truth has for ages been preparing for them. To meet the mind of the Spirit of God, we must exhibit to the world, in character and works, that union with Christ which is in accordance with the light of sacred truth now shining upon us. It is not the lack of knowledge and understanding that at the last day will condemn Seventh-day Adventists, and banish them from the presence of the Lord; but it is the truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has illuminated the soul, which will witness against us, if we turn away and refuse to be led by it. If we were blind, we would have no sin; but the Lord has given us great light, sacred truth has been unfolded to our understanding; yet we have not been wise unto salvation, we have not advanced in knowledge and true holiness according to the light and truth which has been bestowed upon us. ST September 27, 1883, par. 9

God has been very merciful to you, my brethren and sisters in California. Great light has been shining upon you; but you have a great work to do for yourselves before you can share largely of his blessing. Many are seeking to smooth over and excuse sin, instead of striving, with all their hearts, to put it away. Such must be thoroughly transformed in character and in life. When they seek earnestly to meet the high standard of the Bible, then will the Lord be to them a present help in every time of need. But how few will bear the test when examined by the light which God has given them. A deeper heart-work must be experienced by many, or they will drift into the deceptions of Satan. Their works must be wrought in God. ST September 27, 1883, par. 10

Oh that my dear brethren and sisters would make sure work for eternity! There is no hope, no remedy, except in confessing and forsaking our sins, and with full purpose of heart turning unto the Lord. ST September 27, 1883, par. 11

The time has come for us to take advance steps. We should beware lest a selfish, covetous spirit shut out the blessing of God. The Lord calls upon us to give of our means to support his cause. He requires more of us than merely the payment of the tithe. The message is to go forth, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” Those who have large farms should begin to cut down their possessions. There is earnest work to do for God, and we are far behind his opening providence. Recall all the mercies and blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you, and consider that he has made you stewards of his goods: Then let each one examine himself and see if he is honoring the Lord with his substance. We should come before him with both thank-offerings and sin-offerings. Our obligation to God is endless. His work must not languish for want of means. His claims must be met first, at whatever cost or sacrifice. It is time for those who have large possessions to cut down the principal, that God's work may be extended in foreign lands. Throughout our own country also there are fields that have not yet been entered, and where the truth should be proclaimed. ST September 27, 1883, par. 12

John Wesley once preached a powerful sermon on the use of money. He laid down three rules: “Make all you can; save all you can; give all you can.” To acquire and not save is improvidence. To hoard up money, adding land to land, and house to house, is covetousness and idolatry. To make and to save in order to give in support of the cause of God, is obeying the command of Christ, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” ST September 27, 1883, par. 13

Those who have not hitherto felt the claims that God has upon them, should now begin to act. God calls for all to act a part in the closing work for sinners. Let every needless ornament, every extravagance, every selfish indulgence, be given up, and let all these little outgoes, these tiny streams, flow into the Lord's treasury. Let us remember continually what Jesus has done for us. He for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Let us do our duty faithfully, and then trust ourselves and all we have to the hands of God. He wants not only ours but us. None can render effectual service unless they do the work he has left for them to do, and then leave the result wholly with him. ST September 27, 1883, par. 14

Oh that those to whom have been intrusted so great and solemn truths would manifest corresponding faith! They should trust their work in the Lord's hands, pleading upon their knees for wisdom and guidance, and then, instead of taking the burden all back, and seeking to plan and execute in their own strength, and groaning because they are overburdened, let them leave it with the Lord. Amid a life of constant activity they will thus find rest to their souls. That which they trust with him they are not to fret and worry about. Those who really trust in God will find the rest he has promised, will find his yoke easy and his burden light. ST September 27, 1883, par. 15

If the Lord had a company of workers who would rely wholly upon him, he would accomplish a great work through them. One could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. The Lord is a mighty helper. If we trust in him, we shall have rest and peace. The language of the soul should be that of joy and gratitude. If we have dark chapters in our experience, let us not keep their memory fresh by repetition. Forgetting the things that are behind, let us press forward to the things that are before. Cultivate only those thoughts and feelings which produce gratitude and praise. If you have been wronged, forget it, and think only of the great mercy, the loving-kindness, the inexpressible love of Jesus. Learn to praise rather than to censure. If you meet with insult and abuse, do not become discouraged, for Jesus met the same. Go forward, doing your work with fidelity. Store the mind with the precious promises of God's word, and hold sweet communion with him by frequently repeating them. Cease fretting, cease murmuring, cease finding fault, and make melody to God in your hearts. Think of everything you have to be thankful for, and then learn to praise God. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” ST September 27, 1883, par. 16

If all our mourning, and fretting, and complaining were presented before us as written in the book of records, what a sight would we behold! How astonished we would be to see and understand our real thoughts and feelings—naught but unhappy complainings. ST September 27, 1883, par. 17

I entreat you never to utter one word of complaint. Weave into the warp and woof of your experience the golden threads of gratitude. Contemplate the better land, where tears are never shed, where temptations and trials are never experienced, where losses and reproaches are never known, where all is peace, and joy, and happiness. Here your imagination may have full scope. These thoughts will make you more spiritually minded, will imbue you with heavenly vigor, will satisfy your thirsty soul with living water, and will impress upon your heart the seal of the divine image. You will be filled with hope and joy in believing, and the Comforter will abide with you forever. ST September 27, 1883, par. 18