The Signs of the Times


June 5, 1884

Importance of Cherishing Light

[Remarks in the 6 o'clock morning meeting at Oakland, Cal., April 22, 1884.]


Jesus said to his disciples: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” ST June 5, 1884, par. 1

In this text is shown the difference between the doers of Christ's word and those who are merely idle hearers. Jesus taught by symbols. He illustrated his lessons by familiar objects in nature, that whenever his hearers should see these objects, the lesson might be suggested to their minds. The lily of the valley, the grass of the field, the springing grain, the singing birds, and even the homely scenes in a fisherman's life, became silent but impressive preachers of the word of life. A high standard was kept before the disciples. They were taught that a pure faith would purify and ennoble them; and that unless their righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, they should in no case enter the kingdom of Heaven. ST June 5, 1884, par. 2

Peter, John and Judas are representative men, types of two classes of hearers. They each had the privilege of associating with Christ and learning of him; but how different were the characters they developed! Peter and John were doers of the word, and their lives were molded by the instructions of the Master. Judas also heard his teachings on the very points where he was deficient. The leading traits in the character of Judas were covetousness and self-esteem. Jesus knew of his dishonest practices, and understood the danger to which he was exposed; yet notwithstanding his defects, he was chosen as one of the twelve who were to be intimately associated with the world's Redeemer. Jesus would give this erring one every opportunity to reform. The light should shine upon his heart; he should see the contrast between truth and error, and decide intelligently between them. Jesus did not openly rebuke him, but gave lessons that he might apply to his own case if he sincerely wished to reform. Selfishness, covetousness, and dishonesty were presented in their true character, so that he could see how offensive these traits were in the sight of God. ST June 5, 1884, par. 3

When the teachings of Christ reproved Peter and John, they were careful to reform. The transforming grace of God was in their hearts. Their minds expanded, and day by day they grew more like the divine Teacher. Judas, on the contrary, was proud, self-sufficient, and independent. Although enjoying the exalted privilege of being closely connected with Christ, the words of life found no lodgment in his heart; and he went on from one degree of unbelief to another until his character was firmly fixed in the wrong direction. He might have had the wisdom that comes from above to guide him into all truth; but he rejected the counsel of God, and the evil he had cherished gained an overmastering influence, bringing soul and body into subjection to the cruel power of Satan. ST June 5, 1884, par. 4

Judas had excellent traits of character, and might have been a great blessing to the church had he been steadfast, and resisted temptation; but he was treasurer, and this position gave him an opportunity to practice dishonesty. Had he been humble and teachable, he would have set about the work of reform when his conscience was awakened, and he saw the sinfulness of his course. But he sinned against light and knowledge; and instead of being softened and subdued by the lessons of Christ, his heart became harder and more unimpressible. ST June 5, 1884, par. 5

We may learn an important lesson from the experience of Judas. We may be called disciples of Christ; we may hold our religious convictions firmly, and be able to present clear, connected arguments in their support; and yet, like Judas, we may hold the truth in unrighteousness. If we would be sanctified through the truth, we must hold it in the love and fear of God. It is a duty we owe to ourselves to cultivate self-reliance and independence of character; but these traits must be blended with meekness and humility. When we trust to our own wisdom and judgment, as a large number do, we are in the sure path to shame and confusion of face. It is only through divine grace that we can overcome the defects in our character; but unless we make continued efforts to subdue them, they will become stronger, as in the case of Judas. Every indulgence in sin prepares the way for renewed and excessive indulgence, until at last the tempter has full control of the mind. ST June 5, 1884, par. 6

After God has shown individuals their sins and given them grace to overcome, and his Spirit has been long striving with them, he will not work a miracle to prevent the sure result of resisting that Spirit and persisting in a wrong course. There is a boundary to his grace and mercy; and when this boundary is passed, the aid of his Spirit, so wickedly refused and insulted, is withdrawn, and the soul is given over to the worst of tyrants,—the power of a perverted will. If we are closely connected with sacred things, and yet do not realize their importance, the heart will become so hard that the most earnest appeals will not move it to contrition. We must cherish every ray of light. We must work intelligently to form our characters after the divine model, continually striving, with all the powers God has given us, to reach the high standard set before us in his word. ST June 5, 1884, par. 7

Testimonies are borne in these meetings that the truth is precious, the truth is everything. So it is; but the truth is nothing to any of us unless we are sanctified through it. Has its influence made you better men and women? Has it improved your life and character? Unless the truth is accomplishing the object for which it is designed in transforming you into the image of Christ, it were better if you had never professed to believe it; for you will mislead others. The salvation of our own souls and the souls of those with whom we associate is of the first importance, while the things of this life are secondary; but Satan is ever scheming to reverse this order, and interpose the world between the soul and its eternal interests. ST June 5, 1884, par. 8

Many do not exalt the truth, but degrade it by their unchristian course. They neglect to improve the privilege given them to become acquainted with Christ and his love. This knowledge is a sure defense; but whatever tends to draw the mind from the love of Jesus, whether it be the deceitful heart within or an ensnaring world without, is of Satan, and will bring darkness and death. ST June 5, 1884, par. 9

Some who are present this morning must know that they have uncorrected faults which they are excusing and cherishing. Dear brethren and sisters, you cannot have a more favorable time to confess these faults one to another and pray one for another, than in this meeting. Jesus is present; but evil angels are here also to preoccupy the field. They will endeavor to gain an entrance to the heart by suggesting doubts, so that no permanent good impressions shall be made. Shall we allow them to have the victory? We see how it was with Judas. One neglect to heed the words of Christ prepared the way for another. The first neglect was a seed which produced its harvest in resistance to the Spirit of God; and with each admonition that he slighted, he became less inclined to appreciate and cherish the lessons that gave him a knowledge of himself. ST June 5, 1884, par. 10

God sends messages of instruction, of reproof, of warning. Do not flatter yourself that he does not denounce the particular sins that you love. Do not imagine that by some means you can enter into life without being free from moral pollution. If we would live with Jesus in the mansions that he has gone to prepare, we must be like him here in this world. We must be diligent to set our hearts in order. Let us greatly fear self-deception. Let us cover up nothing, but be true to our own souls. Let us study to have the meekness and humility of Christ. An opportunity is now afforded us to become pure in heart and spotless in character. Though the enemy presses in his temptations, coming in upon us like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. We may find a present help in Jesus; but we must seek this help through earnest, persevering prayer. In the closet, in the family circle, as we walk the streets, and while our hands engage in labor, we may pray, and the Lord will hear us. ST June 5, 1884, par. 11

There is no excuse for continuing in sin. No man is obliged to do evil, and be lost. Every one who perishes destroys his own soul. The provisions of grace are ample. Jesus is pleading in our behalf, and there is mercy for even the most guilty and sinful. Let us take hold of the strength of Jesus. He loves us with a love that is inexpressible; let us respond to that love. ST June 5, 1884, par. 12