The Signs of the Times


December 17, 1885

The Christian's Rest


“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ST December 17, 1885, par. 1

Here is revealed the secret of the Christian's rest. It is found only in Christ. If we possess his meekness of spirit, we shall find peace and joy in him. The world is full of unrest, trials, and difficulties. It is an enemy's land, and on every hand we are beset by temptations. “In the world,” says Jesus, “ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world;” and “my peace I give unto you.” ST December 17, 1885, par. 2

Our Saviour represents his requirements as a yoke, and the Christian life as one of burden-bearing. Yet, contrasting these with the cruel power of Satan and with the burdens imposed by sin, he declares: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” When we try to live the life of a Christian, to bear its responsibilities and perform its duties without Christ as a helper, the yoke is galling, the burden intolerably heavy. But Jesus does not desire us to do this. To the sin-sick soul, weary and heavy laden with its burden of guilt and care, he extends the gracious invitation: “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.” “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” ST December 17, 1885, par. 3

Many profess to come to Christ, while they yet cling to their own ways, which are a painful yoke. Selfishness, covetousness, ambition, love of the world, or some other cherished sin, destroys their peace and joy. They are restless, impatient, dissatisfied, their spirits chafe under the weight of care and responsibility, all because they have not made a complete surrender to Jesus, and are seeking to carry their burden without his aid. If he were by their side, the sunshine of his presence would scatter every cloud; the help of his strong arm would lighten every burden. ST December 17, 1885, par. 4

Christ gave himself for us, “that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” His true followers are unlike the world in words, in works, and in deportment. But many are so fearful of provoking unfriendly criticism or malicious gossip that they have not the moral courage to act from principle. They dare not identify themselves with those who follow Christ fully. They love the world; and they desire to conform to its customs and to secure the approbation of worldlings. They thus cumber themselves with needless cares and anxieties, and weigh themselves down with heavy burdens. Oh! why will not all the professed children of God follow the Saviour fully? Why will they take upon themselves burdens which he has not imposed? ST December 17, 1885, par. 5

We should be much happier and more useful, if our home life and social intercourse were governed by the principles of the Christian religion, and illustrated the meekness and simplicity of Christ. Instead of toiling to make a display, and to excite admiration and envy, let it appear that we are striving to conform to the will of Christ. Let visitors see that we try to make all around us happy by our cheerfulness, sympathy, and love. ST December 17, 1885, par. 6

While we endeavor to secure the comfort and happiness of our guests, let us not overlook our obligation to God. The hour of prayer should not be neglected for any consideration. Do not give the time to conversation and recreation until you are too weary to enjoy the season of devotion. To do this is to present to God a lame offering. At an early hour of the evening, when you can pray unhurriedly and understandingly, present your supplication, and raise your voices in happy, grateful praise. Let all who visit Christians see that the hour of prayer is the most sacred, the most precious, and the happiest hour of the day. Such an example will not be without effect. These seasons of devotion exert a refining, elevating influence upon all who participate in them. Right thoughts and new and better desires will be awakened in the hearts of the most careless. The hour of prayer brings a peace and rest grateful to the weary spirit; for the very atmosphere of a Christian home is that of peace and restfulness. ST December 17, 1885, par. 7

In every act the Christian should seek to represent his Master, to make his service appear attractive. Let none make religion repulsive by persistent gloominess, and by relating their trials and their difficulties, their self-denials and their sacrifices. Talk of these things less, my fellow-Christian, and more of the matchless love of Jesus, of Heaven and its glories. Do not give the lie to your profession of faith by impatience, fretfulness, and repining. Let it be seen that with you the love of Christ is an abiding motive; that your religion is not like a garment that may be put off and resumed again, as the circumstances demand, but a principle, calm, steady, unvarying,—one that rules your whole life. Alas, that pride, unbelief, and selfishness, like a foul cancer, are eating out vital godliness from the heart of many a professed Christian! When judged according to their works, how many will learn, too late, that their religion was but a glittering cheat, unacknowledged by the world's Redeemer. ST December 17, 1885, par. 8

Whatever your lot in life may be, remember that you are in the service of Christ, and manifest a contented, grateful spirit. Whatever your burden or cross, lift it in the name of Jesus; bear it in his strength. He pronounces the yoke easy, and the burden light; and I believe him, for I have proved the truth of his words. Every provision has been made for us at an infinite cost, that we may have the blessedness of Heaven wrought into our every-day life. We may walk in the sunlight of the divine presence, and weave into our characters the golden threads of forbearance and love, gratitude and peace. We shall thus be reflecting the light of Heaven amid all the frets and irritations that come to us day by day. ST December 17, 1885, par. 9

It is only through earnest, persevering effort, aided by the grace of God, that we can reach this height of moral excellence. But this is the religion that is the light of the world. The church is becoming weak for the want of consecrated members, who feel that they are not their own; that their time, their talents, their energies, belong to Christ; that he has bought them with his blood, and is pleading for them in the sanctuary above. There are many who have never felt the necessity of subduing self, and overcoming wicked tempers. They cherish bitterness and wrath in their hearts, and these evil traits defile the soul. They thus deny Christ, and darken the pathway of others. None will be excused for the exhibition of uncontrollable tempers; thousands will miss of Heaven through their want of self-control. ST December 17, 1885, par. 10

We are to let nothing, small or great, unbalance us. Nine-tenths of the trials and perplexities that so many worry over are either imaginary, or brought upon themselves by their own wrong course. They should cease to talk of these trials, and to magnify them. The Christian may commit every worriment, every disturbing thing to God. Nothing is too small for our compassionate Saviour to notice; nothing is too great for him to carry. Then let us set our hearts and homes in order; let us teach our children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and let us, by a cheerful, happy, well-ordered life, express our gratitude and love to Him “who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” But above all things, let us fix our thoughts and the affections of our hearts on the dear Saviour who suffered for guilty man, and thus opened Heaven for us. ST December 17, 1885, par. 11

Love to Jesus cannot be hidden, but will make itself seen and felt. It exerts a wondrous power. It makes the timid bold, the slothful diligent, the ignorant wise. It makes the stammering tongue eloquent, and rouses the dormant intellect into new life and vigor. It makes the desponding hopeful, the gloomy joyous. Love to Christ will lead its possessor to accept responsibilities and cares for his sake, and to bear them in his strength. Love to Christ will not be dismayed by tribulation, nor turned aside from duty by reproaches. And the soul that is not imbued with this love for Jesus is none of his. ST December 17, 1885, par. 12

Peace in Christ is of more value than all the treasures of earth. Then let us open our hearts to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Let us seek the Lord with all the heart, and learn of Christ to be meek and lowly, that we may find rest of soul. Let us work cheerfully, joyously in the service of our Master, remembering that the deportment as well as the words of the Christian should be such as to awaken in the heart of the sinner a desire to come to the Fountain of life. ST December 17, 1885, par. 13

Let us go forward; for we are striving for an immortal crown. Let us be diligent to make our calling and election sure. A slothful, languid professor will never secure an entrance into the kingdom of God. From the cross to the crown there is earnest work to be done. There is wrestling against inbred sin; there is warfare against outward wrong. But we shall triumph at last, if we do not become weary in well-doing. Heaven's portals will be opened for every one who does his best for God and his fellow-men. ST December 17, 1885, par. 14