The Signs of the Times


April 8, 1889

The Christian's Calling Honorable

[Sermon at Washington, D.C., January 25, 1889.]


I have heard persons say, “I cannot think of such a thing as becoming a Christian. I would have to give up all my pleasures if I embraced religion.” But I want to know what pleasures would have to be renounced to become a follower of Christ?—The poor, fleeting pleasures of the world. How many scores of people have come from places of amusement smitten with death! How many have contracted disease, and have stained their souls with sin in ball-rooms and banquet halls. This is wonderful liberty indeed that men are so reluctant to relinquish for the sake of gaining Heaven. ST April 8, 1889, par. 1

I have heard others say: “Oh, I can't come down to be a Christian. I would have to sever my connection with my associates. My mind is of too exalted an order to take any pleasure in the simplicity of the religion of Christ. I cannot afford to come down to the humble life that is described in the Bible as necessary to fit one for eternal life.” The Lord of Heaven, the Majesty of worlds, he who marshaled the stars in their courses, and called them all by name, he who made the everlasting hills, and put in them their treasures of gold and silver and precious gems, he who clothed the fields with verdure, has invited you to come out from the world, to separate yourself from its sinful pleasure, and he promises that if you will do this he will be a Father unto you, and you shall be his sons and his daughters. ST April 8, 1889, par. 2

What an honor it is thought to be, to be noticed by a king or queen of earth! I was in London at the time of the queen's jubilee, and I saw the great preparations that were made to do her honor. All the verandas and windows that overlooked the street where her retinue was to pass, were rented for enormous prices by those who desired to catch a glimpse of her majesty as she passed by. What a privilege it was thought to be to touch her hand at the reception. But the King of Heaven has said that we may be his children. He says, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” We may be members of the royal family of Heaven, and bear the royal name. ST April 8, 1889, par. 3

During the jubilee, the queen's name was on every lip. How I desired that Jesus might be as highly honored, and his name be spoken with as much praise. How I wished that the people might behold the King of glory! The whole city was full of the bustle of preparation for the coming of England's queen; but I wished that the same joy and earnestness might be manifested in preparing for the coming of Christ, the King of glory. Oh, that men might manifest as great eagerness to proclaim their loyalty to the Prince of Heaven as they manifested to proclaim their loyalty to Queen Victoria! ST April 8, 1889, par. 4

I want to be a Christian, an heir of Heaven. Men talk of the mansions of earth, but I will talk of the mansions of Heaven. Jesus has promised to come again and receive us unto himself, and he will take us to the mansions that he has gone to prepare for his people. ST April 8, 1889, par. 5

I have respect unto the recompense of reward. I will not dishonor my God, by thinking it is unimportant, or a dishonor, to be a Christian. “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold, flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken?” Shall we leave the Fountain of living waters that spring up unto eternal life, for broken cisterns that can hold no water? Shall we turn away from the prospect of Heaven for the fleeting pleasures of earth? I have seen enough of what men call perfection here below. Seekers for pleasure are only drinking at broken cisterns, that can hold no water. The glories of the unseen world attract my soul. The life hid in Christ, the privilege of being one with him as he is one with the Father, of being loved, if obedient, as God loves his Son,—all these claim the entire service of my life and affection. “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.” Talk not to me of your blessings outside of Christ. They are empty, worthless. ST April 8, 1889, par. 6

The servants of God, by an interested effort, have found the field that conceals the treasure. They have found jewel upon jewel, and treasure upon treasure. The simple disciples of Christ have furnished us with examples in wisdom such as the world cannot give. Mighty men of God have digged in the mines of truth, and have brought forth precious gems. Those who prayerfully study God's word will find it infinite, exhaustless. ST April 8, 1889, par. 7

We are to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man. Jesus told his disciples that this meant that they were to live upon his word. The more we know of his truth, the more we shall desire to know. There will be an eternity before us, in which to explore the mysteries of God. It will be the delight of our Lord to lead us in green pastures, beside flowing waters, and unfold to the redeemed the mysteries of redemption. Let me be a stranger and a pilgrim here. Let me toil and be weary, but let me know Jesus and his love, and I will not complain. Was not my Lord weary? Was not he a stranger? Did he not say to his disciples, “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while”? Often his disciples had to take him by force away from his labors lest he should fail because of weariness. At night he sought the mountain, and poured out his supplication with strong crying and tears, not for himself, but for us. ST April 8, 1889, par. 8

Will you not give yourself to him now? Why do you delay? Is it gold you want? Can you not wait for an immortal inheritance? The streets of the New Jerusalem are paved with gold. Its walls are of jasper and precious stones. Is it honor that you desire? Can you not wait a little? Jesus will crown his children with glory, honor, and immortality. It is enough. My soul feasts on his love. ST April 8, 1889, par. 9

Consecrate your lives to Christ. Take your children and patiently educate them that they may have pure and holy characters. Tell them the blessed story of the cross of Calvary. This is the great, central theme of all wisdom. Teach them to bear the cross; for in bearing the cross the cross will bear them. It is the pledge to them of the crown of glory that will never fade away. Said the apostle, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Lift up the man of Calvary. Talk of his love, tell of his power. All the universe is watching to see if you prize the gift of eternal life that has been purchased for you at an infinite cost. Everyone that casts himself at the foot of the cross, giving his soul into the keeping of a faithful Creator, testifies his willingness to bear the contempt of the world. But the redeemed soul can say with Paul: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Therefore lift your minds up out of doubt and darkness by contemplation of the spiritual and eternal. Your King is exalted in the highest heavens, and you should exalt him below by reflecting his divine image. Let your faith lay hold upon his merits. Are you a sinner against him? Hear what his promise is to those who repent of their rebellion: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Oh, that the veil might be swept aside, and you might get a clear view of the King in his beauty! How the world would pale and fade before you! ST April 8, 1889, par. 10

I once had the privilege of speaking to twenty thousand people, and oh, how glad I felt that I could honor Jesus before that immense throng! Only a little while longer, and we shall see him as he is, and be made like him. He is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels, “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,” will escort him on his way. He will not wear that simple, seamless robe, but robes of glory, white, “so as no fuller on earth can white them;” and on his vesture and on his thigh a name will be written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. Who will be able to stand at that day? Who will be ready to say, “This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us”? ST April 8, 1889, par. 11

Make your peace with him today. Put your case into the hands of the great Advocate, and he will plead for you before the Father. Though you have transgressed the law, and must acknowledge your guilt, Christ will present his blood in your behalf, and through faith and humble obedience you may stand acquitted at last. God will be your friend when the final trump shall sound. Christ has enjoined upon his people the necessity of watching and praying, lest he come unexpectedly and find them unprepared. ST April 8, 1889, par. 12

The glory of the eternal world has been opened before me. I want to tell you that Heaven is worth winning. It should be the aim of your life to fit yourself for association with the redeemed, with holy angels, and with Jesus, the world's Redeemer. If we could have but one view of the celestial city, we would never wish to dwell on earth again. There are beautiful landscapes on earth, and I enjoy all these prospects of loveliness in nature. I associate them with the Creator. But I know that if I love God, and keep his commandments, there is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory reserved in Heaven for me. Beautiful as are the scenes of earth, they can bear no comparison to the glories of the eternal world. Says the apostle, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” God desires us to contemplate heavenly things. He desires us to behold the matchless charms of the divine character, and by beholding we shall become changed into the same image, through the power of his transforming grace. ST April 8, 1889, par. 13