The Review and Herald

679/1902

July 18, 1893

Character Estimated By Outward Manifestations

EGW

In the family circle there are frequently those of widely different temperaments; and deficiencies of character will be made apparent in different members according to the traits of character that have been indulged and cultivated. Some of the members of the family will be sensitive, proud of spirit; some will be selfish and unreasonable. Words of reproof may be spoken that, if the heart is humble, will have a favorable influence upon those reproved, while those who are self-centered and self-righteous, and who feel that they have need of nothing, will misunderstand, misinterpret, and misapply the words that are spoken in faithfulness to them. Every little thing that does not meet their idea will be transferred to memory's hall, and by dwelling upon that which is disagreeable, by talking it over, they will become transformed in character. They will feel intensely over matters of little consequence, and will judge rashly, greatly to their own moral and spiritual detriment, and to the injury of those around them. Some in the family will manifest kindness as long as father, mother, brother, sister, or neighbor follows out their ideas; but if they fail to do this, the kindly attention and sympathy are withdrawn. They make themselves very miserable, and others feel the cold, unsympathetic atmosphere with which they surround their souls. They cherish an unforgiving, resentful, or worldly spirit, according to the circumstances that have influenced them; but where such a spirit is manifested, it is evident that Christ is not abiding in the soul. RH July 18, 1893, par. 1

Where Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, the character is continually being molded after the model of the divine character. The grace of Christ is constantly exerting its influence upon the life and actions. The manner of the true Christian becomes like the manner of Christ, and his character represents the character of Christ. Christ can take the different members of the family, with all their varied characteristics, and by his rich grace, fashion them all in the image of the divine. He can bring them all into conformity to his will, and show forth through them the influence of the truth upon mind and character, to a crooked and perverse generation among whom they shine as lights in the world. RH July 18, 1893, par. 2

Christians should educate and train their affections and manners according to the pattern of the life, the Spirit, the character of the divine Teacher. A solemn work has been left for us to do for ourselves as individuals, which no other can do for us. We must watch our words and our manner, prohibiting Satan from shaping them after his own Satanic order. We must watch well the indications that tell of the state of the heart, and as faithful sentinels, check the first tendency toward evil. The kind of fruit borne by the tree will tell the nature of the tree. Christ says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The character of our actions will tell whether we are in spiritual health or spiritual decline. A man's soul is not in a good spiritual condition while he manifests irritability of temper, and an un-Christlike spirit or manner. While these deficiencies exist, it is evident that there is need of the divine Physician, who knows how to deal with these soul-maladies. But praise God, there is balm in Gilead, there is a spiritual Physician there, and to him we may go, and be healed of all our spiritual diseases. RH July 18, 1893, par. 3

It is not our right to live to please ourselves in spirit, thought, word, or action. As Christians we have duties to do for the benefit of others. We owe to all our contribution to increase the sum of human happiness. In order to do this we must draw from the source of infinite grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. We must let the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine into our hearts, that we may reflect light to others. We may daily be blessed, and be a blessing to others, promoting love, joy, and peace wherever we go. With Job we may say, “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me.” A large share of life's happiness depends upon giving and receiving Christ-like courtesy. The sharp, rude angles and rough points in our character, the manifestation of selfishness in unkind words and actions, tear away the delicate fabric of human love and happiness. RH July 18, 1893, par. 4

As Christ's representatives, we are to bear to the world a far higher representation of what the beauty of holiness is. What is holiness?—It is wholeness to God. Our words, our actions, the manner of spirit manifested, is the outward and visible manifestation of what is within, and testifies as to whether we have on the robe of Christ's righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven, or are clothed with our own natural citizen's dress. We are to give evidence to the world in our outward acts as to what is the influence of the truth upon our hearts. The world observes our lives, hears our words, watches and measures our characters by these outward signs, and estimates the truth we profess to believe, according to that which we reveal as having been accomplished by it for us. RH July 18, 1893, par. 5

For years the Spirit of God has reproved and exhorted the professed followers of Christ, and has left us without excuse in pursuing evil ways, in criticising and finding fault with the message and the messenger whom God has sent. Shall we who cannot read the secrets of the heart reject the message of reproof, and presume to say that we are without fault? It is perilous to permit prejudice to arise in your hearts and speak against those upon whom sacred responsibility is laid, permitting yourselves to be influenced by a report that has come to your ears of which you have never sought for an explanation from the one accused. You may see the peril of such a course by reading concerning the course of Aaron and Miriam, when they spoke against Moses because of his marriage with one who did not meet their mind. And they said, “Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” God could see the meekness of Moses; but his own brother and sister failed to see it, and though they had been his daily companions, they really thought that Moses was exalting himself above them, when he was doing with meekness and fidelity what the Lord had directed him to do. RH July 18, 1893, par. 6

“And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words; if there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed. And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my Lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother's womb. And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee, and the Lord said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? Let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again. And Miriam was shut out from the camp seven days: and the people journeyed not till Miriam was brought in again.” RH July 18, 1893, par. 7

The peril of speaking against the servants of God is also made manifest in the story of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. “And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? ... And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.... And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods: ... and they perished from among the congregation.” RH July 18, 1893, par. 8

There is need of cultivating genuine humility before God. Let every soul remember that the words we utter are heard by the living Witness that is ever by our side; we may think that we have a right to criticise and to pronounce judgment, and yet that which we say may be entirely contrary to the mind and will of God. In expressing an adverse opinion of the servants of God, in cherishing a lofty sense of our own attainments, in feeling that we have need of nothing, we place ourselves in the path of darkness, and pass sentence upon the beloved of God, that is simply a sentence pronounced after our own finite wisdom, which is foolishness in the sight of God. RH July 18, 1893, par. 9

Those who are chosen of God and found faithful will be heavenly-minded. Their affection will not be bound within four walls, will not be centered simply upon their own family; but they will impart to others the gracious influence that has been cherished in their own hearts and manifested in their lives. By studying and copying the life of Christ, they will constantly enlarge the circle of their interests, and their estimate of Jesus and his matchless love will be ever increased. Loving Christ, they will love those for whom Christ died. They will heed the injunction of the apostle, where he says, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” RH July 18, 1893, par. 10