The Review and Herald


September 21, 1897

“Ye Are the Light of the World”


The Lord has made his people the depositaries of sacred truth. He has set them on an elevated position, above the world. He declares of them: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” And again he says: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 1

Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been developed. The Lord will hold us accountable for the influence we might have exerted, and did not because we did not earnestly try to understand our accountability in this world. We need not think that because we are only a tiny light, we need not be particular about shining. The great value of our light lies in its shining amid the moral darkness of the world,—in shining not to please and glorify ourselves, but to honor God. If we are doing service for God, and our work corresponds to the ability God has given us, that is all he expects of us. RH September 21, 1897, par. 2

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.... Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the side of the Lord of the whole earth.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 3

We know that the lamps which give us light have no light in themselves. They cannot fill themselves. So the holy appointed ones must empty the golden oil into the golden tubes. And the heavenly fire, when applied, makes them burning and shining lights. Our hearts cannot shed light on others unless there is a vital connection with heaven. This alone can make them burn steadily with holy, unselfish love for Jesus and for all who are the purchase of his blood. And unless we are constantly replenished with the golden oil, the flame will die out. Unless the love of God is an abiding principle in our hearts, our light will cease. RH September 21, 1897, par. 4

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The tiniest lamp, kept replenished with the golden oil, and sending forth its bright beams to dispel the darkness, is of far more value than the large lamp which flashes with brilliancy for a time, then sputters and goes out, leaving souls in darkness to stumble along as best they can. It is the golden oil, emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted into the golden bowl, that creates a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that keeps him a bright and shining light for God. Then he can communicate the light of truth to all who are in the darkness of error and sin. RH September 21, 1897, par. 5

The golden oil is not manufactured by any human skill. It is the unseen power of the heavenly messengers who wait before the throne of God to communicate to all who are in darkness, that they may diffuse heaven's light. Into the hearts of those united to God by faith, his golden oil of love flows freely, to flow forth again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God. These souls become a blessing to their fellow men, and thus are enabled to shine. RH September 21, 1897, par. 6

We see children, they may be brothers and sisters, who, if they chance to be pleased, and circumstances are all favorable for them, are in good spirits, kind and courteous. But wait until something comes that does not please them. Then see how passion is expressed in the voice and attitude. Where now is the cheerfulness, the love, the true Christian politeness? Instead of these graces, the countenances express hatred. RH September 21, 1897, par. 7

God can look upon these things only with grief and sadness, even in inexperienced children. But when these objectionable attributes are manifested in grown-up children,—when those who have come to years of maturity, who have had great light and knowledge and experience, act like children in their fits of malice,—it is a sad thing. They are piercing Christ afresh, and putting him to open shame. Satan and his confederate angels point to those who profess to be the children of God, but who, by their disposition and attributes, show that they are after the similitude of the apostate, and taunt Christ and the heavenly angels. How long shall we thus crucify the Son of God afresh, so that God will be ashamed to call us his sons and daughters? Is it not time that we put away childish things? Shall we be of the number who are ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth? RH September 21, 1897, par. 8

God admonishes his people: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” “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. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 9

The sin of much talking is not small. Words bitter as gall may be spoken in the heat of satanic passion; but when the sin is realized, why is it not acknowledged? It may be that some have cultivated a spirit of evil surmising, and have communicated their suppositions to others. But those whose hearts are right with God will say: I cannot hear these evil reports. If you know evil of your brethren and sisters, go to them, in the spirit of Christ, and talk it over with them. Get it out of the way. Let no flaw in your speech, no defect in your spirit, break the friendship and love which Christ has enjoined upon you to cultivate. “A word fitly spoken,” says the wise man, “is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 10

Christ used leaven to illustrate this spirit of evil surmising and evil thinking. As the leaven spreads through the meal in which it is hidden, so will the leaven of evil surmising and malice pervert the entire being—thoughts, actions, and character—where it is received. Of this leaven, he bids his followers beware. Again, he uses leaven to illustrate the gospel of the kingdom. With this leaven, the word of God, true goodness, righteousness, and peace are introduced. This brings the entire affections into conformity to the mind and will of God. Wherever it goes, the leaven of truth makes a change in mind and heart. The entire character is transformed. All who will receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus, will reveal its leavening power. When the kingdom of heaven is established in the heart, the whole character is conformed to the character of Christ; for the truth is a life-giving principle. The power of God is working, like the leaven, to subdue the entire being. Even the thoughts are brought into captivity to the will of Christ. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 11

As the leaven, though hidden in the flour, and deposited only in one place, brings all surrounding it under the leavening process, so the working of truth continues secretly, silently, steadily, to pervade all the faculties of the soul. And there is sure to follow a holy influence. A consistency will run through the whole life, showing it to be a work of the heart. RH September 21, 1897, par. 12

Christ taught a similar truth by the parable of the grain of mustard seed, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” RH September 21, 1897, par. 13

The word of truth should ever be in mind and heart, that those who believe the truth may be prepared to speak a word in season. To sow the seed of truth by a few well-chosen words, may appear to be but a small beginning; but that word, spoken from the heart, may take root, spring up, and bear an abundant harvest of truth. In ourselves we can do nothing. We are all weak; but if we make the most of the Lord's entrusted talent, his divine power will give us efficiency. RH September 21, 1897, par. 14

There are many whose sphere of influence seems narrow; their abilities are limited, their opportunities are few, their knowledge is small; yet if they will let the peace of God rule in their hearts, they may do more than those who have naturally greater capabilities, but who trust to their own efficiency. It is “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The strength and talents belong to God; and who can estimate the great work that may be done in the sowing of the gospel seed? It will be as the morsel of leaven hidden in the meal. RH September 21, 1897, par. 15

And what changes are wrought, all unknowingly, by the one who tremblingly brings from the storehouse the precious word upon which he has been feeding! The strength is not his own; it is God's. One heart, turned to God and brought under the power of truth through the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, becomes a working agency, a fresh instrument to communicate light. By that one lamp, kept steadily burning, many others will be lighted. RH September 21, 1897, par. 16