The Review and Herald



January 4, 1898

Christian Benevolence—No. 1


“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” In the Word of God alone shall we find how to secure eternal life. We are not left to conjecture as to how we shall obtain it; we are to work out the statement made, and receive the truth into the heart. Religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” “And as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” RH January 4, 1898, par. 1

The love of God revealed for man is beyond any human computation; it is infinite. And the human being who is a partaker of the divine nature will love as Christ loves, will work as he worked. The love that is inspired by the love we have for Jesus will see in every soul, rich or poor, a value that cannot be measured by human estimate. The world sinks into insignificance in comparison with the value of one soul. This love can exist, and be kept pure, refined, and holy, only through the love in the soul for Jesus Christ, nourished by daily communion with God. There will be an inborn compassion and sympathy which will not fail nor be discouraged. This is the spirit that should be encouraged to live in every heart, and be revealed in every life. RH January 4, 1898, par. 2

Coldness on the part of Christians is a denial of the faith. But this spirit will melt away before the bright beams of Christ's love in his follower. Willingly, naturally, he will obey the injunction, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” RH January 4, 1898, par. 3

And the love of God in the heart, manifested in true, unselfish missionary labor, will be more mighty than the sword or courts of justice in dealing with the evil-doer. Often the hearts of men will harden under rebuke, but they cannot withstand the love expressed toward them in Christ. The living missionary, with his heart overflowing with the love of God, can break down the barriers. The medical missionary, taking up his appointed work, can not only relieve bodily maladies, but through the love and grace of Christ, can heal the diseased soul, leprous with sin. RH January 4, 1898, par. 4

The Lord has enlisted every believing soul in his service, to bring the transgressor of his law back to obedience and loyalty to Christ. He will accept those who will devote themselves to him, to work with the combined influence of the heavenly, unfallen intelligences to restore the moral image of God in man. “We are laborers together with God,” he declares; “ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Bid the sinner have hope, and not feel that he is an outcast from his fellows. Reveal to the desperate, discouraged sufferer that he is a prisoner of hope. Let your message be, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Present before men in your life a love higher than it is possible for you to express in words. You are laborers together with God, to bring back lost faith in God. RH January 4, 1898, par. 5

There is a work to do for the wealthy, in awakening them to a sense of their responsibility and accountability to God to conduct all their business relations as those who must give an account to him who will judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and kingdom. The wealthy man needs your labor in the love and fear of God. He trusts in his riches, and feels not his danger. The eyes of his mind need to be attracted to things of enduring value. He needs to recognize the authority of true goodness, which says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Put off that yoke which you have manufactured for your neck, and over which you have been perplexing yourself, and take my yoke upon you. “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.” “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” RH January 4, 1898, par. 6

O, if that man of wealth would only listen, if he would only hear, if he would only take time to consider, he could not but discern in these invitations the superior goodness that invites him! He would see that it is the voice of the true Shepherd that calls him, and that God will give him something of more value than gold, or silver, or precious stones. O that, in the place of trusting in uncertain riches, he would realize that he is a responsible agent, a steward of the means entrusted to him; that God calls upon him to be faithful in the use and improvement of his goods; and that he may, if he will, become a distinguished worker together with God in uplifting those whom Christ came to the world to save. RH January 4, 1898, par. 7

The Lord has endowed man with capabilities and power and influence; he has entrusted him with his money; but these gifts are not to be lavishly spent in self-gratification. To every man he has given his work. Man is to be a co-worker with God in the great redemption. The money that God has entrusted to men is to be used in blessing humanity, in relieving the necessities of the suffering and the needy. Men are not to feel that they have done a very wonderful thing when they have endowed certain institutions or churches with large gifts. In the wise providence of God, there are constantly presented before them the very ones who need their help. They are to relieve the suffering, clothe the naked, and help many who are in hard and trying circumstances, who are wrestling with all their energies to keep themselves and their families from a pauper's home. God never meant that this misery should exist. He never meant that one man should have an abundance of the luxuries of life, while the children of others should cry for bread. The means over and above the positive necessaries of life are entrusted to men to do good, to bless humanity. God has entrusted his goods to stewards; and if these stewards love him, they will love those formed in his image. RH January 4, 1898, par. 8

But too often those who are enjoying the gifts of God add house after house, and farm after farm, to their possessions. Some even build for their dogs, homes that are like palaces, and keep hired attendants to take care of them, while their fellow beings are left to misery and crime, to disease and death. How long, O Lord! how long, shall this state of things exist? God will judge the world in righteousness by that man Jesus whom he hath ordained to judge the quick and the dead; and those who have long neglected to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to give relief and comfort to suffering humanity, will have to render an account to God for the misapplication of his entrusted talents. What a record will then appear of money spent on pleasures and the gratification of appetite in wine and liquor and rich dainties, for extravagant houses and furniture and dress, while human beings received not one pitying look, one word of sympathy. RH January 4, 1898, par. 9

The principle of worldlings is to get all they can of the perishable things of this life. Selfish love of gain is the ruling principle in their lives. But the purest joy is not found in riches, nor where covetousness is always craving, but where contentment reigns, and where self-sacrificing love is the ruling principle. There are thousands who are passing their lives in self-indulgence, and whose hearts are filled with repining. They are victims of selfishness and discontent in the vain effort to satisfy their minds with indulgence. Unhappiness is stamped upon their very countenances, and behind them is a desert, because their course is not fruitful in good works. RH January 4, 1898, par. 10

Those who feel no special pleasure in seeking to be a blessing to others, in working, even at a sacrifice, to do them good, cannot have the spirit of Christ or of heaven; for they have no union with the work of heavenly angels, and cannot participate in the bliss that imparts elevated joy to them. But Christ says to his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” I lead in the path of self-denial. I require nothing of you, my followers, but that of which I, your Lord, give you an example in my own life. RH January 4, 1898, par. 11

By a chain of circumstances which should call forth their charities, God bestows upon men the best means of cultivating benevolence. He designs to keep them habitually giving to help the poor and to advance his cause. He sends his poor as the representatives of himself. By their necessities, a ruined world is drawing forth from us talents of means and of influence, of which it is in perishing need. And as we heed these calls by labor and by acts of benevolence, we are assimilated to the image of him who for our sake became poor. In bestowing, we bless others, and thus accumulate true riches. RH January 4, 1898, par. 12