The Review and Herald


May 13, 1884

Christ's Followers the Light of the World

[Remarks addressed to the ministers assembled in General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in their morning meeting held November 12, 1883.]


Text: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. 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.” Matthew 5:14-16. RH May 13, 1884, par. 1

In all ages the people of God have been the light of the world. Joseph was a light in Egypt. He represented Jehovah in the midst of a nation of gross idolaters. While the Israelites were on their way from Egypt to the promised land, they were a light to the surrounding nations. Through them God was revealed to the world. Satan sought to extinguish their light; but by the power of God it was kept alive through successive generations while Israel maintained a national existence, and even during the captivity there were faithful witnesses for God. From Daniel and his companions and Mordecai, a bright light shone amid the moral darkness of the kingly courts of Babylon. In holy vision, God revealed to Daniel light and truth that he had concealed from other men; and through his chosen servant this light has shone down through the ages, and will continue to shine to the end of time. RH May 13, 1884, par. 2

We who are living in this age have greater light and privileges than were given to Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and other ancient worthies, and we are under correspondingly greater obligation to let our light shine to the world. God has made us the depositaries of his law. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and we are to follow in his footsteps, to represent him before the world. But are we faithful depositaries of the truth, correctly representing it amid the spiritual declension and moral corruption that now exist? Are we doing one-third that we might and should do to diffuse the precious light of truth? Brethren, you see the truth, you understand the claims of God's law. You know that no willful transgressor of that law will enter into life, and yet you see that law made void in the world. What is your duty? You are not to ask, What is convenient for me? what is agreeable? but, What can I do to save souls? RH May 13, 1884, par. 3

There is a great work before us. The world is to be warned. The truth is to be translated into different languages, that all nations may enjoy its pure, life-giving influences. This work calls for the exercise of all the talents that God has intrusted to our keeping. He has given us abilities that enable us to exert an influence on other minds. We have talents in the pen, the press, the voice, the purse, and the sanctified affections of the soul. All these talents are the Lord's. He has lent them to us, and he holds us responsible for the use we make of them,—for the faithful discharge of our duty to the world. We may come very near to Jesus; we may commune with him, and, having found rest and peace to our own souls, we may show forth to others the beauties of true holiness. If we are illuminated by the Sun of Righteousness, we shall reflect the light to the world in good works. Our example will show what it is to be a practical Christian. Light from heaven may shine through us to the world. RH May 13, 1884, par. 4

We must be better acquainted with our Bibles. We might close the door to many temptations, if we would commit to memory passages of Scripture. Let us hedge up the way to Satan's temptations with “It is written.” We shall meet with conflicts to test our faith and courage, but they will make us strong if we conquer through the grace Jesus is willing to give. But we must believe; we must grasp the promises without a doubt. They are ample and rich, even during the perils and trials of the last days. Hear the assurance given by a prophet of the Lord: “Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; ... he will make me to walk upon mine high places.” As we exercise faith, talk faith, and act faith, the promises of God will be verified to us. And as we walk consistently with our profession of faith, we are also teaching others to walk circumspectly. RH May 13, 1884, par. 5

Do not consult feeling; for feeling is not to be our guide. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. Do not let unbelief separate you from God. Do not let one word of unbelief or discouragement escape your lips. Satan is pleased at every such expression, because it is dishonoring to Jesus. Seek earnestly to remedy every defect of character. Put away murmuring and fretfulness. In the indulgence of these traits you represent Satan, the prince of darkness, and not Christ, the Prince of light. Cast no shadow to darken the pathway of others. Walk in the light, and the peace and joy that shine in the face of Jesus will be reflected upon you. Jesus lives; and his promise is, “According to your faith be it unto you.” RH May 13, 1884, par. 6

Those who talk unbelief will have a little enthusiasm when the sky is bright, and everything encouraging; but when the battle goes hard, when we have to hope against hope, and urge our petitions to the throne of grace through deep darkness, then the unbelieving ones will talk of the good land of Canaan, but will make prominent the dangers to be encountered. They will dwell on the strong walls, and the giants that we shall meet, when the language of faithful Caleb should be heard: “The land is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us.” RH May 13, 1884, par. 7

Men of courage are wanted now; men who will venture something for the truth's sake; men who will be sober, but not gloomy and desponding; men who will watch unto prayer, and whose prayers will be mingled with living, active faith. We may be cheerful and even joyful. Even under temptation, our language may be that of faith and hope and courage. But no lightness, no trifling, should be indulged in; no low witticism should escape our lips, for these things give Satan great advantage. And we are living in the solemn hour of the Judgment, when we should afflict our souls, confess our errors, repent of our sins, and pray one for another that we may be healed. RH May 13, 1884, par. 8

If we are converted, we shall no longer represent Satan by warped, one-sided characters; but in character, in words, and in actions, we shall conform to the perfect model given us in the life of Christ. Unless we follow this perfect example, evil practices will confirm us in Satan's snare. We cannot afford to dally with the tempter,—to persist in one wrong habit, to cherish one darling sin. If we confess and forsake our sins; if we come to Jesus in penitence and humility of soul, acknowledging our inability to remove one spot or stain of sin, and relying wholly on the merits of a crucified Saviour, we may expect forgiveness; for his word is pledged. He has said that he will pardon our transgressions, and blot out our sins. We must dwell upon the matchless love and compassion of Jesus, and not upon our own unworthiness and sinfulness. If we look to ourselves, all will be darkness; but Jesus is all light, and we have only to “look and live.” We may look unto “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame.” What tenderness, what mercy, what love, are here manifested! RH May 13, 1884, par. 9

Through constant watchfulness and prayer, we may grow in grace, and perfect Christian characters. But prayer will be no task to the soul that loves God; it will be a pleasure, a source of strength. Our hearts will be stayed on God, and we shall say by our daily life, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” In view of what Jesus has done to redeem us from the power of Satan, how can we allow evil traits of character to gain the ascendency, thus giving Satan occasion to rejoice and exult, and bringing grief to Him who died for us? How can we cherish malice toward our brethren, the purchase of Christ's blood, or even one feeling of unkindness? Let us put away all suspicion and hatred, and all feelings of bitterness even toward our worst enemies, those who are seeking to do us harm. But, brethren, do not wait until your heart is in harmony with your brother before you come to Jesus; for it is his spirit and power working in you that will give you the victory in this particular. RH May 13, 1884, par. 10

The Lord is waiting to bestow rich blessings upon us if we only comply with the conditions. We cannot glorify him while we cherish doubt. We must believe that he will do just as he has said he would. Remember that we have a living Saviour. If you do not feel light-hearted and joyous, do not dishonor God by talking of your feelings. Talk of the promises, talk of Jesus’ willingness to bless; and before you are aware of it, the cloud will lift, light will come into the soul, and you will find peace and rest in Jesus. Cherish love. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” Form a habit of speaking words of cheerful hope and courage, words of love and appreciation, that will bind hearts together. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” RH May 13, 1884, par. 11