The Review and Herald

274/1902

August 12, 1884

Unity and Love

EGW

Text: “Let love be without dissimulation.” Romans 12:9. RH August 12, 1884, par. 1

The great lesson that Christ taught by his life and example was that of unity and love among brethren. This love is the token of discipleship, the divine credentials which the Christian bears to the world. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Love to God and man must be an inwrought principle in the soul; for there is no other way that the Christian can become a “partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” RH August 12, 1884, par. 2

Great light is shining, and some have received the precious light, and hold it fast with rejoicing. But Satan has had too great power even over these. They have not had a zeal and wide-awake, unselfish interest corresponding with the truth they believe. Love has been wanting, and its absence greatly pleases our wily foe. He is the author of malice, envy, jealousy, hatred, and dissension, and he rejoices to see these weeds choke out love, that tender plant of heavenly growth. In his providence, God permits those who, deluded by the enemy, have chosen fables instead of unadulterated truth, to entertain the same feelings toward commandment-keepers that the Jewish nation had toward their Master,—feelings that led them to reject him as the promised Messiah, and delivered him up to suffer a cruel death. And as the people of God meet with opposition from the powers of darkness and the ungodly around them, they are drawn nearer to each other. RH August 12, 1884, par. 3

The question arises again and again, Why does the Lord suffer these trials to come, and this hatred to be kindled against those who love Jesus and are keeping the commandments of God? But Jesus suffered before us, and we are exhorted to “consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,” lest we be wearied and faint in our minds. The battle between the powers of darkness and the powers of light is continually going forward. Christ and Satan are each in the field: Christ ready to save to the uttermost all who come unto him; Satan determined to afflict and control. Satan is angry with the righteous; for their life of obedience to God brings them in constant collision with his plans and wishes. RH August 12, 1884, par. 4

We are now living in the antitypical day of atonement. The great and solemn closing work is going forward in the sanctuary above. Every man is required to afflict his soul before God; every heart is required to be in harmony with the divine will. In this important time the great enemy intercepts himself between man and his Creator. He is continually seeking to separate the people of God from the love of Jesus, to draw them away from his protecting care. He it is that inclines the human soul unto vanity. He leads men to gather attention to themselves, and to receive praise and honor that should be given to God. And the greatest trials that men meet come in consequence of their blindness to Satan's temptations. RH August 12, 1884, par. 5

The Lord works in behalf of his people. He seeks to break the cruel power that Satan exercises over the children of men; and he would do great things for them if they would submit to his authority instead of choosing the service of Satan. He wrought wonderfully for his ancient people Israel to deliver them from their oppressive bondage in Egypt. He went through the proud land of the Pharaohs with tempest and fire, with plague and death. He rescued them from their servile state, and brought them to a good land,—a land that in his providence had been prepared for them as a refuge from their enemies, where they might dwell under the shadow of his wings. He brought them to himself and encircled them in his everlasting arms; and in return for all his goodness and mercy to them, they were required to have no other gods before him, the living God, and to exalt his name and make it glorious in the earth. RH August 12, 1884, par. 6

All heaven is interested in man, and desires his salvation. This is the great aim in all God's dealings with individuals. Now, in 1884, Jesus is pleading in behalf of his people; and it is a matter of the greatest wonder to the heavenly host that so few care to be freed from the bondage of evil influences, so few are willing to exercise all their powers in harmony with Christ in the great work of their deliverance. If men could have unveiled before them the workings of the great deceiver to keep them in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity, how earnest would they be to renounce the works of darkness, how guarded lest they yield to temptation, how careful to see and remove every defect which mars the image of God in them; how they would press to the side of Jesus, and what earnest supplications would ascend to heaven for a calmer, closer, happier, walk with God. RH August 12, 1884, par. 7

Jesus came to earth to be, not only man's Redeemer, but his great Exemplar. His was a perfect life, a life of meekness, lowliness, purity, and unlimited trust in God. He was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and he taught us practically the great lesson of calm, constant, unwavering confidence in our heavenly Father. He permits temptations, trials, and afflictions to come to his loved ones. They are his providences, visitations of mercy to bring them back when they stray from his side, and give them a deeper sense of his presence and providential care. The peace that passeth understanding is not for those who shrink from trials, from struggles, and from self-denial. We cannot appreciate peace and joy in Christ, and the gift of eternal life, unless we are willing to make every sacrifice to obtain these great blessings. RH August 12, 1884, par. 8

The eye of Jesus is upon us every moment. The clouds which intervene between the soul and the Sun of Righteousness are in the providence of God permitted to arise that our faith may be strengthened to grasp the great hopes, the sure promises, that shine undimmed through the darkness of every storm. Faith must grow through conflict and suffering. We must individually learn to suffer and be strong, and not sink down in weakness nor faint in adversity. We must not count our lives dear unto ourselves, but must walk in the path of duty, denying self for Christ's sake. RH August 12, 1884, par. 9

The path to freedom from sin is through crucifixion of self, and conflict with the powers of darkness. Let none be discouraged in view of the severe trials to be met in the time of Jacob's trouble, which is yet before them. They are to work earnestly, anxiously, not for that time, but for today. What we want is to have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ now, and a personal experience now. In these precious closing hours of probation, we have a deep and living experience to gain. We shall thus form characters that will insure our deliverance in the time of trouble. RH August 12, 1884, par. 10

The time of trouble is the crucible that is to bring out Christ-like characters. It is designed to lead the people of God to renounce Satan and his temptations. The last conflict will reveal Satan to them in his true character, that of a cruel tyrant, and it will do for them what nothing else could do, up-root him entirely from their affections. For to love and cherish sin, is to love and cherish its author, that deadly foe of Christ. When they excuse sin and cling to perversity of character, they give Satan a place in their affections, and pay him homage. RH August 12, 1884, par. 11

The work of the enemy is not abrupt, it is not sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle. It commences in small things,—the neglect to be true to God and to rely upon him wholly, the disposition to concede to the demands of the world for the sake of gaining numbers on the church-book. But soon a wide gulf is opened between the position of the shepherd of the flock and the plain truths of the word of God. Our only safety is in searching the Scriptures and in being much on our knees before God, entreating him to imbue us with his Spirit, that when the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall for us lift up a standard against him. RH August 12, 1884, par. 12

It is great kindness on the part of our heavenly Father when he allows us to be placed under circumstances that lessen the attractions of earth, and lead us to place our affections on things above. Frequently, the loss of earthly blessings teaches us more than their possession. When we pass through trials and afflictions, it is no evidence that Jesus does not love and bless us. The pitying Lamb of God identifies his interest with that of his suffering ones. He guards them every moment. He is acquainted with every grief; he knows every suggestion of Satan, every doubt that tortures the soul. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities; for he has experienced even more than we are passing through. He suffered, being tempted, that he might know how to succor those who are tempted, and thus bring many sons and daughters to glory. And when we remember these things, the divine love touchingly appeals to our hearts. RH August 12, 1884, par. 13

Jesus, our Advocate, is inviting us to walk with him. He is pleading the case of the tempted, the erring, and the faithless. He is striving to lift them into companionship with himself. It is his work to sanctify his people, to cleanse, ennoble, and purify them, and fill their hearts with peace. He is thus fitting them for glory, honor, and eternal life; for an inheritance richer and more lasting than that of any earthly prince. RH August 12, 1884, par. 14

As children of God, members of the royal family, we must cultivate disinterested love for one another. We must press together. We should guard the interests of our brethren, even though we may think they err. We are not perfect ourselves; we are not immortal. Elijah was a mighty man of God; yet he was “subject to like passions as we are.” We must be tender, kind, and true to one another. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,” says Christ, “if ye have love one to another.” RH August 12, 1884, par. 15

Dear brethren and sisters, if we have the religion of Jesus in our hearts, it will be revealed in our lives. If we love Christ, we shall love one another. Let your life more than your lips, argue for your Saviour. It is by a well ordered life and godly conversation that you represent him to the world. RH August 12, 1884, par. 16