The Review and Herald


January 20, 1885

Thoughts for the New Year


The year 1884 has passed into eternity, and a new year has dawned upon us. What is the character of the history that has been recorded in heaven, as day by day has glided by with its burden of good or evil? Have not many of you, my brethren and sisters, a spotted record to meet? Have you not failed to improve many of the opportunities which the old year afforded you for forming correct habits and building right characters? Have you made of yourselves all that God designed you should? Do you know more of the truth than you did one year ago? Have you practiced self-control, seeking daily to be sanctified through the truth, that your life might reflect light upon the pathway of others? RH January 20, 1885, par. 1

God has left each one a work to do for himself. Have you been faithful in this work? Have you studied to conform your character in every particular to the law of God? Have you sought to discover and remedy every defect in yourselves that would have a tendency to lead others from the path of strict rectitude? Has your life been so molded by the word and Spirit of God as to make you a blessing to all with whom you associate? RH January 20, 1885, par. 2

You are in danger from corruption within and temptation without. There are evil habits and traits of character which are constantly inclining you to selfishness and weakness of principle. During the past year, Satan has been diligent in his efforts to turn you away from beholding yourselves; and many of you have erred in leaving God's own established standard to follow an imperfect one of your own devising. But none need err from the way, for God has given his own beloved Son to be our guide to Paradise. We are to copy his pure, spotless, and holy life; and through his grace we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. RH January 20, 1885, par. 3

Year by year increasing light is shining upon our pathway. The light we had in 1884 is not the light for us this year; if that light has been faithfully improved, we may look for still greater light in the year that is before us. Dear brethren and sisters, the increased light that you receive places you under greater obligation to God. Your Christian growth should be in accordance with the privileges you enjoy. Each day as it passes should find you better prepared to meet new trials and bear new responsibilities. Do you appreciate this fact? Do you realize your duty to others? Consider the influence that every word and act of your life may have upon those around you. A lasting impression may be made, which will react upon yourself in blessing or in cursing. This thought gives an awful solemnity to life, and should drive us to God in humble prayer that he will guide us by his wisdom. RH January 20, 1885, par. 4

If all could realize this subject as it has been presented to me, many would live much more carefully than they now do. It is easy for professed Christians to extol Jesus, his perfections and his loveliness, while, under the appearance of great devotion, they are very exacting toward others, exercising over them an iron rule. It is easy for them to talk of the truth, and the importance of keeping the commandments of God, when they have never made a practical application of the principles of truth in their every-day life. They have not made a success of serving God, and so have lost the precious comfort and support which is derived from communion with him. RH January 20, 1885, par. 5

We belong to Jesus. He has bought us with his precious blood; and we owe him a debt of gratitude which we can never repay, but which we should daily acknowledge by willing, unselfish service. If we realize this as we should, we shall be Christlike. Like him, we shall deny self that we may do others good. But during the past year, how much time has been devoted to self-serving that ought to have been given to the Lord. How much money has been needlessly expended on trifles to gratify taste and please the eye. How much has been spent for the gratification of appetite, when plain, simple food would have been better and more nourishing, giving greater physical and mental strength. RH January 20, 1885, par. 6

Some have failed to present to God the tithes and offerings which belong to him. Such should awaken to a sense of their duty. The words of the prophet Malachi apply to them: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH January 20, 1885, par. 7

Wherever there has been any neglect on your part to give back to the Lord his own, repent with contrition of soul, and make restitution, lest his curse rest upon you. Many are in a cold, backslidden state on account of their robbery of God; and now the Lord calls upon them to redeem the past. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,” he says, “and prove me now herewith.” When you have done what you can on your part, withholding nothing that belongs to your Maker, you may ask him to provide means to send the message of truth to the world. The work of God would have been much farther advanced than it now is, had each member of the church suitably expressed his gratitude to God for the priceless gift of eternal life through Christ. RH January 20, 1885, par. 8

To each of us some work is assigned in the vineyard of the Lord. There is enough for all to do; none need stand idle. Have you been faithful in your appointed task, doing what you could to win others to the truth? How many have been led to the cross of Christ through your individual efforts? Have you by precept and example pointed your fellowmen to the Lamb of God, or have you, by assimilating to the world, directed their thoughts and affections into a wrong channel? RH January 20, 1885, par. 9

Many of you have made great mistakes the last year; will you repeat these mistakes during the year upon which you have just entered? Human judgment is finite; and men in their blind self-will often trust to their own opinion, and take a course that cuts directly across the path of God's providence, and defeats his ends. You need to examine yourself carefully to see what is the tendency of your course. The Spirit of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and it will reveal to you your standing and the nature of your work. RH January 20, 1885, par. 10

God alone can tell what will transpire during the year 1885. It may be in our lives and in the history of our cause more eventful than any that has preceded it. We have seen the special workings of the Spirit of God during the camp-meeting season and in the recent session of the General Conference; but these evidences that the Lord is at work should not lead us to settle down satisfied and at ease. The light of truth is to go into remote and darkened corners of the earth. Each unfolding of his providence, each token that his hand is in the work to move it forward with power, is designed to arouse us to greater zeal and earnestness, while we look for still more wonderful and glorious triumphs of the truth in the future. RH January 20, 1885, par. 11

Will each of you who believe present truth earnestly inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” His Spirit is at work upon minds, preparing them to receive the truth. Let your efforts be fully up with the openings of his providence. Do something, do it now; and let the record of the new year be one that you will not be ashamed to meet. RH January 20, 1885, par. 12