The Review and Herald


May 18, 1886

A Peculiar People


That which more especially distinguishes God's people from the popular religious bodies is not their profession alone, but their exemplary character, and their principles of unselfish love. The powerful and purifying influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart, carried out in words and works, separates them from the world, and designates them as God's peculiar people. The character and disposition of Christ's followers will be like the Master. He is the pattern, the holy and perfect example given for Christians to imitate. The true followers of Christ will love their brethren and be in harmony with them. They will love their neighbors, as Christ has given them an example, and will make any sacrifice if they can by so doing persuade souls to leave their sins and be converted to the truth. RH May 18, 1886, par. 1

The truth, deeply rooted in the heart of believers, will spring up and bear fruit unto righteousness. Their words and works are the channels through which the pure principles of truth and holiness are conveyed to the world. Especial blessings and privileges are for those who love the truth, and walk according to the light they have received. If they neglect to do this, their light will become darkness. When the people of God become self-sufficient, the Lord leaves them to their own wisdom. Mercy and truth are promised to the humble in heart, the obedient and faithful. RH May 18, 1886, par. 2

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” Those who labor for God should be clean vessels, sanctified to the Master's use. “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” The embassadors of Christ have a responsible and sacred work before them. They are savors of life unto life, or of death unto death. Their influence decides the destiny of souls for whom Christ died. RH May 18, 1886, par. 3

We would wish all the Lord's servants were laborers. This work should not be confined alone to the ministers, but brethren who have the truth in their hearts, and have exerted a good influence at home, should feel that a responsibility rests upon them of devoting a part of their time to going out among their neighbors, and in adjoining towns, to be missionaries for God. They should carry the publications, and engage in conversation, and, in the spirit of Christ, pray with and for those whom they visit. This is the work that will arouse a spirit of reformation and investigation. RH May 18, 1886, par. 4

The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous, whom God has especially led and blessed, are to be presented to them in contrast with the extravagant, health-destroying habits of the people who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel's message as the hand is united to the body. And there is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy, as a neglect of this important subject. Those who are indulging their appetite and passions, and close their eyes to the light for fear they will see sinful indulgences which they are unwilling to forsake, are guilty before God. Whoever turns from the light in one instance, hardens his heart to disregard the light in other matters. Whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing, prepares the way to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests. Our bodies are not our own. God has claims upon us to take care of the habitation he has given us, that we may present our bodies to him a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Our bodies belong to Him who made them, and we are in duty bound to become intelligent in regard to the best means of preserving from decay the habitation He has given us. If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God. RH May 18, 1886, par. 5

“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” But light becomes darkness to all those who will not walk in it. In order to be accepted and blessed of God as our fathers were, we must be faithful, as they were faithful. We must improve our light as the ancient faithful prophets improved theirs. God requires of us according to the grace he has bestowed upon us. He will not accept less than he claims. All his righteous demands must be fully met. In order for us to meet our responsibilities, we must stand on that elevated ground that the order and advancement of holy, sacred truth has prepared for us. RH May 18, 1886, par. 6

The work of pruning and purifying, to fit us for heaven, is a great work, and will cost us a great deal of suffering and trial, because our will is not subjected to the will of Christ. We must go through the furnace till the fires have consumed the dross, and we are purified, and reflect the divine image. Those who follow their inclinations and are governed by appearances, are not good judges of what God is doing. They are filled with discontent. They see failure where there is indeed triumph, a great loss where there is gain; and, like Jacob, they have been ready to exclaim, “All these things are against me,” when the very things whereof they complained were all working together for their good. RH May 18, 1886, par. 7

“No cross, no crown.” How can one be strong in the Lord without trials. To have strength, we must have exercise. To have strong faith, we must be placed in circumstances where our faith will be called forth. The apostle Paul, just before his martyrdom, exhorted Timothy, “Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God.” It is through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God. Our Saviour was tried in every possible way, and yet he triumphed in God continually. It is our privilege to be strong in the strength of God under all circumstances, and to glory in the cross of Christ. RH May 18, 1886, par. 8