The Review and Herald

451/1902

August 14, 1888

The Duty of Brethren

EGW

“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” RH August 14, 1888, par. 1

Our duty as brethren, who have been made partakers of the grace of Christ, is here presented before us. We are exhorted to watch, and see where we can build up one another in the most holy faith. We are not to rest contented because we love Jesus. Our duties and opportunities do not end here; for we are to help others on in the way of salvation. If we are not letting our light shine upon the pathway of our brethren and associates, we are depriving them of heaven's enlightenment. God has given us light, and he requires that it should be reflected upon others, that our course of action may aid others to a better life. We are not to live for self alone, exerting a selfish influence; but we are to stand ready always to help those who have been overtaken in a fault, or have fallen into error. When an individual stumbles into darkness, it is the duty of those who are spiritual to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering lest they also be tempted. RH August 14, 1888, par. 2

You are not to shut yourselves up to yourselves, and be content because you have been blessed with a knowledge of the truth. Who brought the truth to you? Who showed the light of the word of God to you? God has not given you his light to be placed under a bushel. I have read of an expedition that was sent out in search of Sir John Franklin. Brave men left their homes, and wandered about in the North seas, suffering privation, hunger, cold, and distress. And what was it all for?—Merely for the honor of discovering the dead bodies of the explorers, or, if possible, to rescue some of the party from the terrible death that must surely come upon them, unless help should reach them in time. If they could but save one man from perishing, they would count their suffering well paid for. This was done at the sacrifice of all their comfort and happiness. Think of this, and then consider how little we are willing to sacrifice for the salvation of the precious souls around us. We are not compelled to go away from home, on a long and tedious journey, to save the life of a perishing mortal. At our very doors, all about us, on every side, there are souls to be saved, souls perishing,—men and women dying without hope, without God,—and yet we feel unconcerned, virtually saying by our actions, if not by our words, “Am I my brother's keeper”? These men who lost their lives in trying to save others are eulogized by the world as heroes and martyrs. How should we who have the prospect of eternal life before us feel, if we do make little sacrifices that God requires of us, for the salvation of the souls of men? RH August 14, 1888, par. 3

Our duty is plainly marked out before us. We should work perseveringly, at home and abroad. We are to open the Scriptures to our children, and lead them to the light, that they may have the knowledge of God, become doers of the word, and be fitted up for everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. We are not to train them for this life only, but for that life which will run parallel with the life of God. If men will run such risks, and make such sacrifices for the sake of discovering the lifeless remains of their fellow-creatures, how much more should we venture, to save souls for Jesus and heaven! How much more in earnest should we be, that our children shall secure a fitness for the eternal world! Why are we who profess to believe the solemn, sacred truth, so careless about this matter? Why should we not be in earnest to warn, and entreat, and bring the souls of men to behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world? When we see a soul desponding, and discouraged, and ready to give up the truth and fall by the way, we should go to him, and in earnest love tell him the story of the cross, and point him to the sufferings of the Man of Calvary. This is the work that God requires of us; for we are to love one another as Christ has loved us. And if we would estimate the depths of his love, we must look to the cross, for he loved us while we were yet sinners, and gave himself for us. RH August 14, 1888, par. 4

If we can bring one soul to Christ, and that soul shall overcome, and be saved to reign with Jesus through the ceaseless ages of eternity, what a work we shall have wrought! A soul is of priceless worth in the sight of God, for he says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Souls that take the yoke of Jesus upon them, are precious. I beseech you to take his yoke upon you; it will not weigh you down, nor crush you to the earth. He says, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The yoke you have placed upon your own neck is a galling yoke, but it is not the yoke of the meek and lowly Jesus. RH August 14, 1888, par. 5

He says, “Make straight paths for your feet.” What must we do to make straight paths for our feet? We must speak no unkind word, either at home or abroad; we must be gentle and considerate toward all. We cannot be fretful and impatient, and still be Christians; for a fretful, impatient spirit is not the Spirit of Christ. With such a spirit, you are making crooked paths, and some one else will follow you; and so you are not only making crooked paths for your own feet, but for the feet of others. You ask how shall you perfect a Christian character? Look to the life of Jesus. He is your pattern. See what kind of spirit he manifested, and endeavor to show the same in your daily life and conversation. Make just such paths as he made. You are to follow him, that you may know that “his going forth is prepared as the morning.” His path is a most precious path in which to walk. RH August 14, 1888, par. 6

If a brother does you a wrong, you are not to retaliate by doing him a wrong. If you have done him a wrong, you must go to him, and ask him to forgive you. You must not let an injury to your brother remain unrepented of, and unforgiven, for even one night. You must say, “I will get this out of the way. I will have harmony between my soul and my brother's.” In pursuing this course, you are giving others an example. If there is any one backslidden from God, how anxious we should be that he might forsake his evil ways, and return to the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, who will abundantly pardon! If we see a brother stumble, it is our first duty to seek to set his feet in the path of life again. We should let the love of Jesus into the soul. We must be merciful to all around us, for to the merciful, God will be merciful; but those who judge and condemn others, will be judged by the Judge of all the earth. God wants parents and their families to come to the foot of the cross. The settled peace of Jesus should abide with every member of the family: If Jesus comes into your home, he will say, “Peace be unto you;” but he cannot come into your house if you are scolding, and fretting, and finding fault with one another. What says the word?—“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” RH August 14, 1888, par. 7

Now this is what is meant by following peace with all men. If you are slighted by any one, you are to follow peace by not rising up against it. Remember that you are the child of God, you are his servant. Just say, “I will be right with God. I will put away everything that interposes between my soul and God.” What is holiness? It is willing, whole-hearted service to your Redeemer. You are to be a representative of God in this world. God wants you to take your religion right along with you into your business relations. At every turn, you should remember that you are a representative of Christ. Ask your Heavenly Father to give you strength to flee from evil, that you may not fall under temptation, and become a captive of Satan. Seek God for perfection of Christian character, that your every act may be a sermon; and when you come to worship before God, your conscience will not condemn you. You will reveal Christ in your conversation and actions. You will long to speak words of comfort to weary souls. RH August 14, 1888, par. 8

If you will try to suppress every evil thought through the day, then the angels of God will come and dwell with you. These angels are beings that excel in strength. You remember how the angel came to the sepulcher, and the Roman soldiers fell like dead men before the glory of his countenance; and if one angel could work with such power, how would it have been if all the angels that are with us here, had been present? The angels are with us every day, to guard and protect us from the assaults of the enemy. RH August 14, 1888, par. 9

See that your life is hid with Christ in God, and you will be filled with the most precious assurance that you are a child of Heaven. If you keep Christ before you day by day, and hour by hour, and moment by moment, you will be trying to exemplify his character; and when you come where the brethren are, you will not be desponding and repining, but you will say, “I love the Lord; I am so glad that Jesus died for me.” You will be able to talk of heaven and the eternal reward. The present truth will be the theme of your thoughts and words. Your soul will be full of love, and that love will flow out to others, refreshing them every day. Christ will be in you a “well of water springing up into everlasting life.” RH August 14, 1888, par. 10

Let us turn to our text once more: “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” Religion is not merely to govern our actions on the Sabbath day, it is to be an every-day work. It is to go out into the world to be a living example to your friends and associates. It is to bring the love of God into your family, and to teach true religion to your children. You are to impress their minds with the fact that you are training them for the kingdom of heaven. Let the name of Jesus be a familiar household word. You yourself do not want to fall behind, nor do you want to leave your children in the path of darkness. RH August 14, 1888, par. 11

Parents, if you would have your little ones kind and gentle, you must be kind. If you want them to be courteous, you must be courteous. You must undertake the great task of training yourselves and your households for that kingdom where all is order and peace. If you let your children have their own way, they will not become fitted for heaven at all; for Satan will come in, and control the mind. You must have regulations to govern your homes, and the children must be taught to respect them. Your work should not stop at your own house. You do not want your neighbors to perish. You may say, “My neighbors do not care about heavenly things.” Is that any reason why you should have nothing to say to them of Jesus and the truth? If our Lord had treated us in this way, we should have perished in our sins. He came to us, and labored arduously to bring us back to the Father's house. You are to pursue such a course that your neighbors will know that you are Christ's child. It is not right to let them live aloof from you. You are to go to them, and bring the light to their homes. RH August 14, 1888, par. 12

“Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.” If you do not have the grace of God in your hearts, the root of bitterness will spring up in you, and many will be defiled. When you feel that some one has done you an injury, you say, “I will let him alone, and have nothing more to do with him.” Is not this the way you feel about the matter? But do you let him alone? The first thing you do is to tell it to some one else. Now this is what the Bible calls a root of bitterness. You tell your trouble to every one but Jesus, and the reason that you do this, is because you do not feel clear in your conscience, so, of course, you do not want to tell it to your Saviour. RH August 14, 1888, par. 13

Let the precious plant of love spring up in your hearts. When your neighbor tries to injure you, return good for evil. Do all in your power to please and help him, and you will soon see the hardness melted from his heart, if it is possible for it to be overcome at all. We are to manifest the love that Jesus has manifested, that we may be known and read of all men, as not of the world, but of the Father. Seek God with humiliation of soul, for the forgiveness of your sins. Go to your brother against whom you have had feelings of enmity, and say, “I want all variance to cease.” God has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Take your brother right by the hand, and ask him to forgive you. It will not hurt you to get down on your knees, if necessary to do so. Get all the roots of bitterness out of the way. Have all these feelings blotted out by hearty confession one to another. Do not be satisfied with a sort of general confession. Come right to the point. Let the blood of Jesus cancel your wrongs in the Book of Life. You want to be set free, that you may perfect holiness in the fear to God. RH August 14, 1888, par. 14