The Review and Herald

477/1902

March 19, 1889

Is It Well With My Soul?

[Morning talk at South Lancaster, Mass., January 13, 1889.]

EGW

We have a most decided work to do to prepare for the judgment. The great question is, “How is it with my soul? Have I followed the light that God has given me?” If you have faith now to grasp the promises of God, you will have faith when greater trials come. The present time is all-important time to us. Now is the time to know that Christ is formed within, the hope and glory. We must abide in Christ. Says the Saviour: “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” But if we abide in him, we may ask what we will, and it shall be done. RH March 19, 1889, par. 1

I have a twin sister who seems unable to understand the simplicity of faith. She is afflicted with disease; but she might be a stronger woman, if she would lay hold of God in simple faith. I wrote to her, saying, “Ask anything you will, that is within my power to obtain, to make you comfortable, and you shall have it.” She believed that I meant what I said. She wrote to me about a wheel-chair of which she had heard, that she thought would be a great blessing to her. One had been selected for her, and she wrote with the greatest confidence that I would purchase it. How is it that she could believe in my word, and yet could not believe in the promises of Jesus? When I write to her, I mean to present the matter in this very light. RH March 19, 1889, par. 2

A sister came to me in Oakland, and said, “Don't you remember that you promised to give me ‘Vol. IV.’ when it was revised and enlarged?” “Did I?” said I, “and did you really believe I meant to do it?” “Certainly,” she replied. “Why did you think so?” I asked, “Is it not strange that you should think I would do that, simply because I promised you?” She looked at me in astonishment. She had been complaining to me of her lack of faith in God. “Now,” I said, “how is it that you can trust in a promise of mine, but cannot trust your Heavenly Father's word? How is it that you can have faith in a poor, fallible mortal, and cannot rely upon the unchangeable God? I had forgotten my promise; but God never forgets. Why can't you take him at his word, as you take me at my word?” We honor God when we take him at his word, and walk out by faith, believing that he means just what he says. He has not withheld his best gift. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” All heaven was poured out to man in that one gift; and how can we doubt our Heavenly Father? RH March 19, 1889, par. 3

The promises of God are rich and abundant; and why is it that there is so little power and success with the messengers of God?—There is a lack of that faith that claims the promises of his word. Let the ministers go before God, and say, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Let them never rise from their knees until the work is accomplished. There is too much preaching done without the ministering that God desires you to do. The minister should not think that his work is done when he leaves the desk. He should go to individual souls, and labor with them in the Spirit of Christ. O, if you would go to the lost, and let your heart break before them, we should see a work similar to that which was done in 1844. Then you might have seen three of four in the orchard, two or three in a barn, five or six in a chamber, pleading with God for souls. When they came to meeting, their faces were lighted up with the glory of God. RH March 19, 1889, par. 4

We talk altogether too much about the power of Satan. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but I thank God for a mighty Saviour, who cast the evil one from heaven. We talk of our adversary, we pray about him, we think of him; and he looms up greater and greater in our imagination. Now why not talk of Jesus? Why not think of his power and his love? Satan is pleased to have us magnify his power. Hold up Jesus, meditate upon him, and by beholding, you will become changed into his image. RH March 19, 1889, par. 5

John saw a Lamb on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. They bore the signet of heaven. They reflected the image of God. They were full of the light and the glory of the Holy One. If we would have the image and superscription of God upon us, we must separate ourselves from all iniquity. We must forsake every evil way, and then we must trust our cases in the hands of Christ. While we are working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, God will work in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure. While you must do your part, yet it is God that must give you aid, and sanctify you. Christ makes us penitent that he may forgive us. We have an idea that we must do some part of the work alone. We have thought that there are two or three steps that we must take without any help or support. But this is not so. The Spirit of God is continually wooing and drawing the soul to right purposes, and into harmony with the law of God. The invitation is given to the helpless, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.” As soon as we separate ourselves from evil, and choose to serve God, we shall respond to this invitation. RH March 19, 1889, par. 6

Not one of us should take the first step in the way of transgression. We must not follow our selfish inclinations. We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. We are to do our very best to sever ourselves from everything that is an offense to God. How can you lift up holy hands without wrath and doubting, if you commit iniquity? When you open the Bible, if you are transgressing the law of God, it will seem that all the threatenings of wrath are for your case. When you rise in meeting to bear your testimony, it will be full of unbelief and darkness. Your testimony will misrepresent your Heavenly Father. It will represent him as unwilling to forgive when you want to return to him, and you will dishonor your Redeemer before the congregation. The Lord has promised, “Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Why can you not take the Lord at his word? Why can you not come with an eye single to the glory of God, and appropriate the rich promises he has made? RH March 19, 1889, par. 7

When I was in Europe, a sister wrote to me in the deepest distress. She was in despair, and she wrote, “Can't you say a word of encouragement to me? Can't you tell me of anything I could do to be relieved of my burden?” The night after I had read her letter, I dreamed that I was in a garden, and a stately personage was conducting me through its paths. I was picking the flowers and enjoying the fragrance, when this sister, who was walking by my side, called my attention to some unsightly thistles that were impeding her way. There she was, mourning and grieving. She was not walking in the pathway, following the guide, but was walking among the briers and thorns. “Oh,” she mourned, “is it not a pity that this beautiful garden is spoiled with thorns?” Then the guide turned, and said, “Let the thistles alone, for they will only wound you. Gather the roses, and the lilies, and the pinks;” and now she is doing this. Why not have something pleasant to think about? “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” RH March 19, 1889, par. 8

Suppose you had a family of children to whom you gave many pleasant and useful things, and they should pick out something that did not seem without objection to them, and should talk of its defects, and mourn and fret because this one thing did not quite meet their approval; how would you think they were repaying your goodness and kindness to them? Would you feel that your efforts were rewarded as they should be? Would it not grieve your heart to find your children so ungrateful, and so unappreciative of your love toward them? RH March 19, 1889, par. 9

The precious Bible is the garden of God, and his promises are the lilies, and the roses, and the pinks. Why do you not gather the fragrant flowers, and leave the thistles alone? Why do you not dwell on the love of Jesus? Why do you not bring gratitude into your life for all the benefits you have received from your Heavenly Father? The more thankfulness you express, the more you will have to express. The whole universe is looking upon us; and see what efforts God has made for our salvation. He has given his only begotten Son to die for us. He was willing to come to our world, to leave the royal throne, that he might save the fallen race of men. Says the prophet, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” He made an infinite sacrifice on Calvary's cross for us. Then why is it that we are always talking of our bruises? Why are we not healed? He died to pardon our sins, and to become our righteousness. When Satan comes to tell you that you are sinner, tell him that you know you are, but that Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that makes him your Saviour. I love him; I believe in him today. RH March 19, 1889, par. 10

Let the soul be uplifted from the lowlands of sin to contemplate the God of all goodness, mercy and love, but who will in no wise clear the guilty. Meet goodness with goodness. Cleanse the soul temple from all defilement, and open it to the blessed Spirit of God. We may be bright and shining lights in the world. Let us search our Bibles, digging into its mines for the precious jewels of truth; and all the time we may bear a brighter and a brighter testimony to the glory of God. We may have a little heaven in our hearts as we journey on toward the heaven above. We may learn the song of victory that is to be sung on Mount Zion. I praise God for his matchless love to us. RH March 19, 1889, par. 11