The Review and Herald
April 16, 1889
Christ Should Be Our Counselor
[Sermon at Indianapolis, Ind., February 23, 1889.]
Text: “Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5. RH April 16, 1889, par. 1
There are many who claim that the Lord is their source of strength; and yet as soon as trials come upon them, instead of seeking the Lord in prayer, they go to some poor, fallible mortal like themselves, for sympathy and counsel. But what are they doing when they pursue this course? They are making flesh their arm; and as certainly [as] they do this, they will become weak. We should go to God with our perplexities. He is the great, unerring Counselor. When you make mortal man your helper, and pour all your troubles into human ears, you only deprive yourself of strength, for you will receive only such help as humanity can give. RH April 16, 1889, par. 2
Christ has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Will you come? Will you comply with the conditions? If we would go to Christ, we could no longer remain in darkness. Those whose minds are bound about with despondency, who have no will-power to direct them in the right, who are not thoughtful and care-taking, would receive fresh light and vigor by communication with Christ. If you allow another to do your thinking for you, you will have crippled energies and contracted abilities. There are many whose intellects are dwarfed because they confine them to dwell upon commonplace subjects. You should wrestle with problems of thought that require the exercise of the best powers of your mind. God will sanctify your thought and ennoble your powers and talents, when you devote them to his service. You will find your talents increasing by exercise. You will double them by serving the Master as you should,—in putting them out to the exchangers. God desires you to be apt, skillful workers. The man who is able to put up a house in a workmanlike manner should be able to exercise his faculties in doing skillful work in the cause of God. The Lord requires us to use our talent to the very best of our ability. When we render him our best service, he will not fail to give us wisdom to do a still better service. We have dwarfed and weakened our capabilities by depending upon others to do our thinking. We have been leaning upon broken reeds, but God does not want us to depend upon others. We should depend wholly upon him. Why do you not go to your Heavenly Father, and make known your wants to him? Jesus has said, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Is not this plain reasoning? Our heavenly Master has chosen words that may be understood by the mind of his simplest child. Why not take this precious promise to hang in the hall of memory? Why not impress upon our minds the things that will be a benefit for us to remember? Why not speak of these precious things in the garden of God's word, instead of talking of our doubts and trials? RH April 16, 1889, par. 3
Suppose you were in a garden where bloomed beautiful roses, and lilies, and pinks; but instead of gathering the beautiful flowers, you should seek for everything objectionable to take away to show to others as a sample of that garden. Would the objectionable things you had gathered properly represent the garden?—By no means. If Christians gather up gloom and sadness to their souls, and murmur and complain, are they representing God and the Christian life as it really is? Christ tells us that if we abide in him, he will abide in us. Are we doing as he has bidden us? Will we gather the roses and the lilies and the pinks, and present to the world the hopeful, bright side of religion? RH April 16, 1889, par. 4
We have purchased the field of truth because of the treasure that is hidden therein. The rich gems of truth do not lie on the surface. You must dig for them. Take your Bible, and compare passage with passage, and verse with verse, and you will find the precious jewels of truth. You should put the precious gems of light in a beautiful setting, and hang them in memory's hall. Shall we not arise and work diligently in the strength of Jesus for the treasure we have so long neglected? “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” RH April 16, 1889, par. 5
It is time that we understood the high claims that God has upon us. Many of us have had a dyspeptic religion. We have fed our souls on dark forebodings and unbelief, and the most indigestible food. An abundance of wholesome spiritual food has been provided in the word of God. Now let us turn over a new leaf in our experience. Let us confess and forsake our sins, and come to Christ for the bread of life. Do not stop to bemoan yourself, but roll your burden into the open sepulcher. Our blessed Lord is a very present help in every time of trouble. We are required to represent our Lord in life and in character. Satan has misrepresented our Lord, and we have unconsciously aided him in his work. The Lord revealed his true character to Moses. The servant of God was pleading with him in the mount, and he said, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” And the Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee; and will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” Then the Father proclaimed himself as a God who was merciful and gracious; who would pardon iniquity, transgression, and sin; who was abundant in goodness and truth. Will you not venture upon his promise, and claim him as your God? If you talk darkness, you will have plenty of darkness; if you talk light, you will have an abundance of light. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” This is the condition of the man who trusts in the Lord; but there is another condition into which we may come that is not of this order. The prophet describes the state of him who trusts in man in these words: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” RH April 16, 1889, par. 6
When we are not connected with God, we are like the heath of the desert, for the natural heart “is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” We should pray as did the psalmist, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways: and sinners shall be converted unto thee. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.” These are words that should be hung in memory's hall. RH April 16, 1889, par. 7
We should place the precious promises of God where we may look upon them whenever Satan casts his darkness upon us. The enemy of God and man would be well pleased to have us dwell upon our darkness and discouragement, so that the religion of Christ would appear a grievous yoke. You should gather rays of light from Jesus every day. You do not know how many sad hearts you will meet; and will you talk only of your discouragements?—No; forget them, and talk of the mercies of God; and the magnifying glass of Satan will be thrust before your eyes in vain. But if you continue to look at the discouraging features of your experience, they will grow more and more forbidding, until you are completely overwhelmed with gloom. Talk courage, talk faith and hope, and you will be all light in the Lord. Keep thinking of the open door that Christ has set before you, that no man can shut. God will close the door to all evil, if you will give him a chance. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up for you a standard against him. I want to read you a little poem, entitled, “Count the Mercies,” which I cut from a paper. RH April 16, 1889, par. 8
“Count the mercies! count the mercies!
Number all the gifts of love;
Keep a daily, faithful record
Of the comforts from above.
Look at all the lovely green spots
In life's weary desert way;
Think how many cooling fountains
Cheer our fainting hearts each day.
Count the mercies! count the mercies!
See them strewn along our way! RH April 16, 1889, par. 9
“Count the mercies, though the trials
Seem to number more each day,
Count the trials, too, as mercies,
Add them to the grand array.
Trials are God's richest blessings,
Sent to prompt our upward flight
As the eaglet's nest—all broken,
Makes them fly to loftier heights.
Count the mercies! count the mercies!
That bring heaven within our sight. RH April 16, 1889, par. 10
“Let us number all our jewels,
Let us estimate their worth;
Let us thank the gracious Giver,
Strewing blessings o'er the earth;
Let our hearts o'erflow with gladness.
Let us tell the wonders o'er,
Till our multiplying treasures
Seem a countless, boundless store;
Then let praises, grateful praises,
Be our language, evermore.” RH April 16, 1889, par. 11
Shall we count the mercies, brethren? Shall we receive the sunlight of heaven on our pathway? “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?” We ought to attain to a richer experience. Take up your neglected work. Take your children with you before the throne of grace, and plead with God that his blessing may rest upon them, until you can present a well-ordered, well-disciplined family before your Heavenly Father, and before the world. Let us cease looking at the failings of others. Let us cease speaking of their evil traits of character. When the Lord told Peter what to do, he turned and asked, “Lord, what shall this man do?” The Lord answered, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.” How many are like Peter today? They are interested in the affairs of others, but they neglect their own duty. It is our business to follow Christ and then we can counsel others. What we want is individual religion, personal piety. We want the Holy Spirit of Christ in our families. O that the truths which I have presented to you today may have a lasting influence upon your characters! O that the members of the church may come up to the help of the Lord,—to the help of the Lord against the mighty! If we have wronged one another, if we have wronged our God, we should confess our sins to God and to one another; and we have the promise that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we remove the rubbish from the door of the heart, the Lord will come in and make his abode with us, and we shall have daily a precious story to tell of the favor, love, and mercy of our Heavenly Father. RH April 16, 1889, par. 12