The Signs of the Times


June 13, 1892

“Blessed is He that Considereth the Poor”


The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.” There never was a time when there was greater need for the exercise of mercy than today. The poor are all around us, the distressed, the afflicted, the sorrowing, and those who are ready to perish. Those who have acquired riches have acquired them through the exercise of the talents that were given them of God; but these talents for the acquiring of property were given to them that they might relieve those who are in poverty. These gifts were bestowed upon men by Him who maketh His sun to shine and His rain to fall upon the just and the unjust, that by the fruitfulness of the earth men might have abundant supplies for all their need. The fields have been blessed of God, and “of his goodness he hath prepared for the poor.” In the providence of God events have been so ordered that the poor are always with us, in order that there may be a constant exercise in the human heart of the attributes of mercy and love. Man is to cultivate the tenderness and compassion of Christ; he is not to separate himself from the sorrowing, the afflicted, the needy, and the distressed. Job declares: “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me; because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.” ST June 13, 1892, par. 1

How many there are who claim to be followers of Christ, yet who do not follow him in truth. They do not manifest the sympathy and love of Christ by being merciful and compassionate. They do not make the widow's heart sing for joy; they treat the fatherless with coldness, indifference, or contempt. Said Job: “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not I searched out.” This was an evidence that Job had righteousness that was after Christ's order. Through Jesus men may possess a spirit of tender pity toward the needy and distressed. They may have the mind of Christ. He was the Son of God, rich in heavenly treasures, yet for our sake he became poor, he descended to the lowest humiliation and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might exalt us to be joint heirs with himself. The whole world was in need of that which Christ alone could give them. He did not withdraw himself from those who called upon him for help. He did not do as many now do, say, “I wish they would not trouble me with their affairs, I want to hoard up my means, to invest it in houses and lands.” Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, turned from the splendor of his heavenly home, and in the gracious purpose of his heart he demonstrated the character of God to men throughout the world. The requirement of God from those who claim to be his children is that they be doers of his word, that they follow his example, represent the life of Christ in tender, pitying love to the world; that they reflect his image. ST June 13, 1892, par. 2

Jesus says, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father which is in heaven is merciful.” To pursue the course that Jesus did, to follow in his divine footsteps, is not in harmony with the feelings of the natural heart; but if we are Christians, we shall practice the words and works of Christ, who gave himself in order to ransom an apostate race. The root of selfishness has a firm growth in many hearts, and worldliness and pride spring from this root; but selfishness is not a Christian characteristic; it is an attribute of the great apostate. No one can live for himself and at the same time be united with Christ. Conformity to the world, attachment to the world, manifests a decided denial of Christ. ST June 13, 1892, par. 3

The rich are not to be favored above the poor. How inconsistent is it to make favorites of men because the Lord has intrusted his goods to them to be wisely dispensed to those who are needy. Unless the rich manifest the spirit that moved Christ to come to our world to seek and to save that which was lost, they are none of his. They are training under another general. The important question is not, “Is a man rich?” But the important question is, “What use does he make of his riches?” The value and character of a man is determined by the use to which he puts his intrusted talents. Does he do good in this life? Does he seek to bless humanity, to build up the kingdom of Christ in the world? Shut away the rich from the poor in large and costly dwellings, make churches too splendid for the entrance of the poor, so that the rich man may not be brought in contact with the distressing needs of the fatherless and the widow, and the result will be that his sympathies will be withered, mercy will not be exercised, and the rich man will be in imminent danger of losing his soul. ST June 13, 1892, par. 4

Christ says, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.” Unless the grace of Christ controls the heart, the tendency of the rich man is to grow more proud, more self-sufficient, more self-righteous. He acts as if he were made of better flesh and more costly blood than his poorer brother. But Christ looks on, and says, “All ye are brethren.” There is no respect of persons with God. The rich man has plenty, and makes no effort to put himself in the poor man's place; but because he does not consider the poor, he becomes unfeeling, indifferent, and hard-hearted. He does not try to understand the conflicts, temptations, and struggles of his poor brethren, and mercy dries up in his heart. ST June 13, 1892, par. 5

The poor are robbed daily of the education and training they should have concerning the tender mercies with which the Lord would have them regarded; for he has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and they are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Their sympathies are alienated from their more prosperous neighbors; but when men are born again, when they are truly converted, old things pass away, and behold, all things become new. A new moral taste is created, and he that was exalted because God had intrusted him with means will seek to aid and exalt others. His responsibilities will seem weighty upon him and will humble his heart before God; for he will realize that his goods are intrusted of the Lord, that he may relieve the needy, comfort the distressed, feed the fatherless, and make the widow's heart sing for joy. ST June 13, 1892, par. 6

But instead of using their means for the Master, how many embezzle it, invest it for themselves, furnishing their homes with rich carpets, fine furniture, and multiplying lands and houses to glorify themselves in the earth, while the needy call upon them in vain. If they do anything for the poor, they call them paupers, and look upon them with contempt. They do not consider from whence comes their intrusted capital, and that they are all the time receiving unnumbered blessings from God. If he should withhold his beneficence, they would be numbered with the poor. We are all dependent upon the benevolence of a gracious God. The day will come when those who have cherished selfishness and covetousness, who have defrauded the poor, who have withdrawn mercy and love from them, will be made manifest. ST June 13, 1892, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)