The Signs of the Times


July 31, 1893

Our Eternal Destiny Decided by Our Course Here


We have but one probation in which to form character, and our destiny depends upon the manner of character we form. Those who on earth have formed characters that through the grace of Christ bear the heavenly mould, will be ripened through the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit for the eternal reward. They become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is a realization of the fact that our characters are Christlike, that calls forth the song of praise and thanksgiving to God and to the Lamb. Those who appreciate the goodness, mercy, and love of Christ, and by beholding him become changed into his image, will be partakers of eternal life. The attributes of their character are like those of Christ, and they cannot fail of the rest that remains for the people of God. ST July 31, 1893, par. 1

But those who have developed a character after the Satanic order would not be at home in heaven. The sinful, selfish, passionate accuser and criticiser would be miserable in heaven; and even in the counsels of the court of God, because of his lack of wisdom, he would reveal his uncourteous, unsympathizing, harsh disposition. If he were placed upon the very loftiest pinnacle, and held supremacy in angelic councils, he would still want to be in a higher position, and even covet the throne of God. There would be no happiness for such a man in heaven. He could not practice evil thinking, evil speaking, be boisterous, critical, and condemnatory, amid the peaceful hosts of the redeemed. Could such a one enter heaven, he would find that he had brought his untamable, unmanageable self along, and heaven itself could not afford him relief from his innate disposition. Heaven begins in the soul, and as heavenly-mindedness increases, Christ is more and more appreciated, and finally becomes the Chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely. But as Satan is allowed to control the mind, his attributes become a part of the character of the one whom he controls, and the sinner exercises himself unto more and more ungodliness. ST July 31, 1893, par. 2

If we would see heaven, we must have heaven below. We must have a heaven to go to heaven in. We must have heaven in our families, through Christ continually approaching unto God. Christ is the great center of attraction, and the child of God hid in Christ, meets with God, and is lost in the divine being. Prayer is the life of the soul; it is feeding on Christ; it is turning our faces fully toward the Sun of Righteousness. As we turn our faces toward Him, He turns his face toward us. He longs to give us divine grace; and as we draw nigh to God with full assurance of faith, our spiritual conceptions are quickened. We do not then walk in blindness, bemoaning our spiritual barrenness; for by diligent, prayerful searching of the word of God, we apply his rich promises unto our souls. Angels draw close to our side, and the enemy with his manifold devices is driven back. ST July 31, 1893, par. 3

Prayer is the strength of the soul, and yet this exercise has been sadly neglected. By simple, earnest, contrite prayer, heavenly mindedness is greatly increased. No other means of grace can be substituted and healthiness of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the soul into immediate contact with the wellspring of life, and strengthens the spiritual sinew and muscle of our religious experience; for we live by faith, seeing Him who is invisible. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as it is deemed convenient, and you lose your connection with God. The Christian life becomes dry, and the spiritual faculties have no vitality. The religious experience lacks health and vigor. There is a growing tendency to substitute the writings and sayings of men for the word of God. ST July 31, 1893, par. 4

It is because of a neglect of prayer and of searching the Bible that the multitudes accept men-made theories, vain philosophies, or the flashing speculations of the human mind. God never designed that the soul should be nourished with the traditions and speculations of human invention. The imagination must plume for a higher flight than human ability can originate; for the mind must ascend to the Source of all wisdom. Souls all about us are starving for the bread of life, famishing for the living water, clear as crystal, that flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb. But the bread of life is denied these poor souls, and even from the pulpits discourses on science and vain philosophy are substituted for the word of God. It is the word of God that is as pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from all the chaff of human uncertainties and suppositions. ST July 31, 1893, par. 5

It is the grace of God alone which can vitalize and refresh the soul. The precious sure word of prophecy reveals to him who is a searcher for truth, the riches of the grace of Christ. The word of God is a spiritual granary from whence the soul may receive that which will nourish its life. In perusing the word of God we find doctrines, precepts, promises, admonitions, exhortations, and words of encouragement, that will meet the case of emergency in every human mind. Here the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works; for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.... Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith, so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and a faith unfeigned; from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” “And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness.” ST July 31, 1893, par. 6

This instruction is vital, and may be considered with profit. We are to rely upon the word of God, and not upon the assertion or speculation of human philosophy. The soul is to be nourished by the pure, unadulterated word of God; and by persevering search the Bible student will find a “feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” Then the language of the heart will be, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.” ST July 31, 1893, par. 7