The Signs of the Times


October 20, 1887

The Light of the World



Go into a cellar, and you may well talk of darkness, and say, “I cannot see; I cannot see.” But come up into the upper chamber, where the light shines, and you need not be in darkness. Come where Christ is, and you will have light. Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest. If you talk of Heaven and the eternal reward, your way will become lighter and lighter in the Lord, and your faith will grow, because it is exercised. Fasten your eyes upon Jesus, dear friends, and by beholding you will become assimilated to his image. Do not allow your thoughts to dwell continually upon things of the earth, but place them upon things that are heavenly, and then, wherever you are, you will be a light to the world. ST October 20, 1887, par. 1

Live the life of faith day by day. Do not become anxious and distressed about the time of trouble, and thus have a time of trouble beforehand. Do not keep thinking, “I am afraid I shall not stand in the great testing day.” You are to live for the present, for this day only. Tomorrow is not yours. Today you are to maintain the victory over self. Today you are to live a life of prayer. Today you are to fight the good fight of faith. Today you are to believe that God blesses you. And as you gain the victory over darkness and unbelief, you will meet the requirements of the Master, and will become a blessing to those around you. ST October 20, 1887, par. 2

From every member of the church a steady light should shine forth before the world, so that they shall not be led to inquire, “What do these people more than others?” Religion is not to be held as a precious treasure, jealously hoarded, and enjoyed only by the possessor. True religion cannot be thus held; for such a spirit is contrary to the gospel. “Freely ye have received, freely give,” are the words of the Master. While Christ is dwelling in the heart by his Spirit, it is impossible for the light of his presence to be concealed or to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter, as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. ST October 20, 1887, par. 3

Christians may learn a lesson from the faithfulness of the light-house keeper. “A gentleman once visited a light-house that was placed in a very dangerous position to warn men of the perils that threaten them on the trackless sea. The keeper was boasting of the brilliancy of his light, which could be seen ten leagues out at sea, when the visitor said to him: ‘You speak with enthusiasm, sir; and that is well. I like to hear men tell what they are sure they know; but what if one of the lights should go out?’ ST October 20, 1887, par. 4

“‘Never, never! absurd! impossible!’ replied the sensitive watchman, in consternation at the mere supposition of such a thing. ‘Why, sir,’ he continued, pointing to the ocean, ‘yonder where nothing can be seen, there are ships going by to every port in the world. If, tonight, one of my burners should go out, within six months would come a letter, perhaps from India, perhaps from Australia, perhaps from a port I never heard of before,—a letter saying that on such a night, at such an hour, at such a minute, the light at such a point burned low and dim; that the watchman neglected his post, and that vessels were consequently put in jeopardy on the high seas. Ah, sir,’ and his face shone with the intensity of his thought, ‘sometimes in the dark nights, and in the stormy weather, I look out upon the sea and feel as though the eye of the whole world were looking at my light. Go out? Burn dim? That flame flicker low or fail? No, sir, never!’ ST October 20, 1887, par. 5

“And shall Christians, shining for tempted sinners, allow their light to fail? For, ever out upon life's billowy sea are souls we see not, strange sailors in the dark, passing by, struggling, it may be, amid the surges of temptation. Christ is the great light, and Christians are appointed to reflect that light. The ocean is vast, its dangers are many, and the eyes of far-away voyagers are turned toward the light-house,—the church of Jesus Christ.” If the world intervenes between the church and Christ, its light will burn dim, and souls will be lost because of a lack of that light. Shall it not be the language of every heart, What! let the light that is in me go out or burn dim! Never! never! ST October 20, 1887, par. 6

We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and God holds us responsible for the influence we exert over others. Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed, and another, and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until they reach the very shore. Thus our influence, though apparently insignificant, may continue to extend far beyond our knowledge or control. It is as impossible for us to determine the result as it was for the watchman to see the ships that were scattered upon the sea. ST October 20, 1887, par. 7

God in his providence does not permit us to know the end from the beginning; but he gives us the light of his word to guide us as we pass along, and bids us to keep our minds stayed upon Jesus. Wherever we are, whatever our employment, our hearts are to be uplifted to God in prayer. This is being instant in prayer. We need not wait until we can bow upon our knees before we pray. On one occasion, when Nehemiah came in before the king, the king asked why he looked so sad, and what request he had to make. But Nehemiah dared not answer at once. Important interests were at stake. The fate of a nation hung upon the impression that should then be made upon the monarch's mind; and Nehemiah darted up a prayer to the God of Heaven, before he dared to answer the king. The result was that he obtained all that he asked or even desired. ST October 20, 1887, par. 8

This is the course that God would have us pursue under all circumstances. He wants us to be minute-men and women. He wants us to be ready always to give to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. Why with fear? It is with a fear lest we shall not make a right impression upon the mind of the inquirer; with a fear lest self shall not be out of sight, and the truth not be made to appear as it is in Jesus. ST October 20, 1887, par. 9

I feel an intense desire that our brethren and sisters shall be correct representatives of Jesus. Do not pierce his wounds afresh, and put him to an open shame, by an inconsistent life. Become thoroughly acquainted with the reasons of our faith, and show by word and act that Christ is dwelling in your hearts by faith. May God help you to walk with Jesus. If you do, you will be the light of the world, and in the time of trouble he will say, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” ST October 20, 1887, par. 10