The Signs of the Times


October 22, 1885



“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4. ST October 22, 1885, par. 1

“Seek those things which are above,” says the apostle. Are we obeying this injunction? Are we withdrawing our affections from the things of earth, and setting them on things which are eternal, pertaining to the kingdom of God? Let us not disregard these words, lest we pass on, following our own ways, encouraging ourselves in evil thoughts and unlovely actions, which separate us from God, and place us on the enemy's ground, subject to his control. ST October 22, 1885, par. 2

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The character of the true Christian will be consistent, meek, cheerful, fragrant with good works, and so resolute that sin will find no sanction in the heart or in the words and acts. The peace of Christ, ruling in the heart of the earnest, working Christian, while it will elevate and refine the taste and sanctify the judgment, will be reflected upon others, and help them on in the upward path. Such will be the character of those who are indeed “risen with Christ,” and are seeking “those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” ST October 22, 1885, par. 3

But we are none of us perfect. We are only learners in the school of Christ. If with unprejudiced mind and humble heart we carefully search the Scriptures, we shall find much in our lives and characters to condemn, much that needs to be remedied. But in that word the way of life is fully pointed out, so that there need be no mistake. Thus the apostle explains what it is to die to self and live to God: ST October 22, 1885, par. 4

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience; in the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” ST October 22, 1885, par. 5

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” What solemn and important words are these! And what weight do they have with us? If any have been in the habit of giving them away to someone else, I hope they will now take them home to their own hearts. Closely examine yourself, Christian reader, not once a week, but daily, and see if you are cultivating a spirit which is meek, forbearing, long-suffering, humble, and teachable, and are thus bearing in your life the precious fruits of the Spirit, which grow on no other than the Christian tree. ST October 22, 1885, par. 6

Some will be ready to ask, “How can I get out of the worries in which I find myself involved? How shall I ever be understood and appreciated? I have no confidence in this one's religion or honesty, and that one has done me wrong.” Be careful how you sin against your brethren by misjudging them, and speaking evil of them. God has not given you permission to climb upon the judgment-seat, and pronounce one good because he praises, pets, and favors you, and denounce another because he is not your particular friend. This selfish, narrow, bigoted spirit does harm to those with whom you associate. It is not the spirit of Christ, but of him who has been from the beginning the accuser of the brethren. Instead of misjudging others, examine your own conduct. Place the most favorable construction on the words and actions of others, and you will thus be exercising the mercy that is becoming to those who are the holy and beloved of God, members of the royal family. Seek the meekness of Christ. He suffered wrong, and did not attempt to avenge himself. ST October 22, 1885, par. 7

Perhaps some child of God may be commissioned to give you a word of reproof for some inconsistency in your words or deportment, and instead of feeling grateful for the faithful discharge of a really unpleasant duty, and heeding the warning given in love to your soul, you may turn away in anger. All the wrath and malice of an unsubdued heart may be stirred up, and the foul waters poured forth to poison the minds and hearts of others. This shows that you have not mortified your members. “Anger, wrath, malice,” have not been “put off.” You have not been seeking to repress everything in your character that is contrary to the word of God. Satan laughs, and angels weep, because you are too proud and stubborn to confess and forsake your faults. ST October 22, 1885, par. 8

Trials cannot be avoided. When they come, do not indulge the thought, “If those around me would do right, it would be easy to be cheerful, happy, and contented. Oh that I could get into a place where there would be no irritations, where life to me would not be filled with discouragements, and my temper constantly tried. If I could only escape these things!” You can escape them only by having a new heart and dying to self. You will gain no real victories so long as you allow your temper to rise the minute your track is crossed; neither will you conquer by fleeing from the field of battle. He who runs is a coward, not a conqueror. ST October 22, 1885, par. 9

Meet your trials in the strength of Jesus, and endure them. Let the inquiry be, How can I endure the provings of God? How can I meet provocations, and not lose self-control? When you claim that you cannot do this, you acknowledge that your life is not hid in Christ; that you are not exemplifying the character of your divine Lord; that self is not dead, but is clamoring for the supremacy. Your Christian life may be a victorious one; but you must strain every nerve and muscle in the contest against self and sin. There is no release in this war, no delightful arbor where you may rest and slumber; for your wily foe would gain advantages that would result in eternal loss. ST October 22, 1885, par. 10

When you have done all that you can on your part, you may in faith ask help of the Captain of your salvation, and he will bring divine aid to be combined with human effort; and he will bind upon your brow the laurels of the conqueror, just as though you had yourself wrought out the victory. And remember, it is the overcomer that enters the portals of the kingdom of glory; it is the overcomer that wears the crown of life, and stands with the blood-washed throng around the great white throne. ST October 22, 1885, par. 11

Our work here is that of character-building; and let each build over against his own house. Time is graciously given us for this work; and day by day, brick by brick, the structure is going up. Let it not be defective and deformed, but make it symmetrical and beautiful, strong to resist cold and heat, storm and sunshine. ST October 22, 1885, par. 12

In the wise providence of God, obstacles are permitted, yes, ordered, as a means of discipline, and to nerve us with determination not to be conquered by circumstances. The life of Christ is our example. Did he seek ease and self-indulgence? Ah, no! He “was in all points tempted like as we are;” he was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Yet his heart was so full of love and interest for others that he thought not, planned not, lived not, for himself. He came to seek and to save that which was lost, and he left his followers to carry on this work in his name. But no one can bear another upward to Heaven; each must tread the rough pathway which Jesus has trodden before him, and which he has brightened by his presence. ST October 22, 1885, par. 13

We must not think that we can wait till we get to Heaven before we perfect pure, chaste, lovely characters. The Christian will be Christlike here. There is a diversity among us. We each have traits of character, tastes, gifts, and capacities peculiar to ourselves, all of which have been established or modified by education and habit. But by the grace of Christ all these varied characteristics may be brought into harmony with the will of God. ST October 22, 1885, par. 14

In our early experience, a gray-haired brother, giving his testimony in a social meeting, expressed the fear that he should be overcome by temptation, and give up the faith once delivered to the saints. Said he, “I cannot afford to lose eternal life. What would I not give to know that I should never fall!” ST October 22, 1885, par. 15

A week from this time, when he arose to speak in the social meeting, his face was all aglow with the light and peace of Heaven. “Brethren,” he exclaimed, “I have found a sure rule for success in the Christian journey. You will read it in 2 Peter 1:5-7: ‘Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge: and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.’ We must climb this ladder, round after round, remembering that God is above it, ready to help us in our efforts. We must live upon the plan of addition, and God has promised that he will multiply his grace to us.” Then with earnestness and enthusiasm he added: “Let us begin today to climb Peter's ladder, never looking back; for we have the word of the inspired apostle that if we do these things we shall never fall, but an entrance will be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour.” ST October 22, 1885, par. 16

This brother continued to follow Peter's excellent rule for Christian living until his work on earth was done; and he now sleeps in Jesus, awaiting the resurrection morning. ST October 22, 1885, par. 17

Will we be diligent to make our calling and election sure? Will we patiently climb the ladder of Christian progress, until from the topmost round we step into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ? We may become pure and holy. We may become more precious than fine gold, even the golden wedge of Ophir. And what joy it will be to hear from the lips of Jesus the sweet benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” What a victory to be of that company of whom John speaks: “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” ST October 22, 1885, par. 18