The Review and Herald


August 22, 1899

The Salt of the Earth


In his teachings, Christ likened his disciples to objects most familiar to them. He compared them to salt and to light. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” he said; “ye are the light of the world.” These words were spoken to a few poor, humble fishermen. Priests and rabbis were in that congregation of hearers, but these were not the ones addressed. With all their learning, with all their supposed instruction in the mysteries of the law, with all their claims of knowing God, they revealed that they knew him not. To these leading men had been committed the oracles of God, but Christ declared them to be unsafe teachers. He said to them, Ye teach for doctrine the commandments of men. “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” Turning from these men to the humble fishermen, he said, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 1

Christ's own character was to be represented in his disciples. They were to bear the gospel to the world. They were to be doers of the word that they presented, which was to be to them and to others a savor of life unto life. From them was to go forth a message, illuminating in its influence, and saving in its power. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 2

By these words of Christ we gain some idea of what constitutes the value of human influence. It is to work with the influence of Christ, to lift where Christ lifts, to impart correct principles, and stay the progress of the world's corruption. It is to diffuse that grace which Christ alone can impart. It is to uplift, to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love. God's people are to exercise a reforming, preserving power in the world. They are to counter-work the destroying, corrupting influence of evil. By pen and voice they are to uplift before men the One who came to seek and to save that which was lost. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 3

The Jews were familiar with the figure of the salt, and there was in the words of Christ that which commended his principles to his hearers. “If the salt have lost its savor,” he said, “wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.” This was the condition of the Jewish nation. The salt was there, but it was useless. It could do no good to any one. This represents those who have once accepted Bible truth, who have once understood what it means to be as the salt with its saving properties, but who have lost their connection with Christ. They possess in themselves no saving qualities. They are criticizers, accusers of the brethren, as was the first apostate. They do not seek to enlighten and save their fellow men. These persons are useless as far as truth and righteousness are concerned, and are fit only to be treated as the salt that has lost its savor. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 4

Christ presents before us true religion. He reverses the decisions of ages, and shows that true knowledge is in direct opposition to the opinions of men. The work of the people of God in the world is to restrain evil, to elevate, to purify, and to ennoble mankind. The principles of kindness and love and benevolence are to uproot every fiber of the selfishness that has permeated all society and corrupted the church. Then the Lord God Omnipotent can reign, and the Spirit of Christ will be an abiding influence in the life. If men and women will open their hearts to the heavenly influence of truth and love, these principles will flow forth again, like streams in the desert, refreshing all, and causing freshness to appear where now are barrenness and dearth. The influence of those who keep the way of the Lord will be as far-reaching as eternity. They will carry with them the cheerfulness of heavenly peace as an abiding, refreshing, enlightening power. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 5

Again, there is to be an open influence. Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Christ exercised mercy, tenderness, and compassion, that he might bless suffering humanity. He worked to restore the physical and the moral image of God in man. In this work man is to be a laborer together with God. Physical and moral health and spiritual light are to be communicated from the mighty Healer. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 6

The light that shines from those who receive Jesus Christ is not self-originated. It is all from the Light and Life of the world. He kindles this light, even as he kindles the fire that all must use in doing his service. Christ is the light, the life, the holiness, the sanctification, of all who believe, and his light is to be received and imparted in all good works. In many different ways his grace is also acting as the salt of the earth: whithersoever this salt finds its way, to homes or communities, it becomes a preserving power to save all that is good, and to destroy all that is evil. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 7

True religion is the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Christian parents, will you consider that the salt possesses saving virtues for your family? There are to be no loud-voiced commands in the home. Let nothing come forth from your lips that is unkind and exasperating to your children. These children receive their first lessons from their father and mother; and no harsh, severe, gloomy representation should be given them. The love of Christ is to fashion their characters. Manifest the meekness and gentleness of Christ in dealing with the wayward little ones. Bear in mind that they have received their perversity as an inheritance from the father or mother, and be patient with the children who have inherited your own traits of character. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 8

Be firm and decided in carrying out Bible instruction, but never give way to passion. Bear in mind that when you become harsh or unreasonable before your little ones, you teach them to be the same. God requires you to educate your children, bringing into your discipline all the generalship of a wise teacher, who is under the control of God. If the converting power of God is exercised in your home, you yourselves will be constant learners. You will represent the character of Christ, and your efforts will please God. Never neglect the work that should be done for the younger members of the Lord's family. You, parents, are the light of your home. Let your light shine forth in pleasant words, in soothing tones. Then angels will be in your home; and the discipline you give your children will go forth in strong, clear currents to the world. Your children will carry with them the precious influence of their home education. Then work in the home circle, in the first years of the children's lives, and they will carry into the schoolroom and into the world an influence that will be a savor of life unto life. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 9

When the church shall understand her relation to the world, active personal work will be done. As a people, we are responsible for the souls that are perishing out of Christ. Every soul who is joined to Christ should be a living, active agency to represent him. He is to be a saving power in a perishing world. Souls are crying, “Send us help. We are thirsting for the waters of salvation. We are starving for the bread of life.” Will our church members feed upon the word of life, and feel no burden to carry the truth to those who sit in the darkness of error? Do Christ's followers have no conception of the infinite price that has been paid to ransom these souls from the power of Satan? There is need of a strong and united influence to co-operate with the Captain of our salvation in taking the spoil from the power of the enemy, and making men and women free in Christ. Shall we not every one seek to stimulate others to work for fallen man? Pray earnestly, unitedly, perseveringly, for spiritual power. The fountain of grace and knowledge is ever flowing. It is inexhaustible. It is from this abundant fulness that we are supplied. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 10

Every one has talents of value to be used in winning souls to Christ. But many who claim to be disciples of Christ have no real connection with God. They do not go forth in service. They possess no Christlike attributes. The salt has lost its savor. Men who have never experienced the tender, winning love of Christ in the soul can not lead others to the fountain of life. But if the love of Christ is abiding in the heart, it will prove a powerful, working agency. It will be revealed in the conversation, in the tender, pitiful spirit, in the efforts made to uplift the souls with whom we are brought in contact. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 11

The dissemination of the truth of God is not confined to a few ordained ministers. The truth is to be scattered by all who claim to be disciples of Christ. It must be sown beside all waters. There is danger for those who do little or nothing for Christ. The grace of God will not long abide in the soul of him who, having great privileges and opportunities, remains silent. Such a man will soon find that he has nothing to tell. If church-members would realize what their account has been, and still is, they would deny self. They would lift the cross. They would seek to save the souls that are perishing. They would go forth with weeping, bearing precious seed in love, that they might come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them. RH August 22, 1899, Art. A, par. 12