The Review and Herald


October 23, 1888

The Privilege of God's People


God has permitted the clear light of his truth to shine upon his people. He has provided grace for every hour of trial, strength for their weakness, and wisdom for their ignorance. He has not only promised guidance and protection all along the path of life, but he declares that as we follow in its rays, the light which now shines upon us shall increase “more and more unto the perfect day.” RH October 23, 1888, par. 1

With all the gracious promises which God has made for his people, many are inquiring, “Why is it that there is no more light and power among us? We have accepted the truth, why does the Lord hide his face from us?” It is not because his ears are closed against our prayers; it is not because there are no precious blessings in store for us, that we are in this state of weakness. Do we ever come to God, asking for heavenly wisdom, and find our plea rejected, and ourselves turned away empty?—No; never. The fault is in ourselves. It is our errors, our sins, our backslidings, that have separated us from God. And yet the long-suffering Saviour's voice is inviting us, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” It is the needy, the fainting, those who are weighed down with care, those who are burdened with sorrow, to whom the invitation is given. RH October 23, 1888, par. 2

When we have been well nigh overwhelmed, we have sent up the earnest cry. “Lord, save, or we perish,” and how sweet it has been to find that his hand has been stretched out to save. He has been to us, just as he promised to be, a present help in every time of need. He who was once the Man of sorrows is now high and lifted up, and the train of his glory fills the temple. He is surrounded with light and glory. Why is it withheld from us who are in a world of sin, sorrow, suffering, and death?—It is because we do not ask for it aright. We do not feel our need. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” The promise is for you, my brethren and sisters, for me, and for all. We may come to Jesus just as we are, with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at his feet in penitence. It is his glory to encircle us in the arms of his love, and to bind up our wounds, to sympathize with those who need sympathy, and to strengthen those who need strength. When our Saviour was upon earth, he said to the stubborn and unbelieving Pharisees, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” O that this may never be said of us! RH October 23, 1888, par. 3

We must comply with the conditions laid down in the word of God, if we would be strong in the strength of the Mighty One. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” There are many of the professed followers of Christ who may be represented by the vine that is trailing upon the ground, its tendrils entwining about whatever chances to lie in its way. The heart's affections must be fixed upon God, separated from everything which would hinder this divine union. We are exhorted, “Touch not the unclean.” Those who associate with the impure, themselves become impure. If we choose the society of the ungodly, we shall be affected by their ungodliness. “What communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?” RH October 23, 1888, par. 4

The requirements of God are plainly set before us in his word, and there are also presented before us great and precious promises. The question to be settled is, “Are we willing to separate ourselves from the world, that we may become children of God?” This is not the work of a moment, or of a day; it is not accomplished by bowing at the family altar, and there offering up lip service. It cannot be accomplished by merely uniting in the services of the prayer-meeting. It is a life-long work. Love to God must be a living principle, underlying every act and word and thought. RH October 23, 1888, par. 5

If in the strength of Christ we are seeking to maintain such a consecration, we shall be daily holding communion with God, understanding more of the mysteries of godliness, enjoying the fellowship of the Spirit, coming closer to our Redeemer, and taking hold with a firmer grasp, of a better and higher life. The principles of God's law will dwell in the heart, and control the actions. It will then be as natural for us to seek purity and holiness, to shun the spirit and example of the world, and to seek to benefit all around us, as it is for the angels of glory to execute the mission of love assigned them. None will enter the city of God but those who have been doers of the word. They will be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is our privilege to know more of Christ's presence and power, and through faith to become transformed into his likeness. The great apostle prayed for his Colossian brethren that they “might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” that they “might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” And it is as one of the steps by which we may alone attain to this position, that we are to separate ourselves from sin and sinners. But this separation from the world, in obedience to the divine exhortation, will not prevent us from accomplishing the work which the Lord has given us to do. It will not debar us from doing good to those who are around us. The firmer our hold of heaven, the greater will be our power for usefulness. RH October 23, 1888, par. 6

When Christ was on the earth, he went about doing good. It was his mission to help those who needed help, to seek the lost, to rescue the perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to break the yoke of oppression from those who were in bondage, to heal the sick, and to speak words of sympathy and consolation to all the sorrowing and distressed. He was not often found among the most wealthy and honored, nor with those who were seeking their own ease and pleasure. He went among the humble and the poor. He sought out those who most felt the need of his help. The more we are imbued with the spirit of Christ, the more we shall seek to do for our fellow-creatures; and the more we do for others, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following the footsteps of our divine Master. RH October 23, 1888, par. 7

Our probation is soon to close. Soon will the voice from the throne declare, “It is done;” “he that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” The work of man's redemption will soon be ended. The last prayer for sinners will have been offered, the last tears shed, the last warning given. Satan knows this, and he is making one last, mighty effort to destroy the souls of men. Especially does he work to entice into his ranks the professed followers of Christ; for he can work through them with the greatest effect to destroy others. While Christians are sleeping at their post, Satan is active, vigilant, and untiring. None are secure from his wiles. We are each playing the game of life, and Satan is working with all his skill and cunning to rob us of every heavenly grace, and in its place to introduce the passions of the carnal heart. He is never off the watch. He stands ready to take advantage of every unguarded moment, and to assail us at every weak point. With all deceivableness of unrighteousness, he pursues his work. RH October 23, 1888, par. 8

God's word plainly warns us of this time of peril, and teaches us how to escape the wiles of Satan. Few understand the warnings, because they do not give sufficient attention to the Scriptures to know what God has spoken. The Jewish nation rejected and crucified the Lord of glory, because in their worldliness, pride, and bigotry, they failed to understand the scriptures which foretold his coming. They were too much absorbed in their petty strife for place and power, to study the word of God with a prayerful heart. And for the same reason, many in this time will fail of a preparation for Christ's second appearing. The precious truths which are to elevate, refine, and sanctify the receiver, and prepare him for the finishing touch of immortality, are set aside for the glittering baubles of the world. O that the blindness of God's professed people might pass away! O that they might realize the work that Satan is accomplishing among them. RH October 23, 1888, par. 9

It is our privilege, our duty, to receive light from heaven, that we may perceive the wiles of Satan, and obtain strength to resist his power. Provision has been made for us to come into close connection with Christ, and to enjoy the constant protection of the angels of God. Our faith must reach within the vail, where Jesus has entered for us. We must lay hold with firmer grasp on the unfailing promises of God. We must have faith that will not be denied, faith that will take hold of the unseen, faith that is steadfast, immovable. Such faith will bring the blessing of heaven to our souls. The light of the glory of God that shines in the face of Christ may shine upon us, and be reflected upon all around, so that it can be truly said of us, “Ye are the light of the world.” And it is this connection of the soul with Christ, and this alone, that can bring light to the world. Were it not for this connection, the earth would be left in utter darkness. As in Sodom and Gomorrah, iniquity would prevail, and all would perish together beneath the judgments of God. How great is the responsibility placed upon the disciple of Christ. How imperative the duty to reflect the light of heaven upon a world enshrouded in darkness. The deeper the surrounding gloom, the brighter should shine out the light of Christian faith and Christian example. RH October 23, 1888, par. 10

The fact that unbelief prevails, that iniquity is increasing all around us, should not cause our faith to grow dim, nor our courage to waver. How was it with Enoch in his day? Was a life of holiness more easy then than it is now? Was the world more favorable to a growth in grace? Was the earth less corrupt, when God was forced to destroy its inhabitants for their heaven-defying wickedness? If we will but seek God with all our hearts, if we will work with that same determined zeal, and believe with that unyielding faith, the light of heaven will shine upon us, even as it shone upon the devoted Enoch. RH October 23, 1888, par. 11