“The most trying experiences in the Christian life may be the most blessed. . . . The trial of your faith is more precious than gold.”
“Christ requires all. His sacrifice was too great, too dear, to make it possible that we should give less than all, and be accepted. Our holy faith cries out, Separation. We should not be conformed to the world, or to dead, heartless professors. The Scripture says, ‘Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ The way to heaven is a self-denying way. But when you think the way is too strait, and there is too much self-denial in the narrow path; when you say, How hard to give up all, ask yourselves the question, What did Christ give up for me? This question puts anything that we might call self-denial in the shade. . . .
“O that every one might realize that Jesus has something in store for him vastly better than that which he would choose for himself! Would that all might come to understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the blessedness of righteousness! Would that all might see how powerless is all effort to contend with Omnipotence! Man is doing the greatest injury to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the mind and will of God. He is sowing to his flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by God, who knows what is best, and who plans for the good of his creatures. In order to be happy ourselves, we must live to make others happy. We must yield our possessions, our talents, and our affections, in grateful devotion to Christ, and in this way we may find happiness here and immortality hereafter.
“The most trying experiences in the Christian life may be the most blessed. The special providences of the dark hours may encourage the soul in the future attacks of Satan, and equip the soul to stand most fiery trials. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. But in order to endure the test, you must have that faith, that abiding confidence in God, that will not be disturbed by the arguments and temptations of the deceiver. Take the Lord at his word. Study the promises, and appropriate them as you have need. ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ Happy is the man, who, when tempted, finds his soul rich in the knowledge of the Scriptures, who finds shelter beneath the promises of God. ‘Thy word,’ said the psalmist, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ We need that calm, steady faith, that undaunted moral courage, that none but Christ can give, in order that we may be braced for trial and strengthened for duty.
“While on earth there will be no escape from conflicts and temptations; but in every storm we have a sure refuge. Jesus has told us, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ The forces of Satan are marshaled against us, and we have to meet a diligent foe; but if we take heed to the admonition of Christ, we shall be safe. ‘Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.’ There are foes to be resisted and overcome, but Jesus is by our side, ready to strengthen us for every attack. ‘This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.’ Faith sees Jesus standing as our Mediator at the right hand of God. Faith beholds the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. Faith sees the robe and the crown all prepared for the overcomer. Faith hears the song of the redeemed, and brings eternal glories near. We must come close to Jesus in loving obedience if we would see the King in his beauty. There is peace in believing, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Believe! Believe! My soul cries, Believe! Rest in God. He is able to keep that which you have committed to him, and will bring you off more than conqueror through him that has loved you.
“But remember that every one who shall be found with the wedding garment on will have come out of great tribulation. The mighty surges of temptation will beat upon all. But the long night of watching, of toil, of hardship, is nearly past. Christ is soon to come. Get ready! The angels of God are seeking to attract you from yourself and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain. Faith, living faith, is what you need; the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Remember Calvary and the awful, the infinite sacrifice there made for man. Jesus now invites you to come to him, just as you are, and make him your strength and your everlasting Friend.”1
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“Every day it is our privilege to live for Jesus. Commence the day with prayer; morning, noon, and night let your prayers ascend for wisdom and grace to overcome every device of Satan. Jesus is your only hope; upward to God be the soul’s adoration. Christians should be the happiest people upon the earth. In the eyes of the world, houses, lands, and money make men honored and respected. Not so in the sight of God. He measures them according to their moral worth. If they live for display, to receive the praise of men, they will receive no other reward. Their names will be written in the earth to perish with all things perishable. If they live to honor and glorify God, if true goodness, benevolence, and the love of God are seen in their connection with their fellow-men, their names will be immortalized among the heavenly host, and Jesus declares that he will not blot their names out of the book of life.
“The apostle continues: ‘Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.’ The Christian’s life is one of progression, not of backsliding. ‘For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.’ I once knew a man in the State of Maine whose religious life was very consistent, but who seemed greatly depressed at times, fearing that he might become a backslider, and that through his example others might fall. One day he came to the prayer-meeting, his face radiant with hope and joy, and said: ‘I have found the way; I need never fall and dishonor my Saviour. By constantly adding grace to grace we may go straight forward in the Christian course. The apostle says, ‘If ye do these things ye shall never fall.’ ‘ Let those trembling souls who constantly fear lest they shall fall, fear no longer. Let them live upon the plan of addition, and God will work for them upon the plan of multiplication. The apostle has presented the only true sanctification. There are many today who claim that they are holy and cannot sin. The only correct standard of sanctification is the law of God. By it is the knowledge of sin. Genuine sanctification is the work of a life-time. It is climbing the ladder round after round.
“None of the prophets or apostles made proud boasts of holiness. The nearer they came to perfection of character, the less worthy and righteous they viewed themselves. But those who have the least sense of the perfection of Jesus, those whose eyes are least directed to him, are the ones who make the strongest claims to perfection. Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God, yet he is presented on one occasion as confessing his sins and the sins of his people. If poor, fallen men would walk carefully and humbly with God, distrusting self and confiding wholly in Jesus, such a light and power would be revealed in our world as would be convincing to unbelievers. Jesus is our only hope; let us cling to him. The promise of eternal life is on condition of obedience. ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’ Now is the time to wash our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb.”2