“Happy is the man, who, when tempted, finds his soul rich in the knowledge of the Scriptures, who finds shelter in the promises of God.”
“When Christ ascended on high, he bade his disciples take up the gospel work where he had left it, and carry it forward to completion. Though . . . centuries have passed since that command was uttered, it has lost none of its force. Today the last warning message of mercy, the closing invitation of the gospel, is going to the world. A great work is yet to be accomplished, a work which will require most earnest, determined effort. Every one who has received the light of truth is required, in turn, to aid in giving that light to the world. If we would at last share the reward of the righteous, we must wisely improve the time of our probation. Moments are more precious than gold.
“We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ; our time, our talents, belong to him, and we should improve every opportunity to advance his cause. We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers for the accomplishment of this work. Whatever detracts from physical vigor weakens mental effort. Hence every practice unfavorable to the health of the body, should be resolutely shunned. We cannot maintain consecration to God, and yet injure our health by the wilful indulgence of a wrong habit. ‘I keep under my body,’ the great apostle says, ‘and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway.’
“Self-denial is one of the conditions not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ Yet how often, even in the case of those who call themselves Christians, the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body. Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and the sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion.
“ ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked.’ He knows whether our hearts are wholly devoted to his service, or are given to the things of the world. If we would not be misled by error and falsehood, the heart must be preoccupied by the truth. The Word of God will furnish the mind with weapons of divine power, to vanquish the enemy. Happy is the man, who, when tempted, finds his soul rich in the knowledge of the Scriptures, who finds shelter in the promises of God. ‘Thy Word,’ the psalmist said, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ We need now, as never before, that calm, steady faith, that undaunted moral courage, which can only be gained from communion with Christ and his Word, to brace us for trial and strengthen us for duty.
“Genuine love for Jesus will be manifested in a desire to work for him. Love for Jesus will lead to love, tenderness, and sympathy for his followers, and so to conscientious, enthusiastic efforts for their salvation. We must work with the same earnestness with which Christ worked. Our efforts should be marked by intensity and perseverance proportionate to the importance of the object we seek—eternal life.
“Conscientious, enthusiastic workers are needed. The Lord is soon coming. The time for labor is short. . . . Let the precious time remaining be devoted to earnest labor for our Master. Even when we consecrate to him the full strength of our powers, we can do but little in comparison with all that he has done for us.
“In the service of Christ there is no middle ground. Christ said, ‘He that is not with me is against me.’ Let none expect to make a compromise with the world, and yet enjoy the blessing of the Lord. Let God’s people come out from this world, and be separate. Let unbelievers see that the faith we hold is a living reality, sanctifying the character and transforming the life. Let us surround ourselves with an atmosphere of Christian cheerfulness. Let us show that our religion can stand the test of trial. Let us by kindness, forbearance, and love, prove to the world the power of our faith.
“Life, with its marvelous privileges and opportunities, will soon be ended. The time for improvement in character will be past. Unless our sins are now repented of, and blotted out by the blood of the Lamb, they will stand in the ledger of heaven to confront us in the coming day. Then let us earnestly examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word, seeking to discover every defect of character, that we many wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“Life is short. The things of the world must perish with the using. Let us be wise, and build for eternity. We cannot afford to idle away our precious moments, or engage in busy activities that will bring forth no fruit for eternity. Let the time hitherto devoted to idleness, frivolity, and worldliness be spent in gaining a knowledge of the Scriptures, in beautifying our life, and blessing and ennobling the lives and characters of others. This work will be approved of God, and win for us the heavenly benediction, ‘Well done.’ ”1
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“There are many who will spend and be spent to win souls to Christ. In obedience to the great commission, they will go forth to work for the Master. Under the ministration of angels ordinary men will be moved by the Spirit of God to warn people in the highways and byways. Humble men, who do not trust in their gifts, but who work in simplicity, trusting always in God, will share in the joy of the Saviour as their persevering prayers being souls to the cross. We would say to them, Go forth, brethren; do your best humbly and sincerely, and God will work with you. They should be strengthened and encouraged, and as fast as possible fitted for labor, that success may crown their efforts. They harmonize with unseen, heavenly instrumentalities. They are workers together with God, and their brethren should bid them Godspeed, and pray for them as they labor in Christ’s name. No one is authorized to hinder such workers. They should be treated with great respect. No one should speak a disparaging word of them as in the rough places of the earth they sow the gospel seed.
“Christ will be with these humble workers. The angels of heaven will cooperate with them in their self-sacrificing efforts. By the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus will move upon hearts. God will work miracles in the conversion of sinners. Men and women will be gathered into church fellowship. Meeting houses will be built, and institutions of learning established.
“These workers are trees of the Lord’s planting. In a peculiar sense they bear fruit equal to the fruit borne by the apostles. They receive a reward in this life, and a glorious reward awaits them in the future life.
“It is time that church members understood that everywhere there is a work to be done in the Lord’s vineyard. No one is to wait for a regular process before they make any efforts. They should take up the work right where they are. There should be many at work in what are called ‘irregular lines.’ If one hundred laborers would step out of the ‘regular lines,’ and take up self-sacrificing work, . . . souls would be won to the Lord. And the workers would understand by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. . . .
“God is leading out a people preparing them for translation. Are we who are acting a part in this work standing as sentinels for God. Are we seeking to labor unitedly? Are we willing to be servants to all? Are we following in the footsteps of Jesus, our great exemplar?
“In the field of life we are all sowing seeds. As we sow, so shall we reap. Those who sow self-love, bitterness, jealousy, will reap a like harvest. Those who sow unselfish love, kindness, tender thoughtfulness for the feelings of others, will reap a precious harvest.”2