Our High Calling
Chap. 335 - Show Your Colours!

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Prov. 4:25.

In Pilgrim's Progress there is a character called Pliable. Youth, shun this character. Those represented by it are very accommodating, but they are as a reed shaken by the wind. They possess no will power. Every youth needs to cultivate decision. A divided state of the will is a snare, and will be the ruin of many youth. Be firm, else you will be left with your house, or character, built upon a sandy foundation. . . . Manifest decision at any cost. . . . Those who would walk in the path cast up for the chosen of the Lord, must not be swayed in the matters of conscience by men who have often been zealous for the wrong. They must show moral independence, and must not be afraid to be singular. . . . 

Many are changed by every current. They wait to hear what someone else thinks, and his opinion is accepted as altogether true. If they would lean wholly upon God, they would grow strong in His strength; but they do not say to the Lord, I cannot make any decision until I know Thy will. Their natural inclination is to allow another to be conscience for them; and they speak after he has spoken, saying what he says, and acting as he acts. When these persons are placed in circumstances where they must think and act for themselves, they dare not express any decided opinion. Yet often, like Aaron, they have much ability. God pity such weaklings. . . . 

We must free ourselves from the customs and bondage of society, that when the principles of our faith are at stake, we shall not hesitate to show our colours, even though we are called singular for so doing. Keep the conscience tender, that you may hear the faintest whisper of the voice that spoke as never man spoke. Let all who would wear the yoke of Christ show an inflexible purpose to do right because it is right. Keep the eye fixed on Jesus, inquiring at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? The Lord will not leave any one who does this, to become the sport of Satan's temptation. . . . 

Do not imitate men. Study your Bibles, and imitate Christ. 

Chap. 336 - No Patchwork Religion!

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matt. 24:13. 

The religion that is built on self is worthless; for God makes no compromise with selfishness. . . . 

The religion of Christ is a firm fabric, composed of innumerable threads, woven together with tact and skill. Only by the wisdom that God gives can we weave this fabric. Trusting to ourselves, we draw into it threads of selfishness, and the pattern is spoiled. 

There are many kinds of cloth which at first have a fine appearance, but they do not endure test. The colours are not fast. They wash out. Under the heat of summer they fade, and are lost. Such a fabric cannot endure rough handling, and is worth very little. 

So it is with religion. When the warp and woof of religion will not stand the test of trial, the material of which it is composed is worthless. And an effort to patch the old cloth with a new piece does not better the condition of things; for the worn-out, flimsy material breaks away from the new, leaving the rent much larger than before. Patching will not do. The only way is to discard the old garment and procure a new one. The religion of self, composed of threads that fade and give way under the stress of temptation, must be cast aside, to be replaced by the religion woven by Him in whose life no selfishness found place. 

Christ's plan is the only safe one. He declares, " Behold, I make all things new." Rev. 21:5. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Cor. 5:17. The Saviour gives no encouragement to any to think that He will accept a patchwork religion. Such a religion is of no value in His sight. There may at first seem to be some of self and some of Christ; but it soon seen that there is none of Christ. The patches of selfishness increase till the entire garment is covered with them. . . . 

A religion formed after the divine pattern is the only one that will endure. Only by striving to live the life of Christ here can we prepare ourselves to live with Him through the eternal ages. 

Chap. 337 - God's Special Sign

I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgements, and do them; and hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God. Eze. 20: 19, 20. 

The Sabbath was given to all mankind to commemorate the work of Creation. The great Jehovah, when He had laid the foundations of the earth, when he had dressed the whole world in its garb of beauty, and created all the wonders of the land and the sea, instituted the Sabbath day and made it holy. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, the Sabbath was set apart as God's memorial. God sanctified and blessed the day in which he had rested from all His wondrous work. . . . 

As the tree of knowledge was placed in the midst of the Garden of Eden, so the Sabbath command is placed in the midst of the Decalogue. In regard to the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the restriction was made, "Ye shall not eat of it, . . . lest ye die." Gen. 3:3. Of the Sabbath God said, Ye shall not defile it, but keep it holy. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Ex. 20:8. As the tree of knowledge was the test of Adam's obedience, so the fourth command is the test that God has given to prove the loyalty of all His people. 

The Sabbath is a token between God and His people. It is a holy day, given by the Creator to man as a day upon which to rest, and reflect upon sacred things. God designed it to be observed through every age as a perpetual covenant. It was to be regarded as a peculiar treasure, a trust to be carefully cherished. 

As we observe the Sabbath let us remember that it is the sign which heaven has given to man that he is accepted in the Beloved; that if he is obedient, he may enter the city of God, and partake of the fruit of the tree of life. As we refrain from labour on the seventh day, we testify to the world that we are on God's side, and are striving to live in perfect conformity to His commandments. Thus we recognise as our sovereign the God who made the world in six days and rested on the seventh. 

The Sabbath is the clasp which unites God and His people. 

Chap. 338 - In the Testing Time

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. Deut. 7:9.

Where shall we be before the thousand generations mentioned in this scripture are ended? Our fate will have been decided for eternity. We shall either have been pronounced worthy of a home in the everlasting kingdom of God, or we shall have received sentence of eternal death. 

God is testing His people, to see who will be loyal to the principles of His truth. Our work is to proclaim to the world the first, second, and third angels' messages. In the discharge of our duty we are neither to despise nor fear our enemies. . . .

The true Sabbath is to be the sign that distinguishes those who serve God from those who serve Him not. Let those who have become sleepy and indifferent awake. We are called to be holy, and we should carefully avoid giving the impression that it is of little consequence whether or not we retain the peculiar features of our faith. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of taking a more decided stand for truth and righteousness than we have taken in the past. The line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who do not is to be revealed with unmistakable clearness. We are conscientiously to honour God, diligently using every means of keeping in covenant relation with Him, that we may receive His blessings--the blessings so essential for a people who are to be so severely tried. To give the impression that our faith, our religion, is not a dominating power in our lives, is greatly to dishonour God.

Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon Him, committing ourselves and our present and future to His wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ, and our acceptance, through faith in Him, of God's abounding grace.

Chap. 339 - A Distinct and Peculiar People

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 14:12.

God's people are to be distinguished as a people who serve Him fully, wholeheartedly, taking no honour to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and Him only.... 

The children of Israel were to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations "for a perpetual covenant." Ex. 31:16. The Sabbath has lost none of its meaning. It is still the sign between God and His people, and it will be so forever. Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people, free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederation with those who have not wisdom to discern the claims of God, so plainly set forth in His law. 

We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven in preparing the way of the Lord. We are to bear witness to all nations, kindreds, and tongues, that we are a people who love and fear God, a people who keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath, and we are to show plainly that we have full faith that the Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven.... 

"And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads." Rev. 22:3, 4. 

Who are these?--God's denominated people--those who on this earth have witnessed to their loyalty. Who are they?--Those who have kept the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus; those who have owned the Crucified One as their Saviour. 

"And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever." Verse 5. "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." Verse 14.

Chap. 340 - High Time to Awake

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Rom. 13:11. 

The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumours of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God. 

This knowledge of the nearness of Christ's coming should not be allowed to lose its force, and we become careless and inattentive, and fall into slumber--into an insensibility and indifference to realities. In slumber we are in an unreal world, and not sensible of the things which are taking place around us.... 

There are those who have the blazing light of truth shining all around them, and yet are insensible to it. They are enchanted by the enemy, held under a spell by his bewitching power. They are not preparing for that great day which is soon to come to our world. They seem utterly insensible to religious truth. 

Are there not some youth who are awake? Those who see that the night cometh, and also the morning, should work with untiring energy to arouse their sleeping associates. Can they not feel their peril, pray for them, and show them by their own life and character that they believe themselves that Christ is soon to come? . . . The rapidly diminishing space of time between us and eternity should more deeply impress us. Every day that passes makes one less left us to complete our work of perfecting character.... 

As long as there are many asleep, many sporting away the precious hours in careless indifference, as it were, upon the very brink of the eternal world, those who do believe must be sober, must be awake, must be earnest and diligent, and watch unto prayer.... 

Have you, dear youth, your lamps trimmed and burning? 

Chap. 341 - Where Apostasy Begins

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 2 Peter 3:17. 

In these last days, when iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold, God will have a people to glorify His name, and stand as reprovers of unrighteousness. They are to be a "peculiar people," who will be true to the law of God, when the world shall seek to make void its precepts; and when the converting power of God works through His servants, the hosts of darkness will array themselves in bitter and determined opposition. Satan will work with "all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness." He will employ every device of deception to seduce the souls of men. . . . 

The work of apostasy begins in some secret rebellion of the heart against the requirements of God's law. Unholy desires, unlawful ambitions, are cherished and indulged, and unbelief and darkness separate the soul from God. If we do not overcome these evils, they will overcome us. 

Men who have long been advancing in the path of truth, will be tested with trial and temptation. Those who listen to the suggestions of Satan, and swerve from their integrity, begin the downward path, and some masterful temptation hastens them on in the way of apostasy, till their descent is marked and rapid. Sins that were once most repugnant, become attractive, and are welcomed and practised by those who have cast off the fear of God and their allegiance to His law. But the most pleasurable beginning in transgression, will end in misery, degradation, and ruin. 

We need to be constantly on our guard, to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation. The indulgence of spiritual pride, of unholy desires, of evil thoughts, of anything that separates us from an intimate and sacred association with Jesus, imperils our souls. We must have living faith in God. . . . If the thought of apostasy is grievous to you, and you do not desire to become the enemies of the truth,... then "abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Rom. 12:9. 

Chap. 342 - Am I a Laodicean?

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Rev. 3:15, 16. 

The condition of many of those who claim to be the children of God is exactly represented by the message to the Laodicean church. There is opened before those who serve God, truths of inestimable value, which, brought into the practical life, show the difference between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. . . . 

The Bible is the storehouse of the unsearchable riches of God. But those who have a knowledge of the truth do not understand it as fully as they might. They do not bring the love of Christ into the heart and life. The student of the Word finds himself bending over a fountain of living water. The church needs to drink deeply of the spirituality of the Word. Their service to God needs to be very different from the tame, lifeless, emotionless religious experience that makes many believers but little different from those who believe not. 

Half-hearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colours. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.

Love of self excludes the love of Christ. Those who live for self are ranged under the head of the Laodicean church who are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. The ardour of the first love has lapsed into a selfish egotism. The love of Christ in the heart is expressed in the actions. If love for Christ is dull, the love for those for whom Christ has died will degenerate. There may be a wonderful appearance for zeal and ceremonies, but this is the substance of their self-inflated religion. Christ represents them as nauseating to His taste. 

Let us thank the Lord that while this class is so numerous, there is still time for repentance. 

Chap. 343 - The Rags of Self-Righteousness

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Rev. 3:17. 

How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervour of the love of God is wanting in their hearts. 

Many are Laodiceans, living in a spiritual self-deception. They clothe themselves in the garments of their own righteousness, imagining themselves to be rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing, when they need daily to learn of Jesus, His meekness and lowliness. 

What is it that constitutes the wretchedness, the nakedness, of those who feel rich and increased with goods? It is the want of the righteousness of Christ. In their own righteousness they are represented as clothed with filthy rags, and yet in this condition they flatter themselves that they are clothed upon with Christ's righteousness. . . . They may be crying, "The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we," while their hearts are filled with unholy traffic and unrighteous barter. The courts of the soul temple may be the haunt of envy, pride, passion, evil surmising, bitterness, and hollow formalism. Christ looks mournfully upon His professed people who feel rich and increased in the knowledge of the truth, and who are yet destitute of the truth in life and character. 

Jesus says, "I, your Redeemer, know your works. I am familiar with the motives that prompt you to declare boastingly in regard to your spiritual condition, 'I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.' Thou 'knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.'" . . . What a position to be in! They stand in their own light.

But notwithstanding their wilful ignorance, they are not left by the Lord without added warning and counsel. 

Chap. 344 - The Spotless Robe of Christ's Righteousness

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Rev. 3:18. 

The great Redeemer represents Himself as a heavenly merchantman, laden with riches, calling from house to house, presenting His priceless goods.

We must have the buyers and the sellers cleared out of the soul temple, that Jesus may take up His abode within us. Now He stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly merchantman; He says, . . . "Open unto me; buy of me the heavenly wares; buy of me the gold tried in the fire." Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer. . . . He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart's door to this heavenly visitor? 

We cannot provide a robe of righteousness for ourselves, for the prophet says, "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Isa. 64:6. There is nothing in us from which we can clothe the soul so that its nakedness shall not appear. We are to receive the robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven, even the spotless robe of Christ's righteousness. 

The eye is the sensitive conscience, the inner light, of the mind. Upon its correct view of things the spiritual healthfulness of the whole soul and being depends. The "eyesalve," the Word of God, makes the conscience smart under its application, for it convicts of sin. But the smarting is necessary that the healing may follow, and the eye be single to the glory of God. . . . Says Christ, By renouncing your own self-sufficiency, giving up all things, however dear to you, you may buy the gold, the raiment, and the eyesalve that you may see. 

The Saviour comes with jewels of truth of the richest value in distinction from all counterfeits, all that is spurious. He comes to every house, to every door; He is knocking, presenting His priceless treasure, urging, "Buy of me."

Chap. 345 - A Message Full of Encouragement

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Rev. 3:19. 

The counsel of the true Witness does not represent those who are lukewarm as in a hopeless case. There is yet a chance to remedy their state, and the Laodicean message is full of encouragement. . . . Purity of heart, purity of motive, may yet characterize those who are half-hearted and who are striving to serve God and mammon. They may yet wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

The gold of faith and love, the white raiment of a spotless character, and the eyesalve, or the power of clear discernment between good and evil--all these we must obtain before we can hope to enter the kingdom of God. But these precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy--we must "be zealous and repent" of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to put them away from us. . . .

It is the worthiness of Christ that must save us, His blood that must cleanse us. But we have efforts to make. We must do what we can, be zealous and repent, then believe that God accepts us. . . .

All heaven is interested in our salvation; and shall we be indifferent? Shall we be careless, as though it was a small matter whether we are saved or lost? Shall we slight the sacrifice that has been made for us? . . . 

In the time of peril before us the professed followers of Christ will be tested. None will be able to stand but those who have had a deep and living experience in the things of God. The work of all will then be tried; if it is gold, silver, and precious stones, they will be safely shielded, as in the secret of the Lord's pavilion. . . . 

Only those who are willing to sacrifice all for eternal life will have it; but it will be worth suffering for, worth crucifying self and sacrificing every idol for. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will outweigh every earthly treasure and eclipse every earthly attraction.

Chap. 346 - Will You Open the Door?

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev. 3:20. 

Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock." Will we let Him in? He would not have us stand at this time, amid the perils of the last days, in our own finite strength.... It is our privilege to walk in the sunshine of His presence, and to weave into the characters we are forming the golden threads of cheerfulness, gratitude, forbearance, and love. We may thus show the power of divine grace, and reflect light from Heaven amid all the frets and irritations that come to us day by day. . . . Then why do we go stumbling along without light?

Every warning, reproof, and entreaty in the Word of God, or through His delegated messengers, is a knock at the door of the heart; it is the voice of Jesus, asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, your determination to open becomes weaker and weaker. If the voice of Jesus is not heeded at once, it becomes confused in the mind with a multitude of other voices, the world's care and business engross the attention, and conviction dies away. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of time, and of the great eternity beyond. 

Many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of the heart that they cannot admit Jesus. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove; others have evil tempers, pride, covetousness; with others, love of the world bars the entrance. All this must be taken away, before they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in. 

How precious is the promise, "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Oh, the love, the wondrous love of God! After all our lukewarmness and sins He says, Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings. 

Our work is to open the door of the heart and let Jesus come in. He is knocking for entrance.... Will you open the door? Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. Let Him in, the heavenly Guest. 

Chap. 347 - Victory is Assured

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Rev. 3:21. 

The true Witness presents encouragements to all who are seeking to walk in the path of humble obedience, through faith in His name. He declares, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." These are the words of our Substitute and Surety. He who is the divine Head of the church, the mightiest of conquerors, would point His followers to His life, His toils, His self-denials, His struggles and sufferings, through contempt, through rejection, ridicule, scorn, insult, mockery, falsehood, up the path of Calvary to the scene of the crucifixion, that they might be encouraged to press on toward the mark for the prize and reward of the overcomer. Victory is assured through faith and obedience. 

Let us make an application of the words of Christ to our own individual cases. Are we poor, and blind, and wretched, and miserable? Then let us seek the gold and white raiment that He offers. The work of overcoming is not restricted to the age of the martyrs. The conflict is for us in these days of subtle temptation to worldliness, to self-security, to indulgence of pride, covetousness, false doctrines, and immorality of life. 

We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every fault, resist every temptation, and sit down at last with Him in His throne. 

We have no discouraging message for the church. Although reproofs and cautions and corrections have been made, yet the church has stood as God's instrumentality to diffuse light. The commandment-keeping people of God have sounded forth a warning to the world. . . . The church of God is a living witness, a continual testimony, to convince men if accepted, to condemn them if resisted and rejected. 

The church must and will shine forth "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." S. of Sol. 6:10. 

Chap. 348 - Unmoved in a Shaken World

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Ps. 16:8. 

We are living in an age of peril, when ungodliness is common. Even professed Christians do not believe their Bibles. The truth of the Word of God is too plain and pointed for them. . . . Antichristian ideas, customs, and practices prevail, and they are even construed to be Christian; but that which is of most value, that which God esteems most highly, is treated with contempt. Well may the God-fearing inquire, What shall the end of these things be? Love for Christ and love for one another is fast dying out of the hearts of men.... 

Wickedness prevails on every hand; for Satan has come down having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time. He is a persevering, diligent, untiring worker, and if ever there was a time when men needed the presence of Christ at their right hand, it is now. . . . We need the Captain of our salvation continually by our side. 

There is, and will continue to be, agitation all around us; for the kingdoms of the world will not be at rest. Never was there a time when the temptation to deny Christ in spirit and in deportment, was stronger, and this temptation will increase in power as we near the end. Strong and overpowering temptations will come upon men. False doctrines and fables will be presented as Bible truth, for men's acceptance; and if it were possible, they will deceive the very elect. But is it a time for our love to grow cold, when iniquity abounds? Is this a time to be at ease? Is this the time to separate from God, our Counsellor?

The end of all things is at hand. The day of God is hastening on apace. The world is full of crime and anguish and sorrow. There are calamities by land and by sea. Storm and tempest make it unsafe for us to be separated from God for one single moment. Only those who live by faith in this probationary life, will be able to stand in the day of test, when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but they shall dwell in safety and be unmoved. 

Chap. 349 - A Crisis Before Us

And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. Matt. 10:18. 

The time is not far off when the people of God will be called upon to give their testimony before the rulers of the earth. Not one in twenty has a realization of what rapid strides we are making toward the great crisis in our history. . . . There is no time for vanity, for trifling, for engaging the mind in unimportant matters. 

Kings, governors, and great men will hear of you through the reports of those who are at enmity with you, and your faith and character will be misrepresented before them. But those who are falsely accused will have an opportunity to appear in the presence of their accusers to answer for themselves. They will have the privilege of bringing the light before those who are called the great men of the earth, and if you have studied the Bible, if you are ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear, your enemies will not be able to gainsay your wisdom. 

You now have an opportunity to attain to the greatest intellectual power through the study of the Word of God. But if you are indolent, and fail to dig deep in the mines of truth, you will not be ready for the crisis that is soon to come upon us. O that you would realise that each moment is golden. If you live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, you will not be found unprepared. 

You know not where you may be called upon to give your witness of truth. Many will have to stand in the legislative courts; some will have to stand before kings and before the learned of the earth, to answer for their faith. Those who have only a superficial understanding of truth will not be able clearly to expound the Scriptures, and give definite reasons for their faith. They will become confused, and will not be workmen that need not to be ashamed. Let no one imagine that he has no need to study, because he is not to preach in the sacred desk. You know not what God may require of you. 

Chap. 350 - Are You Ready for the Testing?

But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. Matt. 10:19. 

The servants of Christ are to prepare no set speech to present when brought to trial for their faith. Their preparation is to be made day by day, in treasuring up in their hearts the precious truths of God's Word, in feeding upon the teaching of Christ, and through prayer strengthening their faith; then, when brought into trial, the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance the very truths that will reach the hearts of those who shall come to hear. God will flash the knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures, into their memory at the very time when it is needed. 

You are now to get ready for the time of trial. Now you are to know whether your feet are planted on the Eternal Rock. You must have an individual experience, and not depend upon others for your light. When you are brought to the test, how do you know that you will not be alone, with no earthly friend at your side? Will you then be able to realise that Christ is your support? Will you be able to recall the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world"? There will be invisible ones all about you bent upon your destruction. Satan and his agents will seek in every way to make you waver from your steadfastness to God and His truth. But if you have an eye single to His glory, you need not take thought as to how you shall witness for His truth. 

Young men and women, are you growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ, so that when the crisis comes, you cannot be separated from the Source of your strength? If we would stand during the time of test, we must now, in the time of peace, be gaining a living experience in the things of God. We must now learn to understand what are the deep movings of the Spirit of God. Christ must be our all and in all, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. 

Chap. 351 - Out of the Lion's Mouth

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Matt. 10:28. 

Daniel is an example to believers as to what it means to confess Christ. He held the responsible position of prime minister in the kingdom of Babylon, and there were those who were envious of Daniel among the great men of the court, and they wanted to find something against him that they might bring an accusation against him to the king. But he was a faithful statesman, and they could find no flaw in his character or life. . . . So they agreed together to ask the king to make a decree that no one should ask any petition of any God or man for thirty days save of the king, and if any disobeyed this decree, he was to be cast into the den of lions. 

But did Daniel cease to pray because this decree was to go into force? No, that was just the time when he needed to pray. . . . Daniel did not seek to hide his loyalty to God. He did not pray in his heart, but with his voice, aloud, with his window open toward Jerusalem, he offered up his petition to heaven. Then his enemies made their complaint to the king, and Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. But the Son of God was there. . . . When the king came in the morning, and called, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me." Dan. 6:20-22. . . . 

We may know that if our life is hid with Christ in God, when we are brought into trial because of our faith, Jesus will be with us. When we are brought before rulers and dignitaries to answer for our faith, the Spirit of the Lord will illuminate our understanding, and we shall be able to bear a testimony to the glory of God. And if we are called to suffer for Christ's sake, we shall be able to go to prison trusting in Him as a little child trusts in its parents. Now is the time to cultivate faith in God. 

Chap. 352 - In the Midst of the Fire

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Matt. 10:32. 

A confession of Christ means something more than bearing testimony in social {prayer} meeting. 

We have a different confession to make from that which we have made; and we shall have to make it under different circumstances. The three Hebrews were called upon to confess Christ in the face of the burning fiery furnace. They had been commanded by the king to fall down and worship the golden image which he had set up, and threatened that if they would not, they should be cast alive into the fiery furnace, but they answered, "We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Dan. 3:16-18. It cost them something to confess Christ, for their lives were at stake. 

Then the king commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than it was wont to be heated, and the faithful children of God were cast into the furnace. "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Verses 24, 25. . . . Then Nebuchadnezzar called forth the servants of God, and they had not so much as the smell of fire upon them. If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for Christ's sake, Jesus will be at your side. "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." Isa. 43:2.

Chap. 353 - The Struggle Against Wind and Tide

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt. 5:11, 12. 

Our gracious Redeemer looked down the stream of time, and beheld the perils that would in the last days surround His chosen. . . . 

If the members of the church labour faithfully to build up the cause of truth, they will not escape the tongue of gossip, falsehood, and slander. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim. 3:12. Their consistent, unwavering course is a constant rebuke of the unbelief, pride, and selfishness of the hypocritical professor. 

Their prayers and admonitions disturb his worldly ambition, and he endeavours to cast reproach upon the faithful followers of Jesus. He will garble, distort, and misrepresent facts, in the same spirit that actuated the Pharisees in their opposition to Christ. 

Jesus does not lose sight of His people who have so many discouragements to encounter. It requires little effort to float with the popular current, but those who would gain the immortal shores must struggle against wind and tide. There is a form of Christianity--a spurious article--which has no reformative energy. Its possessors delight to oppose and decry the faith of others. Their religion is not seen in the market place, in the family, or in the workshop. Their religious experience runs in the corrupt channel of the world. 

The true follower of Christ should not be dismayed at receiving reproach from this class. Said the beloved apostle, "Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." 1 John 3:13. And our Saviour reminds His disciples, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." John 15:18. Those who are faithful to God will not be harmed by reproach or opposition. Nay, rather, virtues will thus be developed that will not flourish in the sunshine of prosperity. Faith, patience, meekness, and love will bud and blossom amid clouds and darkness. 

Chap. 354 - The Most Dangerous of Foes

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Tim. 4:1. 

The adversary of souls is constantly seeking to divert our minds by bringing in side issues. Let us not be deceived. Let enemies handle your name and mine as they please. Let them distort, misrepresent, our words and deeds. Let them fabricate falsehoods as best pleases them. We cannot afford to allow our minds to be diverted from Jesus and the preparation of soul which we must have in order to meet Him in peace. . . . In Christ's stead, I beseech you to pray as you never prayed before, to seek earnestly for faith and love, that seem to be almost banished from the earth. Live each day as in the sight of God. . . . 

Let not false teachers confuse your minds and unsettle your faith by casting reproach upon those whom God has sent you with messages of warning and instruction. Remember that it is not mere men whom you have to meet, but "principalities and powers, and wicked spirits in high places." Now is the very time when Satan is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.

Many are in reality fighting his battles while they profess to serve under the banner of Christ. These traitors in the camp may not be suspected, but they are doing their work to create unbelief, discord, and strife. Such are the most dangerous of foes. While they insinuate themselves into our favour, and gain our confidence and sympathy, they are busy suggesting doubts and creating suspicion. They work in the same manner as did Satan in heaven when he deceived the angels by his artful representations, placing darkness for light, and making the forbearance and mercy of God to appear as harshness and severity. As he worked at the beginning, so he works in the end, only concealing himself more perfectly from view. . . . 

It is not enough that we have the theory of the truth; its principles must be inwrought in the soul, and exemplified in the life, or we shall fall a prey to the delusions prepared for the last days. 

Chap. 355 - The Cross Before the Crown

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Tim. 3:12. 

We may strengthen our faith and quicken our love by going often to the foot of the cross, and there contemplating our Saviour's humiliation. Behold the Majesty of heaven suffering as a transgressor! Spotless purity, untarnished righteousness, did not shield Him from falsehood and reproach. He meekly bore the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and yielded up His life, that we might be forgiven and live forevermore. Are we willing to follow in His steps? The only reason why we do not now suffer greater persecution is, we do not in our lives more faithfully exemplify the life of Christ. I assure you, brethren and sisters, if you walk as He walked, you will know what it is to be persecuted and reproached for His sake. 

If we hope to wear the crown, we must expect to bear the cross. Our greatest trials will come from those who profess godliness. It was so with the world's Redeemer; it will be so with His followers. . . . Those who are in earnest to win the crown of eternal life need not be surprised or disheartened because at every step toward the heavenly Canaan they meet with obstacles and encounter trials. . . .

The Saviour knows what is best. Faith grows by conflict with doubt and difficulty and trial. Virtue gathers strength by resistance to temptation. The life of the faithful soldier is a battle and a march. No rest, fellow pilgrim, this side the heavenly Canaan. . . . But John in holy vision beholds the faithful souls that come up out of great tribulation, surrounding the throne of God, clad in white robes, and crowned with immortal glory. What though they have been counted the offscouring of the earth? In the investigative judgement their lives and characters are brought in review before God, and that solemn tribunal reverses the decision of their enemies. Their faithfulness to God and to His Word stands revealed, and Heaven's high honours are awarded them as conquerors in the strife with sin and Satan. 

Chap. 356 - On Guard Every Moment

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 2 Tim. 3:13. 

By every conceivable device the foe is seeking to throw us off our guard. He may first attempt to deceive with smooth words and crafty insinuations; and if these fail, he proceeds to open violence. He has many a deep-laid snare for unwary feet, and those who once become entangled find it almost impossible to extricate themselves. While he praises, flatters, and exalts some, he hurls his fiery darts at others. We must be on guard every moment. Days of peculiar trial, difficulty, and danger are before us. . . . 

We must make up our minds that instead of matters taking a more favourable turn, wicked men, seducing teachers, will grow worse and worse, deceiving themselves and deceiving others. We may expect greater opposition than has yet been experienced. . . . We must now make Christ our refuge, or in the days before us our souls will be overwhelmed with darkness and despair. There is a point beyond which human help cannot avail. Every one must live by faith as he is forced into close and apparently deadly conflict with the powers of darkness. Each must stand or fall for himself. The arrows of the destroyer are about to be hurled against the faithful ones, and no earthly power can turn aside the shaft. But could our eyes be opened we could see angels of God encircling the righteous, that no harm may come upon them. . . . 

We must look to Jesus, study His words, pray for His spirit. We should be more frequently alone with God in meditation and prayer. Let us pray more and talk less. We cannot trust to our own wisdom, our own experience, our own knowledge of the truth; we must be daily learners, looking to our heavenly Teacher for instruction, and then, without regard to ease, pleasure, or convenience, we must go forward, knowing that He is faithful who has called. . . . 

While we realise our weakness, let us rely upon His strength, and overcome by the grace which He imparts. 

Chap. 357 - Crowns for the Faithful

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Tim. 4:8. 

Did the great apostle to the Gentiles make any real sacrifice when he exchanged Pharisaism for the gospel of Christ? We answer No! With decided purpose, he turned away from wealth, from friends and social distinction, from public honours, and from his kinsmen whom he loved fervently and earnestly. He chose to link his name and his destiny with that of a people he had regarded as low and the offscouring of all things; but for the sake of Christ he suffered the loss of all things. 

His labours were more abundant than any of the disciples, his stripes above measure. He was beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, in deaths oft. He was in peril by land and sea, in the city and in the wilderness, from robbers and from his own countrymen. He prosecuted his mission under continual infirmities, in painfulness, in weariness, in watchings often, in cold, in nakedness. . . . When he answered the bloodthirsty Nero, no man stood with him. . . . 

But did Paul devote his precious time to the relation of his grievous abuses? No, he called the attention from himself to Jesus. He did not live for his own happiness, yet he was happy. . . . "I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation." 2 Cor. 7:4. And in the last days of his life, with a martyr's death in full view, he exclaims with satisfaction, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 2 Tim. 4:7. And fixing his eye upon the immortal future, which had been the grand, inspiring motive of his whole career, he adds, in full assurance of faith, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day"--and then this man who had lived for others forgets himself--"and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." Oh, noble man of faith!

Paul was a living example of what every true Christian should be. He lived for God's glory. . . . "For me to live is Christ." Phil. 1:21. 

Chap. 358 - Aim High!

For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Col. 2:9, 10. 

We aim too low. The mark is much higher. Our minds need expansion, that we may comprehend the significance of the provision of God. We are to reflect the highest attributes of the character of God. . . . The law of God is the exalted standard to which we are to attain through the imputed righteousness of Christ.

It is only through a correct understanding of Christ's mission and work that the possibility of being complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, is brought within our reach. . . . Human science is not divine enlightenment. Divine science is the demonstration of the Spirit of God, inspiring implicit faith in Him. The men of the world suppose this faith to be beneath the notice of their great and intelligent minds, something too low to give attention to; but here they make a great mistake. It is altogether too high for their human intelligence to reach. 

The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is itself true science, true intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is infinitely above the comprehension of the worldly wise. The hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory, is a wisdom high as heaven. The deep principles of godliness are sublime and eternal. A Christian experience alone can help us to understand this problem, and obtain the treasures of knowledge which have been hidden in the counsels of God, but are now made known to all who have a vital connection with Christ.

In Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily. This is why, although He was tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world, from His first entrance into it, untainted by corruption, though surrounded by it. Are we not also to become partakers of that fullness, and is it not thus, and thus only, that we can overcome as He overcame? 

Through His sacrifice, human beings may reach the high ideal set before them, and hear at last the words, "Ye are complete in him." 

Chap. 359 - The Unsearchable Riches of Christ

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. Eph. 3:16. 

The themes of redemption are momentous themes, and only those who are spiritually-minded can discern their depth and significance. It is our safety, our joy, to dwell upon the truths of the plan of salvation. Faith and prayer are necessary in order that we may behold the deep things of God. Our minds are so bound about by narrow ideas that we catch but limited views of the experience it is our privilege to have.... 

Why is it that many who profess to have faith in Christ have no strength to stand against the temptations of the enemy?--It is because they are not strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. The apostle prays "that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:17-19. If we had this experience, we should know something of the cross of Calvary. We would know what it means to be partakers with Christ in His sufferings. The love of Christ would constrain us, and though we would not be able to explain how the love of Christ warmed our hearts, we would manifest His love in fervent devotion to His cause. 

Paul opens before the Ephesian church, in the most comprehensive language, the marvellous power and knowledge they might possess as sons and daughters of the Most High. It was theirs "to be strengthened with might ...," to be "rooted and grounded in love," ... "to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." ... 

Jehovah Emmanuel--He in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge--to be brought into sympathy with Him, to possess Him, as the heart opens more and more to receive His attributes: to know His love and power, to possess the unsearchable riches of Christ ... this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and "their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." Isa. 54:17. 

Chap. 360 - Filled with God's Fullness

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:19. 

Here are revealed the heights of attainment that we may reach through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we fulfil His requirements. Through the merits of Christ, we have access to the throne of infinite power. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:32. ... 

The heart that has once tasted of the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft; and as you impart, you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, More of thee, and ever the Spirit's answer is, Much more. ... 

The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace and humility, love and truth. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if he would join the church triumphant. The love of Christ is so broad, so full of glory, that in comparison to it, everything that man esteems so great dwindles into insignificance. When we obtain a view of it, we exclaim, O the depth of the riches of the love that God bestowed upon men in the gift of His only begotten Son! ... 

It is the mystery of God in the flesh, God in Christ, divinity in humanity. Christ bowed down in unparalleled humility, that in His exaltation to the throne of God He might also exalt those who believe in Him to a seat with Him upon His throne. . . . "Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think," will be given unto us "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Eph. 1:17), that we may be able to "comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge," that we may be "filled with all the fullness of God." 

Chap. 361 - Almost Home!

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:3. 

More than eighteen hundred years have passed since the Saviour gave the promise of His coming. Throughout the centuries His words have filled with courage the hearts of His faithful ones. The promise has not yet been fulfilled; ... but none the less sure is the word that has been spoken. 

Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and in the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful, triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. In the place of a crown of thorns, He will wear a crown of glory--a crown within a crown. In the place of that old purple robe, He will be clothed in a garment of whitest white, "so as no fuller on earth can white" (Mark 9:3) it. And on His vesture and on His thigh a name will be written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords." Rev. 19:16. ... 

To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion, a familiar friend. They have lived in close, constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven, for they have heaven in their hearts. 

With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us." ... 

The time of tarrying is almost ended. The pilgrims and strangers who have so long been seeking a better country are almost home. I feel as if I must cry aloud, Homeward bound! . . . "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2 Peter 3:14. 

Chap. 362 - In the Inner Circle

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his Angels. Rev. 3:5. 

Can you, dear youth, look forward with joyful hope and expectation to the time when the Lord, your righteous Judge, shall confess your name before the Father and before the holy angels? The very best preparation you can have for Christ's second appearing is to rest with firm faith in the great salvation brought to us at His first coming. You must believe in Christ as a personal Saviour. 

Many of us do not realise the covenant relation in which we stand before God as His people. We are under the most solemn obligations to represent God and Christ. We are to guard against dishonouring God by professing to be His people, and then going directly contrary to His will. We are getting ready to move. Then let us act as if we were. Let us prepare for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. 

Unless those who claim to believe the truth for this time submit to the training of God on earth for the future life, they will never see the King in His beauty. . . . They must cultivate patience, kindness, meekness, goodness, sympathy, and tender compassion for one another. All their rough, uncourteous, un-Christlike disposition must be purged away, for none of these unkind attributes are of Christ, but after the satanic order. The pure, heavenly graces are received and flourish in mind, heart, and character only as man becomes a partaker of the divine nature.... Heaven must begin on earth for every soul who will enter the heavenly mansions above. 

All heaven appreciates the struggles of those who are fighting for the crown of everlasting life, that they may be partakers with Christ in the city of God.... God wants you there, Christ wants you there, the heavenly host wants you there. The angels are willing to stand in the outer circle, and let those who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus stand in the inner circle.... A crown of glory waits for all who fight the good fight of faith. 

Chap. 363 - Let's Take Inventory

Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Ps. 39:4. 

Another year has almost passed into eternity.... Let us review the record of the year that so soon will be past. What advancement have we made in Christian experience? Our work--have we so done it that it will bear the inspection of the Master, who has given to every man work according to his several ability? Will it be consumed as hay, wood, and stubble, unworthy of preservation? or will it stand the trial by fire? ... 

Every provision has been made that we may attain a height of stature in Christ Jesus that will meet the divine standard. God is not pleased with His representatives if they are content to be dwarfs when they might grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. He wants you to have height and breadth in Christian experience. He wants you to have great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth, and lofty purposes of action. Every passing year should increase the soul's yearning for purity and perfection of Christian character. And if this knowledge increases day by day, month by month, year by year, it will not be work consumed as hay, wood, and stubble; but it will be laying on the foundation stone, gold, silver, and precious stones--works that are not perishable, but which will stand the fires of the last day. 

Is our earthly, temporal work done with a thoroughness, a fidelity, that will bear scrutiny? Are there those whom we have wronged who will testify against us in the day of God? If so, the record has passed up to heaven, and we shall meet it again. We are to work for the great Taskmaster's eye, whether our painstaking efforts are seen and appreciated by men or not. No man, woman, nor child can acceptably serve God with neglectful, haphazard, sham work, whether it be secular or religious service. The true Christian will have an eye single to the glory of God in all things, encouraging his purposes and strengthening his principles with this thought, "I do this for Christ." 

Chap. 364 - Bury All Bitterness

My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle. Job 7:6. 

If we have but little time, let us improve that little earnestly. The Bible assures us that we are in the great day of atonement. The typical Day of Atonement was a day when all Israel afflicted their souls before God, confessed their sins, and came before the Lord with contribution of soul, remorse for their sins, genuine repentance, and living faith in the atoning sacrifice. 

If there have been difficulties, . . . if envy, malice, bitterness, evil surmisings, have existed, confess these sins, not in a general way, but go to your brethren and sisters personally. Be definite. If you have committed one wrong and they twenty, confess that one as though you were the chief offender. Take them by the hand, let your heart soften under the influence of the Spirit of God, and say, "Will you forgive me? I have not felt right toward you. I want to make right every wrong, that naught may stand registered against me in the books of heaven. I must have a clean record." Who, think you, would withstand such a movement as this? 

There is too much coldness and indifference--too much of the "I don't care" spirit--exercised among the professed followers of Christ. All should feel a care for one another, jealousy guarding each other's interests. "Love one another." Then we should stand a strong wall against Satan's devices. Amid opposition and persecution we would not join the vindictive ones, not unite with the followers of the great rebel, whose special work is to accuse the brethren, to defame and cast stain upon their characters. 

Let the remnant of this year be improved in destroying every fibre of the root of bitterness, burying them in the grave with the old year. Begin the new year with more tender regard, with deeper love, for every member of the Lord's family. Press together. "United, we stand; divided, we fall." Take a higher, nobler stand than you ever have before. 

Chap. 365 - The Prize of Our High Calling

I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13, 14.

He who would build up a strong, symmetrical character, he who would be a well-balanced Christian, must give all and do all for Christ. ...Paul did many things. From the time that he gave his allegiance to Christ, his life was filled with untiring service. From city to city, from country to country, he journeyed, telling the story of the cross, winning converts to the gospel, and establishing churches. . . . At times he worked at his trade, to earn his daily bread. But in all the busy activities of his life, Paul never lost sight of one great purpose--to press toward the prize of his high calling. One aim he kept steadfastly before him-- to be faithful to the One who at the gate of Damascus had revealed Himself to him. From this aim nothing had power to turn him aside....

The great purpose that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty should lead every Christian worker to consecrate himself wholly to God's service. Worldly attractions will be presented to draw his attention from the Saviour, but he is to press on toward the goal, showing to the world, to angels, and to men that the hope of seeing the face of God is worth all the effort and sacrifice that the attainment of this hope demands. 

The lowliest disciple of Christ may become an inhabitant of heaven, an heir of God to an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. O that every one might make choice of the heavenly gift, become an heir of God to that inheritance whose title is secure from any destroyer, world without end! O, choose not the world, but choose the better inheritance! Press, urge your way toward the mark for the prize of your high calling in Christ Jesus. 

Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer's glory in the kingdom of God.