Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. Prov. 8:18, 19.
The covetous man becomes more covetous as he draws near his death. The man who all through his life is accumulating earthly treasure, cannot readily withdraw himself from his accustomed pursuits. Shall not he who is seeking a heavenly treasure become more earnest, more zealous, and more intensely interested in seeking the treasure which is above? Shall he not covet the best and most enduring substance? Shall he not seek the crown of glory that is imperishable, the riches which moth and rust doth not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal? The more ardent his hopes, the more strenuous are his efforts and the more determined he is not to fail of the immortal treasure. . . . His business on the earth is to secure eternal riches. He cannot, will not, consent, after tasting of the heavenly gifts of God, to be a pauper, left in destitution for eternity. The soul passion is more, more. This is the real want of the soul. We want more of the divine grace, more enlightenment, more faith. . . .
Oh, if all the misdirected energies were devoted to the one great object--the rich provisions of the grace of God in this life--what testimonials we could hang in memory's halls, recounting the mercies and favours of God!. . . Then the habit would be carried with us as an abiding principle to accumulate spiritual treasures as earnestly and perseveringly as the worldly aspirants labour for the earthly and temporal things. You may well be dissatisfied with the present supply when the Lord has a heaven of blessedness and a treasure house of good and gracious things to supply the necessities of the soul. Today we want more grace, today we want a renewal of God's love and tokens of His goodness, and He will not withhold these good and heavenly treasures from the true seeker. . . .
Those who feel their spiritual necessities will show their soul eagerness, their ardent desires, which extend upward and onward above every earthly, temporal inducement, to the eternal.
Chap. 183 - The Peril of Prosperity
If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. Ps. 62:10.
Among the greatest dangers that threaten the church is the love of the world. Out of this spring the sins of selfishness and covetousness. With many, the more they get of earthly treasure, the more they set their affections on it, and still they reach out for more. . . .
Satan employs every means which he can devise to overthrow the followers of Christ. With marvellous skill and cunning he adapts his temptations to the peculiar temperament of each. Those who are naturally selfish and covetous he often tempts by throwing prosperity in their way. He knows that if they do not overcome their natural temperament, the love of mammon will cause them to stumble and fall. His object is often accomplished. When the riches of the world are offered them, many eagerly grasp the treasure, and think they are wonderfully prospered. The strong love of the world soon swallows up the love of the truth. . . .
If those who are thus prospered would lay their possessions upon the altar of God, they might overcome their selfish, covetous spirit, and so thwart the design of Satan. Worldly wealth may be made a blessing, if rightly used. All who possess it should realise that is lent them of God, to be employed in His service. By giving freely to advance the cause of truth and to relieve the wants of the needy, they may be the means of saving others, and thus bring a blessing to their own souls here, and lay up in heaven a treasure that shall be theirs hereafter. . . .
Many hardly know, as yet, what self-denial is, or what it is to sacrifice for the truth's sake. But none will enter Heaven but by the same path of humiliation, self-sacrifice, and cross-bearing, that the Saviour trod. 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. 184 - Agents to Relieve Distress
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25:40.
What if the professed followers of Jesus should look upon their expensive garments and should see the words written upon them by the finger of God, "Clothe the naked." What if they should see inscribed upon their expensive decorations in their homes, the pictures, and furniture, "Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house"! In the dining room, where the table is laden with abundant food, the finger of God has traced, "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry . . . ?" Let all, old and young, consider that it is not a light matter to be the Lord's steward. . . . The needy, the oppressed, are left in want, while the Lord's money is selfishly squandered in extravagance and luxury. O that all will remember that God is no respecter of persons! It is a great thing to be a steward, faithful and true, before a just, impartial God. . . .
The law of God holds every man accountable for the use he makes of every dollar that comes into his hands; for the Lord has made men His agents to relieve the world's distress. If man hoards or selfishly uses his Lord's entrusted goods, it will be to the ruin of his own soul; for he honours, exalts, and glorifies himself. . . . There are those in our world who, although the professedly chosen of God, can always pass the needy by on the other side. Jesus sees this; Jesus marks this; He will not pass it by. Jesus declared that He came to preach the gospel to the poor. He has bestowed His goods, that love and beneficence shall live, ever growing stronger in the hearts of His people. . . .
The apportioning of rewards at the last day turns upon the question of our practical benevolence: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Christ puts Himself in the poor man's place, identifying His interest with that of the poor. . . . He calls upon each disciple to dispense with grateful liberality the gifts entrusted to him, as if he were bestowing the same upon his Redeemer.
Chap. 185 - Nothing Too Precious to Give to God
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. Heb. 11:17.
Abraham's test was the most severe that could come to a human being. Had he failed under it, he would never have been registered as the father of the faithful. . . . The lesson was given to shine down through the ages, that we may learn that there is nothing too precious to be given to God. It is when we look upon every gift as the Lord's, to be used in His service, that we secure the heavenly benediction. Give back to God your entrusted possessions, and more will be entrusted to you. Keep your possessions to yourself, and you will receive no reward in this life, and will lose the reward of the life to come. . . .
There are many who have never made an unreserved surrender of themselves to God. They have not a right idea of the infinite sacrifice made by God to save a ruined world. If God should speak to them as He did to Abraham, they would not be sufficiently acquainted with His voice to know that He was calling upon them to make a sacrifice, in order to test the depth of their love and the sincerity of their faith.
The plague spot of selfishness is as contagious as leprosy. Those who enter the heavenly courts must be purified from every vestige of this plague. . . .
The Lord has a great work for us to do, and He invites us to look to Him, to trust in Him, to walk with Him, to talk with Him. He invites us to make an unreserved surrender of all that we have and are to Him, that when He shall call upon us to sacrifice for Him, we may be ready and willing to obey. We shall enjoy the fullness of divine grace only as we give all to Christ. We shall know the meaning of true happiness only as we keep the fire burning on the altar of sacrifice. God will bequeath the most in the future to those who have done the most in the present.... Each day, under different circumstances, He tries us; and in each truehearted endeavour He chooses His workers, not because they are perfect, but because they are willing to work unselfishly for Him, and He sees that through connection with Him they may gain perfection.
Chap. 186 - How Does Your Account Stand?
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Cor. 4:2.
Money is a blessing when those who use it consider that they are the Lord's stewards, that they are handling the Lord's capital, and must one day give account of their stewardship.
Do you confess Christ in your expenditures of His entrusted means? . . . If Christ had that which is His own in tithes and offerings, so much would not be left for selfish outlay on knickknacks and display. Less would be spent for dress, for pleasure excursions, for entertainments, or for display in table fare. We may confess Christ by making no elaborate preparations for visitors; we may deny Him by making more than ordinary preparations, which takes time that rightly belongs to the Lord. . . . Before you enter into amusement for the gratification of self, ask yourself the question, Is not this God's time and money that I am expending needlessly? Open your account book, and see how your account stands with God, with your household, and with the world.
Have you confessed Christ by faithfully tithing the mint, the anise, and the rue? When we give the Lord the tithe, we are only giving Him that which is His own, to withhold which is theft and robbery. . . . Does your account book reveal that you have dealt faithfully with your Lord? Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own. . . . The neglect to confess Christ in your account books cuts you off from the great privilege of having your name registered in the Lamb's book of life.
Our heavenly Father teaches by His own example of beneficence. God gives to us regularly, freely, and abundantly. Every earthly blessing is from His hand. What if the Lord should cease to bestow His gifts upon us? What a cry of wretchedness, suffering, and want would go up from the earth! We need daily the unfailing flow of Jehovah's love and goodness.
Chap. 187 - When Loss is Gain
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Luke 12:15.
One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which He rebuked the sin of covetousness and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and the inordinate love of gain. . . . When the head and hands are constantly occupied with planning and toiling for the accumulation of riches, the claims of God and humanity are forgotten.
Means is valuable and to be desired. It is a blessing, a precious treasure, if used prudently, wisely, and not abused. . . . Since mortals have bodies and heads and hearts to be provided for, some provision for the body must be made in order to hold a proper position in the world. Not to meet the world's standards--oh, no, no indeed; but to be of influence in the world for good. . . .
Want and poverty are evils to be dreaded; but hunger and nakedness, lack of home, sympathy, or a name, and even starvation, are more desirable than to sacrifice one principle of truth. Let the eternal truth be cherished, for it is immortal. If we make it a part of us we shall surely gain immortal glory and eternal riches. . . .
If God has not given you the power to obtain means with perfect uprightness and integrity, then He never meant that you should have it, and it is best for you to submit to the will of God. . . . The infinite Creator is the possessor of all things. Any loss you may sustain in your allegiance to Him is infinite gain in the future immortal life, if not fully realised in this life. . . .
Behold the glories of the firmament. Look up to the gems of light which like precious gold stud the heavens. . . . Cannot He who spread above us this glorious canopy, who, if the sun, moon, and stars were swept away could call them again into existence in a moment, requite His faithful, loyal servants who would be obedient to Him though they lost wealth, honour, or even a kingdom for His sake?
Chap. 188 - A Curse or a Blessing?
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. Matt. 6:19.
Treasures are those things which engross the mind, and absorb the attention, to the exclusion of God and the truth. . . . Our Saviour gave a decided warning against hoarding up the treasures of earth.
All branches of business, all manner of employments, are under the eye of God; and every Christian has been given ability to do something in the cause of the Master. Whether engaged in business in the field, in the warehouse, or in the countingroom, men will be held responsible to God for the wise and honest employment of their talents. They are just as accountable to God for their work, as the minister who labours in word and doctrine is for his. . . .
Property that is treasured up upon the earth will prove only a curse, but if it is devoted to the upbuilding of the cause of truth, that God may be honoured, and that souls may be saved, it will not prove a curse, but a blessing. Means are necessary to the furtherance of every good cause; and as some men have been endowed with more ability to acquire wealth than have others, they should put out their talents to the exchangers, that the Lord may receive His own, with usury, at His appearing. . . .
Those who are ready and willing to invest in the cause of God, will be blessed in their efforts to acquire money. God created the source of wealth. He gave the sunshine, and the dew, and the rain, and caused vegetation to flourish. He blessed men with mental and physical ability, and qualified them to acquire property, so that His cause might be sustained by His professed children. The needy are all around us, and God is glorified, when the poor and the afflicted are aided and comforted. It is no sin to acquire and control property as stewards for God, holding it only until He shall require it for the necessities of His work.
We must ever bear in mind that we are in copartnership with God. His work and His cause demand the first consideration.
Chap. 189 - A Bank That Never Fails
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matt. 6:20, 21.
Here is portrayed the value of eternal riches, in contrast with the treasures of earth. If the purpose and aim of your life is to lay up treasure in heaven, you will be lifted above the base, sordid, demoralizing influence of an inordinate desire to obtain wealth in this life. Laying up treasure in heaven will give nobility to the character; it will strengthen benevolence, encourage mercy; cultivate sympathy, brotherly kindness, and charity. It will unite the soul of man with Christ, by links that can never be broken. You may lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven by being rich in good works--rich in imperishable and spiritual things.
The instruction is to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." It is for our own interest that we secure heavenly riches. God is not benefited by our benevolence. The cattle upon a thousand hills are His. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." Ps. 24:1. But in using the gifts that He has entrusted to our care for the salvation of souls, we transfer our wealth to the treasury of heaven. When we are seeking the glory of God, and hasting unto the day of God, we are colabourers with Christ, and our joy is not a base and fleeting emotion; but it is the joy of our Lord. We are elevated above the corroding, perplexing cares of this frail, fickle world.
While we are in this world, we are subject to losses and disappointments. Thieves break through and steal; moth and rust corrupt; fire and storm sweep away our possessions. . . . How many have devoted life and soul to acquiring wealth, but were not rich toward God; and when adversity came upon them, and their possessions were swept away, they had nothing laid up in heaven. They had lost all--both temporal and eternal riches. . . .
Everything that is laid up upon earth may be swept away in a moment; but nothing can disturb the treasure that is laid up in heaven.
Chap. 190 - The Smiles of God
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Prov. 10:22.
Nothing can do us real good without the blessing of God. What God blesses is blessed. Therefore "a little that a righteous man hath is better that the riches of many wicked." Ps. 37:16. The little with the blessing of God is more efficient, and it will extend farther. The grace of God will make a little go a great ways. When we devote ourselves to the affairs of the kingdom of God, He will mind our affairs."
The Lord has given us precious blessings in the simple flowers of the field, in the fragrance so grateful to our senses. He has tinted every flower with beauty; for He is the great Master Artist. He who has created the beautiful things in nature will do far greater things for the soul. God is a lover of the beautiful, and He would adorn our characters with His own rich graces. He would have our words as fragrant as the flowers of the field. He has given us blessings in daily provision for our physical needs. The very bread we are has upon it the image and superscription of the cross.
They only are truly blessed whose chief concern is to secure those blessings which will nourish the soul and endure forever. Our Saviour says to us, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matt. 6:33. God has a care for us, even to bestow His temporal blessings upon us. Our earthly good is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father. He knoweth that we have need of these things. . . . When God smiles upon our efforts it is worth more than any earthly income.
"How sweet our daily comforts prove
When they are seasoned with His love."
Every deliverance, every blessing, that God in the past has granted to His people, should be kept fresh in memory's hall as a sure pledge of further and richer, increasing blessings that He will bestow.
These is no limit to the blessings that it is our privilege to receive.
Chap. 191 - The Gift God Accepts
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38.
Let us not complain because we are often asked to give for the upbuilding of the cause. What is it that makes these frequent calls a necessity? Is it not the rapid increase of missionary enterprises? Shall we, by refusing to give, retard the growth of these enterprises? . . .
All who possess the Spirit of Christ will have a tender, sympathetic heart, and an open, generous hand. . . . To us has been entrusted the work of proclaiming the last message of mercy to be given to our world--the message that is to prepare a people to stand in the day of God. Do we realise our accountability? Are we acting our part in the proclamation of the message? The present time is burdened with eternal interests. We are to unfurl the standard of truth before a world perishing in error.
The more we bring to God's treasure house, the more we shall have to bring; for He will open ways before us, increasing our substance. I have found this to be true in my own experience. As God multiplies His gifts to us, we must not grow selfish, and withhold from Him our tithes and offerings. We each have a part to act in the work of salvation.
Gifts and offerings will not purchase salvation for any of us. The religion of the Bible is that development of our moral natures in which the soul holds converse with God, loves that which God loves, and hates that which God hates. God will not accept your offerings if you withhold yourself. He asks not only for that which is His own in the means entrusted to you, but for His own property in your body, soul, and spirit, purchased at the infinite price of the blood of the Son of God.
It is the humble, grateful, reverential heart that makes the offering as a sweet-smelling savour, acceptable to God.
Chap. 192 - God's Merciful Helping Hand
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Matt. 5:7.
Be merciful, even as your Father in heaven is merciful. Think of the great gift God has made for you. . . . God has given you a proof of His love that defies all computation. We have no line with which to measure it, no standard with which to compare it. God invites you to let your gratitude flow forth in gifts and offerings. He calls upon you to be His merciful helping hand. Can you refuse the request of One who has done so much for you?
Christ wept at the sight of woe. Let His tenderness come into your hearts. Practice self-denial that you may have wherewith to relieve the sufferings of God's children.
The Lord saw that it was essential for us to be surrounded with the poor, who in their helplessness and need would lay claim to our ministration. They would be an aid to us in perfecting Christian character; for in providing food for their tables and clothing for their bodies, we would cultivate the attributes of the character of Christ. If we had not the poor among us, we would lose much; for in order to perfect Christian character, we must deny self.
Christ Himself, the Lord of glory, was in this earth a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He knew the meaning of want and privation. As a child, subject to poverty, He practised the principles of self-denial. He . . . came to help fallen, needy humanity. And He expects His followers, to whom He has entrusted means, to bind about their own supposed wants, and to be liberal in relieving the necessities of others.
When spending your money, think of what Jesus would do were He in your place. He calls upon His followers to tread in His footsteps of self-denial and self-sacrifice. The character of the Christian is to be a reproduction of the character of Christ. The same love, the same grace, the same unselfish benevolence, seen in His life, is to characterize the lives of His followers.
Chap. 193 - Sweetness of Self-Denial
Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. Prov. 3:9, 10.
God's claims underlie all other claims. He lays His hand upon all that He, from His fullness and beneficence, has entrusted to man, and says: "I am the rightful owner of the universe, and these goods are Mine. Use them to advance My cause, to build up My kingdom, and My blessing shall rest upon you."
Some give of their abundance, yet feel no lack. They do not practice self-denial for the cause of Christ. They give liberally and heartily, but they still have all that heart can wish. God regards it. The action and motive are strictly marked by Him, and they will not lose their reward. But those who have less means must not excuse themselves because they cannot do as much as some others. Do what you can. Deny yourself of some article you can do without, and sacrifice for the cause of God. Like the poor widow, cast in your two mites. You will actually give more than all those who give of their abundance; and you will know how sweet it is to deny self, to give to the needy, to sacrifice for the truth, and to lay up treasure in heaven.
The young . . . who profess the truth, have yet a lesson of self-denial to learn. If these made more sacrifice for the truth, they would esteem it more highly. It would affect their hearts, and purify their lives. Too often the young do not take the burden of the cause of God, or feel any responsibility in regard to it. Is it because God has excused them? Oh, no; they excuse themselves. They do not realise that they are not their own. Their strength, their time, is not their own. They are bought with a price; and unless they possess the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice, they can never gain the immortal inheritance.
Give what you can now, and as you cooperate with Christ, your hand will open to impart still more. And God will refill your hand, that the treasure of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you that you may give to others.
Chap. 194 - A Test of Character
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil. 1 Tim. 6:9, 10.
Satan has nets and snares, like the snares of the fowler, all prepared to entrap souls. It is his studied purpose that men shall employ their God-given powers for selfish ends rather than yield them to glorify God. God would have men engage in a work that will bring them peace and joy, and will render them eternal profit; but Satan wants us to concentrate our efforts for that which profiteth not, for the things that perish with the using.
The glory of the world to come is eclipsed by the corruptible things of earth. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matt. 6:21. Your thoughts, your plans, your motives, will have an earthly mould, and your soul will be defiled with covetousness and selfishness. "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Mark 8:36. The day is coming when the idols of silver and gold will be cast to the moles and to the bats, and the rich men will weep and howl for the miseries that shall come upon them. . . .
If your thoughts, your plans, your purposes, are all directed toward the accumulation of the things of earth, your anxiety, your study, your interests, will all be centred upon the world. The heavenly attractions will lose their beauty. . . . Your heart will be with your treasure. . . . You will have no time to devote to the study of the Scriptures and to earnest prayer that you may escape the snares of Satan. . . .
O that the great interests of the world to come were appreciated! Why is it that men are so unconcerned about the salvation of the soul when it was purchased at such cost by the Son of God?
In the providence of God, by physical skill or ingenious inventions, some may gather more wealth than others. The Lord blesses them with health, with tact, and skill, that they may receive of His goods to bestow upon others who may not have received these blessings. The possession of means constitutes a test of character.
Chap. 195 - Do We Really Sacrifice?
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified. Ps. 40:16.
Many speak of the life of the Christian taking away from us pleasures and worldly enjoyments. I say it takes away nothing worth saving. Is there perplexity, poverty, and distress endured by the Christian? Oh, yes, this is expected in this life. But is the sinner, of whom we speak as enjoying the pleasures of this world, free from these ills of life? Do we not often see them in deep perplexity and trouble? . . .
Christians sometimes think they have a hard time and that it is a condescension in them to lay hold of unpopular truth and profess to be Christ's followers, that the road seems hard and that they have many sacrifices to make, when in reality they make no sacrifice at all. If in reality they are adopted into the family of God, what sacrifice have they made? Their following Christ may have broken some friendship with their world-loving relatives, but look at the exchange--their names written in the Lamb's book of life, elevated, yes, greatly exalted, to be partakers of salvation, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ to an imperishable inheritance. Shall we call it a sacrifice on our part to yield error for truth, darkness for light, sin for righteousness, a perishable name and inheritance upon earth for honours that are lasting, and a treasure undefiled that fadeth not away?
Even in this life, the Christian has One upon whom to lean for support, who will help him bear all his trials. Yet the sinner has to bear his trials alone. He goes down into the grave suffering remorse under darkness, bound by Satan, for he is his lawful prey. . . .
If there is any one who should be continually grateful, it is the follower of Christ. If there is any one who enjoys real happiness, even in this life, it is the faithful Christian. . . . If we appreciate or have any sense of how dearly our salvation was purchased, anything which we may call sacrifice will sink away into insignificance.
Chap. 196 - Truth an Antidote for Evil
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deut. 6:6, 7.
The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking. Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corrupt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest; and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truth. . . .
When the mind is stored with Bible truth, its principles take deep root in the soul, and the preference and tastes become wedded to truth, and there is no desire for debasing, exciting literature, that enfeebles the moral powers, and wrecks the faculties God has bestowed for usefulness. Bible knowledge will prove an antidote for the poisonous insinuations received through unguarded reading. . . .
Parents can choose, if they will, whether or not their children's minds shall be filled with pure and holy thoughts and sentiments; but their tastes must be disciplined and educated with the greatest care. They must commence early to unfold the Scriptures before the expanding minds of their children, that proper habits and tastes may be formed. . . . The elements of evil cannot be exterminated except by the introduction of food for pure, solid thought. . . .
I call upon the children and youth to empty their minds of foolish vanities, and make Jesus their everlasting friend. Be sure you have a well-grounded hope. . . . It is insanity to be quiet and at ease as so many are at the present time, having no assurance that they are indeed sons and daughters of God. Eternal interests are at stake. Put away that story, fall upon your knees in prayer for strength to overcome temptations, and devote your time to searching the Bible. . . . You need not remain in suspense; true light shines from God's Word upon all hearts that are open to receive its precious rays; and it is your privilege to say, "I know that my redeemer liveth." Job 19:25.
Chap. 197 - With Eyes of Faith
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Eph. 1:18.
The highest qualification of the mind will not, cannot, supply the place of true simplicity, of genuine piety. The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty, the evidence of its power to save the soul that believes, is a lesson that is never thus learned. If the practice of the Word is not brought into the life, then the sword of the Spirit has not wounded the natural heart. It has been shielded in poetic fancy. Sentimentalism has so wrapped it about that the heart has not sufficiently felt the keenness of its edge, piercing and cutting away the sinful shrines where self is worshipped. . . .
The eyes of the understanding must be enlightened, and the heart and mind brought into harmony with God, who is truth. He who beholds Jesus with the eye of faith sees no glory in himself, for the glory of the Redeemer is reflected into the mind and heart. The atonement of His blood is realised, and the taking away of sin stirs the heart with gratitude.
Being justified by Christ, the receiver of truth is constrained to make an entire surrender to God, and is admitted into the school of Christ, that he may learn of Him who is meek and lowly of heart. A knowledge of the love of God is shed abroad in his heart. He exclaims, Oh, what love! What condescension! Grasping the rich promises by faith, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature. His heart being emptied of self, the waters of life flow in; the glory of the Lord shines forth. Perpetually looking unto Jesus, the human is assimilated by the divine. The believer is changed into His likeness. . . . The human character is changed into the divine.
Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory--Christ the great centre, from whom radiates all glory.
Chap. 198 - Working the Mines of Truth
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Ps. 119:130.
I feel a special interest in our youth who are interested in the truth. . . . I am anxious that you should press your way forward and upward in order that you shall reach the standard of Christian character that is revealed in the Word of God. Let the Word of God be your guidebook, that in everything you may be moulded in conduct and character according to its requirements. . . .
The only way in which the Christian will be able to keep himself unspotted from worldly influence will be by searching the Scriptures and by obeying the Word of God to the very letter. Satan is playing the game of life for every soul, but no one needs to be overcome by his deceptive reasoning. Those only who consent to his sophistry will be deceived by his counsels. But if the truth of God regulates the life, it must be planted in the heart. The truth will produce true beauty in the soul that will be revealed in the character. But if this result is attained, it will be because the truth is cultivated and cherished.
The Bible is to be your standard; the living oracles of Jehovah are to be your guide. You are to dig for the truth as for hidden treasures: you are to find where the treasure is, and then you are to plough every inch of that field to get the jewels. You are to work the mines of truth for new jewels, for new gems, for new diamonds, and you will find them.
As the true seeker after the truth reads the Word, and opens his mind to receive the Word, he longs after truth with his whole heart. The love, the pity, the tenderness, the courtesy, the Christian politeness, which will be the elements in the heavenly mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him, take possession of his soul.
Let the youth be taught to love the study of the Bible. Let the first place in our thoughts and affections be given to the Book of books, for it contains knowledge which we need above all other.
Chap. 199 - How to Study the Bible
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 5:39.
The Book of books has the highest claim to our reverent attention. We must not be satisfied with superficial knowledge, but must seek to learn the full meaning of the words of truth, and to drink deep of the spirit of the Holy Oracles. To read a certain number of chapters daily, or commit to memory a stipulated amount without careful thought as to the meaning of the sacred text, is a work of little profit.... Some portions of Scripture are, indeed, too plain to be misunderstood; but there are others whose meaning does not lie upon the surface, to be seen at a glance. Scripture must be compared with scripture; there must be careful research and patient reflection. And such study will be richly repaid. As the miner discovers veins of precious metal concealed beneath the surface of the earth, so will he who perseveringly searches the Word of God as for hid treasure, find truths of greatest value, which are concealed from the view of the careless seeker.
No effort should be spared to establish a right habit of study. If the mind wanders, bring it back. If the intellectual and moral taste has been perverted by the overwrought and exciting tales of fiction, ... then you have a battle to fight with yourself to overcome this depraved habit. . . . We are surrounded by unbelief. The very atmosphere seems charged with it. Only by constant effort can we resist its power. . . . I appeal to young and old: Make the Word of God your textbook. Here you will find the true standard of character. . . .
All over the field of revelation are scattered the glad springs of heavenly truth, and peace, and joy. They are within the reach of every seeker. The words of inspiration, pondered in the heart, will be as streams flowing from the river of the water of life. Our Saviour prayed that the minds of the disciples might be opened to understand the Scriptures. And whenever we study the Bible with a prayerful heart, the Holy Spirit is near to open to us the meaning of the words we read.
Chap. 200 - The Bible Speaks to Me
Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jer. 6:16.
The Holy One has given rules for the guidance of every soul so that no one need miss his way. These directions mean everything to us; for they form the standard to which every son and daughter of Adam must conform. We can not turn aside from any of these divine rules, and be found guiltless. We are required to make the will of God paramount in our lives, and to have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. I would warn you to keep from the dangerous ground on which your feet would naturally be inclined to stray. . . .
Take the Word of God, and kneeling before God, ask, What has God spoken to me from His Word? Wait before the Lord to learn the way in which you are to go.... You may learn of the heavenly Teacher His meekness and lowliness of heart. In His strength be steadfast, and stand in opposition to all that is displeasing to God, and encourage all that is right, and pure, and true. Live a life that Jesus, your heavenly Father, and the angelic host can look upon with favour. . . .
The Lord will be your helper, and if you trust Him, will bring you up to a noble, elevated standard, and will place your feet upon the platform of eternal truth. Through the grace of Christ, you can make a right use of your entrusted capabilities, and become an agent for good in winning souls to Christ. Every talent you have should be used on the right side.
Those of the youth
Who put on the whole armour of God,
Who will devote time every day to self-examination,
Who will seek the Lord in earnest prayer, and
Who will diligently study the Scriptures,
Will have the help of the angels of God,
And will form characters that will fit them
For the society of the redeemed in the kingdom of glory.
Chap. 201 - "It is Written"
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
Let the seeker for truth who accepts the Bible as the inspired Word of God, lay aside every previous idea, and take that Word in its simplicity. He should renounce every sinful practice, and enter the Holy of Holies with heart softened and subdued, ready to listen to what God says.
Do not carry your creed to the Bible, and read the Scriptures in the light of that creed. If you find that your opinions are opposed to a plain "Thus saith the Lord," or to any command or prohibition He has given, give heed to the Word of God rather than to the sayings of men. Let every controversy or dispute be settled by "It is written." ...
Let the heart be softened and subdued by the spirit of prayer before the Bible is read. Truth will triumph when the Spirit of truth cooperates with the humble Bible student. How precious the thought that the Author of truth still lives and reigns. Ask Him to impress your minds with the truth. Your searching of the Scriptures will then be profitable. Christ is the Great Teacher of His followers, and He will not leave you to walk in darkness.
The Bible is its own interpreter. With beautiful simplicity one portion connects itself with the truth of another portion, until the whole Bible is blended in one harmonious whole. Light flashes forth from one text to illuminate some portion of the Word that has seemed more obscure.
Christ's lessons will bear close study. One truth comprehended in its simplicity will prove a key to a whole treasure house of truth. Christ is the great mystery of godliness. He is as the Master scattering the golden grains of truth, which require tact, skill, and deep, labourious search to pick up and link together in the chain of truth. The Word is the treasure house of truth. It puts in our possession all things essential for our preparation for entrance into the city of God.
Chap. 202 - Leaves from the Tree of Life
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35.
The world is perishing for want of truth, pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth.
When the believer, in the fellowship of the Spirit, can lay his hand upon truth itself, and appropriate it, he eats the bread that comes down from heaven. He enters into the life of Christ, and appreciates the great sacrifice made in behalf of the sinful race.
The knowledge that comes from God is the bread of Life. It is the leaves of the tree of life which are for the healing of the nations. The current of spiritual life thrills the soul as the words of Christ are believed and practised. Thus it is that we are made one with Christ. The experience that was weak and feeble becomes strong. It is eternal life to us if we hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end.
All truth is to be received as the life of Jesus. Truth cleanses us from all impurity, and prepares the soul for Christ's presence. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory.
The truth is to be partaken of every day. Thus we eat the words of Christ, which He declares are spirit and life. The acceptance of the truth will make every receiver a child of God, an heir of heaven.
Truth that is in the heart is not a cold, dead letter.... There is fullness of joy in the truth. There is a nobleness in the life of the human agent who lives and works under the vivifying influence of the truth. Truth is sacred and divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. When it is cherished in the heart, the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. Thus truth--pure, unadulterated truth--occupies the citadel of the being. This is the life of God in the soul. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Eze. 36:26.
Chap. 203 - The Bread that Satisfies
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. John 6:51-55.
The words, "Give us this day our daily bread," refer not only to temporal food but to the spiritual food which brings everlasting life to the receiver. When we believe and receive Christ's word, we eat His flesh and drink His blood....
As by eating temporal food the physical system becomes strong, so by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, the spiritual nature is strengthened. God's Word is spirit and life to all who appropriate it. He who partakes of Christ's flesh and blood is a partaker of the divine nature. . . . A vital, life-giving current flows from his Saviour to him.
No one can eat this flesh and drink this blood for another. Each must come to Christ with his own soul hunger, each must have his own convictions, feel his own soul's need, and learn of Christ for himself.
Filled with the Bread of Life, we cannot hunger for earthly attractions, worldly excitements, and earthly grandeur. Our religious experience will be of the same order as the food upon which we feed.
The food we eat at one meal does not satisfy us forever. We must daily partake of food. So we must daily eat the Word of God that the life of the soul may be renewed. In those who feed constantly upon the Word, Christ is formed, the hope of glory. A neglect to read and study the Bible brings spiritual starvation....
Christ is our life. The soul in whom He abides will meet the requirements of His principles, in thorough devotion and consecration to God. Christ's personal contact with the soul builds it up, supplying its ever-recurring wants. He is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. He is our sufficiency. . . .
He is the lifeblood of the soul. If He abides with us, we may say, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Gal. 2:20.
Chap. 204 - As a Wall of Fire Against Temptation
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Ps. 119:11.
Satan is continually seeking to influence human minds by his subtle arts. His is a master mind, given of God, but prostituted with all its noble capabilities to oppose and to make of no effect the counsels of the Most High. . . .
We can overcome only by believing in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. We must know what is written in order that we may not be defeated by the sophistry and enchantments of Satan. . . . If we have been ensnared by his enchanting power, let us in the name of Jesus rebuke his power, and break with Satan without delay. . . .
Those who cry unto God for deliverance from the terrible spell that Satan would weave about them, will set a high estimate upon the Scriptures. Our only safety is in receiving the whole Bible, not taking merely detached portions, but believing the whole truth. Your feet are upon sliding sand if you depreciate one word that is written. The Bible is a divine communication, and is as verily a message to the soul as though a voice from heaven were heard speaking to us. With what awe and reverence and humiliation should we come to the searching of the Scriptures, that we may learn of eternal realities.... Let everyone study the Bible, knowing that the Word of God is as enduring as the eternal throne. If you come to the study of the Scriptures in humility, with earnest prayer for guidance, angels of God will open to you its living realities; and if you cherish the precepts of truth, they will be to you as a wall of fire against the temptations, delusions, and enchantments of Satan. . . .
The Word of God is able to save your souls, to make you wise unto salvation. The psalmist says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Then let us hide the Word of God in our hearts, that we may "be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Eph. 6:13.
Chap. 205 - Truth Continually Unfolding
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:12.
The very limited and earthly apprehension which the disciples had of the teachings of Christ made it difficult for the Great Teacher to lead their minds into an understanding of heavenly things, and determined the measure of His divine communications. . . . His work was especially to reveal the moral excellency of character which the Lord requires.
Jesus did not give full comments or connected discourses upon doctrines, but He oft spoke in short sentences, as one sowing the heavenly grains of doctrines like pearls which need to be gathered up by a discerning labourer. . . . True learners, sitting at Christ's feet, discover the precious gems of truth uttered by our Saviour, and will discern their significance and appreciate their value. And more and more, as they become humble and teachable, will their understanding be opened to discover wondrous things out of His law.... The truth will be continually unfolding, expanding, and developing, for it is divine, like its Author.
Says Christ, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." John 16:12.
"'Ye cannot bear them now.' What tenderness
Breathes in this language! Well does it express
Thy principle of teaching. 'Here and there
A little,' is the plan Thou dost pursue;
Waiting until our feeble sight can bear
The truths which love unfolds before our view.
The gentleness of Christ! Lord, should not we
In teaching others strive to act like Thee?
Patient, not hasty, toward those who learn
But slowly in Thy school; who seem to need
Line upon line before they can discern
The hallowed lessons we so plainly read."
Chap. 206 - Sanctifying Power of Truth
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. John 17:17.
What is sanctification? It is to give one's self wholly and without reserve--soul, body, and spirit--to God; to deal justly; to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God; to know and to do the will of God without regard to self or self-interest; to be heavenly-minded, pure, unselfish, holy, and without spot or stain.
It is through the truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are to be sanctified--transformed into the likeness of Christ. And in order for this change to be wrought in us, there must be an unconditional, wholehearted acceptance of the truth, an unreserved surrender of the soul to its transforming power.
Our characters are by nature warped and perverted. Through the lack of proper development they are wanting in symmetry. With some excellent qualities are united objectionable traits, and through long indulgence wrong tendencies become second nature, and many persons cling tenaciously to their peculiarities. Even after they profess to accept the truth, to yield themselves to Christ, the same old habits are indulged, the same self-esteem is manifested, the same false notions entertained. Although such ones claim to be converted, it is evident that they have not yielded themselves to the transforming power of the truth....
If the one who is thus misrepresenting Christ could know what harm has been wrought by the faults of character which he has excused and cherished, he would be filled with horror. . . .
Let none feel that their way needs no changing. . . . None can walk safely unless they are distrustful of self, and are constantly looking to the Word of God, studying it with willing heart to see their own errors, and to learn the will of Christ, and praying that it may be done in and by and through them. They show that their confidence is not in themselves, but in Christ. They hold the truth as a sacred treasure, able to sanctify and refine, and they are constantly seeking to bring their words and ways into harmony with its principles.
Chap. 207 - "Holier, Yea Holier Still"
For this is the will of God, even your sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:3.
Our sanctification is God's object in all His dealing with us. He has chosen us from eternity that we might be holy. Christ gave Himself for our redemption, that through faith in His power to save from sin, we might be made complete in Him. . . .
As Christians we have pledged ourselves to fulfil the responsibilities resting on us, and to show to the world that we have a close connection with God. Thus, through the good words and works of His disciples, Christ is to be represented and honoured.
God expects of us perfect obedience to His law. This law is the echo of His voice, saying to us, Holier, yea holier still. Desire after the fullness of the grace of Christ, yea, long--hunger and thirst--after righteousness. The promise is, "Ye shall be filled." Let your heart be filled with a longing for this righteousness. . . .
God has plainly stated that He expects us to be perfect, and because He expects this, He has made provision for us to be partakers of the divine nature. Only thus can we gain success in striving for eternal life. The power is given by Christ. "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12.
God's people are to reflect to the world the bright rays of His glory. But in order for them to do this, they must stand where these rays can fall on them. They must cooperate with God. The heart must be cleansed of all that leads to wrong. The Word of God must be read and studied with an earnest desire to gain from it spiritual power. The bread of heaven must be eaten and assimilated, becoming part of the life. Thus we gain eternal life. Thus is answered the prayer of Christ, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." John 17:17.
"This is the will of God, even your sanctification." Is it your will that your desires and inclinations shall be brought into harmony with the divine mind?
Chap. 208 - The Secret of Holiness
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. 4:24.
No man receives holiness as a birthright, or as a gift from any other human being. Holiness is the gift of God through Christ. Those who receive the Saviour become sons of God. They are His spiritual children, born again, renewed in righteousness and true holiness. Their minds are changed. With clearer vision they behold eternal realities. They are adopted into God's family, and they become conformed to His likeness, changed by His Spirit from glory to glory. From cherishing supreme love for self, they come to cherish supreme love for God and for Christ. . . .
Accepting Christ as a personal Saviour, and following His example of self-denial--this is the secret of holiness.
Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting in God in trial, believing in His promise in the darkness as well as in the light. Religion is to walk by faith, as well as by sight, trusting in God with all confidence, and resting in His love.
Sanctification is a state of holiness, without and within, being holy and without reserve the Lord's, not in form, but in truth. Every impurity of thought, every lustful passion, separates the soul from God; for Christ can never put His robe of righteousness upon a sinner, to hide his deformity. . . . There must be a progressive work of triumph over evil, of sympathy with good, a reflection of the character of Jesus. We must walk in the light, which will increase and grow brighter unto the perfect day. This is real, substantial growth, which will finally attain to the full stature of men and women in Jesus Christ. . . .
Conformity to the likeness of Christ's character, overcoming all sin and temptation, walking in the fear of God, setting the Lord continually before us, will bring peace and joy on earth, and ensure us pure happiness in heaven.
Chap. 209 - A Daily Experience in Conversion
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Cor. 4:16.
Genuine conversion is needed, not once in years, but daily. This conversion brings man into a new relation with God. Old things, his natural passions and hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, pass away, and he is renewed and sanctified. But this work must be continual; for as long as Satan exists, he will make an effort to carry on his work. He who strives to serve God will encounter a strong undercurrent of wrong. His heart needs to be barricaded by constant watchfulness and prayer, or else the embankment will give way; and like a millstream, the undercurrent of wrong will sweep away the safeguard. No renewed heart can be kept in a condition of sweetness without the daily application of the salt of the Word. Divine grace must be received daily, or no man will stay converted. . . .
Test and trial will come to every soul that loves God. The Lord does not work a miracle to prevent this ordeal of trial, to shield His people from the temptations of the enemy. . . . Characters are to be developed that will decide the fitness of the human family for the heavenly home--characters that will stand through the pressure of unfavourable circumstances in private and public life, and that will, under the severest temptations, through the grace of God grow brave and true, be firm as a rock to principle, and come forth from the fiery ordeal, of more value than the golden wedge of Ophir. God will endorse, with His own superscription, as His elect, those who possess such characters. . . .
The Lord accepts no half-hearted service. He demands the whole man. Religion is to be brought into every phase of life, carried into labour of every kind. The whole being is to be under God's control. We must not think that we can take supervision of our own thoughts. They must be brought into captivity to Christ. Self cannot manage self; it is not sufficient for the work. . . . God alone can make and keep us loyal.
Chap. 210 - In the Sunlight of Christ
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Eph. 4:14, 15.
"Watch unto prayer," and you will steadily grow in grace and in a knowledge of Christ. Your experience will not be one-sided, deformed, but healthful, symmetrical. All unawares to yourself, you will have expanded like the wide-spreading cedar, and many will profit by your counsel; your association with them will have the fragrance of heaven.
There are many professors of religion who for years have not grown one inch. The rubbish of the world, selfishness, and indolence, have separated them in sympathy and in their works from Christ. . . .
If you are living in the sunlight of Christ, you will diffuse light to those poor souls who are dwarfs in the religious life. With the righteousness of Christ covering you as with a garment, what may you not do to bless others! . . .
Your fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, and you grow into the knowledge of the divine perfection. You grow in reverence, you gain confidence in communion with God. Looking steadfastly to Jesus, you grow in faith, and learning to distrust self, you appreciate the words of Christ, "Without me ye can do nothing." John 15:5. . . .
You may have a fervent spirit, your heart all aglow with the love of Jesus. Abide in Christ as the branch abides in the vine; drawing sustenance from the vine, you will be a flourishing branch, and will bear much fruit to the glory of God. Oh, you much need to gaze fixedly upon Jesus! Keep beholding His charms. As you behold they will keep brightening and enlarging until you are filled with all the fullness of God and bear much fruit to His glory. The branch is too firmly connected with the parent stock to be swayed by every breeze. Strength and vigorous growth tell to the world that your root is in Jesus, that your foundation is sure.
Chap. 211 - How to Grow in Grace
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18.
How is it possible that we may grow in grace? It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be moulded after the Divine Pattern. We may have a connection with the living channel of light; we may be refreshed with the heavenly dew, and have the showers of heaven descend upon us. As we appropriate the blessing of God, we shall be able to receive greater measures of His grace.
As little children we are to sit at the feet of Christ, learning of Him. . . . We should not allow a day to pass without gaining an increase of knowledge in temporal and spiritual things. We are to plant no stakes that we are not willing to take up and plant further on, nearer the heights we hope to ascend. The highest education is to be found in training the mind to advance day by day. The close of each day should find us a day's march nearer the overcomer's reward. Day by day our understanding is to ripen. Day by day we are to work out conclusions that will bring a rich reward in this life and in the life to come. Looking daily to Jesus, instead of to what we ourselves have done, we shall make decided advancement in temporal as well as spiritual knowledge.
The end of all things is at hand. What we have done must not be allowed to place the period to our work. The Captain of our salvation says, "Advance. The night cometh, in which no man can work." Constantly we are to increase in usefulness. Our lives are always to be under the power of Christ. Our lamps are to be kept burning brightly. . . . He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday.
We must put to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle. . . . God . . . does not desire you to remain novices. He wants you to reach the very highest round of the ladder, and then step from it into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Chap. 212 - "Almost to the Excellence of the Angels"
The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. Job 17:9.
To every man God has entrusted talents for wise improvement. If rightly used, these talents will reflect glory to the Giver. But the most precious gifts of God may be perverted, and thus become a curse rather than a blessing. . . .
The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace, we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels. What shall be said of those who, having had many years of experience in the truth, and many precious advantages for growth in grace, are yet inclined toward the world, and find pleasure in its amusements and display? Instead of going on from strength to strength, they are, little by little, departing from God, and losing their spiritual life. . . .
Talent can never take the place of piety, nor can the applause of men recommend us to the favour of God. What the majority of professed Christians need, is genuine conversion. If the heart is right, the actions will be right. An earthly, debasing influence marks the character and the life of those whose hearts do not glow with the fire of true goodness. Too many profess to be followers of Christ, and feel at liberty to follow their own judgement, and indulge the desires of their own hearts. He who would advance in the Christian life must put his own hands and heart to the work. Friends may exhort and counsel, to urge him onward and upward; Heaven may pour its choicest blessings upon him; he may have all possible assistance on the right hand and on the left, and yet all will be in vain, unless he shall put forth earnest effort to help himself. He himself must engage in the warfare against sin and Satan, or he will fail of everlasting life.
Pure religion leads its possessor ever upward, inspiring him with noble purposes, teaching him propriety of deportment, and imparting a becoming dignity to every action.