Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy. The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to his disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men. Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of him.
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When evidence is given that a man is a messenger of the Lord of hosts, that he speaks in God’s stead, it is perilous to the soul to reject and despise the message. To turn away from heaven’s light and refuse the light-bearer, is to take a course similar to that which Satan took in the courts of heaven when he created rebellion in the ranks of the angels. He misrepresented the character of God, and placed in a false light his gracious commandments. He evaded the truth, and subtly worked to make good appear as evil, and evil as good. He has lost none of his tact, and through his agents, manifests the same diplomacy and skill in evading truth, in creating false issues, in misrepresenting the message and the messenger. Not only do we see his working in the world among those who openly oppose the truth, but also in the church his art is manifested in the divisions and controversies among those who profess to be the children of God.
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It is beyond the power of man to please God apart from Christ. We may make resolutions and promises, but the carnal heart overpowers all our good intentions. We may control our outward conduct, but we cannot change the heart. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint, and yet the sinner will brace himself in pride, and set up his will against the will of God. Though Christ is working upon human hearts, men utterly annul the work the Lord would do. If they resist, question, and cavil, they will place themselves in a position where it will not be easy to yield to the persuasion of the Spirit of God. There is a bewitching power that holds them under deception; for the father of lies works with the unsanctified heart. Over these deceived souls the cry is raised, O that thou hadst known “in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace.” And shall the irrevocable sentence be passed, “But now they are hid from thine eyes”?
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If we would see light in God’s light, we must abide in Christ. The soul must receive strength and nourishment from the living Vine. The apostle says, “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” But stubbornness effectually bars the way to the entrance of the Spirit of God. Stubbornness does not profit; it is the fruit of selfishness, and the only cure for it is to cut it up from the heart by the roots. Often the outward manifestation of selfishness is done away for a time, but its hateful fruit will again appear as do the leaves of a tree that has been cut down, but whose root remains. If a fiber of selfishness is left, it will spring forth again, and bear a harvest after its kind.
The Spirit of God cannot work effectually in any heart where pride and self-esteem exist. But without the aid of the Spirit of God the soul cannot be renewed, a new heart cannot be created within. The Lord is at work seeking to purify his people, and this great work is retarded by unbelief and stubbornness. Many think that had they lived in Christ’s day, they would have been among his believing followers; but if all the miracles of Christ were presented before those whose hearts are not subdued by the Spirit of God, their convictions would not be followed, nor their faith increased. Light has been shining upon the church of God, but many have said by their indifferent attitude, “We want not thy way, O Lord, but our own way.” The kingdom of heaven has come very near, and they have caught glimpses of the Father and the Son, but they have barred the door of the heart, and have not received the heavenly guests; for as yet they know not the love of God.
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Christ is to be our Captain. We need not tremble or be afraid. Oh, what love the Father has unfolded to us. We are not to be left a helpless prey to the devices of the enemy; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, and He loves man with a love that is infinite. No language can express the depths of divine love.
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Oh, that the soul may be thoroughly cleansed! Oh, that the love of God may abide in the soul as a living principle! Cultivate love for Jesus, love for those who believe in Him, and love for the wandering and perishing. We must have the love which is of heavenly birth, and nourish it as a heavenly plant. Stubbornness, which prevails to a fearful extent, must be broken up. The professed followers of Christ should no longer catch up little points of difference, meditating upon them, talking about them, and magnifying them until love is gone from the soul, as water from a leaky vessel. We must have the sanctifying influence of the grace of Christ in our hearts, else all our deeds will be as sounding brass and as a tinkling cymbal.
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The Spirit sets home the truth in such a manner as to arouse the conscience to discern and acknowledge the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Men see themselves as transgressors of the law of God. By faith they behold the infinite love of God in the gift of Jesus to our world. By faith they see the sentence of condemnation erased, and their names recorded in the book of life. They see the robe of Christ’s righteousness presented to them, preparing them for the mansions above, that they may stand spotless before the Father. These are the things of Christ which the mind grasps, and which are food to the soul.
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