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The Way Is Marked Out, And
Every Step Is Ordered Of The Lord
CHRIST
promises, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The way is plain; the will of God is manifest. We are not to live in doubt and uncertainty, and to rest satisfied while groping our way without a guide. Jesus does not, after giving us general directions, leave us to guess the way amid by-paths and dangerous passes. He leads us in a straight path; and while we follow him, our footsteps will not slide. It was God that led ancient Israel, though the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night concealed him from their view; and in this important period of the world's history, he will as manifestly lead his people. The path is no uncertain one. The way is marked out, and every step is ordered of the Lord.

God has ample light and grace to bestow upon all them that fear him. Especially will he help his people in these last days, when Satan's devices are so abundant, so deceptive, and so corrupting. To those who will walk in the truth, the God of truth will give grace according to their needs. He will fill their hearts with peace, and courage, and confidence. But mercy and truth are promised only to the contrite and obedient. God has said that justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne; and those who are disobedient and rebellious will not escape the visitation of his just anger.

Worldly Associates And Amusements
Sow The Seeds Of Doubt And Skepticism
We cannot afford to separate ourselves from Jesus for a single hour. Without Him we are in danger of being overcome of Satan, who is ever watching to suggest doubt, unbelief, and error. The world is flooded with error; it meets us on every hand. It is taught from the sacred desk, and lurks in theology, in literature, in philosophy, in science. Error perverts the judgment and opens the door to temptation, and through its influence Satan seeks to turn hearts from the truth; but an intelligent love for the truth sanctifies the receiver, and keeps him from the enemy's deceptive snares.

Satan uses some professed Christians to lead souls from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. Worldly associates and amusements sow the seeds of doubt and skepticism. The sentiment of many worldly professors is, "Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." "Speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits." Many are daily cheating their souls with a form of godliness without the power; but the Lord has removed his smile and the inspiration of his Spirit from them. His displeasure is against them, because their deeds are evil. He demands decided changes in the life and character. Good intentions, good resolutions, good acts, cannot be accepted as substitutes for repentance, faith, and willing obedience.

But Earthly Prosperity Is No
Evidence Of The Favor Of God
The people are too willing to believe their teachers without careful thought and prayerful investigation of God's word. They love to have their consciences quieted,--love to be rocked to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. In their blind selfishness, they deceive themselves in those things wherein they are willing to be deceived. Our Saviour declared to the Pharisees, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." And in his conversation with Nicodemus he said, "Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." So in this age; the church will neither search the Scriptures nor listen to the truth, lest her works be reproved. She is more willing to depart from the commandments of God than from the customs and friendship of the world. And because great men and worldly wise men are in her favor, because numbers and temporal prosperity are hers, she believes herself favored of God,--"rich, and increased with goods, and in need of nothing."

But earthly prosperity is no evidence of the favor of God. Christ and his apostles teach us, both by precept and example, that the true child of God cannot enjoy the friendship of the world. If he seeks it, it will become a snare to him; he will adopt the customs, precepts, and standards of the world, and will finally become like them in spirit. But there can be no fellowship between the Prince of light and the prince of darkness. Says the apostle John, "The world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God." They are unknown, unacknowledged by the world; but their names, cast out as evil by the lovers of sin, are written in the book of life. They are the adopted heirs of Christ, the nobility of Heaven. "These are they that came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

We Need Individually To Ask
Strength And Grace From Heaven
Many are not growing strong, because they do not take God at his word. They are conforming to the world. Every day they pitch their tents nearer to Egypt, when they should encamp a day's march nearer the heavenly Canaan. We need individually to ask strength and grace from Heaven, that we may resist the temptation to assimilate to the world. We cannot afford to be divided in heart and purpose, first serving God, and then yielding to temptations and paying homage to the world. Many of us have grown gray in the service of Christ, in pushing the triumphs of his cross. We have fought the battles of the Lord too long, and endured too much, to permit Satan to gain the victory over us. The voice of our Leader is commanding "Go forward," and we should obey, saying, as did Caleb, "If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land."

If we commit the keeping of our souls to God in the exercise of living faith, his promises will not fail us; for they have no limit but our faith. "All things are possible to him that believeth." We may make or mar our own happiness. Many pet and excuse the defects in their characters; but these must all be remedied. Every deviation from the right is sin, and sin must be put away. We cannot afford to walk carelessly before our brethren or before the world.

Many confess their sins again and again, but do not put them away by genuine repentance. Unless we have a firm purpose and the aid of the grace of God, strong resolutions and vigilant watchfulness will be vain and powerless when temptations assail the soul; and under such circumstances some give up in despair, fearing that they must ever remain the slaves of sin. These have not a living faith in Jesus. We cannot trust in ourselves; if we do, we shall fail. Jesus has spoiled the powers of darkness; and it is through faith in his might that we shall be made strong. He will lift up a standard against Satan in behalf of every trusting, believing soul. We have the assurance that his grace is sufficient for us, and that we shall not be tempted above that we are able to bear. This is our only hope.

If Any Man Be In Christ, He Is A New Creature
The apostle says, "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Christian church at Pentecost, great wisdom and grace rested upon the whole body of believers. This blessing was given in answer to earnest, persevering prayer; and today God is just as willing to listen to the petitions of his people. "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness , temperance." When these fruits appear in the life, a telling influence will be exerted upon the world. The truly converted man will cease aspiring to be thought great. He will not seek for worldly honor, nor for luxury, ease, or wealth; neither will he be sensitive to reproach or neglect. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Self is no longer the supreme object of love; family and friends are no longer the boundary. His heart is enlarged. Jesus has the first place in his affections; he loves Christians, because he sees in them the image of his Master, and all mankind with a love that prompts him to do them good. This is the fruit growing on the true Vine, more precious in the sight of God than all the wealth and learning of earth's great men.

The unparalleled exhibition of love that was made on Calvary shows how God estimates souls. If we have this love in our hearts, we shall seek to win sinners to Jesus, that for them this great sacrifice may not have been made in vain. The language of the heart will be, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul." We shall say with the psalmist, "I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation." We shall rejoice to speak of the wisdom and goodness of God as shown in the way he has led his people; for we shall have proved that "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

The Signs of the Times - March 6, 1884.

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