Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

March 17, 1887

Rest in Christ

By Mrs. E. G. White

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Thus Jesus invites the weary and care-laden sons and daughters of Adam to come to him, and lay on him their heavy burdens. But many who hear this invitation, while sighing for rest, yet press on the rugged path, hugging their burdens close to their heart. Jesus loves them, and longs to bear their burdens and themselves also in his strong arms. He would remove the fears and uncertainties that rob them of peace and rest; but they must first come to him, and tell him the secret woes of their heart. He invites the confidence of his people as the proof of their love for him. The gift of the humble, trusting heart is more precious to him than all the wealth that riches can bestow. If they would only come to him in the simplicity and confidence with which a child would come to his parents, the divine touch of his hands would relieve them of their burdens.

Jesus, our compassionate Saviour, is the way, the truth, and the life. Why will we not accept his gracious offer of mercy, believe his words of promise, and not make the way of life so hard? As we travel the precious road cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, let us not overcast it with doubts and gloomy forebodings, and pursue our way murmuring and groaning, as though forced to an unpleasant, exacting task. The ways of Christ are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace. If we have made rough paths for our feet, and taken heavy burdens of care in laying up for ourselves treasures upon the earth, let us now change, and follow the path Jesus has prepared for us.

We are not always willing to come to Jesus with our trials and difficulties. Sometimes we pour our troubles into human ears, and tell our afflictions to those who cannot help us, and neglect to confide all to Jesus, who is able to change the sorrowful way to paths of joy and peace. Self-denying, self-sacrificing gives glory and victory to the cross. The promises of God are very precious. We must study his word if we would know his will. The words of inspiration, carefully studied and practically obeyed, will lead our feet in a plain path, where we may walk without stumbling. Oh, that all, ministers and people, would take their burdens and perplexities to Jesus, who is waiting to receive them, and to give them peace and rest! He will never forsake those who put their trust in him.

Wickedness prevails at the present day. The perils of the last days thicken around us, and because iniquity abounds the love of many waxes cold. This need not be if all would come to Jesus, and in confiding faith trust in him. His meekness and lowliness, cherished in the heart, will bring peace and rest, and give moral power to every soul.

The shortness of time is frequently urged as an incentive for seeking righteousness and making Christ our friend. This should not be the great motive with us; for it savors of selfishness. Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God should be held before us, that we may be compelled to right action through fear? It ought not to be so. Jesus is attractive. He is full of love, mercy, and compassion. He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He says to us, I am the Lord thy God; walk with me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the Majesty of Heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with himself those who come to him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares. He will count them as his children, and finally give them an inheritance of more value than the empires of kings, a crown of glory richer than has ever decked the brow of the most exalted earthly monarch.

It is our duty to love Jesus as our Redeemer. He has a right to command our love, but he invites us to give him our heart. He calls us to walk with him in the path of humble, truthful obedience. His invitation to us is a call to a pure, holy, and happy life,—a life of peace and rest, of liberty and love,—and to a rich inheritance in the future, immortal life. Which will we choose—liberty in Christ, or bondage and tyranny in the service of Satan? Why should we reject the invitation of mercy, and refuse the proffers of divine love? If we choose to live with Christ through the ceaseless ages of eternity, why not choose him now as our most loved and trusted friend, our best and wisest Counselor?

It is our privilege to have daily a calm, close, happy walk with Jesus. We need not be alarmed if the path lies through conflicts and sufferings. We may have the peace which passeth understanding; but it will cost us battles with the powers of darkness, struggles severe against selfishness and inbred sin. The victories gained daily through persevering, untiring effort in well-doing will be precious through Christ who has loved us, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a “peculiar people, zealous of good works.” We should seek to obtain the excellence of Christ. In the face of temptation we should school ourselves to firm endurance, nor should we allow one murmuring thought to arise, although we may be weary with toil and pressed with care.

Some have passed through afflictions with light undimmed. Their hope and faith are strong, because acquired by conflict, and nurtured by suffering. If it were not for these heroes of faith, who have learned to endure, and to suffer, and be strong, the outlook would indeed be discouraging. How could we know how to sympathize with the burdened, the sorrowing, the afflicted, and to afford them the help they need, if we had never experienced similar trials ourselves?

We can never have a clear appreciation of the value of our Redeemer, until, by an eye of faith, we see him taking upon himself the nature of man, the capacity to suffer, and then reaching the very depths of human wretchedness, that by his divine power he might save even the vilest sinner. Jesus died that the sinner might live,—that God's justice might be preserved, and guilty man pardoned. The Son of the Highest suffered shame on the cross, that sinners might not suffer everlasting shame and contempt, but be ransomed, and crowned with eternal glory. Why is it that we have so little sense of sin, so little penitence? It is because we do not come nearer to the cross of Christ. We do not consider the Captain of our salvation, and our conscience becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

The cross of Calvary appeals to us in power, affording a reason why we should love our Saviour, and why we should make him first and last and best in everything. We should take our fitting place in humble penitence at the foot of the cross. Here, as we see our Saviour in agony, the Son of God dying, the just for the unjust, we may learn lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind. Behold Him who with one word could summon legions of angels to his assistance, a subject of jest and merriment, of reviling and hatred. He gives himself a sacrifice for sin. When reviled, he threatens not; when falsely accused, he opens not his mouth. He prays on the cross for his murderers. He is dying for them; he is paying an infinite price for every one of them. He bears the penalty of man's sins without a murmur. And this uncomplaining victim is the Son of God. His throne is from everlasting, and his kingdom shall have no end.

Come, you who are seeking your own pleasure in forbidden joys and sinful indulgences, you who are scattering from Christ, look upon the cross of Calvary; behold the royal victim suffering on your account, and while you have opportunity be wise, and seek the fountain of life and true happiness. Come, you who complain and murmur at the little inconveniences and the few trials you must meet in this life, look on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. He turned from his royal throne, his high command, and, laying aside his divinity, clothed himself with humanity. For our sakes he was rejected and despised; he became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich. Can you, beholding by the eye of faith the sufferings of Christ, tell your trials, your tale of woe? Can you nurse revenge in your heart while you remember the prayer that came from the pale and quivering lips of Christ for his revilers, his murderers: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”?

There is a work before us to subdue the pride and vanity that seek a place in our hearts, and through penitence and faith to bring ourselves into familiar and holy converse with Christ. We must not shrink from the depths of humiliation to which the Son of God submitted in order to raise us from the degradation and bondage of sin to a seat at his right hand. We must deny self, and fight continually against pride. We must hide self in Jesus, and let him appear in our character and conversation. While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. Our lives, our deportment, will testify how highly we prize our Redeemer, and the salvation he has wrought out for us at such a cost to himself. And our peace will be as a river while we bind ourselves in willing, happy captivity to Jesus.

It is high time that we devoted the few precious remaining hours of our probation to washing our robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb, that we may be of that white-robed company who shall stand around the great white throne.

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