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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
You know that you have weaknesses; special points upon which you are aware by past experience you are specially liable to fail, under trial and temptation. It may be the pride of life and love of the world, which seem to draw your feet from the narrow way oftenest. It may be that business has such an attraction to you that you have at times been almost swallowed up with its ambitions and cares, and that its demands upon your time and talent have been for a season almost overwhelming, and that you found your appetite for spiritual things forestalled by the earthly, and your consecrated time absorbed in labor for the meat that perisheth.
Or it may be that your special weakness is a love of approbation, which absorbs consecrated time in making your person, your home, and your family charming, as well as hinders you from engaging in service for the Lord and your fellow-saints in carrying them spiritual food, lest some should think you „peculiar,” and „strange,” and should „cut” your acquaintance.
Or your difficulty may be uncongenial family relationship and opposition to study and Christian growth from that quarter.
Or, it may be that seeming duties and necessities in your circumstances demand your time and keep you as they did Martha from communing with the Master, and from engaging in and enjoying the higher and grander privilege of breaking to others spiritual food. No matter in which particular direction your besetment lies, rest assured that yours is not an exceptional case. Every soul knoweth its own burdens, and before each one Satan is permitted to lay obstacles and hindrances in order that each may be tried and thus have opportunity of overcoming and proving his love and his appreciation of the prize and of the Lord’s approval, by faithfulness under adverse conditions.
What is your duty? What shall you do? Give up, because the way is not smooth? Why certainly you did not expect to be classed an „overcomer” without having something opposing you to overcome. No, you knew well when you started, that the Master and forerunner on this way, said: „Straight (difficult) is the gate and narrow is the way.” You remember he said that every follower in his footsteps must expect to endure the crossing of his human will and interest all through the „way.” You remember how strongly he put it that none might deceive themselves, when he said, „If any man come to me, and hate not [love less] his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26,27.
And do you not know that your temptation on these weak points of your besetment are daily becoming more absorbing, more difficult to resist? Do you not see that we are living in the „evil day” which is evil or full of special danger, because of its increase of temptation on every point of weakness to every member of the body? that the besetments of the world, the flesh and the devil are more subtle and deceptive, and more powerful than ever before? Yes, you realize it. To be forewarned is useless unless it leads us to action, that we may be forearmed and protected. What are you going to do about it? We answer, Break the bondage at any cost; though it be dear to your heart as your eye or hand—pluck it out, cut it off, cast it from you. Make thorough work of it, strangle it, overcome your besetments at once and thoroughly. Lay aside every weight and hindrance which impedes your growth in grace, which hinders your sacrifice, the fulfillment of your covenant in the service of the truth, that you may patiently run the race set before you. You must either overcome these besetments by changing your course and cutting them off, or they will overcome you, and bring you more and more under their control. Hence the Apostle’s advice, Make straight paths for your feet. Remove from your pathway at once every hindrance and stumbling-block which the adversary may put in your way, and keep right on, running for the prize of the high calling and keeping your eye on Jesus and Paul as examples of endurance and overcoming. They endured the temptation, but speedily ended it by promptly casting it from them. We must do likewise; to parley with besetments is to fail; to endeavor to carry them along on the way is impossible—the way is too narrow. We must choose at once whether we will be turned aside by circumstances and obstructions, or whether we will turn them aside and follow on to the end of the way—to glory, honor and immortality.
With time and talents fully on the altar, and with thorough determination and work in overcoming the obstacles put before you by the adversary, what a power for the truth could be daily exercised by the readers of the TOWER. Not that the truth will fail without our effort, but that we need to make the effort on behalf of truth for our own development in grace, and as proof that we are of the overcomers accounted worthy both to suffer the reproach of Christ and to share his glory.
Everyone who possesses these glorious hopes should be a preacher of them; should let the light so shine as to glorify our Father in heaven. Some can labor in a special manner but one hour a day, some more; all can let a general halo of light shine from the daily walk before their fellow Christians and the world, but not without overcoming the obstacles and besetments with which the adversary is sure to attempt to hinder you. Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him make it manifest. It is the weak and small side in the world now, but shall not be so long. Now is the grand opportunity to champion truth. Therefore gird up the loins of your mind and fight a good fight, and soon palms and crowns of glory we shall wear.
— June, 1885 —