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Golden Text:—"Keep thy heart with all diligence,
for out of it are the issues of Life."—Prov. 4:23 .
A REVIEW of the lessons of the past six months will, no doubt, prove profitable to us all. But we suggest that as we are at the closing of the year, we each individually take a review of our lives to see what the year has brought us in the way of lessons and experiences and trials and testings, and how we have received these, and to what extent we have profited by them. We should remember that through life's trials and difficulties the Lord is teaching us lessons and showing us features of our own characters which we may improve. Without these experiences we might not know of certain defects nor appreciate the necessity for overcoming them. Therefore, to the faithful of the Lord's people every trial and every difficulty of life is a special blessing. We are to remember the Apostle's words, "If ye be without chastisements, ye are bastards and not sons," for "Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son," that such may be fitted and prepared for service hereafter.
Our Golden Text furnishes us a very valuable seed-thought for the closing of the old year and the opening of the new. If we keep our hearts, our words, in the love of God; if we do this diligently, carefully, watching thereunto day by day, we shall be following the wise course. To whatever extent we have done this through the year closing, we have surely been blessed and profited. Whether we have succeeded well or poorly, whether, therefore, we can congratulate ourselves or not, the duty of the hour is to resolve that by the Lord's grace we will follow this course diligently during the year 1909.
Many write us of the great blessing they have received from the Vow, and of the assistance it has rendered them in exercising diligence in the keeping of their hearts in the love of God, and in fellowship and communion with those who are actively engaged in the harvest work. Let us continue in those things which have blessed us in the past, and let us remember that part of the value of the Vow is in connection with its statement that its various features will be remembered daily at the Throne of Grace to the Father. Surely those who are in harmony with that Vow are seeking, if possible, more diligently than ever, to scrutinize every word and thought and deed, and to bring all of these into closest harmony with the Lord's Word and Spirit. These cannot fail to have a blessing every day. Let us continue in love and humility and in fervency of spirit, serving the Lord with all our hearts, and keeping our hearts with all diligence, that from them shall be excluded everything that would be defiling or dishonorable or disloyal to the Lord and to his brethren.
"Out of the heart are the issues of life." Ah, yes! This is true in two senses. The issues of life as respects the words and deeds of life are all guided and influenced by the heart. If our deeds and words would be pure and holy and helpful, they must be backed by a loyalty of heart. Again, "Out of the heart are the issues of life" in the sense that the ultimate results that we shall obtain are not according to any formula of the Vow which we make, nor of any creed to which we might assent, nor of any course of study which we might undertake; but those issues would be dependent upon and determined by the real attitude of our hearts, because all the lessons of life, if they extend only to the outward man, and not the inward springs, will never bring us to the life eternal, which the Lord has promised to those that love him with all their hearts, to those who are fully consecrated in heart to him and his service. Let us close the old year with the right sentiments and proper self-examination, and begin the New Year with the proper diligence and proper resolutions out of good and honest hearts.