Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 44, 1894

Presenting the Truth in Jesus

Campground, Ashfield, New South Wales, Australia

October 30, 1894

This manuscript is published in entirety in GCB 02/25/1895; TM 194-197. +Note

3:00 a.m. Last night in my sleeping hours I seemed to be in meeting with my brethren, listening to One who spoke as having authority. He said, Many souls will attend this meeting who are honestly ignorant of the truths which will be presented before them. They will listen and become interested, because Christ is drawing them; conscience tells them that what they hear is true, for it has the Bible for its foundation. The greatest care is needed in dealing with these souls. Be always on guard. Do not at the outset press before the people the most objectionable features of our faith, lest you close the ears of those to whom these things come as a new revelation. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 1

Let such portions of truth be dealt out to them as they may be able to grasp and appreciate; though it should appear strange and startling, many will recognize with joy that new light is shed on the Word of God. Whereas if truth were presented in so large a measure that they could not receive it, some would go away and never come again. More than this, they would misrepresent the truth, and in their explanation of what was said, they would so wrest the Scriptures as to confuse other minds. We must take advantage of circumstances now. Present the truth as it is in Jesus. There must be no combative or controversial spirit in the advocacy of truth. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 2

Those who will study the manner of Christ’s teaching, and educate themselves to follow His way, will attract and hold large numbers now, as Christ held the people in His day. The Saviour is our example in all things. His love abiding in the heart will be expressed in words that will benefit the hearers and win souls to Him. When the truth in its practical character is urged upon the people because you love them, souls will be convicted, for the Holy Spirit of God will convict of the truth. Satan will be on the ground, that with his hellish shadow he may obtrude himself between the human agent and God, to intercept every ray of light that would shine to the soul. The great message is to be given as it is in Jesus. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 3

There is necessity for individual effort. Give opportunity for all who are in any way troubled to speak of their difficulties, for they will have them. Arm yourself with humility, pray that angels of God may come close to your side, to impress the minds, for it is not you that works the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit must work you. There is a winning, compelling power in the gospel of Jesus Christ; it is the Holy Spirit that makes the truth impressive. The truth as it is in Jesus will subdue the most powerful opponents, bringing them into captivity to Jesus Christ. Christ will take men who possess the strongest spirit of opposition, and if they submit to Him, He will connect them with Himself in His work. Thus the truth is presented so as to win a decided victory. Keep practical truth ever before the people. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 4

After these things were spoken, I heard men conversing together in a discouraging way. Poverty was, they thought, the greatest obstacle to the advancement of the work. Their words were more negative than positive, expressing little faith, hope, or courage. All admitted that the field was a hard one, to be worked with so little means and so few workers. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 5

Then the Teacher said that these were not the most disheartening features; the most weighty difficulty is that unless imbued with the Spirit of God, you will be inclined to allow your natural temperament to shape the work, and leave Jesus out of the conflict. You have neglected to cherish love for one another, and it has not been strengthening in the heart. Criticism is the school that some have been educated in. Who are feeling a burden to come into perfect unity? Who will deny self and make any and every sacrifice of your own ideas and preferences, that you may be in harmony with your brethren? It is the lack of the grace of the Holy Spirit which makes the professed followers of Christ so decided and unyielding, so determined to please themselves. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 6

“Rebuke not an elder (man older than yourself), but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren, the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Honor widows that are widows indeed.” [1 Timothy 5:1-3.] “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” [1 Timothy 1:5.] “Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” [1 Corinthians 13:4-6.] 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 7

The great obstruction to your work will be the disregard of the tenderness of Christ in dealing with one another, because self is seeking the supremacy. Self loves to vaunt itself, and those who present a spirit unlike Christ’s cannot discern what manner of spirit controls them. They speak and act like sinners, while they profess to be Christians. They more readily express their own will than the will of God, yet they are very strenuous to have their will regarded as the will of God. Satan is urging his attributes into the very midst of us; he is seeking to destroy our love for, and confidence in, each other; and the lack of confidence which brethren in the ministry repose in their fellow laborer is easily read in the rules and regulations concerning even the details of the work which they seek to impose upon them. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 8

When men will show confidence in their fellow men, they will come much nearer to possessing the mind of Christ. The Lord has revealed the estimate that He places upon men. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] But some minds are ever seeking to reshape the character of others according to their own ideas and measures. God has not given them this work to do. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 9

Self will ever cherish a high estimate of self. As men lose their first love, they do not keep the commandments of God, and then they begin to criticize one another. This spirit will be constantly striving for the mastery to the close of time. Satan is seeking to foster it, in order that brethren in their ignorance may seek to devour one another. God is not glorified, but greatly dishonored; the Spirit of God is grieved. Satan exults because he knows that if he can set brother to watch brother in the church and in the ministry, some will be so disheartened and discouraged as to leave their post of duty. This is not the work of the Holy Spirit; a power from beneath is working in the chambers of the mind and in the soul temple to place his attributes where the attributes of Christ should be. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 10

He who has paid the infinite price to redeem men reads with unerring accuracy all the hidden workings of the human mind, and knows just how to deal with every soul. And in dealing with men, He reveals the same principles that are manifest in the natural world. The beneficent operations of nature are not accomplished by abrupt and startling interpositions; men are not permitted to take her work into their own hands. God works through the calm, regular operation of His appointed laws. So it is in spiritual things. Satan is constantly seeking to produce effects by rude and violent thrusts; but Jesus found access to minds by the pathway of their most familiar associations. He disturbed as little as possible their accustomed train of thought, by abrupt actions or prescribed rules. He honored man with His confidence and thus placed him on his honor. He introduced old truths in a new and precious light. Thus when only twelve years old, He astonished the doctors of the law by His questions in the temple. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 11

Jesus assumed humanity that He might meet humanity. He brings men under the transforming power of truth by meeting them where they are. He gains access to the heart by securing sympathy and confidence, making all feel that His identification with their nature and interest is complete. The truth came from His lips beautiful in its simplicity, yet clothed with dignity and power. What a teacher was our Lord Jesus Christ! How tenderly did He treat every honest inquirer after truth, that He might gain admission to the sympathies and find a home in the heart. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 12

I must tell you, brethren, you are far from being what the Lord would have you be. The attributes of the enemy of God and man too often find expression in your spirit and attitude toward one another. You hurt one another because you are not partakers of the divine nature. And you work against your own perfection of character; you bring trouble to yourselves, make your work hard and toilsome, because you regard your own spirit and defects of character as precious virtues, to be clung to and fostered. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 13

Jesus points the highest minds, as well as the lowest, to the lily, in the freshness of the dew of morning, and bids us, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” And He impresses the lesson: “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, ye of little faith?” [Matthew 6:28-30.] 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 14

Men make the work of advancing the truth tenfold harder than it really is by seeking to take God’s work out of His hands into their own finite hands. They think they must be constantly inventing something to make men do things which they suppose these persons ought to do. The time thus spent is all the while making the work more complicated, for the Great Chief Worker is left out of the question in the care of His own heritage. Men undertake the job of tinkering up the defective characters, and only succeed in making the defects much worse. They would better leave God to do His own work, for He does not regard them as capable of reshaping character. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 15

What they need is to be imbued with the Spirit of Christ. If they take hold of His strength, they will make peace with Him; then they will be in a fair way to make peace with their fellow laborers. The less of the meekness and lowliness of Christ the human agent has in his spirit and character, the more he sees perfection in his own methods, and imperfection in the methods of others. Our only safety is to watch unto prayer, and to counsel together, believing that God will keep our brethren as well as ourselves, for there is no respect of persons with Him. God will work for us when we are faithful students, and the doers of His words. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 16

But when there is, on the part of the laborers, so manifest a disregard of Christ’s express command that we love one another as He has loved us, how can we expect that brethren will heed the commandments of finite men, and the regulations and definite specifications as to how each shall labor? The wisdom that prescribes for us must be supernatural, else it will prove a physician that cannot heal, but will only destroy. We would better seek God with the whole heart, and lay down self-importance, for “all ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 17

Instead of toiling to prepare set rules and regulations, you might better be praying and submitting your own will and your ways to Christ. He is not pleased when you make hard the thing He has made easy. He says, “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.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] The Lord Jesus loves His heritage, and if men will not think it their special prerogative to prescribe rules for their fellow laborers, but will bring Christ’s rules into their life, and copy His lessons, then each will be an example, and not a judge. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 18

Christ’s most favorite theme was the paternal character and abundant love of God. The curse of every church today is that men do not adopt Christ’s methods. They think they can improve on the rules given in the Gospel and so are free to define them, hoping thus to reform the churches, and the workmen. Let God be our one Master, our one Lord, full of goodness, compassion, and love. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 19

God gives knowledge to His workmen, and He has left on record for us the rich, full promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [James 1:5-7.] Is it not best to obtain wisdom individually by going to God, and not man? What saith the great Teacher? “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.” [John 17:6.] 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 20

There is among us an evil that needs to be corrected. Brethren feel free to look at and speak of the supposed defects of others, when that very liberty reveals a decided defect in themselves. They make it manifest that they are wise in their own conceits, and God cannot give them His special blessing, for they would exalt themselves, and hurt the precious cause of truth. When the world was destitute of the knowledge of God, Jesus came to impart this inestimable blessing, a knowledge of the paternal character of our Heavenly Father. This was His own gift to our world, and this gift He committed to His disciples, to be communicated by them to the world. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 21

All the wisdom that men possess is God’s gift, and He can and will impart wisdom to every man who asks it of Him in faith. Solomon sought wisdom from God, and it was given him in large measure. But how did the universe of heaven look upon him when he perverted that wisdom, and employed God’s great and holy gift to exalt himself? God chose him to build the temple, but how he perverted the sacred trust! He leagued himself with idolatrous nations. Thus he who at the dedication of the temple had prayed, “Let your hearts be undividedly given to the Lord,” himself began to separate his heart from God. He imperiled his soul’s interest by the formation of friendships with the Lord’s enemies. What carefulness there should be exercised in the formation of friendship. Companionship with the world will surely lower the standard of religious principle. Solomon’s heathen wives turned away his heart from God. His fine sensibilities were blunted, he became hardhearted for he lost his sympathy for man and his love for God. His conscience was seared, and his rule became tyranny. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 22

Solomon prepared the way for his own ruin when he sought for wise men from other nations to build the temple. God had been the educator of His people, and He designed that they should stand in His wisdom, and with His imparted talents should be second to none. If they had the clean hands, the pure heart, and the noble, sanctified purpose, the Lord would communicate to them His grace. But Solomon looked to man instead of God, and he found his supposed strength to be weakness. He brought to Jerusalem the leaven of the evil influences which were perpetuated in polygamy and idolatry; it was not [a] question to who made Israel to sin. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 23

Although Solomon afterward repented, his repentance could not abolish the idolatrous practices which he had brought into the nation. We shall individually transmit an inheritance of either good or evil. The silver of Tarshish and the gold of Ophir were obtained by Solomon at a terrible expense, even the betrayal of sacred trusts. The evil communications with heathen nations corrupted good manners. When the Lord’s people turn from the God of all wisdom, and look to men who love not God in order to obtain wisdom and arrive at decisions, the Lord will allow them to follow that wisdom which is not from above but from beneath. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 24


Need of Workers

Workers are needed all over the world. The truth of God is to be carried to foreign lands, that those who are in darkness may be enlightened. Work should be done that [will] qualify the students to be laborers together with God. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 25

God requires that a zeal be shown in this direction infinitely greater than has hitherto been manifested. As a people we are in some respects far behind in missionary work. We are not doing one-twentieth part of the good we might accomplish in positions of trust, because selfishness prevails to a large extent among us. Some are envious of others, fearing that they will be more highly esteemed than themselves. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 26

Cultivated intellects are now needed in every part of the work of God; for novices cannot do the work acceptably in unfolding the hidden treasure to enrich souls. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 27

God has devised that schools shall be an instrumentality for developing workers for Jesus Christ of whom He will not be ashamed, and this object must ever be kept in view. The height man may every reach by proper culture has not hitherto been realized. We have among us more than an average of men of ability. If their capabilities were brought into use, we should have twenty ministers where we now have one. Physicians, too, would be educated to battle with disease. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 28

Cities and towns are steeped in sin, yet there are Lots in every Sodom. The poison of sin is at work at the heart of society. God calls for reformers to stand in defense of the laws He has established to govern the physical system, and to maintain and elevate standards in the training of the mind and the culture of the heart. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 29

Heart Culture

There is danger of pharisaical exactitude burdening minds with worldly forms and customs which will, in many cases, become all important, making a world of an atom, and an atom of a world. The grace of Christ with its purifying, ennobling influence, will do more for us than all the worldly education upon etiquette that is made so essential. To many, the externals are the sum total of religion, and yet it will be evidenced that the heart has not that genuine courtesy which alone is of value with God. If they are spoken to about their faults, they have so little Christian politeness that the sacred position of the minister, whom God has sent with His message of warning, is lost sight of in their effort to criticize his attitude, his gestures, and the formation of his sentences. They think themselves paragons of wisdom, but they pay no heed to the words of God from the courts of heaven. To all such, God says that they will have to become fools in order to know the true wisdom of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 30

I was shown that our college was designed of God to accomplish the great and good work of saving souls. It is only when brought under the full control of the Spirit of God that the talents of an individual are rendered useful to the fullest extent. The precepts and principles of religion are the first steps in the acquisition of knowledge, and lie at the very foundation of true education. Knowledge and science must be vitalized by the Spirit of God in order to serve the noblest purposes. The Christian alone can make the right use of knowledge. Science, in order to be fully appreciated, must be viewed from a religious standpoint. Then all will worship the God of science. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 31

The heart which is ennobled by the grace of God can best comprehend the real value of education. The attributes of God as seen in his created works can be appreciated only as we have a knowledge of the Creator. The teachers must be acquainted, not only with the theory of the truth, but must have an experimental knowledge of the way of holiness in order to lead the youth to the fountains of truth, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. Knowledge is power <for good> only when united with true piety. A soul emptied of self will be noble. Christ abiding in the heart by faith will make us wise in God’s sight. 9LtMs, Ms 44, 1894, par. 32