Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

176/448

Ms 2, 1885

Sermon/Sermon in the Battle Creek Tabernacle

Battle Creek, Michigan

July 25, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MR 211; 9MR 42-43. +Note

Sermon in the Tabernacle

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 1

Here are conditions, promises given on conditions. The conditions are that ye come out from among them, the world, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you. Who said it? The Lord. It is the Lord God of the heavens that said it. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 2

Now just before this the exhortation is given, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Beliel? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Then comes the text, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” [Verses 14-18.] 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 3

If we have received all these promises and thoroughly believe them, we shall cleanse ourselves of all filthiness of the flesh, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. This presents before us work for each one to do. It gives us something to do, and there is a warfare that every one of us is engaged in. We are to put on the whole armor of God; we are to fight the good fight of faith. But we know that while we are in the world we are surrounded with temptations and iniquity abounds, and “the love of many waxes cold.” [Matthew 24:12.] It is not a necessity that their love should wax cold because iniquity abounds. The very fact that iniquity abounds should be an incentive to every soul that loves God to be intensely in earnest and interested as faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 4

It is the privilege of every soul who names the name of Christ to have a firm hold from above. The grace of God, He says, is sufficient for you in every emergency; His grace is at our command. We may have a living connection with the God of heaven, we may have that strength and that power of righteousness which will elevate us above the common, the earthly, or sensual. But if we study the Bible we shall know that Satan is upon our track, and that he is working with an intense activity, and he lays his snares on the right hand and on the left; but the snare is not laid in our sight, but comes as a deception in order that we shall not discern it as a snare, that our souls may be captivated. When we see the wickedness that is increasing to a certain extent in the world, where is the corresponding power of righteousness to build up a barrier around the soul, and around the church, that this wickedness shall not come among us like a flood? 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 5

These institutions which are placed here in our midst are one inducement and one constant appeal to the churches here to keep themselves in the love of God. Here is a place for youth, that they may come as students to receive an education in the sciences. But is this the end of their work? If it is, they could just as well go to the colleges anywhere in our land, but it is not the end of the matter. It is an instrument of God, and each individual connected with the college should be so interested in the training and discipline and education that the youth should develop into men who fear God, should be women who have a hold on God, that they shall not be those who wish to study to make themselves attractive to fascinate the students to them, but to present Jesus, to present the power of truth, to have this power inwrought into their very being, interwoven in their minds and in their experience, to control the mind and the soul that their character may come out spotless before God, and what then? They will have the look of saints, which is righteousness. They will stand before the throne of God with the white linen on, the white linen of the saints. The great mistake which we have to correct in such a large church is this nominal morality. You may be afraid of it, for it rests in every such church to an alarming extent. “Come out,” says the apostle. Whom is he addressing? He is addressing those who claim to be children of God, and if ever these words were applicable, they are to this church. “Come out from among them.” [2 Corinthians 6:17.] It is for you to be afraid of breaking down the barriers which preserve vital holiness in your institutions and in your churches. It is for you to present the living Saviour before the people, to present Him in your college, in your publishing house, and to present Him in your sanitarium. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 6

Every physician who is connected with that sanitarium should be a man who has a hold from above. They are not only dealing with the body, but with the souls of men and women; but the judgment is to reveal what kind of work they are doing. You may make Jesus attractive, or you may lower the standard of holiness; but what God demands is a separation from the world. You may break down the standard; but in the judgment, when the books are opened, it will be seen that while the physician professed the name of Christ, professed to be a physician of the body and soul, he let the soul sink to ruin because he did not build up the barriers between these souls and the world. It was pleasure, and it was disposition to feel that the regulations and rules are too strict. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 7

That is what the devil says; that is what he said to Adam; that is what he says to the students in the college; that is what he says to the apprentices in the office; that is what he will say to every institution in the world. While God said to Adam, Thou shalt not take of the tree of knowledge, Satan says He is altogether too strict, He is depriving you of privileges which you may have. Should you eat of the tree of knowledge, you then would have opened before you a field which you have not explored. Many have entered that field; and when they entered that, the floodgates were opened toward the world. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 8

It is the constant effort of Satan to make us think that sin is not sinful after all, and if you let them have their own way they will come out all right in the end. It is to break down the barriers, the distinction between the world and the followers of righteousness—to conform to the world and let the burden drop. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 9

Here are these outside the Saviour, and the physician—according to the light God has given me—occupies a more responsible place than even the ministers who have given themselves to preach the Word. Why is he not dealing that Christian tenderness with the sick, not only with the body, but also with the soul? When one has become a sufferer and is diseased and in darkness and does not know how to get light, is there not open before the physician an opportunity of leading the mind into light and into truth? to lean upon the strong arm of power, the infinite One? Has he not an opportunity which the minister has not of presenting Jesus Christ to them? Is not the physician a dealer with the mind? Have they not an opportunity to open to them the fountain of life? can they not present Christ to them? If any one is lost, let them come in time and drink. “I am,” He says, “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] Ought you not to feel the burden that rests upon you who are connected with these institutions? 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 10

You have but a little time. The judgment is to sit, the books to be opened, and every man to be judged according to what is written in the book; and how stands the record? Have you been trying to maintain a dignity? Have you been trying to fasten the attention of people to you? or have you been seeking to follow Jesus, to walk before Him in similitude of mind? Have you felt that God has given you talents of importance? and those talents are not to remain just as He gave them to you? They are to be improved. One has ability to take care of a farm, the merchant has ability to take care of merchandise; and is it to that which will be said, “Well done”? [Matthew 25:21.] It is if he conduces his business on the strict rule of honesty and right. Then they will earn the “Well done” from the Master, but is it to end there? No, there is a greater work. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 11

What have you done for the Master? What have you been doing in order that souls might see their duty? What have you been doing to bring souls to the Master? If you have been doing that work, and you can bring sheaves to Him, you will have the “Well done.” What are we to do? Very many here have become connected with the world. Christ says, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” [John 17:15.] It is a constant guardianship. It is to stand as faithful sentinels. It is to have everything connected with us sanctified, the powers which God has given us in order to press humanity, in order to elevate, to ennoble, for Christ said, “I sanctify Myself that they also may be sanctified.” [Verse 19.] To do this work, it will be constant watchfulness, constant care. They must be those who are constantly watching and guarding themselves, that they shall not offend God. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 12

What is heaven? It is a place desired. We want to be there. There is no sin there, no deception, no corruption, nothing that will mar the sacred paradise of God. Should we not then bring all the heaven into our life that we can. In the place of those who are judgmentbound, being trifling and jesting and joking, and without weight or burden resting upon them, you need to carry away with you a burden of souls, an earnest sympathy and love of souls, that you may do your duty toward them, that you may have acuteness to mold, to fashion the character against a more cunning foe, that it will not be damned in the judgment, but that it will be found that you have done your work, and have done it well. Shall we go with a long face or with groans? That is not for the Christian at all. The more heaven we obtain in our hearts, if Christ is enshrined there, rejoice always, but it is different from the joking or jesting. It is a sweet peace expressed in the countenance, and a holy joy seen in the life. Let them see that you have got a hold from above, that the joy and peace of Christ are abiding in your hearts, and that they have an influence upon your character and upon your life. Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Who was He? The Majesty of heaven. Who was he? The Son of God, the Light of the world. It was He who made the world. It was He who said He was the Light of the world. Whosoever shall know Me shall not walk in darkness. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 13

Who are the company who are sealed with the seal of the living God? What saith the Lord? He says to the angel, Go, and place the mark upon the foreheads of those who sigh and cry for the abominations which are done in the land. [Ezekiel 9:4.] That should keep us in sobriety, in prayerfulness, and watchfulness. And as we see the iniquity taking away the youth right out of our arms, do you suppose it would be so if the right influence were exerted over them by every member who professes to be a child of God? What is the matter? The high standard is left to trail in the very dust. You are acting as the world acts. You are not to follow their moves, but are to come out and be separate. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 14

“I will be a Father unto you,” and what next? “and ye shall be sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6:18.] What, will you be members of the Lord in heaven, children of the heavenly King? Now you who think you will preserve your dignity, you who are aspiring for distinction, and you who are struggling and making every effort for your life to conform just as nigh to the world as you can, in order to obtain distinction, and in order that you may have a name and that you may have esteem, those who have no love for God, let me tell you that you are making a great mistake. He says, “I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” Then what if we are on the side of the Infinite One, what if we are on the side of Jesus Christ, what if we shall have no influence? He says, “If the world hate you, you may know that it hated Me before it hated you.” [John 15:18.] 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 15

Purity, humility, lowliness, and loveliness of character have no charm for a large class. They do not desire them. “Behold,” says John, “what manner of love has the Father bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.” [1 John 3:1.] Look at the cross of Calvary. The light which is reflected from the cross of Calvary will show you what love, what intensity of love, is bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. His Son came to this world to bear the weight of care and perplexity. He was abused and rejected. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Shall we not then place ourselves on His side? This infinite sacrifice was made for us, that we might become acquainted with Jesus Christ, that we might be led by His countless charms, that we might love His beauty of character, that we might see in His purity of character that which we should admire. The religion [of] Jesus Christ—[they] do not know anything about it. They profess religion, but it is not the religion of Jesus. They confess the truth, but it is not the truth which sanctifies the soul. They may give their attention to models, but it is not those which will give them a place with those who surround the throne with white robes every one of them. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 16

There’s a time coming when names are to be blotted out of the book of life, names once written there; but He says unto them also, if you overcome, I will not blot out your names out of the book of life. [Revelation 3:5.] Here men and women play the game of life. Satan is wrestling for the soul, and the temptations are to assimilate to the world, to be like it, to be just as near like it as possible. Christ says, Come out from among them and be ye separate. [2 Corinthians 6:17.] It is the passions of the world that lead the world to think: “I have just as good a character as they have, and just as good a religion as they have. I don’t see that the religion that they profess does any more for them than mine does for me, and I think I stand just as good a chance as they do.” But suppose you place yourself on the elevated platform of eternal truth. The lawyer came to Christ and said, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The Master says to him, “What says the law?” “Well,” says [one,] “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with just one quarter of your heart, and the rest you may give to your own inclinations. Just one quarter, one half, two thirds”—did He say that? Why, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and will all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. ... This do and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 17

There are the conditions. Now, I ask, are you obeying? Those who have made a profession of Jesus Christ, are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Are you straining to reach that high level of holiness? “I sanctified Myself in order that you might be sanctified.” [John 17:19.] If you reach a high standard, another may be inclined to reach it, and an unconscious influence is telling upon the souls and lives and characters of those around you. Suppose the physicians in the institute should take a position to lower the standard, it will be seen in the judgment that they are weighed in the balance and found wanting. Suppose in our college the teachers should be lax and loose, and should not take a consistent course in accordance with the Bible standard—what if they have been lowering the Bible standard? They form characters that will not meet the approval of high heaven, and when the judgment reveals the fact, it will be seen that the youth were drawn away from the path cast out for them to walk in. It will be seen that their very inattentions to religious duties had an influence to draw them in the wrong direction. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 18

Every one of us is responsible before God—those of us in institutions, and every member of us. It is not the ministers alone who carry the weight of responsibility; but every church must bow before God, or they will never see those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. If such a life is led, they will have little influence and desire for distinction. If that prevails with them, then they have been exerting an influence for God; but if not, they have exerted an influence which shall perish with them. Every church member is a minister in one sense. Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world, a city which is set on an hill cannot be hid. ... Let your light so shine before men, that they” by seeing—what? Your name on the church book? Your works? Your good works shall “glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14, 16.] These good works lift the mind up to Jesus, chief among ten thousand. It is to carry the mind up to the mighty hold of power and fasten it there to worship God, and how by the grace of God which is manifested in your character, which is expressed by your works. All these things reveal Jesus. These things are expressed in our talk, in our devotion, in our zeal, in our intensity to magnify His name. This work rests on the churches. The working church will be the live church. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 19

There are a large number here who ought to be out in small communities, letting their light shine in these communities where they could help and strengthen. They ought to be lending their strength to build up the kingdom of God, and every one who is engaged in this work will grow stronger. What are they doing? Which are at work for the Master? Which are investing their capital in the truth, a truth which has been brought to them? Which are putting their talents to use. As time goes on they will be better able to labor, because they are employing the ability which God has given them, exercising it and becoming more skilled in meeting the darts of the enemy. They are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy. They know how to meet the power of Satan, to lift up the weak, and to strengthen the feeble knees. They know how to inspire with hope the sinking soul, and in this work they are becoming acquainted with God. They are becoming acquainted with Jesus Christ, because they are co-workers. They understand better every day the character of Christ. We want to love God firmly, and right along, not minding whether we are observed, whether we are loved or not loved, but keeping the love of God in our hearts and loving our fellow men all around us, seeking to win souls to the Master, that we can sympathize with them and that we can help those who need help. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 20

Is that not the best way to find that strength which you need? forget yourself? As you forget yourself, you forget a thousand weaknesses, you ride right over those difficulties. You master them because there is work to be done for the Master; and in doing that work for the Master, you forget self, you get your mind away from yourself; and in doing this, your soul becomes strong. You know that the triumphs are for you because you have complied with the conditions, you have tested the Master. I proved the Master when I came on this journey. I proved the Master when I stepped aboard the cars. I said I would start, and as soon as I placed myself in the position to carry out the work and will of the Master—as I thought it was—I had sufficient strength for the day, and it has been given right along as I needed it. You feel the need of it, and you do not think you can do anything. Go to work for Jesus, and you will find that the grace of Christ will be imparted unto you. We won’t need to compromise with the lovers of mammon. “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” [2 Corinthians 6:16.] If you have idols, let Jesus, let faith come in. What we want is a deeper work in our hearts. There are many who will never enter the pearly portals. Life has been a mistake, and it would have been better if they never had been born. It is a great responsibility to live; it is not a trifling matter. Day by day the record is going to heaven. Life is sacred to some duty, and we are not here to please ourselves. Christ did not seek to please Himself, to seek for supremacy. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 21

Seek to do the duty that comes next, not attempt to climb at one bound to the top of the ladder because you will fall short of it, but to climb round by round until you step off into the kingdom of glory. The work is before us. It is to do up a lifework with an eye single to the glory of God, not to attain the praise of men, not to be of high esteem. What was Jesus? The Majesty of heaven, to whom even angels bowed, the Light of heaven, the Light of the city of God. And what was He? He was a servant. When we think of Jesus, how He walked, how He was of humble mien, think of Him as a man of sorrows; as He stands there upon the steps of the temple beside the high priest clothed in his gorgeous apparel, dusty and weary from travel, He looks over the scene and sees the temple desecrated. There were the sheep and the oxen; and as He cast His eye over the scene, the divine flashed through the human. There was the gorgeous priest, there was the simple and humble man, dust stained, but yet the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, He who had left the royal courts in order to reach the very depths of human woe and lift fallen man up, He who came to our world to embrace the race with His long human arm and with the other to grasp the throne of the Infinite, that He might connect finite man to the infinite God and unite earth with heaven. This was the man who stood there not in His appearance attractive. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 22

What did attract the multitudes? It was the purity of His character, the goodness and loveliness of His character. It was this which was to charm; and as His eye sweeps over the scene, His divinity held power over mortal man. They held themselves perfectly quiet with bated breath. They looked upon that Man to see what would come next. The silence was painful. He says, “Take these things away. It is written, My Father’s house shall be the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves” [John 2:16; Matthew 21:13], and then they fled from the place as if a band of soldiers was following. What was it that had taken the place? The sick were brought into the court of the temple, and He was healing the soul as well as the body. He bent in love over the tender infant, over the decrepit, and those who were suffering with loathsome diseases He healed every one of them. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 23

It is our work to devote our God-given powers, to have them in living union with God, that we may have loveliness of character, and that we may know Jesus Christ. We shall find that we shall be the light of the world, that we shall attract not to ourselves, but to God; not to glorify us, but to glorify our Father which art in heaven. Every one of us has that work to do, but I am afraid the Master could not say “well done” to many of you today. Why? Because you are not doing one thing. Because you are not improving the talents of the mind; because the mind which God has given you, you are not trying to study how you can exalt the Master, glorify His name by the power He has given you. I will say again, I am afraid of nominal morality. I am afraid of religion without Jesus, where ye are neither cold nor hot. I would rather you were cold or hot. Because you are lukewarm you carry no loads, feel no distress for sinners, no agonies for souls as you see them dying around you. “Because thou art lukewarm I will spew thee out of My mouth.” [Revelation 3:16.] We are to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. What next? You don’t want to be blind to the world, to their wickedness and sin, that you should call sin righteousness and righteousness sin. You want to be wide-awake. You want to have the eyesalve applied to your eyes, that you may observe righteousness which you must have in order to be Christ’s. You want this discernment, that you may not be ignorant of Satan’s devices, that you may know how to defend yourself against him. After you have done what you can, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up the standard against the enemy. It is the power of the Almighty which is given to those who seek for it. All heaven is open to our demand. All heaven was poured out in one grand gift to man. What have we? We have Christ on our side, and then we are to walk with God. We are to feel that God and angels are willing to help us in the work, and then by and by when those trying scenes of the day of God hang upon us, then it will be seen who have been laying up treasure in heaven, who have been working out their own salvation with fear and trembling. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 24

Look at that little company of Christians. They are very small. They do not appear attractive. “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” [1 John 3:2, 3.] That is the work. They have a pure character. This is what we are working for, a pure heart, a loveliness of character, that our lives may not be blotted out of the book of life. He says: I will not blot out their names out of the book of life. [Revelation 3:5.] I will set before you an open door. No man can shut it. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” [Verse 8.] How can you come on to these things and say that you cannot overcome? Why, yes, you can. I have set before thee an open door. No man can shut it. It has the strength of the Infinite One. It is the One who is our mediator. He is making atonement, and the light of the glory of God reflected upon the face of Jesus shineth upon us children here upon the earth which is strength for every one of us. Are you conquering day by day? It is those who have conquered whose names will not be blotted out of the book of life, but they shall enter in through the gates and have right to the tree of life. Blessed are they who do His commandments, for they shall enter in through the city, and they shall have right to the tree of life. I know that Satan is blinding the eye; I know he is shutting our very sight. Iniquity is interposing between us, but we want to get these things out, we want to get the soul temple cleansed, we want to open the door; for Jesus is knocking at the door of the heart, and we want to welcome Him in, and then we shall come nigh to God and lay hold of His mighty power, a present help in every time of need; and at last the city gates will be thrown wide, and the nations who have kept the faith shall enter in and have right to the tree of life. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 25

God grant this may be the lot of every one of us; may none of you be left out. 4LtMs, Ms 2, 1885, par. 26