Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 50, 1886


Christiania, Norway

July 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3SM 330-331.

There is altogether too much money expended for needless things for the ornamentation of houses, and for expensive furniture. While the heart may not worship these things, those who expend their means for jewelry and for things to beautify, to please the eye, may be under condemnation from God because the means is only lent them of God—entrusted to them to be traded upon, to be used to bring talents to the Master. As long as there are missions to be established, meetinghouses to be built, missionaries to be supported while doing their work, souls to be saved, youth to be educated, there must be a careful and wise use of our Lord’s money, that it shall not be spent upon needless things and foolish indulgences. There are souls to be saved, and God’s work is to be supreme with us. There are great possibilities, and high and pure principles are to govern those who have chosen salvation. Let every one be careful how he moves. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 1

Many catch at ideas and see great importance in these ideas when they are not sound. They are side issues, false waymarks, pointing away from great and solemn truths which are God’s tests. The third angel’s message is infallible and is the great, decisive test for the whole human family, and Satan will seek to switch men from the track into bypaths. Let every worker stick to the message (Revelation 14:6-10) and let the truth do its work. Let it be in the mouth of the messengers, to cut away the evils, for the truth will be as a hammer to break the flinty, rocky hearts and as a fire to consume the dross and the rubbish of error and sin from the soul. Let every one look to God in earnest faith to set his own soul in order. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 2

How many establish barriers between themselves and their devotion to God by their friendship for the world, which always results in their hearts being at enmity with God. There are but few indeed who have an eye single to God’s glory, and who will pursue a course discreet and wise before the world, and yet will not sacrifice one atom of principle to gain its favors. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 3

The idol money has power over thousands who trust and love wealth more than they love or trust in the living God. The things of the world are sought after and considered worthy to be admired and enjoyed by all those who are not lovers of the cross of Christ and who are not spiritual worshipers. The fashions of the world, the desire of the eye, the love of self, the vainglory—all are obstructions to piety and separate the soul from God. Should we take up these hindrances one by one and strike to destroy them, it would be like picking off the leaves of a tree, which would only put forth its green foliage again. The truth, Bible truth, the message God has given to us, is the axe to be laid at the root of the tree. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 4

If all our treasures which are hindrances to spirituality were removed, it would come close to every one of you. The greatest hindrance to some and that which is a positive idol is their habits of eating and drinking. Parents and children with their wrong habits are injuring their physical, mental, and moral capabilities. Tea and coffee drinking are marked as idols. These things are a positive injury to the physical, mental, and moral powers, and those who indulge them will never advance in spirituality until these evils are given up and they sign the teetotal pledge. Intemperance in these things excites the nerves, and when the immediate influence is gone there is a letting down and a feeling of exhaustion. The flagging energies must be stimulated by more tea, more coffee. The habit of frequent lunches is a positive injury to health. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 5

Now shall we leave the great principles of the third angel’s message to carry the burden of these things? We must take the Word of God and let it cut to the very root. There is very great need of individually seeking for meekness and learning to be like Jesus. We must learn to cut off the tendencies to expend means upon needless things. Souls are perishing for truth and light. Their peace and well-being consist in loving God and keeping His commandments. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 6

It is a difficult matter for men and women to draw the line in the matter of picture-making. Some have made a raid against pictures, daguerreotypes, and pictures of every kind. Everything must be burned up they say, urging that the making of all pictures is prohibited by the second commandment; that they are an idol. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 7

An idol is anything that human beings love and trust in instead of loving and trusting in the Lord their Maker. Whatever earthly thing men desire and trust in, as having power to help them and do them good, leads them away from God and is to them an idol. Whatever divides the affections, or takes away from the soul the supreme love of God, or interposes to prevent unlimited confidence and entire trust in God, assumes the character and takes the form of an idol in the soul temple. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 8

The first great commandment is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37. Here is allowed no separation of the affections from God. In (1 John 2:15-17) we read, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” Now if the pictures made have a tendency to separate the affections from God, and are worshiped in the place of God, they are idols. Have those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ exalted these things above God and given their affections to them? Has their love for treasures filled a place in their hearts that Jesus should occupy? 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 9

Have those who have burned up all their pictures of friends and any kind of pictures they happened to have come up to a higher state of consecration for this act, and do they seem in words, in deportment, and in soul to be ennobled, elevated, more heavenly minded? Is their experience richer than before? Do they pray more and believe with a more perfect faith after this consuming sacrifice which they have made? Have they come up into the mount? Has the holy fire been kindled in their hearts, giving new zeal and greater devotion to God and His work than before? Has a live coal from off the altar of sacrifice touched their hearts and their lips? By their fruits you can tell the character of the work. 4LtMs, Ms 50, 1886, par. 10