Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 42, 1886

Sermon/The Ladder to Heaven

Nimes, France

October 20, 1886

This manuscript is published in entirety in 3MR 81-88.

8 p.m., October 20, 1886

(Sermon at Nimes, France,)

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:1. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 1

Here Peter addresses his brethren, those of like precious faith, and he appeals to them to move understandingly and intelligently. And he says that he desires grace and peace to be multiplied unto them through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Here is a necessity presented before them of adding knowledge to knowledge, for he continues in (verse 4), “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 2

Now if we are partakers of the divine nature, we shall have a warfare with the power of darkness. Satan will oppose every advance step, and we need not think that we can make advancement in divine life without special help from God. We must have strength from heaven if we expect to advance in divine life. We cannot overcome in our own strength, but grace will be given to every one of us. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 3

The Saviour condescended to come to this earth and give His life for us, but the world would not receive Him and in return for His goodness and mercy rejected Him. But what a condescension on the part of Christ to leave the royal throne and to make the infinite sacrifice, to clothe His divinity with humanity! Here was the Creator of the world, and the ones He came to bless rejected Him. How can we account for this insult to the Majesty of high heaven? Only on the ground that the heart is carnal. It is not in the natural heart to love the Christian graces, but the Spirit is given us to help our infirmities. Is it not a marvel that Christ came to this world, that He, being the Creator, has a special interest for the human race, and that His matchless love yearns for us and He invites us to come unto Him and gain happiness and rest? This can only be done through the knowledge of our divine Lord. By obtaining this we have strength to overcome. The flesh will war against the Spirit, but by divine power this knowledge can be obtained. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 4

The apostle continues, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” 2 Peter 1:5-7. We see but little true godliness in the world. And we see a great work to be done in character building. Those who have no love for God have no relish for holy things. The first step to take to gain a relish for heavenly things is to add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge. It is no credit to remain in ignorance. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and this is to have understanding and to fear to offend our Creator. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 5

As we add the Christian graces, we are being prepared to assist others in the divine life and present to them the true principles of a religious life. I have made it my duty to instill into the minds of my children true principles that they may escape the corruptions that are in the world in order to be successful in character building. We must begin at the very foundation and carry the mind upward in knowledge, for every capacity is to be used in glorifying God. In addition to the principles mentioned, temperance is enumerated. Here you see the importance of principle, and combined with this we must be temperate or else we shall make a failure. Therefore we must add grace to grace. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 6

“For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ... If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Verses 8, 10. But in order to accomplish this we must be purged from our old sins. “Wherefore,” says the apostle, “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things.” Verse 12. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 7

The reason why more do not lay hold of the religion of Christ is because they fear they could not hold on to their profession; but it is by faith we must stand, and unless we have faith we cannot glorify God. Christians are expected to grow to the full stature of our Lord and Master. Those who expect to be followers of Christ must make daily advancement; if they fail in this they will fall and lose eternal life. There is no safety for us unless we are going forward step by step. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 8

We have men claiming sanctification. There works will show if they are transformed into the image of Christ. Sanctification is not brought about instantaneously, but it is accomplished by climbing the rounds of Peter’s ladder of eight rounds. We must step on the first in order to reach the highest. This ladder reaches from earth to heaven, and every soul that enters the city of God will have to climb this ladder by self-denial, and this can be accomplished by laying hold of the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Without this strength, temptation will sweep us down the current to final destruction. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 9

But we are expected to shine; and how is it with us—do we possess the Christian graces? Are we in possession of kindness? If we are in possession of this grace, then the fruit will appear. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 10

We must put on the whole armor in order that we may secure an entrance into the city of God. We have heaven to win or lose, and to accomplish this we must take our eyes away from the things of earth and center our minds upon heavenly things. Temptation will assail us all the way through. Our aim should not be to reach the world’s standard, for it will be seen in the day of God that that standard will count for nothing. Those who reach it will not hear from the lips of Christ, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:21.] 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 11

We should give our best affection to our heavenly Father. How my heart has been grieved as I have seen, in galleries of art, pictures representing Christ. The executors have shown their true understanding of the mission of Christ and His character. They have not even approached the reality, and we had better spend our time in contemplating the true Artist of nature. See the flowers, how beautiful nature has painted the various colors! Christ has spoken of the lily of the lake, and He said that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [Luke 12:27.] If we want to instruct our children, let us take them to the lake and show them the handiwork of God, explaining to them the pureness of the lily, that gathers up the properties that are essential to build up itself to its height of purity. From it they may learn the lesson not to be contaminated with impurity. Teach them the lessons that Daniel learned. He refused that which would not assist him in building true character, and although surrounded as he was by evil influences, he stood firm upon principle, refusing to partake of those things that would have retarded his progress in divine life, and for his integrity God gave him wisdom and influence. If these lessons are learned by us, then we shall have made a good record and shall not be afraid to stand when the Son of man comes. We must not be swayed by every temptation, but must constantly grow in grace. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 12

It is our privilege to gather rays of light and not to be content with present attainments, for the Lord has an abundance of light for us. Are we pressing on to know what the Lord would have us do? When Christ comes in power with His holy angels, we shall want to be children of God and we shall want to hear Him say to us, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” Matthew 25:34. On the other hand there will be those who will cry for the mountains and rocks to fall upon them to hide them “from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16, 17. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 13

The Lord of heaven has an eternity of happiness for His children in the earth made new. John says, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 14

Here are inducements for those who will live holy lives; and those who will not earnestly comply with the requirements after such inducements are offered are like those whom Paul admonished in the following words: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth ...?” Galatians 3:1. If the fear of God is before us, then we shall be enabled to endure and to have a recompense of reward. I see that many of the youth will have a terrible disappointment when they find that they have lost heaven. Oh, how important it is for us to understand our relation to God and to know that we are in harmony with His divine will! 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 15

Darkness covers the earth, and it is time for God’s servants to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. Where is a voice of alarm to be heard? The Christian world need to be aroused, that they may stand. The ladder must be climbed. Jacob saw that it reached from earth to heaven. When at Bethel, while fleeing from the wrong he had committed, as he was lying in his lonely condition, God had pity and compassion upon him and revealed Himself to him. There was presented before him the plan of salvation. Angels were seen ascending and descending from heaven, and Jacob was permitted to see the court of heaven; and there he saw that the light was permitted to shine from heaven to the inhabitants of the earth. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 16

Christ is the ladder. All our blessings come from Him. May God help us to work upon the plan of addition, and He will multiply grace to us as we need. There is an abundance of light in heaven, and our heavenly Father wants us to have confidence in Him. It grieves Him for us to doubt His promises. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 17

But as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of Christ. As men resist the Spirit of God, His Spirit will be less and less manifested in the earth. It will be a fearful time when the angels fold their wings and cease their watchcare over those who have resisted the Spirit of God. It will then be too late for wrongs to be righted. There will be no more prayers to prevail in behalf of the rejecters of light. The cities around us are filled with wickedness, and after the message of warning has been given to them, no more words of peace will be given. Christ is coming, and God will laugh when their fear cometh. But while probation continues, Christ is ever willing to help us to resist evil. But oh, the iniquity that is in the world! It is high time we put on the whole armor, lest we drift down the current and be swallowed up with the besom of destruction. A record is kept of how we treat the Spirit of God. Our characters are recorded in the books of heaven, as are our faces on photo-plates here. So our character photos are in heaven, and by these records we shall be judged. May God help each one of us to do his whole duty and get ready for what is before us, is my prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 42, 1886, par. 18