Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892)


Ms 4, 1891

Character Building

Battle Creek, Michigan

January 9, 1891

Formerly Undated Ms 50. Portions of this manuscript are published in MRmnt 109. +Note

The Lord will bless those who are acting their part in the great web of humanity to uplift, to release, to break, every yoke. Here we are each to be connected to all, and the whole to God. The Lord has His destined order of arrangements in His great plan, from the highest angel down to finite and sinful mortals; yet each are so closely related as parts of a great whole that not a single one can become detached and independent. Each one must fill his proper place according to his own ability, and diverse are the operations of the gifts of God, yet Jesus, the Center, the Source of all life, and of all power, pervades the whole. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 1

Each member of the human family is pledged to promote the happiness of all, thus rendering each one a necessity to the welfare of the other. God purposes to train us to humble dependence upon Him who is all-sufficient, to the imitation of His own order of goodness, and to make the hand and heart of every worker in His great whole a consecrated channel through which His love shall flow to others. Our own happiness consists in making others happy. He who approaches nearest to the character of Jesus Christ will be advancing towards the perfection of Christian character. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 2

By looking toward Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we become charmed with His excellency and are drawn upwards in thought, increasing in moral power through assimilation to the divine image. O, if man had only answered the plan of God there would have been continual advancement toward the copy of heaven. Every word uttered, every action performed, draws, or sets in operation a train of influence that will be felt all along the line, transmitting a vital, moral, spiritual power. If the souls for whom Christ died realized the value of every action and word, how little there would be of vain talk, how little indulgence of flattery, how little jesting and joking! We would live a solemn life, influencing others for good and not for evil. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 3

There is an atmosphere which surrounds the soul that is constantly felt by others either for good or evil, and this influence is affecting the characters of all with whom we associate. “No man liveth to himself.” [Romans 14:7.] If the Lord is God, then let us follow Him, not afar off, but close beside Him. Then we shall engage in character building to some purpose, growing up into Christ, our living Head, continually brightening and conforming to the image of God. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 4

Satan, with associate rebellious angels, having swerved from his allegiance to the Lord God, the only Potentate, was driven from Heaven, and the holy angels who became disloyal and untrue help him as he seeks to conform all things to his image and to infuse his own nature into individuals. Stimulated with hatred against God’s holy law, he approaches man, seeking to gain his attention that he may misrepresent and falsify God. His hellish plots would efface from our world the image of the Divine, and stamp his own hateful, apostate image on the human soul. He could not employ force, but [with] the attention and the will given to him, he can act upon minds. When Satan dissolved relationship with the universe, and the Son of God in particular, he became altogether selfish, and ceasing to be a universal good, he became a universal evil. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 5

We must reach a higher standard; the highest influences in all the universe should be embodied in all our works. This is the influence of the Comforter emanating from God. The heart of infinite love has discharged its power on the heart of the world. The plan of redemption is the divine economy of God, making man a living agency to press out the evil, and to urge the good to take its place. That our influence on each other shall not be destructive, the Holy Spirit is placed at our command to work its sanctifying, refining, elevating, divine influence upon heart and character, and bring that influence into the service of God as His chosen, prepared instrumentality to overcome evil, and restore man to God. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 6

When I see what we may be and what we may become through Jesus Christ, my whole heart is filled with uncontrollable longings to be imbued with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. “None of self, and all of thee.” Why are our efforts so few and so feeble? Why do we not by living faith grasp the hand of infinite power? The greatest obstacles may be surmounted, impossibilities become changed to possibilities through faith, and the greatest obstacles become our greatest triumphs. “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me.” 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 7

In the world where God should be is Satan’s throne, but Christ says, There shall stand My throne where now is Satan’s seat. Will we individually place ourselves in harmony with God? Shall evil influences form a confederacy against good? Shall all good form a strong power to oppose evil? God has a work for each and all to do. O, the riches of the fulness of the grace of God! Instead of the Lord Jesus moving farther from us on account of our guilt, He came nearer, in the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He exalted humanity; by taking upon Himself humanity, and becoming as one of us, He demonstrated to our senses how deep and abundantly God can love. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 8

The Saviour suffered to bring to us salvation, and when He presents His character for us to copy, His mind rules our minds, even our thoughts are to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. Our God turned His whole divine self into a sacrifice. O, what depths of humiliation! No line can fathom it! O, what love, what matchless love, is exhibited in the lifting up of Jesus upon the shameful cross! And all for a world which refused to live unto God was this exhibition of self-denial for fallen man! O, amazing spectacle of a living God who gave Himself to save a perishing world! 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 9

John calls upon the world to behold such love which is known because of the cross uplifted. The richness of His gifts, the vastness of His design, is beyond calculation and will be displayed for ages without end. O, that those who profess to know God did know Him whom to know is life and peace and immortal glory. To know Jesus Christ is to have a knowledge of the Infinite One. All the sanctified human influences are to be enlisted on the Lord’s side. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 10

What is earthly renown, what is earthly riches, what is a name here, compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us? The Lord saw that truth, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, is invested by the God of truth with a power and far-reaching influence corresponding to its peculiar nature and importance. Then how it dishonors God for any of us to claim to be His children <to work at cross purposes with God>. And how it dishonors the truth for us to walk in our <own> ways, doing our own works. We want to work the works of God. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 11

I will say to the praise of God that I never saw such beauty and loveliness in the truth as today. We cannot see the beauty of the truth if we are continually neglecting our obligations to meet the mind of the Spirit of God. How feeble the efforts we make for the eternal world! The eyes of all the heavenly intelligences are fastened upon us to see how much we appreciate the gift of the Son of God and all excellent things with Him for our benefit. Will not this view of the amazing love of Jesus stimulate every soul to copy the model? Here in this world is to be fought the grand struggle, good against evil, and evil against good, of heaven against hell, and hell against heaven. The cross of Calvary is our only hope; through Christ every power will be vanquished and shall we not strive earnestly to know the plan of the conflict? 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 12

When we reached Battle Creek, we learned that the previous Sabbath there had been a wonderful work done. I send you these few items which are to me great comfort and relief. First I will say [that] on this tour of three months the Lord has wonderfully blessed me. I have spoken fifty-five times and have written three hundred pages. Praise the Lord, O, my soul, praise the Lord! The Lord it is who has strengthened and blessed me and upheld me by His spirit. What a work is before us! 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 13

We must be ever moving forward, onward, and upward, never to become common and cheap and low. [We are] bought with a price, and O, what a price! “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!” [Matthew 6:10.] What a request is this, what possibilities and probabilities do these words comprehend. The Lord Jesus would open before His believing ones the prospect of continual progression and improvement. Infused with His Holy Spirit we may reach the highest standard. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 14

“I in them, and them in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them as thou has loved me.” [John 17:23.] What statement could be made to comprehend more than this prayer takes in? We see what God is prepared to do for us; and we are to despair of nothing—hope and believe in everything that will give the human agency efficiency through Christ Jesus only, for we are dependent upon the agency of God. We are commanded to do unto others as we would that they would do unto us. He lays <before us> the position we <should> occupy toward the world, and our relative duty toward the world, as His ordained agencies to represent Christ and to impress them with a sense of their accountability to God. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 15

We are, through faith and the righteousness and efficiency of Jesus Christ, to reach the throne of God, praying that earthly influences may become divine. Our means of doing good are never exhausted since it is our privilege to draw upon Jesus Christ and call to our assistance unseen heavenly intelligences. We may co-operate with Christ, and if we ask Him to do this He will cooperate and set in motion the divine agencies in our behalf in doing His work. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 16

In doing our duty in the fear of God we are not alone. We must seek to the best of our powers to create in others a disposition to employ to their utmost all the capabilities and powers lent them of God to do His work, not for self glory, but that God may be glorified. Self must be hidden in Jesus, and the light of the world revealed. 7LtMs, Ms 4, 1891, par. 17