Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 106, 1894

Character Determined by Belief By Mrs. E. G. White


Circa 1894

Previously unpublished.

[First page missing.] By the revelation of Christ, [Paul's] eyes were opened to behold the terrible mistake he had made; for while he thought he was doing God's work, he was persecuting Christ in the person of his saints. His conscience did not condemn him until he saw what spirit was moving him to action. The heathen woman has a conscience, but under the influence of a false faith, she throws her child into the river, or under the monster wheels of Juggernaut and her conscience does not condemn her. But should the enlightened mother educate under the influence of civilization and Christianity, do the same act her conscience would condemn her as a murderer. From these illustrations you may see that a man's conscience is after the order of his faith, and that we may have a correct faith, Christ has come to lighten every man that cometh into the world. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 1

It is the purpose of God that the world shall be lightened with the light of truth through the agency of human instrumentalities. Those who have received the light from the living oracles are to let that light shine forth to the world. What a responsibility rests upon those to whom God has revealed his plan of grace; for the destiny of man both in this life and the life to come, depends upon the character of his faith. The belief of falsehood is destructive to man's interest in the truth. Men cling to their false theories and by pen and voice advocate their views. When light is flashed into the soul of him who has been snared in error and he beholds his condition and life Paul, humbles himself, becomes converted and accepts the truth, he will then be guided by the spirit of truth to the attainment of the best and highest good. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 2

Many have advocated the idea that it makes no difference what a man believes if he is only sincere in his faith. Who can doubt for a moment that the apostle Paul was sincere in his course of action in persecuting the disciples of Christ? The more conscientious a man is in the belief of error, the more dangerous will that man is in the belief of error, the more dangerous will that man become in his opposition of truth; but if he becomes converted he will be as zealous and persevering in the propagation of truth as he has been in his opposition to it. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 3

Christ has warned us against those who advocate false theories. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets.” [Matthew 7:15.] Shall we heed the warning or pass on and become careless, or accept new ideas because we desire to be original? If we accept falsehood, we shall be led on into ruinous practices. Jesus has said “Take heed how ye hear.” [Luke 8:18.] In investigating doctrines, we want to know what is truth, to shun falsehood and error. We are to take no man's say so , as though it were the voice of God, simply because we have loved the man, and believed that God has led him in the past. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 4

Paul thought that he was led of the Lord, while he was persecuting the saints in Jerusalem. He imprisoned and put to death those who were precious in the sight of God. Many went where Paul led the way; for his influence was in accordance with his zeal. It took the revelation of the brightness of the personal Saviour to bring Paul to see that his zeal was not according to truth and holiness. Many have been deceived by false prophets and teachers. Some of these deceived by false prophets and teachers. Some of these deceived ones occupied but a limited sphere; but others possessed larger influence. But in the face of all evil that has been brought into the world through false faiths, thousands still pay little attention to how or what they hear. The result of believing in false gods is seen in the ignorance, sensuality, evil, and crime that is manifested among evil doers; for the characters of men are after the character of the gods they worship. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 5

The apostle represents false prophets as creeping into houses in the garb of piety. Deceived by their apparent religious zeal, they lead captive silly women. Professing to have great and new light, they advocate that which appears at first sight to be a high state of holiness; but when they are assured of the confidence of the people they are deluding, they talk out the true sentiments of their corrupt souls. They present theories that are soul-destroying, and yet mingled and clothed with the sentiments of truth, so that the simple and unwary are taken in their snare. To him who dwells upon holy themes, whose mind is untainted with their corrupt doctrines, their positions appear absurd and untenable; but to those who have accepted their doctrines, their theories seem as an angel of light. They believe that God is leading them; but as these false prophets dare to venture, they make unholy advances and betray unwary souls into sin, and under the garb of sanctity, commit the most revolting crimes. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 6

What shall we say to arouse simple-minded men and women to beware of the influence of these false prophets who spread moral pollution wherever they go? Can a Christian associate with this class and be safe? No, these men are zealous in their advocacy of error; for they receive their inspiration from the father of lies. But there cannot be fellowship and communion with these false prophets on the part of children of God without becoming tainted, and of breathing in the defiling moral atmosphere which surrounds these souls? “Can a man take coals into his bosom and not be burned?” [Proverbs 6:27.] Jude says concerning these false prophets, “Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves when without fear; clouds are they without water, carried about the winds; trees whose fruits withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” [Verses 11-13.] 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 7

There are false prophets who do not fill up this complete measure of iniquity. They claim great sanctity, and are very conscientious; but their conscientiousness is of an order that makes it very painful to those who do not accept their ideas or harmonize with their belief. Whatever they have once presented as truth that they hold to with all tenacity, refusing the bright beams of advancing light from the throne of God. The door of their hearts they have closed and barricaded lest they might see and understand new truth, and be converted and be healed of the Lord. The truth they hold they advocate in the spirit of bitterness. But if we have the truth there is no need of criticism of others, of accusation, of ridicule, of caricaturing the views of those we deem in error. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 8

He who believes the truth will seek to follow in the footsteps of the Master going forward and upward. As he stands under the cross of Calvary his heart will be stirred with inspiration from on high, and his words and actions will be of a high character. He will seek to act in such a way that even his good may not be evil spoken of; for even in his zeal, he will shun the very appearance of evil. When John was with the Master and the Samaritans refused to listen to the voice of the divine Teacher, John said, “Master, shall we call down fire from heaven to consume them?” But Jesus answered, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of; for the Son of man came not to destroy men's lives but to save them.” [Luke 9:54-56.] Even in our zeal for God we must be temperate, guarding ourselves against the manifestation of a strong spirit that will misrepresent the character of Christ. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 9

Belief in the truth will manifest itself in our lives by refining and uplifting our hearts and lives. It will balance the conscience, purify the heart and produce love to God and man. When the doctrine we accept kills sin in the heart, purifies the soul from defilement, bears fruit unto holiness, then we may know that it is the truth of God. When benevolence, kindness, tenderheartedness, sympathy is manifested in our lives, when the joy of right-doing is in our hearts, when we exalt Christ and not self, we may know that our faith is after the right order. But when we acct a doctrine that leads us to speak of things savoring of earthliness that leads us to reveal in a conversation that suggests impurity, that manifests itself in harshness and Pharaseeism towards others, in partiality and hypocrisy we may know that our faith is not after God's order, but after the order of him who delights in evil. 9LtMs, Ms 106, 1894, par. 10