Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Lt 20, 1895

Corliss, J. O.

Granville, New South Wales, Australia

September 13, 1895

Portions of this letter are published in TMK 52.

Elder Corliss:

We have not an High Priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmity, but one who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. His sympathy and tender compassion is not lost in His Godhead. He condescended to take human nature that He might be a surety, a substitute for man, in order to redeem him from sin and the power of Satan. His humanity is not lost in His divinity. On earth He manifested His deep sympathy with human woe, He poured out His tender regard for humanity in precious currents of sympathy, of the most wonderful heaven-born love. This was not restricted to those whom He recognized as His believing friends and disciples. He drew to His side those who knew Him not, as in the case of healing the man born blind. The man knew not who had performed the gracious work upon him, until Jesus revealed Himself to him as the Son of God, and received worship from him. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 1

Jesus says, “I know my sheep.” [John 10:14.] Let us consider this statement. We are known by God before we receive Him. “I know my sheep.” How do souls become Christ’s sheep? By choosing to receive him. But Christ had first chosen them. He knew every one who would respond to His drawing, and He knew every one who would be inclined to receive Him, but who, through popular influences, would turn from Him. John says to all, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Those who heard the voice and did behold Jesus as the Lamb of God, believed in Him and became His property from their own choice. But they were not the first to see, for God chose them, and their choosing of Christ is in response to His drawing. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 2

The love of Jesus was expressed to us before we loved Him. His grace touched the hearts that contemplated the love of God. We become the property of Christ because God gave His only begotten Son to humiliation and shame and reproach for our sake, to bear our sins, to suffer in our stead. The whole human family are made over to Christ. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” [John 17:2, 3.] 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 3

All may obtain this education if they will. Jesus says, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word, ... And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” [Verses 6, 10.] What a statement is this! “I am glorified in them.” This can be true of any soul only as he in sincerity becomes not merely a hearer but a doer of the Word of Christ. In Matthew these are likened to a wise man, “which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” [Matthew 7:24, 25.] 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 4

Jesus says, “Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me.” [Isaiah 8:18.] To Jesus the whole human family is entrusted, as the flocks of sheep are entrusted to a shepherd. These sheep and lambs are to be tended with pastoral care. They will be guarded by the faithful Chief Shepherd, under the care of faithful under shepherd, and if they will obey the voice of the Chief Shepherd, they will not be left to be devoured by wolves. We are Christ’s by creation, and by the giving of His life for the sheep. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 5

“Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] And what a price! Not with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as gold and silver, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” [1 Peter 1:18-21.] 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 6

We must through faith accept the truth as it is in Jesus. The Bible election is plainly stated in the Word of God. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” [John 15:10.] “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15.] “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his words, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the spirit which he hath given us.” [1 John 2:4, 5; 3:24.] (See Revelation 22:12-21.) 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 7

Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice, and they follow me.” [John 10:27.] The shepherd of Israel does not drive His flock, but He leads them. His attitude is wholly one of invitation. “My sheep know my voice.” If we are indeed sons and daughters of God, we not only hear, but recognize, the voice above all others; we appreciate the words of Christ, we distinguish the truth as it is in Jesus from all error, and the truth refreshes the soul and fills it with gladness. The truth received into the heart transforms the character. Christ is the Truth and the Life, and all who follow Him practice the truth. We obey the Word. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 8

When questioners came to Christ He referred them to the Scriptures, saying, “Have ye not read?” To the lawyer He said, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” [Luke 10:26.] He could have answered every question from His own infinite wisdom, but He met objections and queries as the human agent must meet them, from the written Word. He wants every advocate of truth to follow His example in this respect. Never meet railings and falsehoods and bitter accusings with the words of man’s wisdom. The Lord’s workers are never to make charges, never to make thrusts at opponents, but have the mind well stored with Scripture, and be able to draw the sword of truth, a “Thus saith the Lord.” (See Matthew 12:34-37.) 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 9

Follow the plain Bible teachings if you would follow Jesus. Souls cost too much to be imperiled by following the words of men. We cannot safely accept any man’s decision in matters that involve eternal interests unless he can open the Scriptures and present his authority as from Him who is the Truth. Obey the words of Christ by searching the Scriptures, and through diligent study have the Word of God stored in your memory, so that in any emergency you can say earnestly, solemnly, “It is written.” Jesus says, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] And He declared to the multitude at the Feast of Tabernacles, “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” [John 7:38.] As the Word of God is received into the heart, it transforms character and life. Then the influence that flows from the believer is the influence of the Word of God, a positive life-giving power. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 10

The devils rejoice when schemes of wickedness appear to be crowned with success. The Lord would have every advocate of truth pass by all the words and actions of our enemy as if unnoticed. The words may be such as would cut to the very soul and arouse the worst passions of the human heart, but we are to be as those who hear not. God’s servants should not be betrayed into using Satan’s methods. They are to fix their eyes upon the loveliness of Jesus. Common sense, sanctified, will meet the enemy only on Christ’s ground. He who stands with Christ is with the majority, for Christ is always a majority. He has the whole angelic host under His generalship, and can command the armies of heaven. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 11

Are we followers of Christ? Have we taken upon us His yoke? Are we lifting His burdens? Do we possess His meekness and lowliness, and is His likeness becoming more and more distinct in our characters? If we are followers of Christ, He, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, hath said, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” [John 10:28.] This promise is made upon conditions that we follow not a stranger, but that we know and understand the voice of Christ. This is the only election brought to view in God’s Word. The beautiful illustration in (Revelation 7) is a pastoral symbol. 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 12

The question was asked of John as he beheld the grand scenes of his vision, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” John replied, “Sir, thou knowest.” And the Holy One said, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” [Verses 13-17.] 10LtMs, Lt 20, 1895, par. 13