Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)

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Ms 49, 1895

“No Other Gods Before Me.”

NP

1895

Portions of this manuscript are published in RH 05/14/1901. +Note

Every true child of God will be sifted as wheat, and in the sifting process every cherished pleasure which diverts the mind from God must be sacrificed. In many families, the mantle shelves, stands, tables, what-nots, and fancy receptacles are filled with ornaments and pictures. Albums filled with their own photographs, and the photographs of their friends, are placed where they will attract the attention of visitors. And how much cheap talk these call forth! The thoughts, which should be upon God and heavenly interests are brought down to common things. Is not this a species of idolatry? Should not the money spent thus be used to bless humanity, to relieve the suffering, to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, or placed in the treasury to advance the cause of God and build up His kingdom in the earth? 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 1

This matter is of eternal importance, and it is urged upon you to save you from the sin of idolatry. Blessing would come to your souls if you would obey the Word spoken by the Holy One of Israel, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” [Exodus 20:3.] You are creating unnecessary cares and anxieties for yourselves by devoting your time and thoughts to the images of your friends. The power of God is needed to arouse you from this devotion, for to all intents and purposes it is idolatry. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 2

The Lord who searches the heart would warn His people from every species of idolatry. Let the Word of God, the blessed book of life, occupy the tables now filled with useful ornaments and pictures, I am tired of beholding the wood and the hay and the stubble which divert the mind from God, when there is so much to be said relating to the Christian experience. Let your money be spent in books which will be the means of enlightening minds upon present truth. The time you spend in dusting and moving these multitudinous ornaments, spend in writing a few lines to your friends, and in sending papers or leaflets or little books to some one who knows not the truth. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 3

The Word of life, grasp it as the treasure house of infinite wisdom and love; this is the Guidebook which will point out the paths to heaven. It outweighs all the treasure of the universe. It points us to the sin-pardoning Saviour, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] O that you would search the Scriptures with prayerful hearts, and a spirit of surrender to God. O that you would search your hearts as with a lighted candle, and discover and break the finest thread that binds you to worldly habits, which divert the mind from God to idols. Plead with God to convict you of every practice which draws your thoughts and affections from God. God has given His holy law to man as His measure of character. By this law you may see any defect in your character and overcome it. You may sever yourself from every idol and link yourself to the throne of God by the golden chain of grace and truth. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 4

The apostle writes: “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil: cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another: not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Rejoicing in hope: patient in tribulation: continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of the saints: given to hospitality.” [Romans 12:9-13.] “The day is far spent: the night is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness: and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof.” [Romans 13:12-14.] 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 5

There is none too much self-denial, none too much self-sacrifice, not too much “overcoming evil with good.” [Romans 12:21.] If all the little rivulets which are set flowing to gratify the taste for frivolous things were solidly resisted, there would come a decided experience into the life. Shall we not make decided changes in the year 1895, and let every penny and shilling and pound flow into channels where it will glorify God? 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 6

When I see families poorly clad, houses destitute of those things which are necessary for comfort, and then visit the homes where every niche and corner is filled with useless ornaments, I am tired of the sight of my eyes. Let us search the Word and see if there is not some instruction there that will teach us how to relieve the maladies that have become chronic in the spiritual life of many, and which have reached also to the physical and mental powers. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 7

Saith God, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the hands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou see the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee: and the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward ... And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday. And the Lord shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of waters whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:6-8, 10, 11.] This prescription we shall find more useful than all the drugs we can use. Please read prayerfully the third chapter of James. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 8

“Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels, and have not charity,” Paul declares, “I am become as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind: charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.” [1 Corinthians 13:1-5.] 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 9

Altogether too many visionary hopes are entertained by professing Christians, and as [a] result they have many disappointments. Fancy weaves pleasant hopes as the result of selfish desires and indulgences, and they reap peevishness and unrest. They imagine that their circumstances cramp their powers, and the good they might do is not accomplished. Their dream of wonderful accomplishments and the exercise of wonderful gifts have nothing for a foundation. They are based on an erroneous imagination. They think that their lives will be all sunshine, but they awake to find their lot cast amid the stern realities of life. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 10

But there is a remedy for these poor diseased souls, filled with complaint and cheerless repinings. Let them arise to the duties of life. Let them gird on the armor and help forward the cause of truth. This is too solemn a time to indulge in useless longings and sentimentalism. The Lord leaves us to prove in no cheap, ordinary manner the stability and power of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 11

The Son of the infinite God came to this earth, and honored it with His presence. The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, He was meek and lowly in heart. He emptied Himself of His glory and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and express to fallen man the perfect love of God. Christ did not come to earth to live a life of pleasure and selfish indulgence. He lived not to please Himself. “The Son of man,” He said, “is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” [Luke 19:10.] 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 12

While I have been staying at the school in Melbourne, I have been witnessing the scenes in the life of the Redeemer, and I see that we have great changes to make if we would reach perfection of character. God calls for a complete surrender of self. “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but peace and righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost.” [Romans 14:17.] We must guard diligently our lips, lest they speak guile. 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 13

Let us be strict with ourselves, that we may not bring false principles into out dealings with others, and lead souls from the safe paths. Work the works of God. Hold to correct principles whatever the cost to yourselves. Let your light shine to others in appeals and warnings. Economize your pennies, that you may have pounds with which to help the cause of truth. Keep your tables free from the large accumulation of pictures and ornaments, which are nothing in comparison with the Word of God. Let your holy example lead the sympathies of your friends heavenward; “for he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another.” [Verses 18, 19.] 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 14

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor to his good for edification. For even Christ pleased not himself: but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now the God of peace grant you to be likeminded one to another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and with one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Romans 15:1-6.] 10LtMs, Ms 49, 1895, par. 15