Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Ms 43, 1896

Political Controversy

Cooranbong, Australia

December 27, 1896

This manuscript is published in entirety in GCDB 02/17/1897.

“In the mean time when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trod one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples, first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” [Luke 12:1.] 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 1

There were a great number who wanted to hear Jesus. They were attracted to Him, for His teachings were simple and plain. Searching truths were spoken. Our Saviour presented before the people of that time the character of their sins. His plain words aroused the consciences of the hearers, but Satan’s counterworking agencies were seeking for a place for their theories, to attract minds from the plainly spoken truth. As the great Teacher would speak impressive truth. The Scribes and Pharisees, under pretense of being interested, would assemble around the disciples and Christ, and divert the minds of the disciples by starting questions to create controversy. They pretended that they wanted to know the truth. Christ was interrupted on this occasion as on many other occasions. And He wished His disciples to listen to the words He had to say, and not allow anything to attract and hold their attention. Therefore He warned them, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” [Verse 1.] They feigned a desire to get as close as possible to the inner circle. As the Lord Jesus presented truth in contrast to error, the Pharisees pretended to be desirous of understanding the truth, yet they were trying to lead His mind in other channels. Hypocrisy is like leaven or yeast. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 2

Leaven may be hidden in the flour, and its presence is not known until it produces its effect. By insinuating itself, it soon pervades the whole mass. Hypocrisy works secretly, and if indulged, it will fill the mind with pride and vanity. There are deceptions practiced now similar to those practiced by the Pharisees. When the Saviour gave this caution, it was to warn all who believe in Him to be on guard. Watch against imbibing this spirit, and becoming like those who tried to ensnare the Saviour. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 3

A man who had a dispute with his brother, supposing that the brother would not do him justice, presented the case to Jesus, saying, “Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus said, “Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?” [Verses 13, 14.] Jesus could have told this man just what was right. He knew the right in this case, but the brothers were in a quarrel because both were covetous. Jesus virtually said, It is not my business to settle controversies of this kind. He came for another purpose, to preach the gospel, and so to arouse men to a sense of eternal realities that they might not lose eternity from their reckoning. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 4

So it is not the work of a minister to settle the temporal affairs of the people. Christ gives men an example, that His work and that of His followers is to persuade souls to be reconciled to God. Many things will arise to divert the mind from God and the truth for this time; but we are not to enter into the controversies that are coming to the front. They are started in the councils of hell, and the children of God are not to turn aside to the right hand or the left. Let them press on their way, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 5

The Lord Jesus is disappointed in His people. He is the Captain: they are to file under His banner. They have no time, wisdom, or strength to spend in taking sides with political parties. Men are being stirred with an intense activity from beneath, and the sons and daughters of God are not to give their influence to this political strife. But what kind of a spirit takes hold upon our people when those who believe we are now under the third angel’s message, the last message of mercy to the world, brothers in the same faith, appear wearing the badges of opposing political parties, proclaiming opposite sentiments and declaring their divided opinions. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 6

Watchmen upon the walls of Zion, the people are asking you, What of the night? Can you tell them with assurance and authority, The morning cometh, and also the night? God is our Father, Christ is our Saviour. See 2 Peter 1:16-21. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 7

There is danger, decided danger, for all who shall link themselves up with the political parties of the world. There is fraud on both sides. God has not laid upon any of our people the burden of linking up with either party. We are under Christ’s banner, and every one who names the name of Christ is to depart from all iniquity. Sorrow and trial will come. The faith of every one is being tested. But our Lord is truth; He is love, and His scepter stretcheth over the universe. Surprises await every one. We know not what political crisis will come next. But in regard to the political agitators, the word of the Lord to us is, “Go not ye after them.” [Luke 21:8.] True wisdom will not lead us to follow the example of the foolish rich men of the parable. True wisdom is revealed in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. 11LtMs, Ms 43, 1896, par. 8