Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 2, 1896

The Value of Studying God’s Word


February 9, 1896

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 54.

The less that children shall become acquainted with the customs and habits of worldly society, the better it will be for the formation of a pure and all-sided character, for the heart and mind will be open to heavenly impressions. Nature was John the Baptist’s school; the Old Testament was his lesson book. The most learned of the rabbis had brought in such a mass of human tradition in their interpretation of the Old Testament Scriptures that the traditions and maxims of men were exalted above the Word of God. So few understood the true requirements of God and practiced pure Christian principles, that all who connected with the religious teachers, expected to receive the proper education in accordance with the Word, became confused. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 1

God has marked out the sphere within which Christian principles must be received and acted out in the life. A decided distinction must be made between the associations that the Lord in His providence has prepared for us and the connections made by ourselves. The Lord requires from parents and guardians and teachers that they guard their children from close intimacies and so-called friendships. Parents should choose for their children the society of those who are not light and trivial in character, and undutiful and disrespectful in the home. Real friendship is a blessing in the home. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 2

An education in the science of the Scriptures never creates infidelity. The variety of sacred history, brought out in clear lines, makes both the Old and New Testament instructive in truth. The Word is a treasured lesson book to all who regard it as it ever should be regarded—the Word of God to humanity. The scholar may search it and find that which reaches the loftiest height of his attainments. By a thorough search over the same ground, represented as digging for hidden treasures, he discovers so rich a variety of gems, so marked a unity, pervaded by the one-inspiring Spirit, that he will never go away unless enriched in understanding, and with the words on his lips, “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] The value of this Book is in itself. Its plain, simple language, fitted for every age, is understood by the child student, and is instructive for all classes of people, learned or ignorant, high or low, rich or poor. It is a fountain of life, at which all may drink and be refreshed. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 3

The oftener the New Testament is read, the more instructive it becomes. No one ever wearies of its beautiful words, for they are like precious gems. The deeper the research made into them, the newer and more splendid the light reflected by them. The more we study the Word with a simple, trustful heart, the more we understand the path we must travel in order to reach the Paradise of God. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 4

Our life is something we receive from Christ by a study of His Word. “In him was life,” original, unborrowed. [John 1:4.] He was the Fountain of life. We receive life from the Saviour which He takes back again. That life which God has given us should be put to the very best account, for as human agents we are forming our own destiny. We need to wisely those associates who will best fit us—body, soul, and spirit—for the future country, even the heavenly. In our choices of companions we should not place ourselves under influences which are in any way unfavorable to the formation of pure and correct principles, for we need all the assistance we can possibly obtain, that in our associations we may develop characters after Christ’s likeness. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 5

Christ says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father on his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] There are temptations that we must meet. If we yield to them we are on the losing side, and by meeting with defeat again and again, it becomes a habit to do wrong in the place of doing right. We thus reveal that we choose to work out the principles and attributes of Satan, rather than the principles and attributes of Jesus Christ. Such an advance is made in wrong doing by this course that the Word describes it as “wise to do evil.” [Jeremiah 4:22.] 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 6

Life in spiritual things is associated with light. If we choose to stand in the army and ranks of Satan, we will know this by the association and connections we form. If we love the atmosphere that surrounds the souls of those who are under Satan’s jurisdiction, we soon become as bad [as], if not worse than, our associates just in that degree to which we partake of that which is objectionable in their spirit, and according to the hereditary traits of our character. If these are positive, weakness, lack of integrity, and general defection will reveal that we are on the side of the enemy. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 7

A Christian will not choose as the object of his affection one who by his course of action neglects Jesus Christ, who daily crucifies the Son of God afresh and puts Him to an open shame. Such reveal by their actions and conversation that they have no respect for the One who gave His life for the life of humanity, enduring for them poverty, temptation, self-denial, and self-sacrifice. Through all His life here He was unappreciated and misunderstood, even by the members of His own family. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 8

Satan was constantly suggesting to His brethren, the sons of Joseph, criticisms of the One who seemed so unlike themselves. Every solicitation to evil was refused by Him, because He would not be persuaded to accept wrongdoing, or to deviate in the slightest from “It is written.” He seemed to have Scripture treasured in heart and mind. He seldom rebuked their course of action, but always had a word from God to speak to them—“It is written.” But His brethren did not want Him to always pursue an undeviating course of right doing, and were constantly seeking to make Him like themselves, saying, There would be no harm in gratifying us in this or that action. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 9

But His life shamed the whited sepulchers, whose outward appearance of sanctity said, We are the most righteous people on the face of the earth. The contrast was unmistakably marked between [“whited sepulchers” and] the rich loveliness of a Godlike disposition and character, in which God’s glory marked each trait of character, and which could hate only one thing in our world—sin. [See Matthew 23:27.] This Christ could not see without sorrow and pain which He could not disguise. 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 10

Had Christ conceded even once to the wishes and desires of His brethren with regard to wrong doing, He would have failed as a perfect Pattern, failed to carry out the plan made in the councils of heaven. The world would have been irrevocably lost. Had He allowed any license or excuse for sin or for the evil passions of human nature, Satan’s controversy would have terminated. He would not have worked so determinedly, through the brethren of Christ and through the priests and rulers of Israel, to make the life of Christ as unpleasant as it could be made. But He would not yield, and His undeviating justice and integrity were commented upon with a sneer. Provoked and exasperated as His patience, forbearance, and kindness, they termed it cowardice, saying, You are afraid to do this; you dare not do this or that wrong action. But He answered in words not His own, “It is written, ‘When sinners entice thee, consent thou not.’” [Proverbs 1:10.] 11LtMs, Ms 2, 1896, par. 11