Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 77, 1897

On Which Side Will You Stand?


July 18, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in CC 26; VSS 30, 47; 1BC 1086; 9MR 379. +Note

The talent of speech is a very precious talent, and should in no case be perverted. The tongue is an unruly member, but it should not be so. That member which is improperly used, in profane speech, should be converted to utter praise to God. If all the students would make decided efforts to change their mode of thinking, or speaking, and of acting, in the family circle restraining all words that are not kind and courteous, and speaking with respect to all; if they would bear in mind that they are here preparing to become members of the family in heaven, what a reformatory influence would go forth from every home! 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 1

The temper, the peculiarities of personal manners, those coarse habits by which objectionable features of the character are developed, the religion—everything practiced in the home life—will reveal itself in the practices of the school room. The natural inclinations followed will work out in inconsistencies of conduct, in wrong speech, in disregard of God’s Word, in profane language, in the thoughts. But such make manifest that they have not eaten of the flesh of the Son of God, which is receiving the words and practicing the teachings of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 2

The self-indulged character knows not what it means to be in submission to God. He is constantly under the molding power of satanic agencies. He may have habits of prayer; but they mean nothing to him, for they are never carried out. The religion that meets the Bible standard touches the soul and forms the character after the divine similitude. It is manifest in the small as well as the large duties of life. He who experiences this religion will feel that he must daily be converted to God, or self-indulgence will rise and obtain the supremacy. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 3

Christ will accept and give grace and power to all who will do His will irrespective of consequences. But He asks none of you to serve Him unless you give your whole heart to do His will. “If any man serve me,” He says, “let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be.” [John 12:26.] 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 4

If you do not follow Christ, you follow the leadings of another general, who is no less a personage than Satan. You are in his service, to do his will. He leads you every day. He puts vile songs in your mouth, and these you have sung, making your lips utter his praise. The only thing for you to do is to change leaders; for self-seeking is self-destruction. All the Lord asks of you is, “My Son, give me thy heart.” [Proverbs 23:26.] You must do this intelligently. The sacrifice of your whole heart means that, as faithful soldiers, you shall wear the regimentals provided for you by the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ, “a new heart will I give you.” [Ezekiel 36:26.] 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 5

God will not compel you to change leaders. You must volunteer to do this because you are convinced that it is the very thing for you to do. The Lord requires all that there is of you; for every soul is to do his best; but he will not accept reluctant, constrained service. This is a yoke that will never be easy. But if you will consent to wear the yoke of Christ, to serve Him because you love Him, because He has bought you with a price, paying the ransom with His own precious blood, because your whole soul, body, and spirit are His, then He will work with you and for you. He will enable you to enlist your physical, mental, and moral powers with a glad will to do Him service. Then you will find your happiness in a clean, pure channel. You will gather with Christ and work in His lines. It was a whole sacrifice that was made for you, and only in the unreserved surrender of your whole self to God will your freedom be obtained. You have presented before you the privilege of receiving Christ, and becoming sons and daughters of God. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 6

Christ was tempted in all points like as we are. At the thought of the suffering before him, he was filled with conflicting emotions. He said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause same I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 7

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” [John 12:27-36.] 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 8

The condescension of the Prince of heaven in taking upon Himself humanity, was indeed great. And why was this great sacrifice so freely made? It was to secure the happiness of the whole human family, to give every son and daughter of Adam an opportunity to change leaders, to leave the black banner of the prince of darkness and stand under the bloodstained banner of the Prince of heaven, and thus make manifest that they have enlisted to do Him service. The Son of God is everything to those who receive Him. Standing voluntarily at the head of humanity, He conducts humanity on to eternal victory, to a kingdom that shall endure forever. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 9

Christ endured self-sacrifice by cherishing self-command. He met the hosts of Satan by saying at every advance step, “He shall find nothing in me that he can appropriate to his service. I will not fail or be discouraged.” And the hosts of heaven were at His command, to be His rereward. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 10

The assurance that was given Christ in his humanity is also given to God’s people, His heritage. “They that follow me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; 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 water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:8-11.] Christ is the reality of all types, the fulfillment of all promises. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 11

Christ is the true Vine; His disciples are the branches in the Vine, and are one with Him. There are many branches that are grafted into the parent stock; but in their individual diversity there is a marked unity, for the branches absorb the nourishment of the Vine. Christ is the Root, the Sustaining life of every believing soul. Just as surely as His followers abide in the Vine, they will bring forth the same fruit. When in union and communion with Christ, under His molding influence, His followers reveal His character. When His Word is abiding in the believing soul, there is unity and oneness with Christ, a living communion with Him, an abiding love that is the sure evidence of our unlimited privileges. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 12

Nothing but the life-giving power of Christ through His Word and by His Spirit can bridge the gulf that sin has made between the soul and an offended God. But to those who despise the eternal life so graciously placed within the reach of all, it will prove their eternal condemnation. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 13

“And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” [Genesis 4:4, 5.] How easily the temper of the disobedient toward God is stirred when his plans do not carry and he is disappointed in his expectations! 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 14

The Lord saw the wrath of Cain. He saw the falling of his countenance. Thus is revealed how closely the Lord marks every action, all the intents and purposes, yes, even the expression of the countenance. This, though man may say nothing, expresses his refusal to do the way and will of God. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 15

Mark the words of the Lord. And the Lord said unto Cain, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” [Verse 6.] This question may be addressed to every young man and young woman who, like Cain, reveal their passion because they are not commended by teachers and friends when acting out the promptings of Satan, which are in direct opposition to the requirements of God. Well might the question be asked you of the Lord, when you cannot follow the impulse of your own rebellious heart, and are restrained from doing your own unrighteous, unsanctified will, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?” Such exhibitions reveal that because they cannot do after Satan’s arts and devices they are provoked, and can only manifest a spirit similar to that of Cain. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 16

God does not merely see the burning wrath expressed in the face; He hears the oblations offered to Satan in the low, vile songs coming from human lips and sounding in human voices. He hears the profane language which is blasphemy of God. This is the representation presented before me. And yet they have had the voice of God, through His servants, addressing them as He addressed Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” [Verse 7.] 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 17

Cain was not left to pursue his wicked course of rebellion against God without warning and remonstrance. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 18

The Lord might have compelled obedience as Owner of man and Governor of the universe. He might have slain Cain in his perverse spirit and positive transgression of His direction in the plan of sacrificial offering. But God does not use compulsion in religious service. It is only man who does this kind of work against his fellow man. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 19

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother.” [Verse 8.] He did not make answer to God, but his words were hot with passion toward his brother, because he did not sustain him in his disregard of the requirements of God. Thus alienation was brought about between these two brothers, wholly caused by the wicked, satanic spirit of Cain. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 20

The Lord had evidenced that He would accept of His created beings only through implicit obedience to His law. But Cain, notwithstanding the word of the Lord to him, did not change his attitude toward Abel. When in the field together, Abel tried to reason with his brother, laying before him the definite directions of God in regard to the offerings to be made to Him; but under the inspiration of Satan, Cain’s wrath rose, and he “rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” [Verse 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 21

This has been repeated from the earliest period of this earth’s history to the present day. It is not those who are obedient to the commandments of God who are forward in compelling the disobedient people of the world who are being led under a false standard. They are transgressing the law of Jehovah. It is all who do not come to this standard who will be made to feel the force of the law in compelling the worship of a false sabbath. If it were possible God’s commandment-keeping people will be hunted out of the world. False religion has acted as did Cain from the first transgression. I counsel all who would be worshippers of God, true, sincere, and perfect, to keep His commandments. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 22

The talent of speech is to be carefully studied and carefully guarded. This is the most important branch of education, but one which is sadly neglected in all our associations. The power to communicate to our associates may be a great blessing or a great curse. Those who have received Christ as their personal Saviour are not to be enclosed in monastic walls, shut up in closets for fear of becoming contaminated. That which they have freely received of Christ, they are as freely to impart to others. Their souls must be warmed and invigorated by the truth of the Word of God, refreshed by drinking of the living waters that Christ shall give them, and which will be in them a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 23

This is the kind of communication which makes the true Christian a savor of life unto life. In his words he will be a help and blessing to others. The whole atmosphere surrounding him will be saving in its influence, not deleterious. Every soul who has received Christ by faith should have a treasure of good things to bring forth in speech. When compelled by circumstances to be with the frivolous, the Christian soldier will not be found off his guard. He will be clad in the divine armor. He will speak words that will lead the minds of others to God, and sow seeds of truth and righteousness that will bear fruit. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 24

The youth who are often found speaking nonsense reveal their true character. They make manifest that they have not Christ’s abiding presence with them. They put on a pleasing demeanor, they have powers of mind, and use them in sending forth flashes of wit; but they are putting decaying timbers in their character building that makes them dangerous associates. They may attract the unwary, and confuse the minds of those who have made a profession of ungodliness, but whose hearts have not been cleansed from defilement, and who are destitute of the Spirit of God. The counsel I have received from God is, Make your calling and election sure. Let no young man or woman be led astray. There is need to watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 25

There is nothing to be feared so much as the noxious atmosphere surrounding a diseased soul. The corruption of unholy principles is constantly appearing. When these principles are acted out plainly in physical and moral degeneracy, there is not so much danger of deception. But the poison of corrupt principles is in the mind and heart; it is concealed, and the contaminating influence is unconsciously inhaled. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 26

On the other hand, there are none who love Jesus, who practice the truth, but can benefit themselves and others by their real experience in obedience to God’s requirements. Among professed Christians there is altogether too little conversation in regard to their religious experience. They act as if Christ, and the precious truth of His goodness and His love, were subjects upon which they should not speak. They do not encourage and try to help build up each other in the most holy faith. All should educate themselves to talk upon religious themes, making the most of every opportunity to speak of the Saviour’s goodness and His love. This should not be treated as a foreign subject, but as one that is dear and sacred to the heart, and with which you are familiar. Seek to educate the thoughts. Converse with God wherever you are. Meditate upon His goodness, His mercy, and His love. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 27

The more you meditate upon these elevated themes, the less you will indulge in cheap, earthly conversation. Dwell upon great thoughts, pure thoughts. Then clearer and still clearer will be your perceptions of truth, higher, holier, and more sacred your desire for purity of heart, clearness of thought. A clean heart will be followed by clean practices. Eternal interests will be made the all-absorbing theme. Reflection and earnest prayer to God will not be followed by a stream of nonsense and profanity. The soul, dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought, will be transformed by intercourse with God through the study of the Scriptures. We should be preparing our characters here, that when we enter heaven, we may not be strangers to its pure, holy atmosphere, but prepared to mingle with the throngs of angels and the redeemed host of the chosen, who have washed their robes of character and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 12LtMs, Ms 77, 1897, par. 28