Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 142, 1897

God’s Care for His Workers.


December 16, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1057, 1105; UL 364.

Paul was one of the most effectual missionary workers. He proclaimed the truth as it is in Jesus. He was a clear, eloquent speaker, and could meet his adversaries on almost any ground on which they chose to approach him. He declares that he was not behind the chiefest apostle. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 1

We might inquire of the apostle, Why are you engaged at working with your hands at the humble occupation of tent-making? What brought you here to engage with Aquilla and Priscilla? “And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tent-makers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” [Acts 18:3, 4.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 2

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead: and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. ... 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 3

“Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, ... He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, where thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the strangers and Athenians that were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.) 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 4

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 5

“God that made the world, and all things that are therein, seeing that he is the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelling not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if he needed anything, seeing that he giveth to all life and breath and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from any one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 6

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” [Acts 17:2-4, 18-31.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 7

Here Paul revealed that he was not a novice. He met every class of people, from the men of renown to the heathen idolaters, setting before them the evidences of Christianity which were not of human invention. His religion came from God, and if it came from God, no power on earth could quench the light from heaven. Divinity puts its stamp upon Christianity. It is of heavenly origin. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 8

The light and power and glory that had arrested Paul at his conversion did not cease its operations with him after he was converted to believe in Jesus Christ as the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. This made his education of value to him and to the world. He had reasoned that the believers in Christ were ignorant and poor, that they were possessed of little intellectual culture, and lacking in the high moral endowments which would enable them to succeed in difficult enterprises. He claimed that they were sustained by no special authority. But God, who looks into the tiny seed which He Himself has formed, and sees wrapped within it the beautiful flower, the shrub, or the lofty, wide-spreading tree, saw the ignorance of Paul in regard to the mission and work of Christ. He saw that he was conscientiously bigoted, and was so wrapped about in his misunderstanding of the work of Christ and His followers, that he needed another kind of education. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 9

Paul had an abundance of energy and zeal to work out an erroneous faith in persecuting the saints of God, confining them in prisons and putting them to death. Although his hand did not do the work of murder, yet he had a voice in the decisions and zealously sustained them. He prepared the way, and game up the believers of the gospel into hands that took their lives. In reference to his zeal Paul himself says, “I was exceedingly mad against them.” “I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.” [Acts 26:11; 22:4.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 10

“Yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” Saul went, not to the lower, ignorant class, but to the highest religionists in the world, the very men who acted a part in putting Christ to death, the men who possessed the spirit and sentiment of Caiaphas and his confederacy. These great men, thought Saul, if they had religious, determined helpers, could certainly put down this little handful of fanatical men. So to the high priest Saul went, “and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” [Acts 9:1, 2.] Christ permitted this, and many, very many, lost their lives for their belief in Him. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 11

Paul honestly thought that he was persecuting a weak, ignorant, fanatical sect. He did not realize that he himself was the one deluded and deceived, and following ignorantly under the banner of the prince of darkness. He was in trouble. He had just such an experience as many Seventh-day Adventist pass through. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 12

But listen to the testimony of the persecutor after his conversion. Addressing the church in Galatia, he says, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 13

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which is preached unto me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in times past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” [Galatians 1:6-14.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 14

That conversion we read of in Acts. Paul understood the work he had been doing after he was obliged to suffer by the same will of men who evidenced their hatred of Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 15

The 11th chapter of 2 Corinthians contains much instruction. It reveals to us that men who are liable to view matters after human eyesight may make very grave mistakes if they engage in a work that God has not appointed but condemned. That work is to criticize, to climb upon the judgment seat, and pronounce sentence. How much better would it be for the spiritual advancement of such to look well to their own shortcomings and defects of character through watchful examination of their own hearts, to try to remove from them the beam of faultfinding, of evil surmising, of evil speaking, of bearing false witness, of hatred, and accusing of the brethren. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 16

The Lord God of heaven is in communication with the fallen inhabitants of this world. He is not regardless of our world and its variety of concerns. The Lord is represented in His Word as bending toward earth and its inhabitants who are deceived and annoyed and deluded by satanic agencies. He is listening to every word that is uttered. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 17

When Moses turned aside at the sight of the burning bush that was not consumed, the Lord called, “Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said drawn not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:4-6. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 18

Now mark the words of the Lord, “And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me, and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” [Verses 7-10.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 19

The Lord is not regardless of His people, and He will punish and reprove every one who oppresses them. He hears every groan; He listens to every prayer; He observes the movements of every one; he approves or condemns every action. The Lord of heaven is represented as raising up the fallen. He is the friend of all who love and fear Him, and He will punish every one who dares to lead astray from safe paths, putting them in positions of distress as they conscientiously endeavor to keep the way of the Lord and reach the abodes of the righteous. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 20

Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without the notice of your heavenly Father. Then let men be careful how, by word or action, they cause one of God’s little ones sorrow or grief. If the little sparrow that has no soul cannot fall to the ground without the notice of our heavenly Father, surely the souls of those for whom Christ has died are precious; and will not God judge those who cause pain or disappointment to the hearts of those for whom Christ has given His life? 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 21

That God, in order to enlarge our comprehension of His benevolence and love, sends His rain on the just and on the unjust. He leads us forth into the open fields of nature. He seeks to teach us the lesson that the hand which upholds the world and paints the lily of the field, and the flowers of varied beauty, is the hand of the great Master Artist. He is the One who shapes and gives to each its distinctive beauty. He tells that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these simple, natural flowers, which He has given as an expression of His love for man, and that they might learn that everything that God does is for the happiness of man, to fill the hearts of His children with delight. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 22

He calls the attention to the fowls of the air. Every drop of rain, every ray of light shed on our unthankful world, is an evidence of God’s long forbearance and love. And He will not pass by the action of one human being toward another that is selfish, uncourteous, and unkind. That one should lead another to dishonor His name, and transgress His law is a matter that will be considered, to be rewarded according to his works. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 23

Christ informs His disciples that the amount of divine attention given to any object is proportionate to the rank which that object occupies in the creation of God. If the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, if the lovely flowers that delight our senses reveal such exquisite skill on the part of the great Master Artist, we cannot have exaggerated ideas of the regard and value which God has placed on the human beings made in His likeness. [He] lays before men a book, every page of which bears their history. Each has a page assigned him, and every phase of his history is there given, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. The value of men, the estimate God places upon them, is displayed in the cross of Calvary. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 24

Having shown the liberality of God in behalf of the human race that has never been absent from the mind of God, there is revealed before man a more definite view of His character. His very heart is laid open in the royal law of God, which is the standard of all character. That infinite standard is presented to all, that there may be no mistake in regard to what kind of people God would have compose His kingdom. It is only those who are obedient to all His commandments who will become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly king, honored with a citizenship above, a life that measures with the life of God, a life without sorrow, pain or death throughout eternal ages. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 25

Who can measure or anticipate the gift of God? For ages, sin has interrupted the divine flow of benevolence to man, but that mercy and great love purchased for the fallen race has not ceased to accumulate; it has not lost its earthward direction. But the inhabitants of the world, their reason perverted, have turned the earth into a lazar house of disease and mortality through their own frenzy of determination to do as they please, to the destruction of health, the disregard to God and eternity. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 26

But God lives and reigns, and in Christ He has poured forth on the world a healing flood. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 27

Our Saviour has made every provision for man. After His resurrection we read: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped: but some doubted.” [Matthew 28:16, 17.] How sad to trace the words. But thus it is, and thus it will be to the close of this earth’s history. Hearts are unappreciative. It is not more evidence that they need; they need faith in the words of Christ, for He spake as never man spake. Every evidence had been given them; but some doubted. They seemed unable to unlearn the traditions and maxims of priests and rulers. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 28

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Verses 18-20.] 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 29

The Lord has a great work for His disciples to perform—not in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom that He shall give them. Having prepared them to see greater things, He leads them into a higher department of truth. The hand of Christ draws aside the veil which conceals the glory of heaven from our eyes. We behold Him in His high and holy place, not in a state of silence and indifference to His subjects in a fallen world, but surrounded by all the heavenly host—ten thousand times ten thousands, and thousands of thousands—all waiting to go on errands of mercy and love at His bidding. Heaven is in active communication with every part of His vast dominions. 12LtMs, Ms 142, 1897, par. 30