Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 23, 1897

The Human Versus the Divine


March 13, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in GCB 2nd Qtr 1897. +Note

The Word of God must be our authority in all things. The testimony of David in this respect was, “Thou art my portion, O Lord: I have said that I would keep thy words. I entreated thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. I made haste and delayed not to keep thy commandments. The bands of the wicked have robbed me: but I have not forgotten thy law. At midnight I will arise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” [Psalm 119:57-62.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 1

How is the Lord the portion of His people? He can only be such to them when they choose Him above everything earthly and temporal. But there are very many who prefer every other portion rather than the heavenly treasure. This is not appreciated. They prize more highly the selfish pleasures that minister only to the gratification of self. They consider the possession of lands, of houses and money, the most desirable prize they can gain, for they know that when once these are in their hands, they will receive the esteem and favor of the world. The standard of the world estimates a man according to his money value. This certainly can raise him to position and honor as far as the world is concerned, but it can never give him true value of character. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 2

Those who exercise true faith in Jesus Christ will be blessed with sharp discernment. Everything connected with truth and righteousness will be precious in their sight. The knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, will lead man to place a high value on every faculty given him of God. He will have a keen sense of his obligation to keep these entrusted treasures in the most wholesome condition, that he may ever discern the value of God, and choose Him as his portion forever. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 3

The privilege bestowed upon us in doing service for Christ is the highest exaltation that can be given to the human agent. And God desires that man shall choose Him as the portion of his soul. Without this decided acceptance of the heavenly gift, in preference to any other that the world can give, Christ’s followers can never be one with Him as He is one with the Father. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 4

God is not a man that He will be trifled with. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of the bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 5

“And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, not the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering; all nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare him? ... Have ye not known? Have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.” [Isaiah 40:12-18, 21-23.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 6

Consider the wondrous power of our God, and then call to mind His love for fallen man. He “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] How can man, for whom God has done so much, for whom Christ has given His life, continue in his perversity? Can we wonder that at the close of the one thousand years all who have refused to accept Him shall be destroyed with fire from heaven outside the city of God? God declares that this shall be so. [Revelation 20:9.] He says, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. ... And I will punish the world for their evil; and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” [Isaiah 13:9-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 7

I love Jesus. I tremble at the Word of God. I am seeking to hide myself in the cleft of the Rock, that I may behold His holiness of character. God has a people, and I want to be among them. I want, too, that you shall be among them. And if you will, without any reservation, give up our own way and will to God, you may. The Spirit calls today. There is hope still. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 8

The church of God, enfeebled and defective though it is through yielding to temptation, is the only object upon earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. His interest, with all the interest of the heavenly host, is all with His people, who, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, are to shine as lights in the world. His Holy Spirit is given rich and constant supplies of grace for every emergency. Not one need stumble, for Christ has said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 9

Satan has a church upon the earth which outnumbers the church of Christ. Christ calls it the “synagogue of Satan,” because its members are the children of sin and transgression. [Revelation 3:9.] They have ceased to honor God; they have cast His divine law aside; they have confounded the distinction between good and evil. But the world’s Redeemer will have a church in which these essential differences will be made apparent, where the character of God will be represented. In marked contrast to the character of Satan, the beauty of holiness will be exemplified, the loveliness of truth shine forth in life and practice. Its members will love, honor, and glorify God whom the world has despised. These are the fruits by which they are known to the world; these will have the superscription of heaven by which all men may know that they are Christ’s disciples. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 10

Through Jesus Christ, God has made every provision that His people may connect with divine agencies, and that these agencies may co-operate with human instrumentalities. They may reveal to a world that is dead in trespasses and sins the power and sufficiency of Christ. They will present before the world another world of higher, holier laws than worldly wise men can invent or earth obey, a purer happiness and joy than earth can give to its votaries, coming through a service that is independent of all human inventions. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 11

Christ’s church on earth is to resemble heaven, a temple built after the pattern of things shown in the holy mount. Man must give up his ideas, his plans and devices, and let God work out His original intentions. The great Designer must not be impeded in His work by human wisdom. His work and purpose have been misunderstood. Through the miscalculations of man, the church today is so misshapen that it cannot be accepted by the Great Builder. Human counsel has been so abundant that man has felt sufficient to control man, and individual experience is rare. Men are placed where God should be. God’s plans are turned aside and men’s measures brought into fashion and mold. But the great and perfect Designer pronounces the work imperfect. The temple that He is building after the pattern of things in the heavens must have the exact proportions assigned it by the Architect, whose pattern is without a flaw. He has brought the golden measuring rod from heaven, and every worker is only employed as he works under His superintendence and according to His plans. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 12

There must be no human calculations. God will have only those as workers who will be laborers together with Him, who will yoke up with Christ, and learn of Him His meekness and lowliness of heart. His directions are, “Make everything according to the pattern shown thee in the mount.” [Hebrews 8:5.] Then a temple of heavenly design will be presented to the world, where the divine presence is manifested, and to which is affixed God’s seal. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 13

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” [1 Peter 2:7, 8.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 14

O, how manifest is this stumbling at the Word in the churches of today. God has appointed men to build the temple after the pattern of heavenly things, but they have molded it after a worldly design. The golden measuring rod of heaven has not been brought to the building. The rod of human inventions has been proportioning the temple that is called the temple of the Lord. Through transgression and disobedience, whereunto they were appointed, they have miscalculated, and the temple is not heavenly, but earthly. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 15

But God has a temple, a church, that is distinguished from the false temples of the world. Of this temple He says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God; which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” [Verses 9, 10.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 16

“For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying, Say ye not, A confederacy, to all to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” [Isaiah 8:11-14.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 17

Both ancient and modern Israel alike have stumbled over that Rock. Christ, in the lessons given in His life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, His purity, His exalted standard, His perfect obedience to the law of God, has been an offence to them. The great sacrifice made to redeem man from Satan’s power and the curse of the law is interpreted by man to mean that Christ abolished the law of God. Thus God’s great standard of righteousness, the representation of His character, is, through Satan’s devices, made to become a rock of offence. In the Old Testament Christ is made to oppose and contradict the Christ in the New. Christ is arrayed against Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 18

What has Jesus, the precious Saviour of the world, done that human, finite beings should put Him to open shame, and thus crucify Him afresh? Satan has remarkable power over all who open their hearts to temptation. But the mind, the character, the reason, belong to God. Christ is saying, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] But you are saying, “I will not do as Christ has said. I will seek my own interest first; I want none of God’s ways.” 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 19

While you thus co-operate with Satan, he walks by your side. He says, “Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success of business, you must serve me. I hold your welfare in my hands. Riches, pleasures, honor, and happiness I can give you. If you will hearken only to my counsel you will succeed. You cannot be successful if you allow yourself to be carried away with any whimsical notions. I will prepare the way before you.” There are Satan’s temptations. But will any turn away for this from God and heaven, thrusting eternity out of your reckoning, working like a slave in the service of Satan? Will it pay to do this? 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 20

Like Christ, every man has had offered to him the kingdoms of this world if he will acknowledge the supremacy of Satan. And how many are doing this before the universe of heavenly intelligences, before God their Creator, and Jesus Christ their Redeemer? But suppose all of Satan’s alluring temptations were just as he presents them, will you, even if you know, that by assenting to them you would gain the whole world, be so infatuated, so bewitched, as to sacrifice your hope of heaven, your spiritual and immortal interests for mere worldly advantages? 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 21

You have another life than that which you live in this world. You are to consider this, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Happiness and success are the prospects presented before you if you will work in Christ’s lines. But how many are saying, “I will not accept the conditions. I will have my own way and will in this matter.” I warn you that if you keep on in this course, you will have all your own way, with all that it implies. This is nothing less than the loss of your soul. But for all who for their Saviour’s sake will make any and every sacrifice, even to want and hunger and death, there awaits the crown of eternal life that Paul was seeking for, and an eternal weight of glory. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 22

Then no longer neglect this great salvation as many are most assuredly doing. Your salvation has been purchased by the Lord Jesus, in giving His life for you. It will be found that there are some things worse than temporal death. It is better for a soul to die than to sin; better to be in poverty and suffer hunger than to do a dishonest action. Should your success be purchased at so fearful a price as surrender to the control of Satan, you will find perplexities and embarrassments you never dreamed of. His presentations of worldly attractions are as a deceitful mirage, terrible as his own character, fearful as hell. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 23

The end of time is close upon us. The world’s inhabitants are being bound in bundles to be burned. Shall you be bound up with the tares? Will you not be saved in God’s appointed way? Will you not, like the prodigal son, say, “I will arise, and go to my father and say unto him, Father I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants”? [Luke 15:18, 19.] 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 24

God declares, “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, and that walketh in his ways.” “Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” [Psalm 128:1, 2.] Here is the condition. God has made the promise. He calls to all. Will you hear His voice? Sin not against the Holy Spirit. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 25

I want you to be saved; your soul is precious. Jesus loves you. He has created you. You are His possession, not only by creation but by redemption. If those who loved you best would give their own life for you, it would not save your soul. Jesus has died that life and immortality might be brought to light and be comprehended by every son and daughter of Adam. 12LtMs, Ms 23, 1897, par. 26