Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 24, 1898

Christ’s Life on Earth


February 22, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 67.

Christ came to our world, and lived in the home of a peasant. He wore the best garments His parents could provide, but they were the humble garments of the peasants. He walked the rough paths, and climbed the steeps of the hillsides and mountains. When He walked the streets He was apparently alone; for human eyes did not behold His heavenly attendants. He learned the trade of a carpenter, that He might stamp all honest labor as honorable and ennobling to all who work with an eye single to the glory of God. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 1

From Christ’s sermon on the mount, we may obtain healthful and correct ideas of the attributes God delights to see expressed in man. “Blessed are the poor in spirit:” He said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 2

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 3

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 4

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in nowise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:3-20.] 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 5

These attributes are but little esteemed by the wealthy, because they weigh men in their human balances, by their possessions. God estimates men by their moral worth. An indolent man, he who regards himself as too much of a gentlemen to use his God-given brain, bone, and muscle in this life, loses the opportunity to acquire a fitness for the future, immortal life. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 6

Christ, who made the world, was in His own house a constant worker, and left on record a life filled with useful deeds. He did not call the learned, and so-called honorable men to cooperate with Him in the great work of saving the souls and bodies of the men who were perishing in their sins. Christ saw that Israel, who had been so highly favored in having committed to them the oracles of God, were misconstruing the Scriptures to meet their own backslidden attitude toward God. Their teaching was no longer the Word of God, but the sayings and doings of men. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 7

They were making of no effect the commandments of God by their tradition. They were working away from the high and holy standard given in the law of God, and were meeting a human standard. They were seducing the church from their trust and faith in God. Vain philosophy and human traditions were taught. Christ declared that they were ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They had no real faith. Christ’s work was to strip away these false theories and by His own life reveal the character of God, that He might lift souls who were perishing in ignorance of true godliness into a pure and holy atmosphere. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 8

Christ came to sow the earth with truth. The seed of the kingdom contains a germinating principle; but it must receive the sunshine and the living water from the great Source of truth in order to become fruitful. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 9

It is not high-sounding titles that make the man, or give evidence that he is a teacher sent from God. Man has lost his meekness and lowliness, and has separated himself from Christ. He is not as Christ was in this world—pure, holy, humble, undefiled. He would much rather turn from following Christ in His humiliation. Christ, the Lord of the whole earth, was a humble artisan. He was unrecognized, neglected, and despised. But He held His commission and authority from the highest power, the Sovereign of heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 10

Angels were His attendants, for Christ was doing His Father’s business just as much when toiling at the bench as a carpenter, as when working miracles for the multitude. But he concealed the secret from the world. He attached no high titles to His name, to make His position understood; but He lived the royal law of God. His work must begin in consecration the humble trade of the craftsmen who have toiled for their daily bread. Had Christ passed his life among the grand and the rich, the world of toilers would have been deprived of the inspiration which the Lord intended they should have. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 11

Meek and lowly was the life of Christ. He chose this life that He might help the human family. He did not take His place upon a throne as Commander of the whole earth. He laid aside His royal robe, He laid off His kingly crown, that He might be made one of the human family. He took not on Him the nature of angels. His work was not the priestly office after the appointments of men. It was impossible for man to understand His exalted position unless the Holy Spirit should make it known. For our sake He clothed His divinity with humanity, and stepped down from the royal throne. He resigned His position as commander in the heavenly courts, and for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. Thus He hid His glory under the guise of humanity, that He might touch humanity with his divine, transforming power. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 12

“Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” [Hebrews 5:5-9.] 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 13

The Lord Jesus came to the world to live the life which it will be for the interest of every being on earth to live—that of humble obedience. Those to whom Christ has given a probation in which to form characters for the mansions he has gone to prepare, are to enter into His life example. If they are indeed learners in the school of Christ, they will not exalt themselves because they are possessors of houses and lands, because the Lord has in His providence lent them His goods to trade upon. If they are in connection with Christ they will feel that it is a very serious matter to have the responsibility of a large revenue. If they have the converting power of God upon their hearts, their earnest inquiry will be, “How can I wisely use my Lord’s goods?” 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 14

Christ condescended to poverty that He might teach how closely we may walk with God in our daily life. Christ took upon Him human nature that He might be able to sympathize with all hearts. He was capable of sympathizing with all. He could be in the world, engage in toil, bear His part in sustaining the family in their necessity, become accustomed to weariness, and yet show no impatience. His spirit was never so full of worldly cares that He had no time or thought for the heavenly. He could give evidence of His cheerfulness by singing psalms and heavenly songs. The men of Nazareth often heard His voice raised in praise and thanksgiving to God. He often held communion with heaven in song, and all who were associated with Him, who often complained of their weariness of labor, were cheered by the sweet melody that fell from His lips. His praises seemed to drive away the evil angels, and, as incense, fill the room with sweet fragrance. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 15

This, too, had its lesson. It taught that men could commune with God in words of holy song. Christ carried the minds of His hearers away from their earthly exile to their future eternal home. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 16

And the Lord has lessons for all who have material resources in trust. God would have them use His entrusted gifts in building the house of the Lord, and maintaining His work in the earth. The house of God may be very humble in comparison with the temple of Solomon, but it is no less acknowledged by God. It is to those who worship there the gate of heaven, if they worship God in spirit and in truth, and in the beauty of holiness. As songs of praise are sung, as earnest fervent prayers arise to heaven, and lessons are repeated of the wondrous works of God, as the heart’s gratitude is expressed in prayer and song, angels from heaven take up the strain, and unite in the praise and thanksgiving to God. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 17

These exercises drive back the power of Satan. They expel murmuring and complaints, and Satan loses ground. God teaches us that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for them that love Him. Then they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftier strains of song, in thanksgiving and praise to Him who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 18

Then all pride, all accusing, all self-deception, will have an end. Every mask will be laid aside, and we shall “see him as he is.” [1 John 3:2.] We shall have nothing to conceal. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 19

When the Holy Spirit moves upon human minds in this life, all petty complaints and accusing between man and his fellow man will be healed by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining into the chamber of the mind and heart. There will be no distinction made between rich and poor, white or black, in their worship of God. All prejudice will be melted away. When we approve God, it will be in one brotherhood. We are only human beings, pilgrims and strangers, bound for a better country, even a heavenly. There our songs will catch the inspiring theme, and thanksgiving and praise will go up to God. Christ would have us realize that our bonds of interest are one. His principles of truth bind heart to heart, be they rich or poor, high or low, and all are united to the great Center, Christ, who gave Himself for us. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 20

We shall learn the value of the human soul when we learn to value the love of God for us. A divine Saviour died for all, that all might find in Him their divine Source. In Christ Jesus we are one, lifted to the same rank, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, by the utterance of one name, “Our Father,” through Jesus Christ who loved us and gave His life a ransom for us. This places an equal value upon all. To the poor and oppressed and downtrodden of earth, Christ says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, (which is Christ formed within the hope of glory,) whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless.” [John 14:15-18.] 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 21

Loyalty to an earthly sovereign may leave men poor and debased; but allegiance to the King of heaven will fit them with characters after the divine similitude. When kingly crowns and honors shall crumble in the dust, to the loyal will be given a never fading crown of life. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 22

It is claimed by some that the gospel does not inform us in regard to the incidents in the youth and manhood of Christ’s life, simply because there is nothing to relate. True, Christ lived the life of a common laborer, but there is much of deep interest that could be said of the pure, undefiled life. He was a character among characters, which placed in strong contrast holiness and obedience and unholiness and disobedience. Although He did not enter into His public ministry until He was thirty years old, He was always doing good. His life was in entire conformity to the life and character of God. His childhood and manhood ennobled and sanctified every phase of practical life. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 23

Christ and the heavenly universe saw that the power of Satan was taking the world captive, and that nearly all mankind was under his deceiving power. The gold and silver and precious things of earth charmed men, and they longed to come into possession of the hidden treasures of the earth. And when they did obtain them, their hearts were greedy for more. To them riches meant power and honor, and they would do any injustice or violence to obtain that which they coveted. The fear of the Lord was fast departing from the earth. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 24

Then the Son of the Highest came to earth. “Lo I come,” He said, “(in the volume of the book it is written of me), to do thy will O God.” [Hebrews 10:7.] His arm brought salvation. He commenced and ended His life in the lowly walks of life, placing Himself where the family of which He was a member required His service. He did not shirk His responsibilities, but carried into His labor cheerfulness and tact. He restored every department of human industry as though it were a part of His commission from God. The Commander of heaven became subject to command, but in it all He manifested heartiness and devotion. He was a perfect pattern in every place. He was the great Masterbuilder of the human body and the human character, and the law of wisdom was on His lips. He knew that it required much patience and spirituality to bring Bible religion into the home life, into the workshop, to bear all the stretching and straining of man’s nature in worldly lines, and yet keep the eye single to the glory of God. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 25

This is where Christ was a helper. In elevated song, He would speak His parables which carried the minds of His hearers with Him. A fragrant influence was diffused to those around Him, and they were blessed. And the Saviour knew that angels united with His songs, although from the desert to the cross, Satan assailed Him with temptations. His plans to discourage the world’s Redeemer from the purpose were numerous. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 26

How strong and severe were these conflicts we can have but a faint conception. Christ devoted whole nights to prayer in the mountains, beseeching His Father with strong crying and tears. This was after His work of public ministry had been entered upon. There was need of prayer. Christ always chose to be alone when He was pressed by the temptations of Satan. He would have no one oppressed by the sorrows that weighed upon His divine soul. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 27

The inhabitants of the world are united in many respects. They do as they please; they live for pleasure; they seek after happiness which they never obtain. These lovers of pleasure cannot see truth or have a knowledge of Jesus Christ. If we could obtain their attention long enough to form ideas of a higher character than trivial plays and selfish amusements, they might distinguish between man as a citizen of this world, and man as a citizen of the better country, even a heavenly. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 28

Christ passed through all the experiences of His childhood, youth, and manhood without the observance of ceremonious temple worship. He held no office, He assumed no rank. He passed through the experiences of infancy, childhood, and manhood without a stain upon His character. He consecrated Himself to benefit and bless others, to show that in every period of life the human agent can do the Master’s will. Notoriety was not given Him, yet He was a most wonderful man. He was “Wonderful, Counsellor.” [Isaiah 9:6.] 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 29

Christ was a physician of the body as well [as] of the soul. He was minister and missionary and physician. From His childhood He was interested in every phase of human suffering that came under His notice. In His youth Christ received instruction from His Father; but had He opened the secrets of His mind He would have been found in active service at all times. He could truly say, I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. In every case of woe He brought relief, His kind words having a soothing balm. No one could say He had worked a miracle, yet He imparted His virtue to those He saw in suffering and in need. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 30

Throughout the whole thirty years of His life He was humble, meek and lowly. Step by step He advanced, growing in stature, and in favor with God and man. The spirit of God was upon Him. He was not dwarfed in spiritual, mental, or moral capabilities. He had always a living connection with His Father, and He gave evidence to all who were acquainted with Him that He lived to please, honor, and glorify His Father in the common things of life. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 31

Thus He was educating others how to work. Profitable work is the Lord’s greatest blessing to man. Industry closes the door to many temptations. The rich may have millions of pounds. They may be called wealthy, but are they? No; they have a name to be called rich. But let calamity come to them and they become bankrupt, and what do they do? They are driven to desperation. They will not see things in their true light. They become wild because they have lost their idol, their object of worship, and in the place of turning to the true God, they take their own lives and become murderers. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 32

If all will follow the example of Christ in connection with humanity, if they will be faithful in good works, in noble, elevating deeds of kindness and thoughtfulness; if all will follow His example in all the walks of life, binding their life up with the life of Christ, there will be no neglected duties. All will be clothed with the same importance with which Christ regarded them, and will receive the same attention. 13LtMs, Ms 24, 1898, par. 33