Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 142, 1898

“Ye Are The Salt of the Earth.”


October 17, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in AH 174; CG 240, 484-485.

The Lord Jesus likened His disciples to the things most familiar to them. He compared them to the salt and the light. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” He said. “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:13, 14.] These words were addressed to a few poor, humble fishermen. Priests and rabbis were in that congregation of hearers, but these were not the ones addressed. With all their science of learning, with all their supposed instruction in the mysteries of the law, with all their claims of knowing God, they revealed that they knew Him not. To these leading men had been committed the oracles of God, but Christ turned from them to the humble fishermen and said, “Ye are the light of the world.” These great men whom the world called wise Christ declared to be unsafe teachers. He said to them, “Ye teach for doctrine the commandments of men.” And again, “Ye are both ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God.” [Matthew 15:9; 22:29.] 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 1

God declared through His prophet Jeremiah, “My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Then He asks the question, “Is Israel a servant? Is he a home born, slave? Why is he spoiled? ... Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord the God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Jeremiah 2:13, 14, 17-19.] This people reveal that notwithstanding their advantages as His chosen people they are not the light of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 2

Christ presents before us true religion. He reverses the decisions of ages, and shows that true knowledge is in direct opposition to the opinions of men. His disciples had been regarded as the hewers of wood, and the drawers of water, and not, as he had declared them, the salt of the earth, the light of the world. From them was to go forth a message, illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. They were fully represented by the salt and the light. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 3

In these words of Christ we have some idea of what constitutes the value of human influence. It is to work with the influence of Christ, to stay the progress of the world’s corruption, to lift where Christ lifts, to impart correct principles, to check the abounding iniquity. It is to diffuse that grace which Christ alone can impart. It is to uplift, to sweeten the life and character of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 4

The bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness is the light of the world. Then be careful that “I” does not exalt itself and interpose between Christ and the people. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. How? Uplift by words, by pen, by voice, a risen Saviour, One who came to seek and to save that which was lost. God’s people are to exercise a reforming, preserving power in the world. They are to counterwork the destroying, corrupting influence of evil. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 5

The Jews were well acquainted with the figure of the salt, and there was in the words of Christ that which commended His principles to His hearers. Christ’s own character was to be represented in His disciples. They were to bear the gospel to the world. They were to be doers of the Word which they presented, and which was to be to them and to others a savor of life unto life. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 6

Christ spoke of the salt losing its savor. This was what the Jewish nation were doing. The salt was there, but it was useless. It could do no good to any one or anything. This represents those who have once accepted Bible truth, who have once understood what it means to be as the salt with its saving properties, but who have lost their connection with Christ. They no longer wear His yoke, and their [salt] has no saving qualities. They are criticizers, accusers of the brethren, as were the first apostates. They can quote Scripture, and this they use to throw at others, to cause discomfort and confusion. They do not seek to enlighten and save their fellow men. These people are useless as far as truth and righteousness are concerned, and are only fit to be treated as is the salt that has lost its savor. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 7

The work of the people of God in the world is to restrain evil, to purify, elevate, and ennoble mankind. The principles of kindness and love and benevolence are to uproot every fiber of the selfishness which is permeating all society and which has corrupted the church. Then the Lord God Omnipotent can reign. The spirit of Christ will be an abiding influence in the home life. If men and women will open their hearts to the heavenly influence of truth and love, these principles will flow forth again like streams in the desert, refreshing all, and causing freshness to appear where now is barrenness and dearth. To those who obey the law of God, the promise is given that they shall receive that for which they ask. They keep the way of the Lord, and their influence will be as far reaching as eternity. They will carry with them the cheerfulness of heavenly peace as an abiding, refreshing, enlightening influence. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 8

Says the apostle, “Be ye thankful.” [Colossians 3:15.] If you have the savor of grace and godliness, you will express your gratitude to God. We know the source from which it flows, and we know how it is to be retained. By praise and thanksgiving we may maintain our connection with God. While every soul who has the savor of the salt is doing his work, unseen influences will be felt. His saving qualities will be a savor of life. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 9

Then again there is to be an open influence. Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and (in seeing) may glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] Christ exercised mercy and tenderness and compassion, that He might bless suffering humanity. He worked to restore the physical and moral image of God in man. In this work man is to be a laborer together with God. Moral and physical health and spiritual light will be communicated from the mighty Healer. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 10

The light which dispels the moral darkness is all from the Light and Life of the world. This is of more value than all the pomposity, the self-righteousness, the supposed intellectual advancement of which the world boasts. Men did have intellectual light before Christ came to our world, but they did not understand from whence that light came. In many different ways this knowledge was acting as the salt of the earth; for whithersoever this salt finds its way, to homes or communities, it proves a preserving power to ave all that is good and to destroy all that is evil. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 11

The light that shines from those who receive Jesus Christ is not self-originated. It is all from Christ. He kindles this light, even as He kindles the fire that all must use in doing His service. Christ is the light and life, the holiness, the sanctification of all who believe, and His light is to be received and imparted in all good works. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 12

Christian parents, will you consider that the salt is to possess saving virtues in your family? There are to be no loud-voiced commands in the home. There is to be no lording it over God’s heritage in the church. Let nothing come forth from you that is unkind, repulsive, or exasperating to your children. These children receive their first lessons from their father and mother, and no harsh, severe, gloomy representation should be given them. The love of Christ is to fashion their characters. Manifest the meekness and gentleness of Christ in dealing with the wayward little ones. Always bear in mind that they have received their perversity as an inheritance from the father or mother. Then bear with the children who have inherited your own trait of character. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 13

Be firm, be decided in carrying out Bible instruction, but be free from all passion. Bear in mind that when you become harsh and unreasonable before your little ones, you teach them to be the same. God requires you to educate your children, bringing into your discipline all the generalship of a wise teacher who is under the control of God. If the converting power of God is exercised in your home, you yourselves will be constant learners. You will represent the character of Christ, and your efforts in this direction will please God. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 14

Never neglect the work that should be done for the younger members of the Lord’s family. You are, parents, the light of your home. Then let your light shine forth in pleasant words, in soothing tones of the voice. Take all the sting out of them by prayer to God for self-control. And angels will be in your home, for they will observe your light. The discipline you give your children will go forth in strong, clear currents from your correctly managed home to the world. True religion is the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Your children will carry forth from the home the precious influence of the home education. Then work in the home circle, in the first years of the children’s lives, and they will carry your influence into the school room; that influence will be felt by many others. Thus the Lord will be glorified. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 15

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” [Mark 14:38.] By this is meant that we are not to entertain the thoughts that Satan presents to the mind. We are to resist the sophistry of Satan. It is of these things that Christ has warned us, “Believe them not.” [Jeremiah 12:6.] “Think evil of no man.” [See Titus 3:2; 1 Corinthians 13:5.] Think your very best of men. You can resist the devil, and he will flee from you. We are not [to] accept evil, and call it good. We are not to make the worst appear in any of those with whom we are associated. We are not to believe the “they say” of others. Our words are to be as salt, to preserve the good qualities and to destroy the evil. 13LtMs, Ms 142, 1898, par. 16