Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 14, 1898

Like Unto Leaven


February 9, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 48.

“Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” [Matthew 13:33.] 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 1

The lesson here to be learned is that a profession of faith and the possession of truth in the heart are two different things. The mere knowledge of truth is not enough. We may have a knowledge of truth, but the tenor of our thoughts may not be changed. The heart may still be filled with tares. The seed of truth may be sown among thorns. Unless a man has that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul, he is unconverted. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 2

When leaven is introduced into meal, it penetrates to every part, till an entire change takes place. So it is with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart. The truth received and believed introduces new rules, new principles of action into the life. A new standard of character is set up—the life of Christ. Those who thus receive the truth depend on Christ, and they receive more and still more strength, and greater and still greater light. Daily they expel from their hearts vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness. As they receive the Spirit of Christ, light shines from them in clear, distinct rays. They have a solemn sense of eternal realities. There is a renewal of the entire mind and heart. As the leaven introduced into the meal leavened the whole, so the leaven of truth, if introduced into the heart, will absorb to itself all the properties of soul, body, and spirit. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 3

The gospel deals with individuals. Man is of more value in God’s sight than gold or silver. He has more to lose or win than even angels can estimate. The Lord is calling to each individual soul, “Incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. ... Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God; for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:3, 6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 4

Transformation of heart means an entire change of the entire man. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” Christ declared. [John 3:3.] This change of heart is unseen, for it is an inward work; and yet it is seen, because it works outward from within. Has the leaven of truth been at work in your heart? Has it absorbed the whole heart, the whole affections, by its sanctifying power? 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 5

“With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” [Romans 10:10.] Have those who claim to believe the truth ever been convicted of the sin of criticizing, the sin of evil-speaking, evil-thinking? If they refuse to be convicted of these things, tares that will never be killed by the truth will spring up. They will become worse than before they heard the truth. They may have had great light, as had the Jews in the days of Christ, and yet be nothing bettered by it. The sin of covetousness will bear its fruit. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 6

Every word of unbelief is a tare blade. These tares spring up in the hearts of those who cherish covetousness. If the leaven of truth is allowed to do its work, it will kill these tares. But it is not sufficient merely to cover up these attributes; they must be seen as roots of bitterness, springing up, whereby many will be defiled. The thoughts and the words must be converted. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 7

If the love of God is cherished, it will cleanse the soul-temple from all defilement. God would have our every faculty sanctified and consecrated to Him. But we shall never overcome the wicked one while we retain our narrow ideas of what it means to be a Christian. The good seed cannot thrive among thorns. The work to be done by every soul is to separate from cherished sins. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 8

Christ requires from us more than many are willing to give Him. He gave Himself for us. For us He laid aside His royal robe, and left His kingly crown with His Father, until the time should come for Him to take it again. For our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. When a man is not deceived by Satan’s sophistry, when he is fully awake to his own sinfulness, he can appreciate Christ’s power to help. And what is Christ?—Just the opposite of all that we are—pure and unselfish, holy and undefiled. He loves His enemies; He is meek and lowly, condescending, patient, just, and true. Ever He manifested entire submission to the Father’s will. Goodness, mercy, and truth are the attributes of His character. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 9

The Word of God declares, You must be like Him. The penitent, humble soul sees the contrast between himself and the Saviour. He realizes that he is not prepared to close up his work in this world. He shudders to think of the imperfection of his own life, as contrasted with the character he must have if he sees God. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 10

Our first work is with our own hearts. The true principles of reform should be practiced. The heart must be converted and sanctified else we have no connection with Christ. While our hearts are divided, we shall never, never be fitted for usefulness in this life or for the future life. As intelligent beings, we need to sit down and think whether we are really seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The very best thing we can do is to think soberly and candidly whether we desire to put forth the effort necessary to obtain the Christian hope and secure the Christian’s heaven. If through the grace of Christ we decide that we do, the next question is, What is there that I must cut away from my life in order that I shall not stumble? 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 11

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ declared, “he that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” [John 6:47, 35.] The bread of life that is to be eaten by every individual is the Word of God. It is represented by the leaven in the meal, and is to be introduced into the inner life. Studied and obeyed, it works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that has sprung up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming every spiritual sinew and muscle to Him. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 12

The motto of those who have accepted Christ as their Leader should be, We shall never fail nor be discouraged. If our labor is a lawful undertaking, it must go forward. But we cannot accept as given us of God a work that does not draw us nearer to God. We must always work so as to advance the kingdom of God. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 13

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house, and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered, and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man.” He came to sow the world with seed of righteousness, goodness, and truth. “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered, and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that do offend, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” [Matthew 13:36-43.] 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 14


Nature is the Lord’s lesson book, which He places before us. To the minds and hearts of those whose faculties are quickened to discern their speech, the things of nature speak with nature’s voice. As the seed grows, first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear, and the seed of truth grows in the hearts of those who receive it. This is a symbol of the spiritual growth to be made by God’s people. Personal advancement is made by the Christian being a partaker of the divine nature. We are to be born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, which liveth and abideth forever. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 15


In the wilderness the Lord taught His people an important lesson of faith, trust, and obedience. Israel heard the word, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] Their way lay across the Red Sea, but in obedience they went forward; and the waters receded, leaving a plain path for their feet. And as they stood of the border of the sea they had crossed, they saw their enemies drowned in its waters. 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 16

Some time after this their way was hedged up by the king of the Amalekites, who opposed their right of way. This was a grievous hindrance, but the Lord explained it. It is to humble thee, and prove thee, He declared; “to do thee good at thy latter end.” [Deuteronomy 8:16.] 13LtMs, Ms 14, 1898, par. 17