Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 94, 1898

The Unity of the Spirit


July 28, 1898

Previously unpublished. +Note

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:1-3.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 1

Will all who name the name of Christ consider this lesson? It is given for all who believe that Christ is the Son of God. The condition of entrance into the kingdom of heaven is humility. No one can enter there who exalts self. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 2

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as a little child,” Christ continued, “the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Verse 4.] Will our brethren appreciate these words? Many of those who desire to preach are not accepted by the Lord. They have yet to learn the lesson of walking humbly with God, the lesson of hiding their life in the life of Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 3

Those who humble themselves are in a position where Christ can safely let the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness shine on them. Human beings are not to climb to the highest place, thinking that position will cause them to be more highly regarded by God. Let every soul seek to be meek and lowly in heart, to minister in humble places. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 4

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] There is great need of good works, and those who are truly united with Christ will reveal His likeness, and do as He did. But those who think that they should be given some office of distinction, who feel hurt because they are not called upon to carry responsibilities because others do not recognize their superior talents, need to become learners in the school of Christ before they can exert an influence that will be a savor of life unto life. Be assured that wise, true, wholehearted men are always recognized. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 5

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree being forth good fruit. Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:17, 18, 20.] There are those who have a knowledge of the truth, but who are not doers of the Word. In clear, distinct rays the light of the gospel shone upon their pathway. The joyful sounds of salvation saluted their ears. They nominally accepted the truth, but the sanctifying leaven was not hidden in the heart, and old practices and customs soon bore sway. When they were tempted, they did not resist, and therefore were overcome. Hear the words proceeding from their lips. It is little short of swearing. They do not know what they are saying, for they have given themselves up to madness and reviling. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 6

They are easily offended, and think it their privilege to ventilate their opinions in a very unbecoming way. But what harm their harsh words do those connected with them. If spoken in the family, they rouse the worst passions of the other members, until the whole family is exasperated. These poor souls should either be converted, and gain that meekness that will not be surprised into retaliation, or they should separate from each other. Unless they are converted, they can never enter the kingdom of heaven, for they are unworthy. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 7

There are souls who need now to heed the words of the prophet, “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 55:6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 8

Then the words of the apostle will be applicable, “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” [Ephesians 2:1-9.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 9

Thoughts of self-exaltation are not to be cherished, but subdued and cut away from the religious experience. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Verse 10.] Everything of earth which attracts and absorbs the mind, diverting the moral powers from Him who is the source and strength of all genuine religious experience, counterworks Christ’s purpose of purifying and elevating the human soul. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 10

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” [Verses 18-20.] As saints of God we are to be builded together to compose a holy temple for God. As there are different materials in a building, each article representing the parts united together, so it is with the church of God. Christ is the foundation and cornerstone which unites all the parts of the building. Every human being who has consecrated himself to Christ has his place in the building. He is connected with others to make the building, the church, a perfect whole. But he is not the head or foundation. Christ is to be all and in all. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 11

Self, and selfish customs, habits, and thoughts, will wrestle for the mastery. But self must be overcome. The symmetry of the building cannot be as the Master Builder designs unless every part fills its appointed place. United together in peace, the members of the church make a complete whole, “and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” [Verses 20-22.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 12

This is a representation of the church. There are large timbers, which support the building. There is also other material fully as essential, which the larger timbers must in no way ignore. From this representation we are to learn to be so united that we shall be fitted to fill the places designed for us by the great Master Artist. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 13

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” [Ephesians 3:14-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 14

The church will be a growing church if it does not think that it is its privilege to work the Holy Spirit. We are to remember that no man’s mind is complete, no man’s judgment is unerring. None of the capabilities that God has entrusted to His human agents are to be ignored or neglected, for there is no human being who is a complete whole. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 15

The fourth chapter of Ephesians is a continuation of the subject in chapter three. “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” [Ephesians 4:1.] If we would do this, remembering that God works with other minds as well as with ours, that He carries on His work by different gifts and appointments, if we would give others credit for being worked by the Holy Spirit, there would not be so much jealousy, so much sensitiveness, because we are not appreciated and given room to act. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 16

Those whom God is using are to occupy the position of learners and workers. They are to remember that God has appointed them individually, and are to leave God to work upon other minds. They are to leave others free to act according to God’s appointment. The will of every man is to be submerged in the will of God. No one is to regard his mind as the only mind that God is controlling. The one who is strong to do the will of God intelligently, who is using his mind in God’s service, will just as surely be united with others whom God is using. In what other way could the building of God be completed in all its parts, in perfect fitness and unity? 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 17

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.” [Verses 2, 3.] Will those who are working for Christ in these last days ask themselves whether they are doers of the Word? Will they remember that they may grieve the Spirit of God by entertaining distrust of those who are working full as conscientiously as themselves, although they may not regard it thus? “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are all called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” [Verses 4-7.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 18

This is the great secret of success in the Christian life. Men often consider the suppositions of their own minds as true in every respect. In some things they may think aright; in other things their opinions are not correct. The Lord would have each worker help the other. He would have one supply the deficiencies that may exist in another’s plans and ideas and judgment. This is the reason that counsellors are needed. The Lord would guard against one man’s ideas prevailing in all things. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 19

The love of Christ in the heart will overcome those things which create dissension and discord. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds.” [Verse 17.] No one who is in Christ will represent the class to which the apostle here refers. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 20

Paul contrasts the disposition of the unconverted Gentiles with those who are striving to do the will of God. “But ye have not so learned Christ,” he says, “if so be that ye have learned him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus.” [Verses 20, 21.] Let all remember that we are in no case to exalt or deify the messenger of God. There are some who are ready to deify one who may be a faithful and true servant of God, while another, who is as fully consecrated to the line of work to which God has appointed him, is almost crucified. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 21

No man is to be exalted in the place of God. Those who from attachments that cause them to lose sight of God and exalt man do this to the ruin of their own souls, and to the injury of the one they so highly esteem. There are fearful extremes that lead to alarming results. We must trust to the Lord to make us wise in all things. Self must sink; it must be lost in Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 22

Tenderly, earnestly, faithfully, are we to treat all. God would have us put away suspicion and encourage confidence and love for each other, not because they receive and act upon all the propositions that come from human minds, but because we believe that God designs His workers to be bound together in their work, that it may be a complete whole. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 23

Let all investigate God’s Word, and obey the warnings and the light given on the subject of unity. Let there be no drawing apart from one another. Do not strengthen by your voice the dangerous opinions which at the present time are threatening the prosperity of the church, and will continue to work the greatest evil to the cause of God. Christ is to be exalted. He is to be all and in all. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 24

“And Jesus 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 of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the earth.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 25

This high commission no man or body of men can confer. Every minister bears his commission as a gospel worker who has been called by the Holy Spirit, and who, under the guidance of the Spirit, goes forth to preach the truth, the Lord working with him. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:13.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 26

The ministerial character is described in the Word of God. “A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, nor given to filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful word as ye have been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.” “Let a man so account of us, as the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.” [Titus 1:7-9; 1 Corinthians 4:1.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 27

God’s ministers are to be respected, honored, loved. “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake, and be at peace among yourselves.” “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in word and doctrine.” [1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; 1 Timothy 5:17.] 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 28

There should be no demeriting of the Christian ministry. All have not the same line of work to do. While the medical missionary work is important, it should not absorb the men and women who are appointed by God to do a special work in opening the Scriptures to those who are ignorant and out of the way. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 29

Let not the ministry of the Word take a second place. Let him that is taught in the Word communicate with him that teacheth in all good things. The laborer is worthy of his hire. Both the men and women who labor in the gospel are worthy of their hire. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 30

There must be an awakening. Young men must be encouraged to preach the Word. The presidents of our conferences have not done their duty in this line. They have not encouraged men to enter the ministry, because they did not feel able to pay the wages that would be necessary to support their families. Where men have talent and a disposition to work, give them something to do. But do not send them to a church, to be either petted and praised, or criticized and discouraged. Let them go to places where the people have not heard the truth, and commence with house to house labor. They should walk prayerfully and humbly before God, keeping His honor and glory in view. 13LtMs, Ms 94, 1898, par. 31