Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 135, 1898

Starr, G. B.



Formerly Undated Ms 22. Portions of this letter are published in HP 27; 1MCP 350; 2MR 34-35, 46; 6MR 14-15; 10MR 331-332.

[For Brother G. B. Starr, to be read to the school.] 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 1

“Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] I repeat the words of John, “Behold the Lamb of God,” that you may all contemplate Jesus; this, the cross of Calvary, is doctrine, it is the all-powerful argument. This is our message to the impenitent, our warning to the backslider—Behold Jesus. Keeping his eye upon the cross, man, who has brought the message, may step to one side for his work is done. It is then he will learn his lesson, and there, by beholding, he will hate the sin that brought such suffering upon Jesus Christ. By beholding he contemplates and he will believe. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] The sinner sees Jesus as He is, full of compassion and tender love, and he becomes transformed by beholding this exhibition of suffering because of the great love wherewith He hath loved fallen apostate man. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 2

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13. Man’s working, as brought out in the text, is not an independent work he performs without God. His whole dependence is upon the power and grace of the Divine Worker. Many miss the mark here, and claim that man must work his own individual self, free from Divine power. This is not in accordance with the text. Another argues that man is free from all obligation, because God does it all, both the willing and the doing. The text means that the salvation of the human soul requires the willpower to be subjective to the divine willpower, which will can’t be forced, but there must be co-operation of the human and divine agencies. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 3

Man cannot possibly work out his own salvation without the ordained divine power, and God will not do for man that which He requires man shall do for himself, through his own earnest willing co-operation. Man, in the work of the saving of the soul, is wholly dependent upon God. He cannot of himself move one step toward Christ unless the Spirit of God draws him, and this drawing is ever, and will continue until man grieves the Holy Ghost by his persistent refusal. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 4

The Lord has in His heavenly counsels set forth methods and agencies whereby His grace shall be at work through various influences for the saving of the soul of the sinner; but all these facilities will be ineffectual and powerless without the sinner’s consent to be drawn, and he co-operates with the divine agencies. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 5

It is a united work, a union with the divine and human, dependent upon grace, and concurring with grace in willing obedience. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do his good pleasure.” [Verses 12, 13.] God has given reason, the mental faculties of the mind; but if left to themselves uneducated and untrained, they leave man as is revealed in the fierce heathen. The mind and affections require education and direction by teachers. It must be line upon line, and precept upon precept, to guide and train the human moral agent to work in co-operation with God. God works in the human agent by the light of His truth. The mind enlightened by the truth sees truth in distinction from error. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 6

The mind open to the light which God sends, freed from all prejudice and man-made opinions, will see the evidence of truth, and when he understands with his mind and heart, he believes truth; for falsehood stands in opposition to truth. The enlightened mind will not call darkness light, neither will it call light darkness. The Spirit is constantly showing to the soul glimpses of the things of God; a divine Presence seems to hover near, and then if the mind responds, if the door of the heart is opened, Jesus abides with the human agent. The Spirit’s energy is working in the heart and leading the inclination of the will to Jesus by living faith and complete dependence on Divine Power to will and to do of His good pleasure. The Spirit taketh the things of God, just as fast as the soul resolves, and acts in accordance with the light revealed. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 7

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even as many as believed on his name. ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” [John 1:12, 14.] 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 8

The Spirit of God does not propose to do our part, either in the willing or the doing. This is the work of the human agent in co-operating with the divine agencies. As soon as we incline our will to harmonize with God’s will, the grace of Christ stands to co-operate with the human agent; but it will not be the substitute to do our work independent of our resolving and decidedly acting. Therefore it is not the abundance of light, and evidence piled upon evidence, that will convert the soul; it is only the human agent accepting the light, arousing the energies of the will, realizing and acknowledging that which he knows is righteousness and truth, and thus co-operating with the heavenly ministrations appointed of God in the saving of the soul. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 9

If the sinner or the backslider settles himself in disobedience and sin, the light may flash from heaven all about him, as it did about Saul, without breaking the bewitching power of falsehood and the spell of the world’s deception. Unless the human agent inclines his heart to do God’s will, and takes up God’s service, the light will shine in vain. A thousandfold more light and conviction would accomplish nothing. God knows he has sufficient evidence already. “They have Moses and the prophets;” if they will not believe their testimony and arouse to action, neither will they believe though one should be sent to them from the dead. [Luke 16:29, 31.] 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 10

Paul had a terrible awakening when the light from heaven flashed upon him, and a voice spoke to him and asked, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” The answer came from Saul, “Who art thou, Lord?” And Christ’s answer was, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Self is left out of the question. “And the Lord said unto him, ‘Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’” [Acts 9:4-6.] 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 11

Always the Lord gives the human agent his work. Here is the divine and the human co-operation. There is man working in obedience to divine light given. If Saul had said, “Lord, I am not at all inclined to follow your specified directions to work out my own salvation,” then should the Lord have let ten times the light shine upon Saul? It would have been useless. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 12

It is man’s work to co-operate with the divine. And it is the very hardest, sternest conflict which comes with the purpose and hour of great resolve and decision of the human to incline the will and way to God’s will and God’s way, relying upon the gracious influences which accompanied him all his life long. The man must do the work of inclining, “For it is God which worketh in you (us) both to will and to do.” [Philippians 2:13.] The character will determine the nature of the resolve and the action. The doing is not in accordance with the feeling or the inclination, but with the known will of our Father which is in heaven. Follow and obey the leadings of the Holy Spirit. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 13

Obey not the voice of the deceiver, which is in harmony with the unsanctified will, but obey the impulse that God has given. The work of the heavenly intelligences, in all their operations, is constantly working to induce the human agent to will and to do. Everything is at stake. Will the human agent co-operate with the divine? “To will and to do?” [Verse 13.] If man places his will on God’s side, fully surrendering self to God’s will, the high and holy endeavor of the human agent takes down the obstruction he himself has erected, the rubbish is cleared away from the door of the heart, the defiance and barricading of the soul is broken down. The door of the heart is opened and Jesus enters, to abide as a welcome guest. 13LtMs, Lt 135, 1898, par. 14