Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 67, 1898

“Search the Scriptures.”


June 9, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 1MCP 188-189; OHC 35; TDG 169; 1BC 1083; 7BC 904-905, 989; CTr 33; 3MR 433; 11MR 172-173; 17MR 25.

The humiliation of the man Christ Jesus is incomprehensible to the human mind. His divinity and pre-existence before the world was formed can never be doubted by those who comprehend the Word of God. The apostle Paul speaks of our Mediator, the only begotten Son of God as in a state of glory, where, in the form of God, He was Commander of all the heavenly hosts, and who, when He clothed His divinity with humanity took upon Him the form of a servant. Isaiah declares, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever.” [Isaiah 9:6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 1

God’s Word is His voice speaking to men. If the Bible had been made the book of study in the schools, what a different showing there would be in society today. The Word of God must be our lesson book if we would travel heavenward, and in the words spoken by inspiration we are to read our lessons day by day. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man (as the representative of the human race) he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” [Philippians 2:5-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 2

In doing this, Christ became our Redeemer. Satan was the destroyer of man. Christ came to be the Restorer. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” [Verses 9, 10.] Let the students in our schools study this Book which has been so universally neglected and set aside for books that are not inspired. Let every student be taught to read the Word of God with prayerful, earnest interest, lest he shall fail to be a doer of the Word, and his education in science be a useless knowledge, lest he build his house, not upon the eternal Rock, but upon the sand. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 3

“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else besides me; a just God, and a Saviour; there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” [Isaiah 45:21-25.] Isaiah 45. Read this entire chapter, and see if you have learned the lessons God has given you. Let every teacher and student examine himself as he reads. Read also chapters 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45. There are but very few who are readers and searchers of the Scriptures, who compare the prophecies of the Old Testament with the statements of the New, and by searching find the key that unlocks the treasure house of heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 4

It is of the highest importance that every human being to whom God has given reasoning powers understands his relation to God. It is for his present and eternal good to inquire at every step, Is this the way of the Lord? Since the fall of Adam, it has been the fashion of the world to sin, and it is for our interest to know the definition of sin. This is given us in (1 John 3): “Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” [Verses 4, 5.] The information is plainly given that sin is the transgression of the law. We need to call most earnestly upon every human being to compare his character with the law of God, the standard of character for all who would enter His kingdom and become citizens of the heavenly country. The work of redemption is not studied in our schools interestedly and carefully. Students have no real conception of what the plan of salvation means. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 5

He who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities invites us, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest.” God’s Word is pledged in our behalf. How many make a practical application of this promise? Listen to the voice of Christ, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Students, you are safe only as you connect yourselves with Christ on perfect submission and obedience. The yoke is easy, for Christ carries the weight. As you lift the burden of the cross, it will become light. It is a pledge to you of eternal life. You can follow gladly after Christ, exclaiming at every step, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” [Psalm 18:35.] If you follow on to know the Lord, you will have the sympathies of a friend. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 6

If our judge should pass sentence according to the sight of the eyes or the hearing of the ears, he would commit errors in his decisions. If it were God who is to judge us we might feel as did the Israelites at Sinai that His holiness and greatness separated us from Him. We might fear that He would not take into account the feebleness and infirmity of humanity, and we would voice the words of the trembling multitude, “Let Moses speak there with us, but let not God speak to us lest we die.” [Exodus 20:19.] But our Redeemer and Judge meet in the same person; He is our Saviour. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 7

In consenting to become man, Christ has manifested a humility that is the marvel of the heavenly intelligences. In itself, the act of consenting to be a man would be no act of humiliation were it not for the fact of Christ’s exalted pre-existence and the fallen condition of man. But when we open our understanding to realize that in taking humanity upon Him, Christ laid aside His royal robe, His kingly crown, His high command, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might meet man where he was, and bring to the human family moral power to become the sons and daughters of God. To redeem man, Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden linked chain which binds our souls to Christ, and through Christ to God. This is to be our study, Christ was a real man, and He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. And He was God in the flesh. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 8

When we approach the subject of Christ’s divinity clothed with the garb of humanity, we may appropriately heed the words spoken by Christ to Moses at the burning bush, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” [Exodus 3:5.] We must come to the study of this subject with the humility of a learner, with a contrite heart. The study of the incarnation of Christ is a fruitful field and will repay the searcher who digs deep for hidden truth. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 9

The Bible is our Guide in the save paths that lead to eternal life. God has inspired men to write that which will present the truth to us, which will attract, and which, if practiced, will enable the receiver to obtain moral power to rank among the most highly educated minds. The minds of all who make the Word of God their study will enlarge. Far more than any other study its influence is calculated to increase the powers of comprehension and endow every faculty with a new power. It brings the mind in contact with broad, ennobling principles of truth. It brings all heaven into close connection with human minds, imparting wisdom and knowledge and understanding. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 10

In dealing with common-place productions, and feeding on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened. It is not brought into contact with deep, broad principles of eternal truth. The understanding unconsciously accommodates itself to the comprehension of the things with which it is familiar, and in the consideration of these finite things, the understanding is weakened, its powers contracted, and after a time it becomes unable to expand. The Bible contains the very things which all need to learn, in order to hear in probationary time the voice, “Child, come up higher.” All the education received in the earnest study of the Scriptures is expressed in the words, “The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalm 119:130.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 11

Only those who read the Scriptures as the voice of God speaking to them are true learners. They tremble at the Word of God for them it is a living reality. They study, they search for the hidden treasure. They open their understanding and heart to receive, and they pray for heavenly grace, that they may obtain a preparation for the future, immortal life. As the heavenly torch is placed in his hand, man sees his own frailty, his infirmity, his hopelessness in looking to himself for righteousness. In himself there is nothing that can recommend him to God. He prays for the Holy Spirit, the representative of Christ to be his constant guide, to lead him unto all truth. He repeats the promise of Christ, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, even as I have said unto you.” [John 14:26.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 12

A bare assent to the truth is not Bible religion. Men do not become Christians merely by having their names written in the church books. This deception is proving fatal to thousands upon thousands of minds. It does not displease Satan to have any number of names upon the church books, while there hearts are not brought into unity with Christ. If the soul is not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Satan finds that he can work through the human agents who have the form of godliness without the spirit and power. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 13

There are many Christians whose hearts are encased in a self-righteous armor that the arrow of the Lord, barbed and true, aimed by angel hands, would fail to pierce. The truth glides off, and the soul is not wounded. Man must first seek God for himself, then the Holy Spirit will take the precious truth, far above the price of rubies, as it falls from the lips of Jesus, and convey it, a living power, to the obedient heart. The truth, received in the heart becomes a quickening power, awakening every faculty. It is a divine influence that touches the heart and creates the heavenly music that flows forth from the lips in pure thanksgiving and praise. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 14

O what can I say in order to awaken the minds of those who profess to believe the truth, that they may adorn the gospel by a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Christ bids you look to him as the Illuminator of your darkened souls. “He that is of God heareth God’s Word,” Christ said to the Jews, “ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God.” [John 8:47.] There are men who hear the voice of God through Jesus Christ, because they hearken to the suggestions of the Holy Spirit and break away from the trammels of sin. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 15

The knowledge of God is high as the heaven, broad as the earth, and those schools will be most blessed of God who study with earnest, prayerful hearts to know, “What shall I do to be saved?” The answer is given, Study the Word, obey God, and you will be brought into subjection to Christ. Much is lost by the students because there is brought into their lessons studies that have an influence merely to make them ambitious to master them, while truth is overshadowed and buried out of sight. Let all bear in mind that works is the only criterion by which we shall be judged. This does not interfere with the doctrine of justification by faith; for good works is the sure and precious fruit of faith. Our good or evil works will decide our destiny for eternity. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 16

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 17

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” [Ephesians 1:3-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 18

Here are words of inspiration that reveal the far-reaching power of true godliness. These words enlarge the narrow confines of human scholarship, and present before the mind a far deeper knowledge to be obtained through vital connection with God. They bring every student who is a doer of the word into a broader field of knowledge, and will secure to him a wealth of learning that is imperishable. All knowledge gained in this life of probation, which will help us to form characters that will fit us to be companions of the saints in light, is true education. It will bring blessings to ourselves and others in this life, and will secure to us the future, immortal life with its imperishable riches. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 19

Christ came to our world to restore the moral image of God in man, to elevate and ennoble our mental character, that our pursuits and aims in this life might not be misapplied and lost; and it is of the greatest consequence that every student in our schools obtain that knowledge that will enable him to co-operate with God in the grand work of forming [a] character after the divine Pattern. We may carry with us all the treasure of knowledge that gives us a fitness for the life that measures with the life of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Christ came to our world to mold character and give mental power. His teachings were of an entirely practical nature. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 20

Said Christ to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe them not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” [John 3:11-13.] Christ was the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. He could have opened to the minds of men knowledge that would have surpassed any previous disclosures, and put in the background every other discovery. He could have unlocked mystery after mystery and concentrated around these wonderful revelations the active, earnest thought of successive generations to the close of earth’s history. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 21

Age after age, the curiosity of men led them to seek for the tree of knowledge; and often they think they are plucking fruit most essential, when, like Solomon’s research, they find it altogether vanity and nothingness in comparison with that science of true holiness which will open to them the gates of the city of God. The human ambition has been seeking for that kind of knowledge that will bring to them glory and self-exaltation and supremacy. Thus Adam and Eve were worked upon by Satan until God’s restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began in order that they might have the knowledge which God had refused them—to know the consequence of transgression. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 22

The sons of men have had a practical knowledge of evil, but Christ came to the world to show them that He had planted for them the tree of life, the leaves of which were for the healing of the nations. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 23

The whole probationary period is a time of test and trial, but by all who are obedient to Christ the words of the inspired John will be experienced: “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed in his name.” [John 1:12.] The Lord Jesus came to strengthen every earnest seeker for truth, to reveal the Father. He allowed nothing to divert His mind from the great work of restoring to man the moral image of God. And every human agent must see that the great and important work for him in this life is to receive the divine likeness, to prepare a character for the future life. He must appropriate the heavenly truths to his special use in practical life. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 24

Satan has been constantly at work to obscure the vital truths that are essential for the well-being of man, making indistinct and unimportant the obedience that must be rendered to the commandments of God. But man is to return to his obedience to God, and walk in communion with God as did Enoch. In all our studies we are to sit in heavenly places in Jesus. This God will help every soul to do if he will learn his lessons out of the Word. “Come unto me,” says Christ, “all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 25

Satan’s work is to keep the world from learning of Christ. He plans to crowd the mind so fully that no time can be given to consider what they propose to do with the knowledge they gain, what is the quality of their studies, or whether they are of such a character to give them an increased knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. If their education is according to the standard of the world, if they seek their knowledge in order that the world may call them great and learned, God calls them fools. All their learning dies with them. It would not be the slightest use to them in the heavenly courts. “This is life eternal,” said Christ, “that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” [John 17:3.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 26

We are granted the privileges of school life in this world that we may obtain a fitness for the higher life—the highest grade in the highest school, where, under God, our studies will continue through the ceaseless ages of eternity. The mass of books, which authors have written and which have been considered essential for school education, contain errors and principles which, if carried into the practical life, will lead the students into false paths, away from consecration to God, away from that class of knowledge which will live through endless ages. They tax their powers to acquire a knowledge that is lost in the preparation for heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 27

Jesus is the Teacher sent from God. Through Satan’s subtle working, the truth has been placed out of sight, and in its place errors have been substituted that have led men to idolize falsehood in the place of glorifying God. The saving truths essential for the health of the soul have been regarded as non-essential because the world does not exalt them, while Satan’s sophistries are deemed so essential that men devote their worship to them, and work to make every other human being disregard those things that God has sanctified. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 28

Thus it is in the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. God’s law is regarded as of no consequence, while the first day Sabbath is acknowledged as supreme. And if men will not exalt this spurious sabbath, and allow it to take the place of the true, the stocks, the prisons, the fires will be the price of their obedience to the law of God. The question is, Shall we worship God or Baal? Shall we bow to an idol, or shall we reverence and obey a “Thus saith the Lord”? The true Sabbath, given to man as a memorial of creation, has been taken from its rightful place as a sacred command of God, and instead, a false sabbath has been exalted and worshiped. Living, testing principles had been lost, as stars are said to become extinct in the firmament of heaven. But a message has come to the world, the third angel’s message, to exalt the truth to its true position, that it may stand fast as God’s testing truth for these last days. God’s requirements are to be given to the world in all their original freshness and power. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 29

The words of Isaiah are given us for our thoughtful study: “And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places: they shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and they shall be called, The repairers of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and shalt call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thy own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Isaiah 58:12-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 30

This is the work to be done for fallen humanity. The old was waste places are to be built. Men need now to learn from the great Teacher how to raise up the foundation of many generations which have been left to decay. They need to learn how to work to repair the breach made in God’s law and what they can do to restore the paths to dwell in. They are to proclaim the third angel’s message. All are to obtain a knowledge that will make them efficient for the work of this time. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 31

And how shall the work be carried forward? The apostle Paul says, “You, who were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye have heard, and which was preached unto every creature under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid for ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Colossians 1:21-29.] 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 32

Here are important lessons for our investigation. The last message of mercy is now being given to the world. Then let our lessons be appropriate for the day in which we live, that we may be co-laborers with God. The work will go hard, but the message must go. Human depravity is seen everywhere. Men have made void the law of God through the masterly working of Satan. But Christ is on the field of action, working with those who are laboring for Him, that truth may appear in its divine, unchangeable, and eternal character. The Holy Spirit is at work. Divine agencies are combining with the human to take the important truths from their worn out setting, reframe them, and hang them in the picture gallery of memory’s halls, and calling men to the obedience of God’s commandments in keeping holy His sacred day. 13LtMs, Ms 67, 1898, par. 33