Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 21, 1898

“Ye Are Not Your Own.”


February 20, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 165, 170; CTr 244. +Note

“Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” [Hebrews 4:1.] “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” [Luke 11:28.] “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 1

The Lord Jesus would have His purchased possession disentangle themselves from everything that would expose them to temptation. We are the Lord’s by creation; we are His by redemption. All our senses are to be kept sharp and keen that we may place ourselves in right relation to God. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 2

The company we choose will be a help or a hindrance to us. We are not to run any risks by placing ourselves where evil angels will surround us with their temptations and their snares. Satan has come down with great power, working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, and he puts his alluring temptations before the soul. He appears as an angel of light, and clothes his temptations with apparent goodness. Our first work is to disentangle ourselves from everything that is in any way calculated to tarnish the soul. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 3

If the Bible is not made our rule of life, our hereditary and cultivated habits and tastes will ensnare the soul. An all absorbing ambition will possess the human agent. But the truth, the Word of God, cannot harmonize with that pursuit. Then the question comes, Which will you choose—the service of Him who loves you, and gave His life for you, or the service of the deceiver? Will you give yourself to the Lord Jesus with the whole mind, the whole heart, the whole soul? God can accept of nothing less. Or will you say, “I will follow my own inclinations; I will gratify my own appetites and tastes, and risk the consequences”? 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 4

The soul is of value, and is regarded by God as more precious than gold, even that the golden wedges of Ophir. Christ has given us the estimate He places upon the human soul. Look at His humiliation, His sufferings, His death. Had He studied His pleasure, His choice, His convenience, He would never have left the royal courts of heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 5

God accepts no selfish morality. He cannot bless the man who is filled with self-love, eagerness for display, and applause from human lips that will soon be cold in death. Oh what delusions are captivating human minds, and ensnaring souls! Satan says, I will inspire souls, that they may follow in my lead! I will place them under my control. I will present before them brilliant prospects, that they may not have a correct knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. After the human agent has spent his life in following his own impulses, placing his talents on the shrine of Satan, choosing his own interests, what has he gained? Cheap worldly applause. And what has he lost? An eternity of blessedness. He has sold his soul at a cheap market. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 6

Christ, in His Word, sets before men life and death. How strange that self-flattery, self-delusion, should captivate men and lead them to believe that God will vindicate a course which His Word directly condemns. The enemy blinds the eyes to the truth. Disobedience to God is fastening souls in chains of eternal bondage. There are men who appear to be remarkable. They have been made stewards over their own souls and the souls of others, but they decide that it is not for their worldly interest to keep the commandments of God. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 7

When tempted, Adam said, I shall not lose Eden by just eating that beautiful apple. But in failing to endure the test, the least of all tests, he lost his beautiful Eden home, and opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. So men and women may say, “I have kept Sunday so long, and all the world keeps Sunday. The Lord will not condemn me just because I keep Sunday for the Sabbath.” O what reasoning! The Sunday institution may be hoary with age, but this does not give it any sanctity. It is an institution of papacy reared in the place of the institution God has established and honored, and blessed and sanctified. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 8

God has given men and women their capabilities to be used to His name’s glory. Shall we not admire the wisdom of the great Teacher in delivering to us a code of pure, simple moral obligations as the standard of character, that we may not be blind as to the fitness of character we are required to have? God has given to men and women reasoning powers, talents that should be sanctified to His service. God calls upon us, in the place of expending our powers, our talents, and the vigor of brain and muscle upon unimportant, frivolous things merely to amuse and gratify self, to bring eternity to view, and hold ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Elevated, pure, ennobling themes are to be the subjects of contemplation. To us individually as His property, God says, “ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 9

All kinds of changes are to take place in our world. The two great powers are in controversy. The powers of Satan are being constantly exercised lest the stewards to whom has been entrusted property shall treat it as if it were the Lord’s, lest they shall listen for His voice for counsel and direction as to the bestowal of His own goods. If Satan can induce these stewards to act as if this property were their own, to invest in houses or land, so that when the Lord calls for His means it is tied up and hid in the earth, the cause of God is hindered, and the enemy triumphs. Satan will move upon the minds of those who believe the truth, but who are not viewing their responsibilities to God in a correct light, to be pleasure-loving, to exalt themselves, to use the precious treasure of means to please their own fancies in many ways that are contrary to the will of God. This hurts the one who thus indulges himself in the outlay of the means that is needed in the Lord’s work. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 10

As stewards over the Lord’s property, we are to keep the temple of the soul cleansed from all the rubbish and defilement of the world. If the shillings and pounds that are literally wasted in selfish gratification were turned in to the Lord’s storehouse, there would be a full treasury. Christ points us to a sphere of duty to which we may safely enlist all our means and powers, and by which we may be a blessing to our fellow men. And in this work angels of God will cooperate [blending] their heavenly intelligence with the human capabilities, to do honor to God’s commandments and bring the light of truth to those who are now in darkness. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 11

Every human being is bought with a price, and all our talents, every thought is to be enlisted, every power to be put forth to bring us into harmony with the mind of God. We are to adorn ourselves with all the graces of the Spirit, emulating all that is upright, pure, elevating, and ennobling, copying the excellencies, and embodying the perfections, of the heavenly family, obtaining an education that will fit us to unite with the royal family in the courts of heaven. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 12

We have the privilege of being trained under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. All the attributes that are excellent are to strengthen our moral powers, that they may have no mist or tarnish upon them. We are weaving our threads in the web of humanity. Not a thread of self glory must be woven into the fabric. And all heaven is imparting its help that we may surmount every obstacle. We are to be one united whole, a force of workers whom heaven can register as “laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 13

God would have every human being treat with divine respect the soul whom He has died to redeem. He declares, “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [Verse 9] We are to give to the world all the help possible in restoring the moral image of God in man. We are to build characters of a goodly fabric, spiritual, heavenly, perfect. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 14

God bids us work for time and for eternity that we may grow after the divine likeness. It is wrong to waste our time, wrong to waste our thoughts. We may gain everything if we will commune much with God. But we lose every moment that we devote to self-seeking. We lose for eternity the accomplishments we might gain by determined will to commune with God. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 15

Angels of God are drawn toward all who in their thoughts and devoted service drawn nigh to God. The Word of inspiration is, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded.” [James 4:8.] It is a great misfortune to be doubled-minded. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 16

In our mission fields we have continual need of money; but the work ceases to advance because the love of pleasure and appearance absorbs all the shillings and the pounds which the suffering cause of God needs so much. We need money before we can open the medical work in new fields. The careless youth and those also who have entered into manhood should allow that which they spend in needless amusements and selfish adornment to flow into the Lord’s treasury. Let these sums be laid up as self-denial money. And these little sums, devoted to the cause of God, would be as rivulets set flowing. They would increase from pennies to shillings, from shillings to pounds, and if done with the glory of God in view, will bring to the self-denying one a blessing. And of the souls saved by these means, God keeps an account, and the reward will be as the works have been. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 17

Then there are the large outlays by those whom the Lord has entrusted with His goods. Their self-denial is just as essential as [that of] others, and more so, for the sums they needlessly spend are all placed in the record books of heaven. When we have been in perplexity to know what we shall do to meet this emergency and that expense in order to advance the work of God, the word has come to me, Bear the message I give you to those who will not advance in practical godliness. They must heed the Word, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] “I for their sake became poor that they through my poverty might be made rich.” [See 2 Corinthians 8:9.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 18

The first chapter of First Peter gives us most important instruction. The whole chapter, every verse, is for us to study and comprehend. “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the suffering of Christ and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 19

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” [Verses 10-16.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 20

Let us use to a purpose the mind the Lord has given us. Ambition, covetousness, the mania to follow the fashions, the customs, and the practices of the world, in order not to be thought singular, will soon obliterate all lines of distinction between the Christian’s lines of pursuit and the practices of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 21

The love of pleasure is not to be cherished and indulged. When the human being, formed to do service for God, finds his time absorbed with plans that the Lord has naught to do with, he may well inquire, What end do I have in view? Whose service do I really enjoy? What does this eager strife for distinction amount to in the end? Who am I serving? 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 22

And yet nothing can induce him to relinquish his life of amusement. At times there will be deep conviction that this character building is not after the divine similitude. There are deep convictions of guiltiness before God, for he knows he cannot love God and keep His commandments, and yet retain the society an friendship of the world. Well may those who have no love for the Word of God, and who hardly dare study its pages for fear of being convicted, have forebodings for the future. There is a day not far distant when Satan’s delusions will be seen in their true and terrible certainty. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 23

It may be that after habits have become fixed the determination to be independent, to follow their own inclinations and do despite to the counsels of the Word of God, bars the way. But when affliction comes, when they see that they are losing their hold upon this life, they will begin to inquire, What preparations have I made for the future life. They realize that Christ has died for them, but that they have not loved or feared God but have lived rather to serve and please themselves. And now, brought face to face with the grim messenger, they inquire, How is it with my soul? The deathbed repentance may be genuine, and Christ may receive the sinking, conscience-smitten soul, and they be saved, “so as by fire.” [1 Corinthians 3:15.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 24

“For we are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth there upon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he have built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 25

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved: yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours.” [Verses 9-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 26

Will it not be a sad retrospect in that day, when men stand face to face with death, that although Christ gave Himself a ransom for all, they have fashioned their characters after the deceptive allurings of Satan? Where then is their reward for following in the footsteps of Christ? They will have to admit, I have followed in the footsteps of the great destroyer. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 27

There are to be fearful revealings of the past when the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened. The whole life will present itself just as it has been. Worldly schemes will not then seem so important. They will see that Satan has triumphed over them, leading them captive at his will. Their life has borne evil fruit, and they will have a knowledge of what it means to transgress the commandments of God. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 28

By listening to the tempter, our first parents lost their beautiful Eden home. Satan found Eve willing to listen to his temptations, and read a disposition to distrust the Word of God. “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” he asked. And the woman said, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” [Genesis 3:1-5.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 29

Satan desired to make transgression appear a real blessing to them, and that in prohibiting them from taking of the fruit of the tree, God was withholding from them great good. If you eat, your eyes shall be opened, he said, and you shall be as gods. You will be like God Himself in knowledge and in power. Here was truth so glossed over by falsehood that Eve believed God was unkind to them. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 30

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” [Verse 6.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 31

“Your eyes shall be opened,” said the tempter. But what an opening it was! “Ye shall know good and evil.” [Verse 5.] That knowledge was obtained, but what a knowledge it was! The curse of sin was the knowledge they gained. Eve coveted the thing God had forbidden, she revealed a distrust of God and of His goodness, and a desire to be independent and do as she thought best. Eve offered the fruit to Adam and became his tempter. She would be a god. She would be a law unto herself. She would acknowledge no restraint. But that apparently smallest sin constituted her a transgressor of the law of God. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 32

Adam was drawn into transgression through his wife’s solicitations. The serpent prevailed, and the floodgates of woe were opened upon our world. There was nothing poisonous in the fruit, and the sin is not there in the failure of appetite. It was the disobedience to God’s law that constituted our first parents transgressors. 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 33

The Lord Jesus came into our world, and was tempted by the same enemy. He passed over the ground where Adam fell, but He was steadfast. He resisted the devil, and in behalf of the human race was Conqueror. The universe of heaven triumphed. Satan came to Christ with his specious temptations to induce Him to question the plans and law of God, and to make Him occupy an independent position; but the tempter was foiled. Christ would enter into no controversy with Satan. He met the enemy of God with the Word of God—“It is written.” 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 34

“Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.” And what a price it was—the sacrifice of Christ to save a perishing world. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” [Titus 2:11.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 35

All who are united with Christ will come out of the world and be separate. They will not enter into the world from any choice of their own. They will not by their associations place themselves in the way of temptation. They will not be educated in worldly lines. They will choose to come into the school of Christ and learn of the great Teacher. He invites every soul, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 36

Those who learn of the great Teacher will receive lessons that will be for their spiritual interest. His people are to place themselves where they can catch the divine rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness. He will teach us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present evil world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:12-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 37

“After that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which believe in God might be careful to maintain good works.” [Titus 3:4-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 21, 1898, par. 38