Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 15, 1898

The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning of Wisdom


February 10, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 137; 1MCP 92, 194-195, 357-358; CTr 251; 5MR 359-360. +Note

It is a great thing to be wise toward God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is heart education, and is of more importance than the education gained <merely> from books. It is well and essential to obtain a knowledge of the world in which we live, but if we leave eternity out of our reckoning, we shall make a failure from which we can never recover. <It will be as the knowledge gained by eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree.> 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 1

God would have the mental faculties kept pure and clean. But often too great a variety of food is given to the mind. It is impossible for this to be properly taken care of and used. The brain should be relieved of all unnecessary burden. Only the studies which will be of the most use, not only here but in the future life, which will provide the best instruction for body and soul, will be carried over into eternity. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 2

It is not well to crowd the mind with a class of studies that require intense application and exertion, but that are not brought into use in the practical life. An education of this kind will be a loss to the student, for these studies take away his desire and inclination for the studies which would fit him for usefulness and enable him to fulfill his <appointed> responsibilities <as laborers together with God,> to help those whom he should by precept and example assist to secure immortality, <“by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.”> [Romans 2:7.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 3

The study of books written by infidels does great harm. Thus tares are sown in the minds and hearts of students. Yet this is the food often given to the brain, while many have little knowledge of subjects which pertain to eternal interests, which they ought to understand. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 4

The talent of time is precious. Every day it is given to us in trust, and we shall be called upon to give an account of it to God. It is to be used to God’s glory, and if we would prolong our lives, if we would gain the life that measures with the life of God, we must give the mind pure food. No time should be wasted that might have been used to good account. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 5

Jesus Christ is our spiritual touchstone. He reveals the Father. Nothing should be given as food to the brain that will ring before the mind any mist or cloud in regard to the Word of God. No careless inattention should be shown in regard to the cultivation of the soil of the heart. The mind must be prepared to appreciate the work and words of Christ, for He came from heaven <to awaken a desire and> to give the bread of life to all who hunger for spiritual knowledge. Inspiration declared that His mission was to preach the gospel to the poor, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. <His Word> declared that He should set judgment on the earth, and that the isles should wait for His law; that Gentiles should come to His light, and kings to the brightness of His rising. This was the Messenger of the Covenant yet to come, the Sun of Righteousness yet to rise <upon our world.> 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 6

Man was formed in the image of God. But Satan worked constantly to destroy the divine similitude. Man yielded to temptation, and God’s image was obliterated. Christ put His hand a second time to the work. He would re-create man. When the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son. Hear, O heaven, and be astonished, O earth! The appointed Instructor appears, and He is no other than the Son of God; His divinity was clothed with humanity. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 7

Christ came to reveal perfection amid the imperfection of a world corrupted by disobedience and sin. The eternal Word appeared in human form, bringing with Him all grace, all healing, all efficiency. He brought with Him the bread of life, which if received will be to man as the tree of life. The inspired Word declares of this Teacher, “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.” [Acts 3:22, 23.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 8

The question of how to obtain a knowledge of God is to all a life and death question. Read Christ’s prayer to His Father, intended not merely as an important lesson in education for the disciples, but to come down through all time for the benefit of those who would read the inspired writings. “Father,” He prayed, “the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:1-3.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 9

Christ promised His disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit, who would bring all these things to their remembrance. “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 10

After Christ’s ascension the disciples assembled together. They were of one accord in one place. Every difference was put away, and prayer was offered to God. Thus the disciples prepared for the fulfillment of the promise. They sought God with humility and contrition of soul, that they might be fitted to meet men, and in their daily intercourse speak words that would be helpful and encouraging to each other. “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” [Acts 2:3, 4.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 11

There is a certain experience which we are to gain in the knowledge of where we stand in the sight of God. Our petitions are to ascend to our heavenly Father, that we may know Him whom to know aright is life eternal. Then let time be given to prayer. “Ask, and it shall be given unto you,” Christ said; “seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] The Lord represents Himself as waiting to hear the prayer of the contrite soul, and to respond. Isaiah 58:9. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 12

God’s children are to practice self-denial. Having a knowledge of God, they are to co-operate with Him in His work. In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, the work in which every Christian should engage is outlined. <Thus saith the Lord,> “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free? and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Verses 6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 13

Those who do this work show that they have learned in the school of Christ the great Teacher’s methods of labor. They have learned to co-operate with Him in wearing His yoke. To all who do this the words are spoken, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday; and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” [Verses 8-12.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 14

God’s precious promises are full of encouragement. Shall we not believe Him? He cares from all who serve Him, and He will show them His covenant. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 15

What can the most learned in book lore know aright without a knowledge of the Word of God? Without the education found in the Bible, how shall we reach the next world, where we shall enter the presence of God and see His face? Nothing <of this world’s wisdom,> the knowledge gained from books, presents a true and sure foundation upon which we can build for eternity. Nothing but the bread that comes down from heaven satisfies spiritual hunger. “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:33, 63.] As a cheering light this promise shines amid the moral darkness. As we eat the words of Christ we are eating the bread of life, which gives spiritual vitality. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 16

The Word of the only true God is infallible. Infinite wisdom, holiness, power, and love are blended in pointing us to the standard by which God measures character. God’s Word so plainly defines the laws of His kingdom that none need to walk in darkness. His law is the transcript of His character. It is the standard that all must reach if they would enter the kingdom of God. No one need walk in uncertainty. No one need venture his soul upon the assertions of priests or rulers, thinking, Conjectures, supposition, and probabilities will be safe enough for me. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 17

The law of God declares that fallen human beings may through Christ’s righteousness return to their loyalty. That Christ died to abolish this law is a positive lie of the adversary of souls. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets,” Christ said; “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-19.] 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 18

Adam and Eve failed in the test given them. They transgressed the law of God. The ransom of the human race was appointed to give fallen man a second trial. Jesus pledge His own precious life that men might be brought back to their allegiance. The law of God is not abolished. It will live through the eternal ages. By Christ’s death it was magnified, and sin was exposed in its true light. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 19

What a salvation is revealed in the covenant by which God promised to be our Father, His <only begotten> Son our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our Comforter, Counsellor, and Sanctifier. Upon no lower ground than this is it safe for us to place our feet. 13LtMs, Ms 15, 1898, par. 20