Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13

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Lt 31, 1898

Smith, Uriah

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 12, 1898

This letter is published in entirety PH086 25-40.

Dear Uriah Smith:

I am pleased that the Lord is in mercy again visiting the church. My heart trembles as I think of the many times He has come in and His Holy Spirit has worked in the church; but after the immediate effort was over, the merciful dealings of God were forgotten. Pride, spiritual indifference, was the record made in heaven. Those who were visited by the rich mercy and grace of God dishonored their Redeemer by their unbelief. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 1

When Christ was upon the earth, He used every means possible to gain admission to the hearts of those whose doors should have been thrown open to receive Him. He came to His vineyard seeking fruit. He dug about the vine He had planted. He pruned it and dressed it. But when He looked for grapes, behold, only wild grapes rewarded His care. The people disappointed the Saviour. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 2

How earnestly and untiringly Christ labored to reach the most lowly, as well as those who occupied higher positions. Hear Him saying to His disciples, “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” [Matthew 26:36.] What an example He gave them of His prayers in their behalf, that their faith should not fail, but increase. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 3

Christ’s heart was ever touched by human woe. He walked and worked in the streets of the cities, teaching the weary, inviting them to come to Him, crying, “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.] Christ employed every means to arrest the attention of the impenitent. How tender and considerate were His dealings with all. He longed to break the spell of infatuation upon those who were deceived and deluded by satanic agencies. He longed to give the sin-polluted soul pardon and peace. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 4

Christ was the mighty Healer of all spiritual and physical maladies. Look, O look upon the sympathetic Redeemer. With the eye of faith behold Him walking in the streets of the cities, gathering the weak and wary to Himself. Helpless, sinful human beings crowd about Him. See the mothers with their sick and dying little ones in their arms pressing through the crowd that they may get within reach of His notice and touch. Let the eye of faith take in the scene. Watch these mothers pressing their way to Him, pale, weary, almost despairing, yet determined and persevering, bearing their burden of suffering in their arms. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 5

As these anxious ones are being crowded back, Christ makes His way to them step by step, until He is close by their side. Tears of gladness and hope fall freely as they catch His attention, and look into the eyes expressing such tender pity and love for the weary mother as well as for the suffering child. He invites her confidence, saying, What shall I do for you? She sobs out her great want, Master, that Thou shouldest heal my child. She has shown her faith in urging her way to Him, though she did not know that He was making His way to her; and Christ takes the child from her arms. He speaks the word, and disease flees at His touch. The pallor of death is gone; the life-giving current flows through the veins; the muscles receive strength. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 6

Words of comfort and peace are spoken to the mother, and then another case just as urgent is presented. The mother asks help for herself and her children, for they are all sufferers. With willingness and joy Christ exercises His life-giving power, and they give praise and honor and glory to His name who doeth wonderful things. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 7

No frown on Christ’s countenance spurned the humble suppliant from His presence. The priests and rulers sought to discourage the suffering and needy, saying that Christ healed the sick by the power of the devil. But His way could not be hedged up. He was determined not to fail or become discouraged. Suffering privation Himself, He traversed the country that was the scene of His labor, scattering His blessings, and seeking to reach obdurate hearts. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 8

That Saviour has oft visited you in Battle Creek. Just as verily as He has walked the streets of Jerusalem, longing to breathe the breath of spiritual life into the hearts of those discouraged and ready to die, has He come to you. The cities that were so greatly blessed by His presence, His pardon, His gifts of healing, rejected him; and just as great, yea, greater evidence of unrequited love has been given in Battle Creek. Has Christ not loaded down His church with benefits and blessings? Has He not sent His servants with messages of pardon and righteousness, to be given freely to all who will receive them? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 9

Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to receive and walk in the light that God had given. Jerusalem was favored of God as the depository of sacred trusts. But her people perverted the truth, and despised all entreaties and warnings. They would not respect His counsels. The temple courts were perverted with merchandise and robbery. Selfishness and love of mammon, envy and strife, were cherished. Every one sought for gain from his quarter. Christ turned from them, saying, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how can I give thee up? How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 10

So Christ sorrows and weeps over our churches, over our institutions of learning, that have failed to meet the demand of God. He comes to investigate in Battle Creek, which has been moving in the same track as Jerusalem. The publishing house has been turned into [a] desecrated shrine, into [a] place of unholy merchandise and traffic. It has become a place where injustice and fraud have been carried on, where selfishness, malice, envy, and passion have borne sway. Yet the men who have led into this working upon wrong principles are seemingly unconscious of their wrong course of action. When warnings and entreaties come to them, they say, Doth she not speak in parables? Words of warning and reproof have been treated as idle tales. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 11

When Christ looked down from the crest of Olivet, He saw this state of things existing in every church. The warning comes down to all that are following in the tread of the people of Jerusalem, who had such great light. This people is before us as a warning. By rejecting God’s warnings in this our day men are repeating the sin of Jerusalem. The Lord sees what the human agent does not see and will not see—the outcome of all the human devising in Battle Creek. He has done all that a God could do. He has flashed light before the eyes of the people, that their sins might not reach the boundary where repentance cannot be felt. But by a long process of departure from just and righteous principles, men have placed themselves where light and truth, justice and mercy, are not discerned. This course has become part of their very nature. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 12

I call upon all who have united in a course of action that is wrong in principle to make a decided reformation, and forever after walk humbly with God. The world is soon to be judged. A righteous God must avenge the death of His Son. Today men are choosing Barabbas, and saying, Crucify Christ. They will do this in the person of His saints. They will go over the same ground that the Jewish priests and rulers did in their treatment of Christ. He, the Son of God, and an innocent man, was murdered because He told men truths that it did not please them to hear. Yet He was the Son of the infinite God. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 13

Those who today despise the law of Jehovah, showing no respect for His commandments, are taking sides with the great Apostate. They proclaim to a sin-corrupted world that the law of God is null and void. Those who declare this as truth deceive the people, and have virtually nailed the law of Jehovah to the cross between two thieves. What a thought! 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 14

Before the worlds unfallen and the heavenly universe, the world will have to give an account to the Judge of the whole earth, the very One they condemned and crucified. What a reckoning day that will be! It is the great day of God’s vengeance. Christ does not then stand at Pilate’s bar. Pilate and Herod and all that mocked, scourged, rejected, and crucified Him will then understand what it means to feel the wrath of the Lamb. Their deeds will appear before them in their true character. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 15

What a terrible deception is upon the minds of those who think that the world is growing better. Christ declares, “As it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” [Luke 17:26.] “For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark; and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:38, 39.] To just such a pass will the world come in rejecting the law of God. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 16

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” [Revelation 14:9-11.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 17

John was called to behold a people distinct from those who worship the beast and his image by keeping the first day of the week. The observance of this day is the mark of the beast. John declares, “Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Verse 12.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 18

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 12:17.] We are plainly shown that two parties will exist at the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In which party do we wish to be found? “Behold, I come quickly,” Christ says, “and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:12-14.] This is the destination of commandment-keepers. Should we not all wish to be among that number who have the right to the tree of life, and who enter through the gates into the city? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 19

Adam and Eve and their posterity lost the right to the tree of life because of their disobedience. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” Adam and Eve transgressed the law of God. This made it necessary for them to be driven from Eden and be separated from the tree of life, to eat of which after their transgression would perpetuate sin. “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the soil from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” [Genesis 3:22-24.] Man was dependent on the tree of life for immortality, and the Lord took these precautions lest men should eat of that tree and “live forever”—become immortal sinners. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 20

Death entered the world because of transgression. But Christ gave His life that man should have another trial. He did not die on the cross to abolish the law of God, but to secure for man a second probation. He did not die to make sin an immortal attribute; He died to secure the right to destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. He suffered the full penalty of a broken law for the whole world. This He did, not that man might continue in transgression, but that they might return to their loyalty and keep God’s commandments, and His law as the apple of their eye. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 21

The sign of obedience is the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. If men keep the fourth commandment, they will keep all the rest. It was no human voice that spoke to Moses, giving him the Sabbath as a sign. “The Lord spake to Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” [Exodus 31:12-14.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 22

The Lord does not leave so important a precept as this without definite specification. “Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant.” [Verses 15, 16.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 23

Human philosophy declares that an indefinite period of time was taken in the creation of the world. Does God state the matter thus? No; He says, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days (not six indefinite periods of time, for then there would be no possible way for man to observe the day specified in the fourth commandment) the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh he rested and was refreshed.” [Verse 17.] Please read carefully the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy. God says again, “Remember (do not forget) the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and sanctified it.” [Exodus 20:8, 11.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 24

Yet with the living oracles before them, those who claim to preach the Word present the suppositions of human minds, the maxims and commandments of men. They make void the law of God by their traditions. The sophistry in regard to the world being created in an indefinite period of time is one of Satan’s falsehoods. God speaks to the human family in language they can comprehend. He does not leave the matter so indefinite that human beings can handle it according to their theories. When the Lord declares that He made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day He means the day of twenty four hours, which He has marked off by the rising and setting of the sun. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 25

God would not pronounce the death sentence for a disregard of the Sabbath unless He had presented before men a clear understanding of the Sabbath. After He had created our world and man, He looked upon the work that He had done, and pronounced it very good. And when the foundation of the earth was laid, the foundation of the Sabbath was laid also. When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy, God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. In giving man the Sabbath, God considered his spiritual and physical health. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 26

God made the world in six literal days, and on the seventh literal day He rested from all His work which He had done, and was refreshed. So He has given man six days in which to labor. But He sanctified the day of His rest, and gave it to man to be kept free from all secular labor. By thus setting apart the Sabbath, God gave the world a memorial. He did not set apart one day and any day in seven, but one particular day, the seventh day. And by observing the Sabbath, we show that we recognize God as the living God, the Creator of heaven and earth. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 27

There is nothing in the Sabbath that restricts it to any particular class of people. It was given for all mankind. It is to be employed, not in indolence, but in the contemplation of the works of God. This men are to do that they may know “that I am the Lord that do sanctify them.” [Exodus 31:13.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 28

The Lord draws very nigh to His people on the day that He has blessed and sanctified. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” [Psalm 19:1, 2.] The Sabbath is God’s memorial, pointing men to their Creator, who made the world and all things that are therein. In the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in every opening bud and blooming flower we may behold the work of the great master-artist. All speak to us of God and His glory. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 29

Every loyal heart will study to know the truth. John states the truth so plainly that a child may understand it. “If ye love me keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” [John 14:15-17.] Do we choose to be numbered with those who cannot discern the truth, who are so blinded by the deceptive power of the enemy that they see not Him who is the express image of the Father’s person? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 30

The followers of Christ are of another class altogether. “But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. ... If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings, and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [Verses 17-19, 21, 23, 24.] The word of a human being is not to be received and believed without question. We must first ask, Do they speak in harmony with the world? Do they refuse a plain “Thus saith the Lord” because they see that it involves a cross? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 31

Are we on the side of those who refuse to be loyal to God? They have no interest in knowing God. They reject the divine Son of God, the personification of all human goodness. They place themselves with those who, although no fault could be preferred against Christ, chose instead a thief and a murderer. This testifies to the moral taste of the world. Shall we be on the side of the world, or on the side of Christ, who declared, I have kept my Father’s commandments? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 32

The word of Jehovah will stand forever. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not. ... He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 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 1:1-5, 10-14.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 33

Those who receive Christ by faith as their personal Saviour cannot be in harmony with the world. There are two distinct classes. One is loyal to God, keeping His commandments, while the other talks and acts like the world, casting away the Word of God, which is truth, and accepting the words of the apostate, who rejected Jesus. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 34

On whose side are we? The world cast Christ out, the heavens received Him. Man, finite man, rejected the Prince of life; God, our sovereign Ruler, received Him into the heavens. God has exalted Him. Man crowned Him with a crown of thorns, God has crowned Him with a crown of royal majesty. We must all think candidly. Will you have this man Christ Jesus to rule over you, or will you have Barabbas? The death of Christ brings to the rejector of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. But the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 35

God will most assuredly call the world to judgment to avenge the death of His only begotten Son, the One who stood at the bar of Pilate and Herod, that One is now in the heavenly courts, making intercession for the people who refused Him. Shall we choose the stamp of the world, or shall we choose to be God’s separate, peculiar people? Shall we receive a “Thus saith the Lord,” or the “Thus saith” of man? The Lord says, The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. The Papal power, the man of sin, declares that the Roman Catholic church has changed the law of God. In the place of the seventh day, they have baptized and presented to the world a child of the Papacy, the first day of the week, to be observed as a holy day of rest. The Protestant world has received this child of the Papacy, has cradled it, and given to it the honor that God has placed on the seventh day. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 36

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great who hath God so nigh unto them as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 37

“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thine heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons and thy sons’ sons; specially the day that thou stoodest before the Lord thy God in Horeb, when the Lord said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them bear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. ... And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.” [Deuteronomy 4:5-10, 13.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 38

“Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sitteth in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 39

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God. The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand. ... Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” [Deuteronomy 7:6-8, 11.] Please read carefully the whole of the seventh chapter of Deuteronomy, and think upon the Word of the Lord. 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 40

Will you turn from a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” after reading the history of Adam’s sin and fall? He fell because he discarded the words of the Lord, and heeded the words of Satan. Will it pay to transgress? By transgression Adam lost Eden. By the transgression of God’s commandments man will lose heaven, and an eternity of bliss. These are no idle tales, but truth. Again I ask, On which side are you standing? “If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” [1 Kings 18:21.] 13LtMs, Lt 31, 1898, par. 41