Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 117, 1898

A Personal God


September 21, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3MR 326-327, 335-336, 355-356; 7MR 371-376.

“Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 1

When Isaiah predicted the birth of Christ, he declared, “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 117, 1898, par. 2

Again, speaking of His work and its results, he says: “There shall come out a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 3

“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” [Isaiah 11:1-9.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 4

Those who read and listen to the sophistries that prevail in this age do not know God as He is. They contradict the Word of God, and extol and worship nature in the place of the Creator. While we may discern the workings of God in the things He has created, these things are not God. Nature’s voice is heard in its influence upon the senses. Her voice, the Word declares, is heard to the end of the world. The physical creation testifies of God and Jesus Christ as the Great Creator of all things. “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.” [John 1:3, 4.] The psalmist bears witness, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” [Psalm 19:1-3.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 5

The whole of the natural world bears testimony of the works of the living God. Nature is our lessonbook, given to us by God, the Creator of all things. These things of nature are not to be called God. They are the expression of God’s character, but they are not God. By the things of His creation, we may understand God, and His love, His power and His glory; but there is great danger of men worshipping nature as God. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 6

The artistic skill of human beings produces very fine samples of beautiful workmanship, revealing things which delight the eye, and these things give us something of the idea of the designer; but the thing made is not the man. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 7

It is not the work that is to be exalted, but the man who designed the things so much prized. So it is with nature. The Lord’s power is constantly revealed as a miracle working power, that the human family may see an infinity above and beyond the things made, that they may know that He who formed such a being as man has also created all the beauties of the natural world. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 8

There are many issues in our world today in regard to the Creator not being a personal God. God is a being, and man was made in His image. After God created man in His image, the form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it had no vitality. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being. All parts of the human machinery were put in motion. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the perceptions of the mind, the senses, were placed under physical law. It was then that man became a living soul. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 9

Through Jesus Christ, God—not a perfume, not something intangible, but a personal God—created man and endowed him with intelligence and power. It is God that thundereth in the heavens. His voice reacheth to the ends of the earth. He holdeth the winds in His hands. He sendeth lightnings with rain. He looketh on the earth and it trembleth; He toucheth the hills, and they smoke. He melteth the mountains like wax at His presence. He maketh the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 10

The Lord is a living, personal God. A living, personal Saviour came to our world to make of none effect the specious twistings and serpentine turnings of Satan. He came to carry out His plans written before Him in a book. Men who had large religious knowledge, but no depth of piety or experimental knowledge of God in obeying the Scriptures, were speculating about God. Christ revealed to men the moral and religious constitution. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 11

The uneducated heathen then learns his lessons through nature, and through his own necessities; and, dissatisfied with darkness, he is reaching out for light, searching for God in the first great cause. There is recorded in Genesis various ways in which God speaks to the heathen. But the contrast between the revelation of God in Genesis and the ideas of the heathen is striking. Pagan philosophers, many of them, had a knowledge of God which was pure, but degeneracy, the worship of created things, began to obscure this knowledge. The handiwork of God in the natural world, the sun, the moon, the stars, were worshipped. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 12

Men today declare that Christ’s teachings of God cannot be substantiated by the things of the natural world, that nature is not in harmony with the Old and New Testament Scriptures. This supposed lack of harmony between nature and science does not exist. The Word of the God of heaven is not in harmony with human science, but it is in perfect accord with His own created science. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 13

This living God is worthy of our thought, our praise, our adoration, as the Creator of the world, as the Creator of man. We are to praise God, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our substance was not hid from Him when we were made in secret. His eyes saw our substance, yet being imperfect, and in His book all our members were written when as yet there was none of them. He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life. The inspiration of God has given us understanding. The powers of man were brought into activity by God, and can be kept in health and soundness by being intelligently and proportionately worked. More people die from idleness than from overwork. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 14

The agency of God can be discerned by all who are enlightened by the Word of God. Man is not furnished with machinery, set in motion like the machinery of a clock, and then left to himself to take care of these wonderful organs. No; the agency of God is constantly at work to preserve His wonderful workmanship. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 15

Satan is busily at work inventing schemes to make man, through his disregard and violation of the physical laws which God has established, become disordered. Through tempting him to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the enemy would lead men to obtain a knowledge, which instead of enabling him to co-operate with God to preserve every one of the organs, will have a tendency to weaken and depress the human machinery, that it may not be perfect to act its part as God designs it shall do. But God designs that the organs shall be healthy and ready for use, ever at the command of the human agent, to move in their respective lines of exercise under an intelligent knowledge and in the power derived from God. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 16

The system is made up of different parts fitted to work harmoniously, and so arranged and proportioned as to make one complete whole. It is the misuse and violation of nature’s laws that keeps some parts of the human machinery in action, while others are left to become weak through misuse. God designs that the whole being shall be proportionately worked, that every part of the wonderful machinery may act in harmony with the other. While God is speaking to the senses, telling us to preserve the organs in their beautiful arrangement that they may do service for God and glorify the giver, we are to do our part by cultivating every organ in the order of God. We are not to act in accordance with perverted ideas and customs, but in the intelligence which God has given. We are to preserve simplicity, to maintain the natural form and motions of the body, and not educate the mind and body to meet the customs and fashions of this degenerate age. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 17

This world is our educating school. The apostle Paul writes: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] “For we are a spectacle unto the world, to angels and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 18

All the heavenly universe is waiting about the throne of God to hear His voice and go forth to minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. They are watching every movement made, and are prepared to co-operate in every good work—for the relief of the suffering and for the enlightenment of those who are ignorant of the truth. The archenemy is on the track of every soul, that they shall not be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb, and through the word of their testimony. But if we make the Lord our Teacher, when Satan comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for us against the enemy. 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 19

Every God-given faculty is to be wisely and intelligently used. Every part of the human machinery is the Lord’s, to be used, not under the dictation of Satan, but under the wise counsel of God. Man has a work given him to do, and in order to do that work, he must depend upon God. He must allow the Lord to take the supervision of himself, and, having asked the Lord for wisdom, believe that it will be given him. The promise is, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” [James 1:5-8.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 20

Every human being is of consequence with God. The apostle says: “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; 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 to 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 in earth, even in him; in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh in all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. ... 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 21

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye might know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but that which is to come.” [Ephesians 1:4-12, 18-21.] 13LtMs, Ms 117, 1898, par. 22