Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 114, 1898

Not In Man’s Wisdom


September 12, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in RH 07/18/1899. +Note

Christ’s mission upon earth is accomplished. He has given His life a ransom for the world. He has died our sacrifice—that to which all the Jewish sacrificial offerings pointed. In the great offering of Himself, the shadow has reached the substance. He is the Lamb slain for the sins of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 1

When Christ upon the cross cried out, “It is finished,” the veil before the Most Holy place was rent in twain. [John 19:30; Matthew 27:50, 51.] No more would sacrificial offerings be accepted, for type had met antitype in the death of Christ. Christ died, and rose again, proclaiming over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the Resurrection and the life. I live forever.” [John 11:25; Deuteronomy 32:40.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 2

For forty days after His resurrection Christ met with His disciples, and they knew Him to be the Son of God. His whole life, His ministry, His teachings, were verity and truth to them. When Christ ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. The Pentecostal season brought to the disciples the evidence that they were accepted in the Beloved, and that their prayers, ascending to God in faith, would assuredly be answered, for this had been the promise of the Great Teacher to them. When the disciples prepared themselves for the descent of the Holy Spirit, putting away all selfishness, all love of supremacy, and all differences, becoming of one accord, of one mind, in a most marked manner the divine grace come upon them. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 3

This power was to accompany the preaching of the gospel. Then the Holy Ghost was given, and it will always be given for the conversion of souls. The power is not with the many, therefore let none exalt or give the glory to man. The power comes from Christ. Before His ascension, He declared to His disciples: “All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 4

Paul declares: “He is before all things: and by him all things consist: and he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in heaven, or things in earth. And you, that were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 5

“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 to every creature which is under heaven, ... even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but which is now made manifest in 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.” [Colossians 1:17-23, 26, 27.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 6

We would present to you the words of Christ. He makes a plain distinction between those who believe on Him and those who do not. Those who are genuine believers reveal their love for God by keeping His commandments. Christ said: “Verily, verily,”—words that mean to give assurance to every word that should follow—“I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also: and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” [John 14:12, 13.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 7

God is glorified in having channels through which He can communicate the great treasures of heaven to a fallen world. Every one who will cleanse his soul of all impurity, and let the similitude of Christ’s character be placed on his character, will reflect back to God in pure currents the praise and thanksgiving of the many souls that he has won to Christ to become one with the Son of God as He is one with the Father. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 8

Christ specified the ones who should receive and believe on Him. “To you,” He said, speaking to His disciples, “It is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” [Luke 8:10.] These they were to proclaim to the world, for thus He had commanded them. This is the first and great business to be carried on in our world. “What ye hear in the ear,” He said on one occasion, “that preach ye upon the house tops,” for there is nothing in the knowledge of truth and righteousness that is to be regarded as a mystery. [Matthew 10:27.] The door is thrown wide open for all who believe. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” [John 14:13, 14.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 9

Christ then tells them plainly the evidence they must give to the world that they love the Saviour who gave His life a ransom for them. “If ye love me,” He says, “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: 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.” [Verses 15-19.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 10

The apostle Paul declares: “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” [1 Corinthians 2:12-16.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 11

This Scripture explains why men whose minds are fully occupied with worldly things do not have more interest in things of eternal interest. Either God or Satan has the control of the intellect. If man sustains no vital relations to God, he reveals that he is connected with another leader, who is controlling his mind, and holding him in darkness that he may not see the evidences of truth. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 12

All who are connected with God will be imbued with His Spirit. The light which has been given them they will communicate to those who are in the darkness of this world, serving the prince of darkness. They will never cease their efforts to win souls to Christ, to awaken their interest. In this work they will give themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit. They will bear their burden of souls in their prayers to God, that those who know Him not may be convicted and converted. This is the work of all who claim to believe in Jesus Christ. To neglect this work is to insult Jehovah, to insult the Holy Spirit, and to prove disloyal to Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 13

The church whose members are deficient in these things is in a do-nothing position, and is giving Satan every advantage to accomplish their ruin. Those who know the truth are responsible for those who know it not. As a part of God’s great firm, they have a work to do in building up the interests of that firm. As instruments of righteousness they are to build up the kingdom of God, according to the plans which He has laid before them. It is a serious neglect of duty to fail to put into this work our God-entrusted endowments. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 14

“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 unto him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto 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.” [John 14:21-23.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 15

Christ is the mystery of godliness. God calls for a humble reliance upon Him. His divine aid is promised in the Holy Scriptures. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 16

Paul says, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:1-5.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 17

The Lord would have all His workers weighted with a wisdom that is divine, that wisdom which God gives to all who ask in faith believing, nothing doubting. The apostle saw the necessity of reaching a high standard. It has been Paul’s custom in his preaching to adopt an oratorical style. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this in Athens, meeting false philosophy with true philosophy, eloquence with eloquence, and logic with logic, but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped for. His aftersight led him to see that there was something needed above human wisdom even of men of learning. God taught him that something above the world’s wisdom must come to him. He must receive his power from a higher source. He must eat of the flesh and drink of the blood of the Son of God. This is the mystery of godliness. It is eternal life to the receiver as the fruit of the tree of life was life to Adam and Eve. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 18

The Lord taught Paul that His Spirit must come into his work and sanctify every intellectual development, in order to convict and convert sinners. The apostle had the privileges of a Roman citizen and this protected him from the debasing violence of unbelievers. He was not blind the Hebrew education, for he learned at the feet of Gamaliel at Jerusalem; but all this did not enable him to reach the highest standard. With all this advanced education in literary science, he was in as complete darkness as are many at this time. Men today talk of higher education, but this is all human. They know no more than did Paul before Christ was revealed to him. The professedly learned men of the world, notwithstanding all their intellectual studies, if they know not the truth as it is in Jesus, will never see the kingdom of heaven. They will lose life eternal. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 19

The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth because they have not made the truth, which would make them wise unto salvation, their study. They cannot receive truth because they do not see Christ as the truth. They do not know Him. This wisdom is earthly. “And this is life eternal,” said Christ, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” “He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” [John 17:3; 3:31-33.] “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself. He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” [1 John 5:10.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 20

“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” [Romans 8:14-17.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 21

The apostle Paul became fully conscious that to know Jesus Christ by an experimental knowledge was for his present and eternal interest. The church at Corinth did not make the fear of Christ the first and last and best in everything, and this was causing them to hide their light under a bushel. They were becoming weak. They were fearful of offending the Jews and the learned heathen. Paul informed the church that he had not come to them with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power, “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:5.] This is the lesson that many need to learn in our day. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 22

“Howbeit,” said Paul, “we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught.” [Verse 6.] “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things which are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:26-31.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 23

Again he says: “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” [1 Corinthians 2:7.] “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret before the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.” [Romans 16:25-27.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 24

This mystery all the human intelligences of themselves are incapable of understanding. Their learning may be considered supreme, but it is not that higher education which they can take with them into the kingdom of heaven. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul brings to view a kind of education that these supposed intellectual stars have not: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” These are divine heights which the true believer may reach. “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 predestined 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.” [Ephesians 1:3-6.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 25

All who will may see the mystery of godliness. It is only through a correct understanding of Christ’s mission and work that the possibility of being complete in him, accepted in the Beloved, is brought within our reach. “Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:16, 17.] This voice reaches to every one who receives and believes in Jesus. His long human arm embraces the human family; His divine arm grasps the throne of the Infinite, that man may have the benefit of the infinite sacrifice made in his behalf. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 26

This mystery many are too much exalted in their own opinion to receive. “Which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” [1 Corinthians 2:8.] There is a science of education that the Most High would have these great men understand; but they cannot see the Truth, the Life, the Light of the world. Human science is not divine enlightenment. Divine science is the demonstration of the Spirit of God, inspiring implicit faith in Him. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 27

The great men of the world suppose this faith to be beneath the notice of their great and intelligent minds, something too low to give attention to; but here they make a great mistake. It is altogether too high for their human intelligences to reach. It is the powerful working of the Spirit of God upon human intellects and human hearts. When disputing with Stephen, the whole Sanhedrin, lofty in their own estimation, “were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” [Acts 6:10.] Christ’s promise to His followers is: “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate what ye shall answer: for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to gainsay or resist.” [Luke 21:14, 15.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 28

The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is the true science of intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is a wisdom infinitely above the comprehension of worldly wise men. It is the hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within the hope of glory—a wisdom high as heaven. The deep principles of godliness are sublime and eternal. A Christian experience alone can help us to understand this problem, the treasures of knowledge which have been hidden in the councils of God, but are now made known to all who have a vital connection with Christ. All who will may know of the doctrine. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 29

Just in proportion as the light received is imparted to others will be our attainment of that intellectual science that passeth knowledge. “In whom (Christ) 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. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 30

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may 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 principalities, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” [Ephesians 1:13-23.] Read these verses with prayer and self examination. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 31

“It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit: for the spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we may know the things that are freely given us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritual discerned.” [1 Corinthians 2:9-14.] 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 32

Many suppose that this knowledge is a lower science which will spoil them for becoming great men, acknowledged by the world as such, and they refuse the very things which would give to them a learning that is imperishable. All the glory of worldly wisdom will perish. There is a knowledge which those who reject and crucify afresh the Son of God can never know. Christ’s humanity and His divinity are inseparable. They are combined for the saving of the world. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 33

We have tried to present that which constitutes true education. Will the teachers in our schools take hold of this? We must learn from the Word of the living God. We must make that Word our study book. If the professors of Christianity would only make the sure Word of God their study, great light would shine upon their pathway. 13LtMs, Ms 114, 1898, par. 34