Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 88, 1898

The Parable of the Householder


July 10, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 205; TDG 200; ST 03/01/1899.

After Jesus had spoken the parables recorded in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, He ended by inquiring, “Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” [Verses 51, 52.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 1

The gospel is not merely the New Testament. It is the Old as well as the New. The one is not complete without the other. Christ declared that the truths of the Old Testament are just as valuable as those of the New. Christ was just as much man’s Redeemer in the beginning of the world as He is today. No one has ever been saved except by faith in Him. In the Old Testament dispensation, as well as in the New, He was the only one who could speak pardon to the sons and daughters of Adam. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 2

Christ was the foundation of the whole Jewish economy. But the Jewish nation had unduly exalted the forms and maxims which had been handed down from rabbi to rabbi. They taught error instead of truth. Many of the doctrines they cherished were not in the Bible, but were the opinions and doctrines of men. The Jewish leaders thought themselves to be the most religious people in the world, but Christ declared to them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Ye teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Again He said, Ye make void the law of God by your traditions. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 3

This the teachers in the churches are doing today. Many propagate error by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Their lives in no way honor God or the Scriptures. Falsehoods, which have been handed down from century to century, are taught as the Word of God. If these are questioned, in the place of saying, Let us search the Word of God, which is the test of all doctrine; let us compare Scripture with Scripture, for the Word of God is the treasure house of all knowledge, those who advocate them utterly refuse to make unprejudiced investigation. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 4

Many of those to whom the people look for instruction are not leading their flocks to the pure water of life. If one is awakened by reading and searching the Word to find out what is truth, if by seeking to know what the Scriptures teach, he shows that he would become a wise householder, he is charged with doing great mischief, because by searching he has found hidden treasure. He sees truth, not as men and ministers have declared it, but as Christ has presented it in the Old and New Testaments, and as a faithful steward, he tells his neighbors, for he would have them share with him the message of grace. How is he treated by the religious teachers? Just as Christ was treated by the Jewish leaders. He is held up to ridicule. The ministers denounce him from the pulpits, declaring that he is causing division in the churches. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 5

Eternal interests are at stake, but those who ought to receive the light with rejoicing, fight against the Word of God as dangerous doctrine. They do not say to those they think are misled, Come, and let us examine this subject together. If you have received light, give it to us, for we need every ray of light that is shining from the Word of God. Our souls will be imperilled if we entertain and teach error. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 6

If those who are now advocating error would listen to God speaking in His Word, they would see that they are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. They would refuse to follow the example of the Jews by reiterating assertions which have not a “Thus saith the Lord” for a foundation. This is the only true course for those who would teach God’s Word to pursue. True knowledge will be found by every humble searcher. Men of every rank, learned and unlearned, may understand the Scriptures for themselves. The Eternal Mind has declared the truth, and this truth is of the highest value to those who receive and practice it. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 7

What must man do to possess the heavenly treasure? He must have that faith in the truth that works by love and purifies the soul. He must search diligently and earnestly; and he is to impart to others what he has received. He cannot continue to receive heavenly treasure without communicating to those around him. He is not to consult his own pleasure or ease. A great responsibility rests upon him to give the truth to others, that they also may receive its saving principles, and with heaven-born zeal develop an enlarged comprehension of and appreciation for the heavenly treasure. As a faithful householder he is to bring forth both from the Old and New Testaments the eternal, unchangeable truth. As he does this, the treasure in his possession will increase. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 8

When the truth is received into the heart, the habits and customs are conformed to Christ. The learner feels bound to uplift the Saviour. The truth works by love and purifies the soul, and he regards God’s commands, not as being abrogated, but as unchangeable truth which was given to the world in the beginning. He presents the treasures of God’s Word in a fresh and agreeable way, because the truth has taken possession of his mind, his heart, his entire being. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 9

Every truth received is a refining power. By the God of heaven the mind and heart of the receiver are imbued with a power corresponding to the heavenly origin and importance of the truth. By the death of Christ on the cross, human beings have been raised in the scale of moral value. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 10

The Lord looked into the mind of man, and He saw that it was debased and corrupted by sin. He determined to present in the most attractive light the principles of the gospel, that man might receive and obey them. He would refine, purify, and ennoble the powers He had given to man, that they might act the part for which they were created. If permitted, the lower passions will obtain the mastery over the whole being. Christ would have these passions subject to the higher powers of the being. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 11

Christ presented the cross to His disciples. “If any man will come after me,” He said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] The cross must be lifted by all who receive Christ as their Saviour. God does not forgive sin to encourage us to continue in sin. It is to bring sin to a close, that the divine nature may take possession of the being, and the riches of heaven be poured into mind and heart. God has made every provision that the divine resources may flow freely, and we are to deem no sacrifice too costly in order that the treasures of truth may be given to the world. To fall short of this is a betrayal of sacred trust. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 12

Those who claim to preach Christ, while they declare that the law of God is abrogated, do not preach the truth. Had not God’s law been unchangeable, Christ need not have suffered on Calvary. He died that the transgressor of the law might be pardoned and return to his loyalty. He took human nature upon Himself, and suffered for us, that we might have another trial, that we might be given opportunity to leave the banner of rebellion and stand under the banner of the Prince of light. And He declared, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” [John 15:10.] In Him is no sin. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sin, and in him is no sin.” [1 John 3:4, 5.] Christ’s sacrifice would have converted the world to truth if false teachers had not upheld false doctrines, making it appear a virtue to trample on the law of Jehovah. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 13

God would have His people proclaim to the world the great truths of redemption. He would have them tell of the great sacrifice made to restore the almost obliterated moral image of God. When men partake of the divine nature, they will bring from the treasure of the heart things new and old. They will open to those around them the great truths of the work of the Son of God in our world. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 14

Truth constantly enriches the receiver. The minds of those who receive the truth increase in activity. And they exercise their talents, seeking to improve every capability, their mental and spiritual powers strengthen, for where there is spiritual life, there is development and growth. There is no possibility of the treasures of the householder diminishing if rightly used. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 15

Mighty truths have been buried beneath the sophistry of error, but they will be found by the diligent searcher. As he finds and opens the treasure house of the precious jewels of truth, it is no robbery; for all who appreciate these jewels may possess them, and then they too have a treasure house to open to others. He who imparts does not deprive himself of the treasure, for as he examines it, that he may present it in such a way as to attract others, he finds new treasures. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 16

The treasures of truth in our possession must be given to the world, that they may have opportunity to learn the value of truth. The necessities of those who are suffering from spiritual poverty must be relieved. And not only will the minds of those helped be impressed, but the mind of him who is doing the work will be quickened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the co-operation of the power that comes from God alone, he will be enabled to make the truth so plain that it will vibrate in other minds. The truth is the power of God unto salvation to all who receive it. It sheds a flood of light into the heart, and exerts a convincing influence upon the mind, stimulating and strengthening the one who is communicating the treasures of God’s Word. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 17

Christ Jesus is the great truth for this time. In Him is bound up all the truth that concerns our salvation. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” [John 1:29.] Christ died for the whole world, yet how few fill the place God has assigned to them as householders. The talents lent us on trust are to be used to benefit and bless others. They are lent to be improved. Their value is in themselves. Whether or not the one to whom they are entrusted realizes their value, they remain the same. But if he does not appreciate them, they are of no value to him. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 18

Money may be locked up in various ways. It is still money, but it is of no special benefit to any one. But money wisely invested brings money in return, which may be used to gain more money. Thus it is with the householder’s treasure, the Word of the living God. The use made of the gems of truth determines their value to the possessor. They are to be used to help and bless and save those for whom the Lord gave His only begotten Son. They are of the highest value to us, and in this way our talents increase constantly. We add jewel to jewel. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 19

The apostle Paul charged Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” “Hold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to thee, keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you.” “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:1, 2; 1:13, 14; 2:15.] What height and depth and breadth there is in these words. Paul understood that those who have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit have a most important talent in their keeping. His words teach the same lesson taught by Christ’s words, “Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” [Matthew 13:52.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 20

“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,” Paul writes again, “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” [Romans 1:16-18.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 21

The faith professed must be the faith acted. Those who have received the light of truth are in the possession of knowledge which they must impart to others. Those who would teach God’s Word must themselves receive the divine treasures. They must not be satisfied with repeating set discourses, depending on notes. They are to add to their treasure, constantly improving in their manner of presenting the truth. They are not to be dwarfs in religious knowledge, but are to open their hearts at the first knock of Christ. “If any man hear my voice,” He says, “and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” [Revelation 3:20.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 22

To those who welcome Christ as an honored guest, He will communicate precious things. In their turn they are to open their treasures of light and blessing to other souls. Thus an endless variety of good results will be obtained. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 23

But all the praise and glory is to be given to God. No human being is to seat himself on the highest seat, accepting the praise of others, and forgetting that his treasures belong to God. God’s blessing is promised to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, but nothing is so offensive as to hunger and thirst after the praise of men. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 24

When the Lord weighs in the balances of the sanctuary the actions of those who have striven to be first, when they see how He regards such strife, they will bow low at His footstool, ashamed of their course of action. All cannot be first, all cannot be masters. Walk humbly before God, acknowledging Him as your Master. It is a great misfortune to be unable to see in others higher excellencies and powers of greater usefulness than in yourself. If we will partake of the divine nature, God will fit us to find happiness in activity, and rest in wearing Christ’s yoke. Using aright the powers God has given us, praying, waiting, watching, and working, wearing Christ’s yoke and learning daily of Him to be meek and lowly of heart, will bring great joy into our lives. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 25

Were it not for God’s gracious gifts and blessings, we should be bankrupt for eternity. Then let no one sound his own praises, feeding upon his supposed wisdom. If his talents were of his own manufacture, there would be some consistency in self-praise. But man has nothing of his own. Let us not reveal our lack of true wisdom by exalting self. Let us bow low in humility at the feet of Him who has entrusted to us our talents. Let us use and improve these talents, handing principle and interest back to the Giver. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 26

The Lord expects His householders to prepare the way for His second advent by helping in every possible way those for whom He gave His life. The signs of His second coming are clearly pointed out in prophesy. When He came to our world the first time, divinity and humanity were blended. This is our only hope. The Son of man is fully qualified to be the originator of a humanity that will blend with divinity by partaking of the divine nature. He offers to make us golden threads in the web of humanity. He would have us act our part by co-operating with Him in healing the springs of life that have been perverted, and setting them flowing in sanctified channels. 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 27

As a sacred trust every talent is to be employed aright. Those whom God has made His stewards are to search the Scriptures earnestly, that they may communicate its truths to others, leading them to the path which has been cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. By precept and example we are to teach others that through the grace of Christ they may be obedient to all God’s commandments, and be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. This is the work God requires His servants to do. We are not to follow our own perverse nature, but are to be like little children. We are to lay aside our own will, following implicitly the dictates of God’s will. “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 22:14.] 13LtMs, Ms 88, 1898, par. 28