Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)



Ms 1, 1899

Unity, Courtesy, Love


January 19, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 33; OHC 176; Te 32; 9MR 320.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Ephesians 4:11-16.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 1

There are manifold instruments and agencies on whose concurrence and harmonious action the prosperity and perfection of the Christian church depends. If the finger, apparently the least important member of the body, becomes afflicted, it telegraphs the fact to the brain, and the whole body suffers. We may apply this illustration to the church. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 2

In the church, officers are appointed as co-workers with God for the edification of the body of Christ. Mothers and fathers who are doers of the Word of God are a part of the body of Christ. They nurture and admonish their children in accordance with God’s Word, raising up a little army to stand under Christ’s banner. They are God’s witnesses, showing to the world that they are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christ is their pattern and they educate their children to know God. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 3

In the prayer Christ offered in behalf of His disciples just before His betrayal and crucifixion, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] Should not every family on earth be a symbol of the family in heaven? In each household should there not be heard songs of praise and thanksgiving? 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 4

The family whose members love God and one another, who do not get provoked, who are long-suffering, forbearing, kind, is a symbol of the family above. The members realize that they are a part of the great firm of heaven. They are taught by the laws of mutual dependence to rely upon the great Head of the church. If one of the members of such a family suffer, all the rest suffer. The suffering of one entails suffering on the other. This should teach the youth to take care of their bodies, and to pray to be preserved in health; because when they suffer from disease, the whole family partakes of their suffering. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 5

Those men and women who have determined to serve God will seek to govern their families so that they may correctly represent the religion of Christ. The children will be taught to be tidy and useful, to share the burdens of the home, not allowing the parents to bear any which they can carry. Thus the lot of mother and father is made much easier. The whole family shares the blessing of the helpfulness of its members. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 6

Why do not parents come to Jesus just as they are, asking for His forgiving grace and healing power? Why do they not plead to be endowed with capabilities that will enable them to rule their households aright? 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 7

Every gift of God is to be appreciated and put to the very best use. Thus we place ourselves where we can be laborers together with God. But God is robbed when men and women do not connect with Him in such a way that mind, soul, and strength may be controlled by the Holy Spirit. The family of God here below should co-operate in the most perfect harmony with God’s appointed agencies in the work of molding the human character after the divine similitude. Each member is to seek to use aright their entrusted talents. They are to trade upon these talents, and thus increase them. Then they obtain power. This is an individual work. Each is to seek with earnest effort for peace in Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 8

God has appointed agencies to meet every case. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” All these varied influences are to be used for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. All are not to work in the same lines, but all are to appreciate every gift of God. These gifts are to be used in their different places, “till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 9

The members of the church are ever to be respectful and courteous to the Lord’s ministers. “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.” [Ephesians 5:1, 2.] This is the height of the love we are required to reach. And the texture of this love is not tainted with selfishness. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 10

In the following verses the apostle names the attributes which will exclude from heaven all who cherish them. Then he names the traits of character which will open the gates of the city of God to those who cherish them. “Ye were sometimes in darkness,” he says, “but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 11

“But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.” [Verses 8-13, 15-18.] The use of wine or tobacco is not essential to Christian growth. Indulgence in intoxicating liquor places a man wholly under the control of the demon who devised this stimulant in order to deface and destroy the moral image of God. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 12

“But be filled with the Spirit”—the holy unction from on high—“speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Verses 18-20.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 13

Let no one think that he should be privileged without interruption to carry out his ideas and plans. Every movement should pass under strict self-examination. Every principle of action should be compared with the principles of God’s Word. God’s servants should counsel together, working in unity; for in unity there is strength. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 14

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 2:1-5.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 15

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.” [Ephesians 5:22-28.] Let every husband remember these words. Let no man degrade his wife by making her a servant to his uncontrolled passions. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 16

“He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. For we are member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself, and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” [Verses 28-33.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 17

The lessons of this chapter are of the greatest importance, yet they are practiced by but few. If these instructions were carried out to the letter, what changes would take place in families! 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 18

In the third chapter of Colossians definite instruction is given to families. The apostle says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons.” [Verses 18-25.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 19

If those who claim to be Christians would be obedient to God’s Word, the husband loving the wife, and the wife respecting and reverencing her husband, both remembering what a family should be, how different would be the condition of our world! How many doors would be closed against the temptations of Satan! 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 20

Those who work at cross purposes in the home are disqualifying themselves to be members of the royal family above. Unless they change, they can never dwell in the mansions Christ has gone to prepare. Many who claim to be Christians are Christians only in name. They choose to follow their own standard, rather than the standard God has set in His Word. They have not put on Christ, but are among the number who went into the banquet thinking that it made no difference whether they had on their citizen’s dress or the wedding garment. They preferred to follow their own natural impulse. They refused to accept the robe of Christ’s righteousness. They believe in Christ as the world’s Redeemer, but know Him not as a personal Saviour. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 21

He who is under the control of the enemy of all good exerts an influence wholly for evil. He has strong passions, which should be controlled, but he feels under no holy restraint, and his manifestations of envy and jealousy, his outbursts of anger, and his evil surmisings make him a demon in his home. He will not do the will of God. He needs to be taken in hand, and like a rebellious child disciplined and chastened; for he is ruining himself. His course is downward. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 22

Husbands, wives, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. But many will not submit to the will of God, be His call ever so clear and loud. Every family has daily improvement to make. “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Men and women must co-operate with God if they would be overcomers, and at last see His face. Christlike virtues must be brought into the character. 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 23

The word given us through the apostle is, “Ye are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savor wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden underfoot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:13-16.] 14LtMs, Ms 1, 1899, par. 24