Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 56, 1899

Following Christ


April 7, 1899

This manuscript is published in entirety in GCB 2nd Qtr 1899.

For the joy that was set before Him, Christ endured the cross, despising the shame, and is forever set down at the right hand of God. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for the world, and through this sacrifice comes the greatest blessing that God could bestow—the gift of the Holy Spirit. This blessing is for all who will receive Christ. The fallen world is the battlefield for the greatest conflict the heavenly universe and earthly powers have ever witnessed. It was appointed as the theater on which would be fought out the grand struggle between good and evil, between heaven and hell. Every human being acts a part in this conflict. No one can stand on neutral ground. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 1

Men must either accept or reject the world’s Redeemer. All are witnesses, either for or against Christ. Christ calls upon those who stand under His banner to engage in the conflict with Him as faithful soldiers, that they may inherit the crown of life. They have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. Christ has left them His assured promise that great will be the reward in the kingdom of heaven of those who partake of His humiliation and suffering for the truth’s sake. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 2

The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish, every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction, for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. Those who in the strength of Christ overcome the great enemy of God and man, will occupy a position in the heavenly courts above angels who have never fallen. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 3

Christ declares, “I, if I be lifted up, ... will draw all men unto me.” [John 12:32.] If the cross does not find an influence in its favor, it creates an influence. Through generation succeeding generation, the truth for this time is revealed as present truth. Christ on the cross was the medium whereby mercy and truth met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. This is the means that is to move the world. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 4

In the plan of God, all the riches of heaven are to be drawn upon by men. Nothing in the treasury of divine resources is deemed too costly to accompany the great gift of the only begotten Son of God. “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.] Christ was empowered to breathe into fallen humanity the breath of life. Those who receive Him will never hunger, never thirst, for greater joy than that found in Christ there cannot be. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 5

Study the words spoken by the Saviour from the Mount of Blessing. How the divine nature shone through His humanity as His lips uttered the benedictions upon those who were the objects of His mercy and love! He blessed them with a fullness that showed that He was drawing from the inexhaustible store of the richest treasures. The treasures of eternity were at His command. The Father committed the riches of heaven to Him, and in the disposal of them He knew no bound. Those who accept Him as their Saviour, their Redeemer, the Prince of life, He acknowledges before the heavenly host, before the worlds unfallen, and before the fallen world, as His peculiar treasure. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 6

The Lord Jesus has summoned the world to hear. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” [Matthew 11:15.] Let all listen with submissive, reverent attention. He repeats the words given him by the One who said, This is my beloved Son. ... Hear Him. Who is listening to the words which are light and life to all who receive them? Will men and women consider how God regards the creatures He has made? He formed man’s mind. We do not think one noble thought that does not come from Him. He knows all the mysterious workings of the human mind, for did He not make it? God sees that sin has debased and degraded man, but He looks upon him with pity and compassion, for He sees that Satan has him in his power. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 7

The demon of appetite in the intoxicating cup has robbed thousands of their reason. Still the Lord draws, draws, draws. Who will draw with God, seeking to set in operation a restoring power that will obtain the mastery over sin? Those who will not fail nor become discouraged in this work, who will venture to take hold of the wretchedness they see around them, co-operate with their Redeemer. Thus we may show our gratitude to God. Our sympathies are wrought upon by the Holy Spirit. And in the heart of the one who is helped gratitude springs up, and he gathers hope to lay hold upon the hand of Divinity, and to realize that God is seeking to save him from sin and degradation. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 8

The knowledge of God has been lost from a large number of minds, not alone from the minds of those who have debased themselves to the lowest depths, but from the minds of kings, princes, and emperors, from men of high estate the world over. God called one man a fool because of this forgetfulness. This man has been blessed with great treasure, so that he had no place in which to store it. He thought he must be better than the generality of men, or he would not have been thus favored. He consulted his own soul, and did not consult God at all. He did not take the Lord into his heart. The Giver of all his treasure was the last One to be thought of. But he talked with his soul as though it were his God, declaring, “I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.” [Luke 12:19.] 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 9

His blessings had received his worship. A love for gain had become all-absorbing, and had obtained the ascendancy over him. His mind was thus brought unto bondage. The poor and needy, the widow and orphan, did not so much as enter his mind. The Lord saw this. He read the heart of the one who has been so greatly favored, and He said to him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?” [Verse 20.] 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 10

This man is represented as one no longer fit to live in the world, as a fruitless tree which should be cut down. He was not worthy to be recognized among men blessed with life and capable of seeking for immortality and securing eternal life. His separation from God was complete. His life could benefit no one. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 11

Christ recognizes no caste, no nationality. He holds it as His prerogative, divine and incommunicable, to work after His own might and pleasure. The compassionate Redeemer, He labored among all classes. When the paralytic was let down through the roof at His feet, He saw at a glance the trouble of the sufferer, and He immediately exercised His power as a sin-pardoning Saviour. “Be of good cheer,” He said, “thy sins be forgiven thee.” [Matthew 9:2.] At this, some of the scribes said within themselves. “Why doth this man thus speak, blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [Mark 2:7.] 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 12

How astonished they were to have their unspoken thoughts opened before them. “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” Jesus said. “Whether is easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” [Verses 8-11.] 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 13

Christ changed the relation of the sinner toward God, taking the guilt from the inmost soul. The rich fool died in his bloated wealth; but the helpless sinner was brought to Christ, and manifesting his belief that Christ could heal him, he was not disappointed. His diseased main was first cured, and then the great Physician cured his bodily infirmities. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 14

Thus Christ drew the people to Him. He was unfolding truths of the highest order. The knowledge He came to impart was the gospel in all its richness and power. The Sin-bearer, He is alive to all the horrors which sin brings upon the soul; and He came to this world with a message of deliverance. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 15

What is Christianity? God’s instrumentality for the conversion of the sinner. Jesus will call to account every one who is not brought under His control, who does not demonstrate in his life the influence of the cross of Calvary. Christ should be uplifted by those whom He has redeemed by dying on the cross a death of shame. He who has felt the power of the grace of Christ has a story to tell. He seeks to put in operation methods of work which will diffuse the gospel of Christ. Humanity, drawing its efficiency from the great Source of wisdom, is made the instrumentality, the working agency, through which the gospel exercises its transforming power on mind and heart. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 16

Under the inspiration of the Spirit, the apostle [Peter] represents Christians as those who have purified their souls in obeying the truth. Just in accordance with the faith and love we bring into our work will be the power brought into it. No man can create faith. The Spirit operating upon and enlightening the human mind, creates faith in God. In the Scriptures faith is stated to be the gift of God, powerful unto salvation, enlightening the hearts of those who search for truth as for hidden treasure. The Spirit of God impresses the truth on the heart. The gospel is called the power of God unto salvation, because God alone can make the truth a power which sanctifies the soul. He alone can render the cross of Christ triumphant. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 17

Everything that Satan can devise to divert the mind of man from its accountability to God he will devise. Look at the many amusements and pleasures he has set in operation to keep men from thinking, How is it with my soul? He leads men to wish to forget the law of God. There must be some agency to call this law to their remembrance. The talent of speech was given to convey the truth to the ear. By this talent God designs to impart the knowledge that the soul needs. By His words Christ communicated knowledge of the very highest order, telling men what they must do to be saved. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 18

Every minister is first to receive grace from God, and then to administer grace to his hearers. In the pulpit and out of the pulpit he is to minister. His speech is always to be seasoned with grace, in harmony with sacred truth. Wherever the believer is, he has the Word of God, which contains spiritual life; and it is his duty to learn the way of communicating truth so that it will have a convincing power. Man has an important part to act in the work of saving the souls who are in need of being converted without delay, or Satan will control them as his property. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 19

To every man God has given his work. Every soul has been given his post of duty, his sphere of action. It is for his present and eternal interest to find out his work by inquiring, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Each person forms a link in the chain of responsibility which binds man to his fellow man. In their service men are to be linked with one another and with God. Each man is to act his part in the program of life. Each is to exert an influence for good. All are to work together to make a complete whole. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 20

All our powers are to be used for Christ. This is the debt we each owe to God. In forming a relationship with Christ, the renewed man is but coming back to his appointed relationship with God. He is a representative of Christ, and he is ever to pray and watch unto prayer. His duties lie round him, nigh and afar off. His first duty is to his children and his nearest relatives. Nothing can excuse him from neglecting the inner circle for the larger circle outside. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 21

In the day of final reckoning fathers and mothers will be required to answer in regard to their children. Parents will be asked what they did and said to secure the salvation of the souls they took upon themselves the responsibility of bringing into the world. Did they neglect their lambs, leaving them to the care of strangers? Fathers and mothers, are you allowing your children to grow up in impurity and sin? A great good done for others will not cancel the debt you owe to God to care for your children. The spiritual welfare of your family comes first. Take them with you to the cross of Calvary, laboring for them as those that must give an account. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 22

Parents should seek to gain the co-operation of their children. Thus children can become laborers together with God. Some households have a little church in the home. Mutual love binds heart to heart, and the unity that exists among the members of the family preaches the most effectual sermon that could be preached on practical godliness. As parents faithfully do their duty in the family, restraining, correcting, advising, counselling, guiding, the father as a priest of the household, the mother as a home missionary, they are filling the sphere God would have them fill. By faithfully doing their duty in the home, they are multiplying agencies for doing good outside the home. They are becoming better fitted to labor in the church. By training their little flock discreetly, binding their children to themselves and to God, fathers and mothers become laborers together with God. The cross is erected in their home. The members of the family become members of the royal family above, children of the heavenly King. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 23

The tenderness of Christ is to be brought into the daily life of His followers. His character is to be reproduced in them. The disinterested benevolence shown by Him is to be shown by them. His love for souls should be cultivated by practice. Humble, wrestling prayer will soften the subdue hearts. Christ’s servants can and should be able to meet and overcome every temptation. They should say, “I am not my own; I have been bought with a price. By the infinite sacrifice Christ has made for me, He has put it out of my power to give Him more than He demands. All is His. He has purchased me, body, soul, and spirit. He calls for all my time, all my capabilities.” Thus we may show that we are abiding in Christ and that Christ is abiding in us. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 24

Christ accepts no divided service. His followers are to shine as lights in the world. “Come out of the world, and be ye separate,” is the message which comes sounding down along the line to our time. [2 Corinthians 6:17.] Love not the world, neither the things of the world. Set your affections on things above, and not on things below. Those who heed this message will find that Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden light. 14LtMs, Ms 56, 1899, par. 25