Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 146, 1899

“What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?”

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

October 7, 1899

Previously unpublished. +Note

The question was asked by Christ, “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Matthew 16:26.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 1

Men sells himself cheaply when he spends his life in securing worldly advantages; for in the ambition to secure earthly estate, business occupies the mind, and God is forgotten, and man reaps loss to all eternity. His money and lands cannot pay a ransom for his soul. Better, far better, are shattered hopes and the world’s denunciation with the approval of God than to sit with princes and forfeit heaven. Christ declares, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 2

Addressing the churches through the disciple John, Christ said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor not: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Revelation 3:13-18.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 3

We are to make diligent work for eternity. Those to whom the Lord has entrusted the talent of means, He expects to return to Him their gifts and offerings. They are to act in behalf of Christ, representing the character of the great Gift which God gave to save a sinful world. In entrusting means to human beings, He designs that they shall be not consumers, but producers. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 4

Christ bridged the gulf that sin had made, and thus He showed how highly He estimates the human race. He clothes His divinity with humanity that humanity might take hold of divinity and man become a partaker of the divine nature. And having done so much, He did not leave His work unfinished. He was known on earth as the Friend of sinners. He mingled with all classes of society, that all might become acquainted with God manifest in the flesh. He did not shun the social life of His countrymen; at the very opening of His ministry He attended a marriage feast in Cana. Death and hell were conquered by His presence. He healed disease, rebuked injustice and oppression, and preached the gospel to the poor. In the wilderness of temptation He met the enemy and conquered him with a “Thus saith the Lord.” “Get thee hence, Satan,” He said, “it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Matthew 4:10.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 5

How great was this Gift to man, and how like our God to make it. With a liberality that can never be exceeded He gave that He might save the rebellious sons of men and bring them to see His object and discern His love. Will you by your princely offerings show that you think nothing too good to give to Him who “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”? [John 3:16.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 6

God has honored man in making him a laborer together with Christ. Yet how many are despising the message of mercy coming to them from God? There is nothing in all the world of so great consequence to Christ as His purchased possession, His church, His workers who go forth to scatter the seeds of truth, looking forward to the harvest. None but Christ can measure the solicitude of His servants as they seek to save that which is lost. And He imparts His Spirit as the self-sacrificing worker, with earnest, untiring efforts, labors to win souls from sin to righteousness. A Paul may plant; and Apollos water; for this is his work; but it is God alone who can give the increase. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 7

When Christ’s ambassadors present the gospel in its simplicity, and the hearers respond to the Word presented, nothing is so gratifying to the heart of Infinite Love than for these souls to come to Him confessing their sins and giving expressing to their faith and <to the> truth; for He delights to impart to them His righteousness. When the question comes from the anxious soul, “What shall I do to be saved?” the answer returns, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, and thou shalt be saved.” [See Acts 16:30, 31.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 8

Angels rejoice to see hearts opened to receive the communication of light and love and pardon. When thanksgiving arises from human hearts because souls are receiving the impress of Christ, heavenly beings take up the song of praise. The prophet Zephaniah writes, “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hand be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:16, 17.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 9

And will not the soul redeemed render to the sin-pardoning Saviour his love and homage? Yes, verily. With the psalmist he will sing, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, and such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works that thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to usward; they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” [Psalm 40:1-5.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 10

The man who loves God will not only offer Him lip service in praise and thanksgiving, but he will bring to the treasury his gifts and offerings that laborers may be sent forth to sow the precious seed. Will you show by your lives that you are seeking precious pearls? “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] God and man combine their efforts in this work. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 11

Christ calls His people to unity, to bind themselves together in the bands of Christian fellowship. Let those who have named the name of Christ cease their criticism, and bind up with one another and with Christ. Let them cherish feelings of tenderness and love, and not think it a virtue to differ. God’s workmen will have to guard jealously their own spirit lest they allow Satan to come in and weaken them through disunion. Where there is union, there is strength. Let all your devising tend to bind you together, that you may be complete in Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 12

The Word of God demands that we be one with Christ as He was one with the Father, “that,” says the apostle, “ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:45.] The Lord is not pleased with variance and strife, and if His people will work intelligently and harmoniously, God will work with them and through them. But if they spend time and energy in strife for the supremacy, God will leave them in their weakness, for He will never work with unconsecrated elements. God calls for pure-spirited workers. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 13

“A new commandment I give unto you,” Christ says, “That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another.” [John 13:34, 35.] “As the Father hath love me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 15:9-12.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 14

The enemy of souls will put forth every effort to hinder this work in the heart. He will seek to place his mark of division and strife upon God’s people. This enemy is to be steadfastly resisted by every individual soul. We inquire of those who claim to be followers of Christ, Will you resist the devil, that he may not weaken and destroy God’s heritage, or will you unite with the enemy of righteousness to do his work and dishonor God? “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” [1 John 5:4.] 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 15

Christ’s prayer for His followers was, “The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me: that they may be made perfect in one: and that the world may believe that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am: That they may behold thy glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” [John 17:22-26.] When God’s people work together harmoniously and intelligently, Christ’s request to the Father for them will be fulfilled. 14LtMs, Ms 146, 1899, par. 16