Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 139, 1899

Lessons from the Vineyard


September 27, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Te 29.

The parable of the vineyard presents for our consideration the need of solemn waiting combined with earnest, vigilant work in preparing for the second coming of Christ. There is need of earnest labor for the souls that are in darkness. These must be shown the necessity of perfecting a Christian character. And by earnest work, and fervent prayer the churches must be aroused to understand their responsibilities. The day of the Lord is right upon us, and the world must be aroused from its worldliness by plain decided messages. And the husbandmen are to be shown their work in rendering to God the fruits of the vineyard. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 1

“Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” is to be the motto of God’s faithful workers. [Romans 12:11.] Arouse the sleeping churches by proclaiming the last message to be given to the world. Do not hover over the established churches in order to hold them to the platform of truth. Ministers grow weak when they do this. God has given to each talents, not that they may enter into a few territories and colonize, but that they may present the truth in a simple way in all parts of the world. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 2

Show church members that they have a work to do. They in turn are to proclaim the message. Their work is represented in the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet; and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] Let those who have ears to hear now hear as for their lives, and with lips touched with a live coal from off the altar, echo the great testing truths which are to go to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 3

The large churches have had great light and privileges. Let them remember that it is not their large organs, their vocal and instrumental music, which will recommend their worship to God. There must be seen true consecration. The tree must reveal its soundness by yielding a harvest of precious fruit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance, faith—these are the fruits borne on the Christian tree. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” [Galatians 5:24.] The cross of Calvary is our hope, and this hope will abide with us as we draw our inspiration from Christ. “All ye are brethren,” Christ said. [Matthew 23:8.] Brother linked with brother, we are to develop the attributes of Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 4

Christ is the householder, travelling into a far country. He has placed husbandmen over His vineyard to act in His stead. They are to keep an account of the Lord’s required portion, and bring it to the treasury in tithes and gifts and offerings. Are we rendering to God the fruits of His vineyard? Close attention should be given to the words of the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house: and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” [Malachi 3:10.] Every church member is responsible to God for the tithes of all the goods left in His care. God places the whole of it in the hands of man, but the rental must be paid to the Owner, that He may carry on His work. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 5

The world will be called to give an account of its use of the Lord’s money. Wealthy men who are heaping together treasure bring upon themselves the denunciation of God. Direct and positive is the Word of the Lord: “Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries which shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold the hire of the laborers which have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.” [James 5:1-4.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 6

“Riches profit not in the day of wrath. ... There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth: and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. ... He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” [Proverbs 11:4, 24-26, 28.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 7

These words are spoken not only to church members, but to every soul who has been entrusted with the goods of heaven. Those who have used the fruit of the vine to produce wine and liquor have an account to settle with the Master. God’s gifts have been perverted. Millions of pounds have been spent in stupefying and health destroying drugs. That the fruit of the vine, so nourishing to man as an article of food, should be converted into a snare, a means of robbing man of his senses, is a heinous sin in the sight of God. Satan’s breweries are established in every city to do their work of death, and the work is carried on by the beings to whom God has entrusted His vineyard. They are carrying out the purposes of the enemy, to cause wretchedness and woe and every crime of which man is guilty. The cries of the helpless have reached to the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and according to the misery that has resulted from this course of sin, accordingly He will repay. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 8

The cries of the starving millions in our world would soon be hushed if the money put into the tills of the liquor sellers were spent in alleviating the sufferings of humanity. But the evil is constantly increasing. The youth are being educated to love the vile stuff, and this is ruining them, soul and body. The work they might do in God’s vineyard they refuse to do. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 9

The Lord is soon to come and take this matter in hand, and He will give to every man according as his works have been. What a scene that will be when the wrath of God shall come upon the guilty world! Then the words will stand before the eyes of men as if written in letters of fire: “Justified by faith, Justified by works.” Their day of trust, with its burden of record is now ended in the day of reckoning. Every man has had the call, “Go, work today in my vineyard” [Matthew 21:28], and every man will receive according to the opportunities and privileges he has had. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 10

Those who have had the light of truth for this time are highly favored. The Lord has not given the truth in trust to men that it might be confined to one place, and abundantly bestowed there, while other places are left in darkness. God calls upon responsible men to lift up their eyes, and see the great necessities in other fields, and make diligent efforts to use the Lord’s goods with equity. When the Lord sends His workmen into new fields, He calls those who have advantages and facilities to share their privileges with these fields. This work must be done, that the workers may be better prepared to battle with the difficulties and prejudices which they will ever have to meet as they unfurl the banner of truth in new fields. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 11

The voice of duty bids the workers in the Lord’s vineyard in any line [to] discern the needs of the places afar off. The Lord is speaking to the favored ones, saying, Bind about the expenditures in your own localities, and be as earnest in making the work of the Lord a success in other fields as you have been in working for your own field. If you wish, you may always have wants which you think must be supplied, and thus leave the destitute places unworked. But this is not the law of heaven. God would have the brethren in America use their senses, their sight, their hearing, their reason, and do to others as they would wish to have done to them were they in similar circumstances. Your eyes must see the needs of your fellow human beings. Your ears must hear their cries for help; your hearts must be drawn out in sympathy for their need, and your hands must minister to their necessities. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 12

The medical missionary work is needed in these new fields, for this is the right arm of the body of truth. A miracle working power will go with the medical missionary who will work understandingly. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 13

There must be no evasion of truth in the message given in these last days. Every worker must stand cemented to the right, that the world may have the light of truth. Only those who confess the truth before men, however unpopular they may become in doing so, will Christ confess before the Father and before His angels. Let none be more solicitous for worldly honor and promotion than for the living principles of truth. God and the angels always stand decidedly for the right. The gospel, which is the embodiment of truth and righteousness, must be presented. Inscribe upon your banner, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] In the near future we shall see the necessity of standing loyal and true, for temptations will come to form parties in which principle is sacrificed to policy. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 14

Those who profess the truth should never shrink from keeping the testing message clear and distinct before the world. They should study the truth with respect and reverence, because it is truth. They should cherish a deep, abiding sense of its importance for the present time. Then the truth will ever be their sanctification, their authority, their stronghold. The gospel of Christ is profitable for all things; it carries its credentials with it. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 15

Let those who would be gospel workers remember that our talents are apportioned to us according to our ability to use them. The Lord expects every soul who receives to impart. It is the law of the kingdom of heaven that when one portion of the field has been favored with prosperity, the workers in that portion are to use their abilities to the fullest extent in establishing the work in other territories. When His stewards follow this plan, God is honored before the world. The Lord does not bestow His gifts capriciously. If He gives prosperity to one member of His family of workers, it is that that one may bless other members with the benefits he has received. Thus one instrumentality helps another instrumentality, and the plants grow into trees to be a shadow and protection, not in superiority and pride, but in liberality and helpfulness. Whatever prosperity there is in a man’s work, it is all from God. He sets out the plant, and cares for it until it becomes a tree. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 16

As the commandment-keeping people of God, we are to take heed to ourselves that we do not depart, as did ancient Israel, into the paths of covetousness, and selfishness and ambitious pride. God’s people are predestinated to be conformed into the image of His Son. God designs that they shall become all that He designed Israel should be when He established them in the land of Canaan a pure and holy people. It is when the dross of selfishness enters the soul that unfair methods are brought in[to] the life practice. Never should there exist the desire to gain the advantage of your brethren in the faith in any business deal. The principles of heaven are to be acted out on the earth by God’s professed people. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 17

The Lord is measuring every act and weighing every motive. He beholds everything that is not in strict conformity with His holy law, and all this supposed gain, He will make as the chaff which the wind drives away. He whose name is Holy will do His pleasure in holiness. He will not fail in His work, if man will not place self where God should be. The bruised reed will He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench, till He have brought forth judgment unto victory. The Lord works in His own way. He carries on in hearts a work of keen searching, and humiliating discoveries are made. Then sin must be cleansed from the soul temple, and faith come in and take possession—that faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. The human attributes must be molded after the similitude of God. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 18

God has not changed. He will not connive at selfishness to carry out His plans. He did not prompt Jacob and Rebecca to deceive Isaac. He was fully able to provide for Jacob after His own methods. Neither will he work with any devising or planning after this example. The spirit of rivalry had better never have seen the light of day. The people who claim to be the commandment keeping people of God need to cleanse from mind and heart their conniving at evil and their underhand dealing in order to obtain the advantage of their brethren, for this unholy work will hurt and finally ruin every soul who engages in it. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 19

Men may think they gain the advantage by such dealing, but their gain is like the gain which Adam and Eve obtained when they obeyed the voice of Satan. The tempter promised our first parents that they would be wise, as gods, knowing good and evil. The advantage they gained was a knowledge of evil. They lost their purity, and gave over the human race to the dominion of the enemy so it is with every soul today who stoops to dishonesty and intrigue and bribery. Let every soul cleanse from his heart the first thread of pretense and fraud. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 20

The Lord calls for stewards who have high-souled integrity, heavenly principles. The men connected with God’s great firm are on test and trial. Not one thread of selfishness of bribery must be brought into the work; for this evil will enter the soul and corrupt every pure principle. God’s workers in every institution are to keep the eye single to the glory of God, working together in faith and love for the perfection of His work. “I will put my laws in their minds,” God says, “and write them in their hearts.” [Hebrews 10:16.] “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” [Psalm 32:1, 2.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 21

The psalmist declares, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold: yea, than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honey comb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over him. Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” [Psalm 19:7-14.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 22

It would be well if these words could be written out and placed where they would attract general attention. They would be a continual lesson to those who would look upon them. God is by the side of every soul who heeds these admonitory words. When the chastisement of the Lord comes, it is for our purification, not for our destruction. Those who will closely investigate their own principles, who will hold before them God’s mirror with a desire to learn of any lack that there might be in themselves, will be brought into conformity to the law of God. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 23

We need to be instant in prayer. Ministers are in danger of losing their integrity, little by little, until they become as disloyal to God as were the scribes and Pharisees. Men are working to keep correct principles away from their life and practice, and they will succeed in doing this. The managers of institutions who work away from right principles in jots and tittles are disloyal to the laws of heaven, and are becoming just what Christ declared the Jewish nation to be. Let those who claim to have the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus show their faith by their works. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 24

The Son of God gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, that He might purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. “Know ye not,” the apostle asks, “that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] These statements are having far less influence on minds and characters than they should have. It is our strength and security to obey this instruction. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 25

Again the apostle says, “If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy that ye be like-minded, having the same joy, being of one accord, of one mind.” How much does this appeal impress the mind and affect the actions? “Let nothing be done through strife and vain glory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” [Philippians 2:1-3.] This is the remedy for all dissension. The best missionary work we can do is to follow the instruction here given. By so doing we shall testify to the fact that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” [Psalm 19:7, 8.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 26

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” the apostle continues. [Philippians 2:5.] Shall self wrestle for and gain the supremacy to the close of natural lives? Is it not time that the law of the Lord was written in our hearts and revealed in our lives? We are to cultivate hope, love, brotherly kindness. Everything that the husbandmen can do they must do to bring their lives into harmony with the mind of Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 27

After He arose and ascended on high, Christ fulfilled the promise He had made to send the Holy Spirit to His followers. He takes all the riches of heaven and bestows them upon those who turn to the Lord; and that which He has undertaken He will perform. Then shall we not keep out of the life and character everything that would hinder the Holy Spirit’s working? Every would must take himself in hand to educate himself. The term of our education extends throughout our entire lives. Here we can only take the lower grades. Here our characters must be formed so that we can advance to the higher grades in the higher school above. There, with Christ as our Teacher, we shall continually advance in knowledge. 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 28

The richest promises of the Word of God are ours if we will accept the condition of obedience. Through the prophet Isaiah God declares, “As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not hither again, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish the thing which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I send it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” [Isaiah 55:10-13.] 14LtMs, Ms 139, 1899, par. 29