Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 129, 1899

The Wicked Husbandmen


September 6, 1899 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

“Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir, come, let us kill him: and the inheritance will be ours. And they caught him and cast him out of the vineyard and slew him.” [Matthew 21:33-39.] 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 1

Before the world was created Christ promised that if man, whom God should create, should fall from his high estate, He Himself would come to earth and bear the penalty of transgression. 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 2

Adam and Eve listened to the sophistry of Satan, and God was forced to expel them from the garden of Eden which He had given them to cultivate. Angels were placed toward the tree of life, that they might not partake of its fruit and thus immortalize transgression. God’s curse was pronounced on the earth. 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 3

Satan had no control of any part of the Lord’s vineyard until Adam transgressed. But when man fell, he began the work of sowing the seeds of evil in the earth. We come down to the time when the inhabitants of the world so far departed from God that the whole earth was corrupt before him. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, ... for it repenteth me that I have made them.” [Genesis 6:5-7.] 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 4

The living oracles of God had been committed to the Jewish nation, that they might give to the world the knowledge of God. They were to give evidence to the world of the superiority of that nation which worshipped the only true God and regarded His righteous law as supreme. 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 5

The church of God was ever His peculiar treasure. Its formation and foundation was of God. He had called them out from Egyptian servitude, from slavery the most rigorous, cruel, and unjust, to become His servants, free to serve Him, free to honor His Sabbath and obey Him without restriction. 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 6

In this parable Christ holds up to the Jews their own history. He presents their future as the result of their course of action. For thousands of years they had been forging the fetters which were binding them in a bondage which no human power could break. Read the sixteenth chapter of Second Kings. The Lord declared to this people, “The Lord, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye sacrifice. 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 7

“And the statutes of the ordinances and the laws, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods. And the covenant that I have made with you, ye shall not forget: neither shall ye fear [other] gods. But the Lord your God, ye shall fear: and he shall deliver you out of the hand of your enemies. Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner. So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” [2 Kings 17:36-41.] 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 8

Christ came to the world to save the people over whom Satan was exercising his power. He came to work out the purposes which had been planned in the counsels of heaven. God’s vineyard had been worked by the unrighteous scribes and Pharisees, but Christ came to set things in their right light. In the 59th, 60th, 61st, and 62nd chapters of Isaiah His work is defined. “For Zion’s sake,” He said, “will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” [Isaiah 62:1.] 14LtMs, Ms 129, 1899, par. 9