Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 108, 1899

“He That Loveth Not His Brother Abideth in Death.”


August 2, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 962-963; 11MR 274. +Note

I am instructed to bear a message to all who are in positions of holy trust. The Lord would have them do honor to Him by cherishing tenderness, by showing confidence in their brethren. One man is not to seek to grasp all for himself, withholding from those who are doing missionary work in hard fields their just and righteous dues. Men’s hearts become like flint when they take means from the treasury for themselves, refusing to relieve the necessities of those who are doing a severe and trying work. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 1

In the ministration of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord uses diverse gifts. He has not given any man authority to hold in low esteem the various instrumentalities and gifts of the gospel. He has not given any man the privilege of looking upon the Lord’s work through His appointed agencies as inferior, while he is carrying the work in his own way because he thinks it superior. This is dangerous for himself and all who are connected with him. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 2

“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 lay in wait to deceive.” [Ephesians 4:11-14.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 3

All these gifts are to be blended in the work of building upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ Himself is the chief corner stone, “in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple in the Lord.” [Ephesians 2:20, 21.] “Fitly framed together.” Study these words, and seek to understand all that they comprehend. “Fitly framed together,” each acting his respective part unitedly. Thus we grow “into an holy temple in the Lord.” Have a care how you build. Take heed to the admonitions of the Lord. We are to work unitedly to one end, “till we all come into 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 4:13.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 4

“For by grace are ye saved, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.” Whence comes our power to work? “We are his workmanship, created in Jesus Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ... God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, ... and hath made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:8-10, 4-6.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 5

I am instructed to bear a message to the managers of every institution that has been established. You must change in heart and character. You must show that you have yoked up with Christ, to learn of Him His meekness and lowliness, that you have opened your heart to the Saviour’s love, so that it may flow forth in pure, rich currents of tenderness, courtesy, and kindly deeds. If the heart is not speedily unlocked, that Christ the light and life of men, may take possession, if there is not a reformation in the soul, a determination to obey the injunctions Christ gave His disciples, you will lose all the attributes He came to give. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 6

Addressing His disciples as “little children,” Christ said to them, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” By this manifestation of love “shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” [John 13:33-35.] There is need of far more childlike simplicity. This love God now demands His disciples to show for each other. He is greatly dishonored because His professed followers are drawing in their own lines, and closing their hearts to the softening, subduing influence of Christ’s Spirit. Instead of exerting the pure, holy, uplifting influence that dwelt in Christ, many are manifesting Satan’s attributes. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 7

My brethren, how long will you be satisfied to remain unconverted, unsanctified, unholy? How long are you going to remain as you are? You may have some excellent qualifications, but if you padlock the door of the heart against Christlike love for your brethren, you do not possess the attributes which will give you an entrance into the kingdom of God. This statement applies to every church. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 8

To the church at Ephesus John wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the words of Christ, “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:2-5.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 9

Shall we not all ascertain for ourselves whether we are destitute of love for each other? Why will brethren cherish selfishness and covetousness? Why will they allow the root of bitterness to spring up in their hearts? Would it not be well to take heed to the words of the True Witness, and find out what it is that makes the hearts of brethren as hard as steel toward each other? The Lord is measuring the temple and the worshipers thereof. Will you not heed His warning? He declares, “I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” [Revelation 3:1-3.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 10

Read the whole of the third chapter of Revelation, and seek to understand the work to be done. The Holy Spirit has come with convicting power to you in Battle Creek; but though there has been some stir, the work of true conversion has not been perfected. Self has not been crucified, and until it is, hardness of heart, want of love for your brethren, will be seen. You will sustain your own opinions, you will not bend from your self-exaltation to consider the necessities that should be relieved. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 11

Those whom Christ warns have some excellent qualifications, but they are neutralized by <all who have> a diseased self-love, self-deception, self-justification for gross neglect to help brethren in the service of God by encouraging words and deeds. There is a dead fly in the ointment. They are being weighed by One who never makes a mistake. He tells the result of actions which demonstrate that the love of Christ is not an abiding principle in the soul. God calls upon you all to learn from Christ His meekness. Put away your faculty for seeing the mistakes of others. Turn your attention to your own defects. Your self-righteousness is nauseating to the Lord Jesus Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 12

He declares, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spew 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, and that the same of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” [Verses 15-18.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 13

These words apply to the churches and to many of those in positions of trust in the work of God. Your position does not make your character. To all who are in responsible positions Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] This command is an application of the great lesson of love Christ gave the lawyer who came to Him with the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25.] This lawyer had heard the words which just previous to this Christ had spoken to His disciples. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 14

The Saviour had been giving those who kept on His track to criticize, cavil, or condemn, unmistakable evidence that He was the Sent of God. He had healed the sick and worked many other miracles; but still the people did not believe on Him, and He denounced them for their resistance of light and knowledge. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 15

Christ had appointed seventy disciples, and sent them “into every city and place whither he himself would come.” [Verse 1.] These returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 16

“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. And he turned him to his disciples and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things which ye see; for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” [Verses 17-24.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 17

The lawyer had been deeply convicted, but he made an attempt to carry out the purposes of Christ’s enemies by asking the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Christ answered, “What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” [Verses 25-28.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 18

Willing to justify himself, the lawyer asked, “And who is my neighbor?” [Verse 29.] In answer Christ told him of the man who had been robbed by thieves, and then left by the roadside, wounded and half dead. “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” [Verses 30-32.] Those who should have helped him did not. They looked upon their suffering fellow-creature, and then passed by on the other side. Thus it is today. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 19

How many of those whose hearts should be tender and compassionate refuse to admit Christ into their hearts. Therefore they fail to speak kindly and tenderly to those who may be in trouble. Their brother may be very much in need of encouragement, but they have none to give. They have lost the dear Saviour, if they ever had Him. They are strangers to his tenderness and love. A stern, cold, forbidding steel-like spirit controls them, and works of mercy and love are barred out. All such should remember that they do not belong to Christ’s family. He does not acknowledge them. Selfishness and not love is the controlling element in their lives. They do not represent the Saviour. The image of God is not stamped upon the soul. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 20

The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within, when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is expressed in the countenance. There is no such thing as a loveless Christian. It is not possible for the heart in which Christ abides to be destitute of love. The heart that is cold and stern is not catching the bright, softening beams of the Sun of Righteousness. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 21

Hear the testimony of the apostle John: “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, That God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” [1 John 1:4-7; 2:10.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 22

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, That we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. ... We know that we have passed from death unto [life], because we love the brethren. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 23

“He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” [1 John 3:10-12, 4-17.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 24

Take this question to your own hearts, and answer it as if before the Judge of all the earth. A reformation must take place in every church, in every institution. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” [Verses 18-23.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 25

These sacred lessons, if received into the heart, will work the reformation essential. Many will lose heaven unless they change their selfish, unlovable, unsympathetic ways, and learn that the Spirit of Christ is not selfish and forbidding, uncourteous and loveless. Unless those who stand in responsible positions in our institutions make decided changes in heart and character, they will be condemned as lukewarm, knowing not that they are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” [Revelation 3:17.] Unless we practice Christ’s ways and receive His Spirit, we are none of His. He desires us to reveal His love in our words and actions. All that we do should flow from a deep, abiding principle of love that is after the similitude of Christ, who is love and light and peace. But how little, how very little, of Christ’s character is revealed. The spirit of self-denial is becoming a rare thing. 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 26

But there is love in our churches. There are those who love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. Their prayers and their alms come up before God as a memorial. The Lord does not lose sight of them. He is watching those who are walking in the light as fast as they receive the light. They are the objects of His special care. The law of Christ’s kingdom is in every respect to be carried out in this world. The inspired apostle declares, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God.” [Ephesians 2:19.] “For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his most glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” [Philippians 3:20, 21.] 14LtMs, Ms 108, 1899, par. 27