Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 62, 1899

Judge Not


April 18, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in 8MR 309.

As ministers of the gospel of Christ we need to study the example of our Master. How pitiful and courteous Jesus was. How tenderly He entered into the feelings of others. Touched with the feeling of their infirmities, He wept with those who wept, and with those who rejoiced He could rejoice. Such a character will not be without an influence on the characters of His followers. Those who educate their minds to dwell on the perfection of Christ will represent Him to the world. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 1

My brethren, rule by love and kindness, rather than by severity and censure. When the erring one becomes conscious of his wrong, he is humiliated enough. Do not deal with him in a manner that will take away all his respect. Do not seek to tear to pieces, but rather to bind up and heal. You may see the errors of a brother, and he not be able to discern the wrong; and it may be difficult to know how to act in such a case. But never pursue a course of action that will leave the impression on his mind that you consider yourself his superior. You may think that your feelings, your pursuits, your organization, are superior to his; but do not seek to make this apparent, for this is altogether out of harmony with true refinement, true nobility of character. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 2

We are not to arouse or create prejudice; we are not to bruise the souls of the erring. Go to them armed with humility and prayer. When the gospel minister, with his heart subdued by the love and grace of Christ, comes in touch with human minds, he can reveal his superior qualifications, not by destroying hope and courage, but by inspiring faith in the faithless, lifting up the hands which hang down, and confirming the feeble knees. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 3

The action will always testify to the texture of the character. Advice and counsel coming from the lips of one who has a keen sense of right will always be superior. And if he is endowed with no ordinary gifts, he will unconsciously testify the same by his actions. He will work as Christ worked, seeking to uplift from the depths of woe and wretchedness the unhappy beings who will surely perish unless a loving, sympathizing hand is extended to them. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 4

We are all sinners, and should seek for true elevation of character through Jesus Christ. We are not to place ourselves on an eminence, and then expect the sinner to climb to us. God calls upon us to do as the world’s Redeemer has done. He was Commander in the heavenly courts, but He stripped Himself of all His glory, and clothed His divinity with humanity. He was rich, but for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He came to this world all seared and marred by the curse, that He might come close to man in His woe and affliction. With His long human arm He encircled the race, while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the infinite, bringing to fallen man divine power to co-operate with his human effort. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 5

As we seek to copy our Master we shall stand on a high level, imbued with a keen sympathy, an abundant love, a tender compassion. We may stand where the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness can shine upon us, and this will fill us with the sympathy, the tenderness, and the pity of Christ for the helpless. It will give us divine power to combine with our human capabilities. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 6

The gospel minister, unless he brings himself in touch not merely with the members of his church but with unbelievers as well, is not following the example of Christ. Of Christ it is said, “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” [Isaiah 63:9.] He was tempted in all points as we are <tempted>. Let the anxious desire be awakened in every heart to seek and to save that which is lost. Let no words of superiority be spoken. Make no special reference to your own qualifications; for by this very act you testify that you do not have the endowments which you flatter yourself you possess. You are not in the light. If your eyes were fixed upon Jesus, if you were contemplating his unsurpassed purity and excellence, you would see your own weakness and poverty and defects as they are. You would not regard yourself as holy. You would see yourself lost and hopeless, clad in garments of self-righteousness, like every other sinner. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 7

If we are saved, it will not be because of our superior intellect, our refinement of ideas, but through the grace of God. We have no garment of our own that will give us a position of honor at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Christ’s robe alone, the garment woven in the loom of heaven, will give to the guests a worthiness to sit down at the marriage feast. Each must accept this robe, and it is offered to the lowliest who will believe in Him as his personal Saviour. The imputed righteousness of Christ alone can make the sons and daughters of Adam members of the family in heaven. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 8

This world is polluted under the inhabitants thereof. Satan has left his awful mark upon men and women. But God has not placed upon any the burden of the sins of the world. If we allow ourselves to dwell upon the disagreeable side of life, the wretchedness we cannot cure, and fret about these things, we shall become like that which we contemplate. We can only have serious thoughts and anguish of spirit as we see the prevalence of iniquity in the world. But the fact that imperfection reigns everywhere should not make us extravagant in our feelings, and lead us to give expression to disgust. We are children of the King, pilgrims and strangers here, who seek a better country, even a heavenly. Love must reign in our hearts. As we see the exciting pleasures of the world, we must guard against a sour, hard, censorious spirit. Let us look away from the sin and evil to Jesus, the embodiment of purity. His love reigns supreme toward His enemies, and all who follow Him will keep themselves in subjection to the laws of His kingdom. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 9

Those who feel it their prerogative to criticize their fellow men are doing the work of the enemy. The Lord has set none to correct the supposed errors of their fellow men; for by beholding the imperfections of others, they <themselves> become harsh and self-centered. They compare themselves with others, and measure themselves among themselves. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 10

There are jealous and sensitive ones who have fostered their pride until, like an inflamed wound, it cannot bear the slightest touch. They fancy they have been slighted, when no slight exists, until they create a state of feeling in themselves which produces the very state of things they imagined in others. But no man is to consider himself appointed by God to dwell upon these objectionable features. Christ has given no man the grace to do this work, and if he attempts it, he will make grave mistakes. He will surmise evil, and will work upon his surmises as though they were truth. Neither ministers nor people must educate themselves to think evil of their brethren. To watch for any slight or any misconception of their own importance, for Satan is ready to conjure up many things that will be unjustly entertained. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 11

Christ has given instruction in these lines. “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” He says: “for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye, and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5.] Let us heed these words. We may dwell upon the love of God with all safety. The greatness of that love is beyond comprehension. Open the door of the heart, and let it in, for it will expand the soul, and give it something upon which to feed. It will create a new capacity; he who loves God will love his brother also. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 12

“Yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you.” [John 12:35.] Thus Jesus reasoned with the Jews, and should not His words have force with us? In proportion to the shortness of time are their value to those who have not accepted Christ. The wonderful facilities, the precious revealings of the love and grace of Christ, constantly abounding to believers and unbelievers, if not appreciated and improved, will lose their <sacred> value. It is possible for every man to become a Christian. But if he will not accept the light, the darkness of unbelief will prevail in his soul. He will lose his faith; he will move away from God. While he sets aside the counsel, the warnings, the reproofs, the mercy of God, while he fails to co-operate with divine agencies, his light steadily diminishes. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 13

In the infinite goodness and mercy and self-sacrificing love revealed by the Father in that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, we are to learn the lesson of sacrifice. We are to study how to give our sympathy and love to others. As we have received this priceless gift from God, we are to impart it. Let none imperil their souls by thinking and speaking evil, for this class can have no real happiness in this life, and cannot be trusted to enter the portals of bliss. They will criticize the angels and the blood-washed throng. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 14

As a people we must have more love. Our hearts must grow soft by contemplating Christ. O that we might see our need of sympathy and wisdom and grace. When we are Christlike we shall acknowledge no walls of partition. Christ died for all, and everyone who will believe may be cleansed from every taint of sin. It is the privilege of all to improve their opportunities and reach perfection of Christian character. They may open the heart and understanding to Jesus. They may have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The true Christian educates himself to look out of and away from self to Christ, and as he beholds His matchless mercy and inexpressible love, every barrier between him and his brethren is broken down. The harshness of his nature is melted away. He is refined and purified by the furnace fires, and can present an offering to God in righteousness. The law of kindness is upon his lips as the expression of the soul. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith, he is changed into the same image. 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 15

“The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you, to the end he may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” [1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13.] 14LtMs, Ms 62, 1899, par. 16