Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 78, 1899

“He Casteth Out Devils.”


May 15, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5BC 1092-1093. +Note

“And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out of him, the dumb spake, and the people wondered, but some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils.” [Luke 11:14, 15.] This charge against Christ was blasphemy. Had the Jews not been convicted, their sin would not have been so great. But they had seen the great power of God. They had felt the converting power of the Holy Spirit, and had braced themselves to resistance. They had been given sufficient evidence to convince them that Jesus was the Son of God, but hey charged Him with working through satanic agencies. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 1

Jesus, “knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against itself falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the [kingdom] of God is come upon you.” [Verses 17-20.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 2

By a parable Christ made known to His hearers the subtlety and deceptive working of Satan, who holds the bodies and minds of men by his power. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are at peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoil.” [Verses 21, 22.] How true is this parable, showing what man is under the guardianship of Satan. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 3

Those who know not God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent are under the rule of the enemy, in bondage to his will. He rules the mind and the affections by his satanic spirit. But Satan was made to understand the meaning of the words spoken in Eden, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Genesis 3:15.] The seed of the woman that he would have crushed out of existence, God said should bruise his head. Christ came into the world to dispute the claims of Satan. A stronger than the strong man armed was on the field of battle. He alone could dispossess him of his weapons and limit his power. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 4

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,” Christ continued, “he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he said, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” [Luke 11:24-26.] Christ shows that there can be no such thing as neutrality in His service. The soul must not be satisfied with anything short of entire consecration—consecration of thought, voice, spirit, and every organ of mind and body. It is not enough that the vessel be emptied; it must be filled with the grace of Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 5

Every person enlightened by the truth must represent Christ. He is to be formed within, the hope of glory. Man cannot accept the righteousness of Christ to be a living, abiding principle in the soul unless it transforms the entire character. He must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, which is eternal life to all who receive it. Those who are convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and are converted to God, must understand that they are to use all their powers in co-operating with their Redeemer. They are to wear His yoke. The man in whose heart Christ is abiding by faith must understand that he is privileged in being in such blessed companionship. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 6

Those who wear Christ’s yoke of restraint and obedience to the commandments of God will gather with Christ. They will work in Christ’s lines. Like the Samaritan woman, as soon as they are convinced that they have found the Messiah, they will work for Him and magnify His name. They will be branches of the living Vine. “Abide in me, and I in you,” Christ said. “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [John 15:4-6.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 7

“He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” [Luke 11:23.] He who is with Christ, maintaining His unity, enthroning Him in the heart, and obeying His orders, is safe from the snares of the wicked one. He who unites himself with Christ will gather to himself the graces of Christ, and will give strength and efficiency and power to the Lord by winning souls to Christ. When Christ takes possession of the citadel of the soul, the human agent becomes one with Him. By co-operation with the Saviour, He becomes the instrument through which God works. Then when Satan comes and strives to take possession of the soul, he finds that Christ has made him stronger than the strong man armed. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 8

The garnished house represents the self-righteous soul. Satan is driven out by Christ. But he returned, in the hope of finding entrance. He finds the house empty, swept, and garnished. Only self-righteousness is abiding there. “Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” [Verse 26.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 9

Self-righteousness is a curse, a human embellishment, which Satan uses for his glory. Those who garnish the soul with self-praise and flattery prepare the way for the seven other spirits more wicked than the first. In their very reception of the truth these souls deceive themselves. They are building upon a foundation of self-righteousness. The prayers of congregations may be offered to God with a round of ceremonies, but if they are offered in self-righteousness,God is not honored by them. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 10

The Lord declares, “I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.” [Isaiah 57:12.] In spite of all their display, their garnished habitation, Satan comes in with a troop of evil angels and takes his place in the soul, to help in the deception. The apostle writes, “If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end with them is worse than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they had known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” [2 Peter 2:20, 21.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 11

Those who have not sanctified themselves to the Lord are of the class who profess righteousness but do not maintain good works. These are brought to view in the first chapter of Second Peter. There are many like the scribes and Pharisees who, lacking these things, are “blind, and cannot see afar off,” who have forgotten that they were purged from their old sins. [Verse 9.] Because they do not gather with Christ they lose their impressions for good. As unfaithful stewards they do not guard their own house. If those who have been under the special conviction of the Spirit of God, who have known the truth, and understand the reasons of our faith, would be blessed by the means provided at infinite cost, they will not cease their fervent prayers until the Sun of Righteousness abides in their hearts by faith. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 12

The apostle Peter encourages all who are abiding in Christ and seeking a knowledge of His ways. Those “that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God,” he calls to an increased growth in the knowledge of God. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,” he says, “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 13

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ... Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 1-8, 10, 11.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 14

If the professed followers of Christ possessed living faith in a personal Saviour, if they would look to Him as their entire dependence, the One in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered, they would be pure, holy, and undefiled. They would walk with God. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.” [Hebrews 4:15, 16.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 15

Two classes are set before us in the Word of God, those who “follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of,” and those who with Paul can say, “We are not as many, which corrupt the word of God, but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” [2 Peter 2:2; 2 Corinthians 2:17.] We are to decide between the false and the true. 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 16

May the Lord help His people to have clear discernment, to live and speak and act as children of the light, trying in everything to please Him who gave His life that we might become His representatives in the world. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” [1 Corinthians 4:9.] “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified, whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness unto us.” [Hebrews 10:14, 15.] Are these people wearing the yoke of bondage? They know no other yoke than that of Christ, who in His human life declared, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” [John 15:10.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 17

He says of His people, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” “Having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” [Hebrews 10:17, 21-25.] 14LtMs, Ms 78, 1899, par. 18