Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 40, 1899

“I Will Have Mercy and Not Sacrifice.”


March 26, 1899

Portions of this manuscript are published in WM 24; 9MR 160; 10MR 95-96.

“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 3:17.] 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 1

Christ, our substitute and surety, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. His human life was one long travail in behalf of the inheritance He was to purchase at such an infinite cost. He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities. In consideration of the value He places upon the purchase of His blood, He adopts them as his children, makes them the objects of His tender care. And in order that they may have their temporal and spiritual necessities supplied, He commits them to His church, saying, Inasmuch as ye do it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye do it unto me. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 2

This is to be our watchword. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” [Matthew 25:40.] And if we faithfully carry it into our daily lives, we shall hear the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Verse 23.] Will it pay to endure, as a Christian, the tests and trials of God? 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 3

We need to make great changes. We need to hold the pure principles in reverence for Christ and respect for the purchase of His blood. This we may do through practical obedience to heaven’s law. There must be a continual growth in those attributes which tend to perfection of character. When divine grace has opened our hearts, we shall impart to others of the grace we have received. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:7.] 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 4

Listen to the testimony of Inspiration concerning Christ: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment unto the Gentiles. ... A bruised reed shall ye not break, and the smoking flax shall ye not quench: he shall bring forth judgment and truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” [Isaiah 42:1, 3, 4.] 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 5

This is the testimony to be borne of every servant of Christ. His professed followers would do well to ask themselves, Have I the mind of Christ? Have I, with humble heart, sought to bless the souls who are cramped and oppressed, those who are tempted and tried by poverty and affliction? Or have I heard the voice of my fellow men asking for pity, for consideration, for mercy, and instead of following in the footsteps of my Example, spurned their earnest cry? Have I made it harder for them to place their confidence and faith in a prayer-hearing God? Have I, by harsh, unpitying words, crushed the wounded spirit, and in hardness of heart quenched the last spark of hope in the soul? 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 6

The richest treasure in the sight of God is a humble, contrite heart. The power of the Lord is magnified when the human heart is tender, sensitive to another’s woe, and pitiful for his suffering. Angels of God are ready to work with the human instrumentality in ministering to help souls. When the Holy Spirit works upon our minds and hearts, we shall not shun duty and responsibility, and like the priest and Levite, pass by on the other side, leaving the wounded, helpless soul to its misery. Let there be no departure from the example given us in the Word of life. Charity and godliness are worthy of constant exercise. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 7

No man is to be trusted with high responsibilities unless he takes himself in hand daily and, through grace given, sets his heart in order. Often the ones who do the greatest harm are those who accept positions of trust, but who have not inquired at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” The one who allows his heart to become hardened by Satan’s temptations, who permits his natural disposition to gain the victory, fails to receive the impress of heaven. He becomes sapless and impoverished, and bears only wild fruit. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 8

The professed children of God who have refused the guidance of their Father in heaven, who have disregarded God’s message and messengers, will mourn too late the blessings they have lost. With anguish of soul they will call to mind the opportunities and privileges which were within their reach, but which they failed to improve. They will then realize that these blessings are lost to them forever. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 9

Will the professed follower of Christ consider what manner of spirit he is of? As you read the history of the Old and New Testaments, mark how tender and pitiful the Lord is in His dealings with His creatures. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and He stands ready to receive every wanderer who will return. And yet how many there are, themselves needing salvation as much as he, look upon the struggling soul not only with indifference, but contempt. Like the Pharisee they say, “God, I thank thee I am not as other men, or even as this sinner.” [See Luke 18:11.] 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 10

My soul trembles as I see the blindness of intelligent minds to discern their possibilities, as I see how hard and ungracious are the thoughts cherished toward the straying sheep. O, if those in positions of influence would realize what God expects of them, in rescuing the human race, many lambs that have been killed by neglect might now be safely housed in the fold of God. If one-half the time and strength that is now devoted to sermonizing were spent in seeking to win back the straying ones, there would be rejoicing in the heavenly courts. These sermons lived would have a telling influence in winning souls to Christ. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 11

How can God look upon the men and women who, claiming to be co-workers with Christ, regard the prodigal with contempt? While the soul is making its very first struggles against the flood of temptation, they, like the elder brother of the parable, stand by—stubborn self-willed, complaining. But the heavenly Father appreciates His erring child, and encourages him in returning to his heavenly home. The Father’s arm is about his son; the Father’s garments cover his rags; the ring is placed upon his finger as a token of his royalty. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 12

The ear of the Lord is open to the cry of every soul that is poor in spirit. Even before the prayer is offered, or the yearning of the soul made known, the Spirit of God goes forth to meet it. Never has there been a genuine desire, however weak, never a prayer lifted to God, however faltering, never a tear shed in contrition of soul, but grace from Christ has gone forth to meet the grace working upon the human heart. 14LtMs, Ms 40, 1899, par. 13