Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 63, 1900

Thoughts on First Peter

Crystal Springs, St. Helena, California

October 2, 1900

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MCP 786; 2MR 28; 10MR 100. +Note

The Lord is soon to come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. We are to keep before us the shortness of time. We are never to say, even in our hearts, “My Lord delayeth his coming.” [Matthew 24:48.] We are to cultivate our talents by using them to the glory of God. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 1

Satan is making masterly efforts to divide the flock of God. He sees that there are those of different opinions, and that each is pulling in a different direction. He sees that men desire to have their own way and will in the place of taking the Word of God, and in humble, earnest prayer searching out the cause of their differences of opinion, that they may be brought into harmony. He sees their determination at any cost to maintain the course of action which, if continued in, will at last separate them from the body of believers. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 2

The second chapter of First Peter is a chapter for our education. Those who are carrying forward the work of God in these last days are to work from the high and holy principles specified in the Word of the Lord, “Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow (spiritually) thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” [Verses 1-4.] 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 3

Bear in mind that things of eternal interest are not discerned by all men, but are by much the larger class “disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” [Verse 4.] These words should bring joy and comfort to everyone who loves God sincerely. “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” [1 Peter 1:22.] This is not a sentimental love, for that quality of love is not to be depended on; it is the chaff, not the wheat. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 4

The Word of God is the effective channel through which the Lord manifests His Spirit and power, and which produces fruit of the required quality—“Unfeigned love of the brethren.” This is a heaven-born principle, a high and unselfish action. Bible truth believed will be taken into the practical life. It will be eaten spiritually, satisfying the necessities of every soul hunger. Many hear the truth and assent to it, but they do not obey it. They refuse to submit to the working of its divine power, because it does not harmonize with their own natural temperament of character. For this reason they are not purified by the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 5

All have not that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all earthly dross. The purification through the Spirit must take place in their own minds and hearts. Unless this divine principle is brought into the life and practice, there can be no such fruit borne as unfeigned, fervent love for one another. There are in the human heart hereditary and cultivated partialities so that this love will not be practiced unless the divine grace shall purify the natural tendencies of the human heart. Lust for forbidden things will obtain the mastery, and self will be glorified. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 6

Only through spiritual enlightenment can the human agent make men and women see that they must put forth earnest endeavor and not give up to the natural tendencies of sentiment, but by faith and earnest prayer place themselves in a position to be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Without divine grace the human agent cannot love God supremely or his neighbor as himself. That character which is born of God is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” [James 3:17.] 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 7

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by (obedience to) the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” [1 Peter 1:23.] Every human agent that shall be an overcomer must experience the decided change that is represented as “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible.” This new birth means a work done through receiving Jesus Christ, the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. When supernatural truths are taken by the divine Spirit and impressed upon the human heart, shining in bright rays of new light and new conception into the chambers of the mind, man’s senses are awakened to co-operate with God in the divine work. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 8

It was the Holy Spirit that brought from the lessons of Christ all things to their remembrance, repeating them with a vividness that was more powerful than when they heard these precious truths with their natural senses. The words of the great Teacher were impressed upon the dormant energies of mind and soul. This new sense of the truths which Christ uttered was received into their minds and senses as a new revelation, and truth, pure, unadulterated truth, made a place for itself. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 9

When, after the resurrection and ascension of Christ, the words spoken to them from lips human and divine, were fulfilled, the apostles related the scenes of His [Christ’s] life experience, and the wonderful truths of His life became their experience, and awoke their slumbering senses. The Word, bearing testimony by the disciples, the men of His appointment, awoke them as from a trance, and they proclaimed after the words were spoken, repeating the same words, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. ... And of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:14, 16.] 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 10

The conformity to the Word of God of heart, mind, and strength, is the regeneration which the gospel presents. It is the Word of God, which is spiritual life to the soul. It must be eaten, digested, appropriated, in order to work the daily reformation essential for the new life. “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and Spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” [Hebrews 4:12.] The grace of Christ working in the heart produces results. It is a means of spiritual life animating and energizing the mind and soul to create fruit unto holiness, which is the working out of the principle of eternal life. Thus the world sees and is often made to comprehend what is genuine truth. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 11

“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever, and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” [1 Peter 1:24, 25.] The only way that man in his humanity can answer the requirements of God is to accept heartily the Word of God, for it is life eternal to the receiver. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 12

This having been deeply impressed upon the soul the lesson that “being born again” is working out in the life character the perfect obedience to the Word, is the truth which is unto everlasting life, and if obeyed from the heart, will ever remain saving truth. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” put off that which is evil, through the purifying efficiency of the Word. [1 Peter 2:1.] Cast away the old habits and practices, which are contrary to the Word, all malice, which comprehends all evil speaking and evil acting, and become men and women, and youth wise unto salvation. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 13

A person is known by the company he keeps. The heart sanctified unto God expresses the very thoughts which it harbors. The thoughts cast out through the door of the mouth in pure, sympathetic words bring from the treasure house things new and old, while the loving service of the hands corresponds and determines the genuine character of the treasure brought forth. Pure, elevated, and sanctifying thoughts will be brought from the treasure house of one who is thinking of Jesus, whose mind is dwelling upon Jesus, because he is all light in the Lord. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 14

We do not make enough of our blood-bought advantages. Every child of God can be breathing a higher, holier atmosphere, exerting an increased influence for truth and righteousness. There is altogether too little cultivation of the intellect. In all our ways we must consider our course of action. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 15

Said the apostle in words which show that the faith and grace of the Corinthians was a sufficient commendation of his ministry, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to Godward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God.” [2 Corinthians 3:2-5.] The righteousness of Christ is perfect obedience to the law of God. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 16

Intellect ennobled, purified, heaven-directed, is the universal power to build up the kingdom of God. Intellect perverted, has exactly the opposite influence; it is a corrupting of the human power given in trust to be multiplied in earnest labor for good. It deceives and destroys. God has given sufficient endowments to make men capable and wise to carry forward, and strongly and graciously to represent, the Lord’s wonderful works to all those who love Him and obey His commandments. He would have man obey the commandments of God, because it is for the health and life of all human beings. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 17

Talents in trust are a sacred responsibility. No man needs to covet talents unless through earnest prayer for that wisdom from above, which will ensure the right appropriation of all his God-given capabilities, he decides to honor and glorify God with the talents which are granted. To receive and to believe the sacred light God has given, and to impart to those who are in the darkness of error, is a wonderful matter; for if it is unselfishly and interestedly imparted to help and bless and save perishing souls, it realizes to the faithful worker heavenly treasures which make him more than a millionaire in heaven. He is heir of God, joint-heir with Jesus Christ to a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 18

To learn the truth, and unselfishly impart the truth to all who can possibly be reached, is the most reasonable, wholesome, helpful work that can be accomplished. Those who acquire all the truth possible with the object in view to impart that truth to others, to let the light shine forth to others in good works, will see many souls in the kingdom of God as fruit of their unselfish, loving, interested labor. “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” [2 Corinthians 4:5-7.] 15LtMs, Ms 63, 1900, par. 19