Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 14, 1900

Offer Unto God Thanksgiving

NP

February 2, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in 9MR 265.

“I will praise thee, O God, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee. I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.” [Psalm 9:1, 2.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 1

The Lord is to be the object of our worship, of our praise and thanksgiving. To call on His holy name reveals respect for His efficiency. We should ever remember that the fruit of true, willing obedience is revealed in praise and thanksgiving. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” [Psalm 50:23.] The line of demarcation between those who utter the holy name of God in blasphemy and those who praise Him with heart and with voice, is clear and distinct. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 2

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] Faith relies upon God as being able and willing to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. And as we speak forth God’s power, we show that we appreciate the love that is so constantly shown us, that we are grateful for the mercies and favors bestowed on us, and that the whole soul is awakened to a realization of the God’s glory. The absence of praise and thanksgiving pleases the enemy of God. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 3

He who is truly changed in heart and character will glorify God as he beholds the wonderful things of His creation, the brightness of the sun, moon, and stars, the changing glory of the heavens. To him all nature will declare God’s mighty power. He will be led to give glory to His holy name. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 4

Our tongues should be used to express the appreciation in our hearts for God’s goodness. Thus God requires us to return to Him gratitude-offerings. But this is not the only way in which we are to praise God. We are to praise Him by tangible service, by doing all we can to advance the glory of His name. By improving our entrusted talents, we are to offer God thanksgiving. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 5

God has given human beings all that ministers to their happiness, and in return He asks them to lay their gifts and offerings on His altar. Shall we disregard these requirements? Shall we fail of offering God praise and thanksgiving in word and deed? 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 6

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. ... I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel. I will help thee, saith the Lord God, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. ... When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 7

“I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” [Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14, 17-20.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 8

The Lord invites men to fully investigate His claims, that they may understand His will. His Word is to be searched. It challenges full investigation. It is error that loves darkness and refuses to come to the light. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 9

God is the fountain of life and power. He can make the wilderness a fruitful field for the people who keep His commandments, for this is for the glory of His name. This is His witness to Christianity. He has done for His chosen people that which should inspire every heart with praise and thanksgiving; and it displeases Him that so little praise in offered. He desires to have a stronger expression from His people, showing that they know they have reason for joy and gladness. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 10

Isaiah tells us what God is doing for us. “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 to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgment unto 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 42:1-4.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 11

What greater encouragement and assurance than this could the Lord give His loyal, commandment-keeping people. Have we not every reason for changing our attitude toward God? Is it not our duty to show the world that we appreciate the love of Christ? As we produce the fruit of thanksgiving, we bear living evidence that by connection with Christ we are placed on vantage ground. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 12

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. ... He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. ... And 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 all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:1-4, 10-12, 14, 16.] As the grace which is in the soul flows out to others, more grace flows in to be given back to God in willing offerings. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 13

The people of God need to be aroused to let their light shine forth. Christ said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] God’s people should be an animated people, because they behold Him who is invisible to the eyes of the world. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 14

How can we express our love for Christ? “If ye love me,” He said, “keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless .... Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more.” [John 14:15-19.] Feeling no need of Me, it is seeking for the perishable things of earth. “But ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.” [Verse 19.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 15

How plain is the distinction drawn. Worldlings have placed their whole attention on the gaining of worldly advantages. The mind is filled with the selfish thought, How can I secure these advantages for myself? How can I obtain more money? This is the god they worship. They do not stop to think of the riches of which no earthly power can deprive them. They see not Christ, neither know Him. They do not realize their great need of a Redeemer. They do not pray. They put Christ out of their live as much as possible. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 16

“But ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.” [Verse 19.] Christ is with you, to enlighten your minds, to lead you to call upon Him. As you do this, He will hear your prays and will purify your hearts. You will behold Him as The Way, the Truth, and the Life. Those who follow Christ do not walk in accordance with the ways of the world. They are not conformed to the world. They ask God for Christ’s sake to help them, and they receive the help they ask for. They are enlightened, and are gifted by God with the power to discern the matchless love and wonderful charms of Jesus Christ. They can never feel lonely or comfortless. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 17

“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?” Let all observe the answer. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [Verses 20-23.] Wonderful indeed is this promise! Do we comprehend it? 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 18

When a man becomes one with Christ, he has the mind of Christ. He is no longer antagonistic to God’s law, but lives in obedience to all the commandments. One with Christ in obedience to God’s commands, he walks in the footsteps of the Saviour. But should he walk regretfully, because in his union with Christ he is called upon to practice self-denial and self-sacrifice? Think of what the Prince of heaven did to manifest His love for his Father. He resigned His position as Commander in the heavenly courts, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might lay hold of humanity, and divinity grasp the throne of the Infinite. This He did to perfect the redemption of the human race. Those who receive Him are adopted into the royal family as sons and daughters of God. They are made heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an immortal inheritance. Have they any cause for regret? 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 19

Love to Jesus Christ leads to an acknowledgement in words and works of His goodness. Christ has declared that the cross, which makes the line of demarcation between His people and the world so distinct that the world may not question the choice, is not a cross of discouragement but a cross of salvation. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 20

There is a right side, and a wrong side. Let each ask himself, On whose side am I standing? Those who do not choose Christ range themselves under the banner of darkness with the great apostate, who in heaven refused to obey God. In the garden of Eden he deceived the holy pair, and the floodgates of woe were opened upon our world. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 21

On the side of obedience Christ stands, giving to all the invitation, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] “If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” [John 15:7, 8.] All those who are true and loyal to God bear fruit, not the fruit of transgression, but the fruit of a glad, willing obedience. They are filled with thankfulness that they are not numbered with those who have chosen the wide gate and broad road as more convenient than the road cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 22

Christ says to His followers, “Strive (agonize) to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in” with all their worldly treasures, “and shall not be able.” [Luke 13:24.] “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matthew 7:13, 14.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 23

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love.” [John 15:9.] How can we continue in Christ’s love? By copying disobedience to God’s law, which is so widespread? No, no. By showing to the world that we choose to be among the loyal people of God. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [Verses 10-13.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 24

We are to come out from the world and be separate, and our works are to be in accordance with the influence and works of Christ. He declares, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” [Verse 10.] On whose side are you? On Christ’s side, obeying God’s commands, or on Satan’s side, warring against the commandments of God? 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 25

Christ has shown His great love for the world by giving His life to make it possible for all to keep the commandments. And He desires those who choose to follow Him to bear to the world the testimony that to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of lambs. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 26

Christ has made for us a whole and complete offering. He laid down His life that His enemies might be friends of God. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. “If the blood of bulls and of goats and the ashes of an heifer sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of transgression, those who were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” [Hebrews 9:13-15.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 27

Sin is the transgression of the law. Those who continue in sin, notwithstanding the fact that light has come to show them what sin is, those who refuse to lift the cross because doing so would possibly limit their prospect of worldly gain, will meet with great loss. They show that they do not choose to be partakers of Christ’s life of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and they will lose eternal life. “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” [Mark 8:36.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 28

The testimony of the Old Testament is in perfect accord with the testimony of the New Testament. Both the Old and the New Testaments exalt the law of God, and those who reverently study the Scriptures for themselves, laying aside all the preconceived opinions taught by human wisdom, will not be left in the darkness of error. But many, rather than lift the cross, put their own construction upon a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” and drag the Scriptures in the direction of their own suppositions. They will not accept the truth that the seventh day is the Sabbath, because this would interfere with their worldly arrangements and plans. They seize hold of the weakest arguments to block their own way. They are blind leaders of the blind, and both they and those they are leading must fall into the ditch. All our preconceived opinions, all our wishes, all our impulses, must be considered in the light of the Word of God. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 29

When Christ was upon this earth, the great mass of the common people would have accepted Him had it not been that they were afraid of what the Scribes and Pharisees might do. These leaders, sitting in Moses’ seat, claiming to know God, saw that Christ was drawing the attention of the people from them. They determined to oppose His work, and once started in the path of opposition, no evidence had any weight with them. The wonderful works Christ did were denied. The gracious words which feel from His lips were misstated and misconstrued. They regarded the rejoicing shown because of Christ’s works of compassion and miracles of healing as a personal slight to themselves. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 30

The appeals which Christ made, appeals which were freighted with love, the conclusive arguments He presented, only kindled fires of hatred in the hearts which, once convicted, had refused the light. Christ came to His own, and His own received Him not. He had to forsake Judea in order to preserve His life till the fulness of time. “After those things,” we read, “Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” [John 7:1.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 31

Christ’s brethren did not believe in Him, and because He made Himself obnoxious to the priests and rulers, by teaching the people and working miracles, they were greatly annoyed. “Depart hence, and go into Judea, that thy brethren also may see the works that thou doest,” they said contemptuously. “For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world.” [Verses 3, 4.] These words caused Christ grief and sorrow, but He made no sarcastic answer. How He pitied their ignorance and blindness. He longed to instruct them; He longed to see them willing to see with unprejudiced eyes and to hear with unprejudiced ears. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 32

“My time is not yet come,” He answered; “but your time is always ready.” The world cannot hate you, for there is no antagonism between you and the world. “But me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” [Verses 6, 7.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 33

“And there was much murmuring of the people concerning him; for some said, He is a good man; others said, Nay, but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit, no man spake openly of him”—in favor of him—“for fear of the Jews.” [Verses 12, 13.] 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 34

This history has been and will be repeated. God sends messages to arouse the people from spiritual slumber. He presents truth in contrast with error. But many, instead of saying, We will make the Word of God our standard, cling to human opinions and traditions. Too often the religious teachers of the people refuse to examine candidly the evidence presented. They do not dig for the treasures of truth as a man digs for the treasures hid in the earth. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 35

A most solemn responsibility rests upon religious teachers. Christ died to save souls, and through the promulgation of truth He desires to accomplish this work. He sends His messengers to speak to the people the words He has given them. That minister who does all in his power to keep the people from hearing the truth, who takes upon himself the work of misconstruing and misstating the messages God sends, does his flock great harm. Those who have reasoning powers are to search the Scriptures for themselves, that they may understand what is truth, that they may say with Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables.” [2 Peter 1:16.] We need a faith that works by love and leads us to live unselfish lives. We need to seek constantly for sanctification through the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 14, 1900, par. 36