Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15

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Ms 29, 1900

Faithful Stewardship

NP

May 21, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 155; OHC 114; ML 304; 6BC 1065; 7BC 922-924.

“The end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” [1 Peter 4:7.] This is the work of the human agent. Who will become discouraged in this work—in the life of self-denial and self-sacrifice? When trials press heavily and the opposition of satanic agencies are strong, we are to bear in mind that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, poured out His soul unto death to obtain for us the victories He has made it possible for us to obtain. Although [we are] tried [and] tempted—buffeted by Satan and by those human agents through whom Satan works to tempt, ensnare, and destroy by misrepresenting the truth or by open falsehood—yet angels of God are working to let the light shine upon our souls, that we shall be more than conquerors through the grace that shall come to us by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Heavenly agencies are all ready to do their appointed work, and to man Christ says, “Let him take hold of my strength and make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 1

Read carefully (Isaiah 53), and then answer the question, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” [Verses 1-3.] How true this is, to the shame of all who shun the cross and are not willing to run any risk. Who will make a covenant with Christ by denying self? Who will surrender to walk in His footsteps? Who will say, Here am I, Lord, accept me to be a partaker with Thee of Thy suffering? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 2

“Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.” [Verses 4-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 3

What! Shall we read these words, and then, through timidity or fear [of] the reproach of man, take the side of the transgressor of the law of God! Shall we imperil our own souls because we refuse to be partaker of Christ’s humiliation and sufferings? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 4

The natural eye can never behold the comeliness and beauty of Christ. The inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, revealing to the soul its true hopeless, helpless condition without the mercy and pardon of the Sinbearer—the all-sufficiency of Christ—can alone enable man to discern His infinite mercy, His measurable love, benevolence, and glory. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 5

No one ever came to our world on such an errand of grace, infinite compassion, and unspeakable love as our Saviour; and none ever received such treatment at the hands of fallen man. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] We are Christ’s by creation, His by redemption. He is the only sinless being who endured suffering, shameful humiliation, and rejection in our behalf. He suffered for our sins. He bore our load of shameful guilt. Though guiltless, yet He suffered as guilty, that the guilty might be pronounced without guilt. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 6

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” [Isaiah 53:10-12.] With perfect meekness the Redeemer bore the ignominy of the cross; the Just, the Perfect bore the sins of many. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 7

Then, how should those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, saved by His merits, conduct the selves before the universe of heaven? Shall they complain? Shall they accuse one another? Would not a meek and submissive spirit be more becoming? “Learn of me,” said the great Teacher, “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] Shall we reveal this spirit in our characters? Shall we wear His yoke, and lift His burdens? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 8

The knowledge of Christ has a power upon the human mind, for man discerns and believes in the efficacy of the atoning sacrifice for sins. Leave this out of the gospel, and it is no longer a power to sanctify the soul. It is another gospel. The love of God for fallen man must become the love of all who believe. God’s faithful, humble, believing people will cut the idolatry of self out of their hearts, and Christ will become all and in all. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 9

When the shepherds of the flock are ignorant of the truth that works by love and purifies the soul, they become self-indulgent, directing their God-given powers to their own special interests. Then the flock is destroyed for want of being fed and strengthened by the truths of the Word. Churches under the charge of shepherds who refuse to accept the Word of God, who refuse to obey the commandments of God, become backslidden. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 10

God’s ambassadors must be faithful to reprove the least injustice, or any dishonest practice in deal, whatever may be the rank or standing of the evildoer. Plainness, fidelity, uprightness, must characterize the people who claim to be Christians. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 11

The Lord Jesus has a special work appointed for each of the angelic family. Human agencies have also an appointed work to do in behalf of their own souls and the souls of others saved through their influence. The angels of God will make effectual the work of men. The Holy Spirit can convert souls that are becoming interested in the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 12

Surely our world is controlled by satanic agencies. Is God pleased to have it thus? No! no! Does not the Lord desire that the impenitent shall be saved? Certainly He does. Even one soul is of greater value than the whole world. Questions are often asked and answered in such a haphazard way that a correct impression of the work of the angels of God is not given. They have an intense desire that human agencies shall come where they will find a refuge. The angels had a constant guardianship over Christ from His birth until His reception into the heavenly courts. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 13

The human family was the subject of the wonderful self-sacrifice and self-humiliation of Christ. This was made manifest in laying off His glorious majesty to become a teacher and a servant to the human race—in clothing His divinity with humanity, in become poor for our sakes, that we through His poverty might become rich. After such a manifestation of His love, that He might sow the world with truth, will the Lord leave the human family without special, active participation with Him in His work to engage the minds and souls of His heritage, of which He has the ownership? Never! Angels are working through human agents who will be worked, to bring sinners to God. But they are to be worked in God’s way, not by any device of their own, choosing to make a great name as a memorial for themselves. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 14

O that those who are halting between two opinions could only understand the agencies continually at work to keep at bay the armies of the power of darkness! By presenting earthly advantages or earthly obstacles to defeat the purposes of God, and by various other methods, Satan would intercept every ray of light from the messengers of God. But if the curtain could be rolled back, and eyes now blind to the invisible agencies could view with restored spiritual vision the conflict continually going on in behalf of the souls perishing away from Christ, what a difference would be made in the working of the agencies in this world! Decided advance movements would be made. Without delay their entire influence for good would be thrown on the side of Christ. They would behold the intense interest of the angels of God in behalf of souls who are throwing away the opportunities and privileges now so valuable to them to obtain an experimental knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 15

Consider the prayer of Christ, “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] Did Christ make a mistake in His prayer? The angels are waiting. How long shall they be grieved and disappointed, because you do not see how sad it is to live in transgression of the law of God? After you have been the subject of so much solicitude and work on the part of the heavenly agencies to sway back the powers of darkness, after the light has shone into the chambers of the mind and into the soul temple, will you turn from that light and close your eyes lest you shall see, and your ears lest you shall hear the heavenly invitation? All the universe of heaven is waiting. Will you obey, or will you dally and grieve the Spirit of God by your continual disobedience? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 16

Holy, ministering agencies of heaven are co-operating with human agencies to lead into safe paths all who love truth and righteousness. It is the greatest joy of the angels of heaven to spread the shield of their tender love over souls who turn to God; and Satan fights determinedly to retain every soul that has had light and evidence. His fierce, unabated desire is to destroy every soul possible. Will you choose to stand under his banner? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 17

Angelic agencies are standing firm, determined that he shall not obtain the victory. They would recover every soul in our world who is under Satan’s banner if these poor souls would not so eagerly seek to keep out of and away from their merciful ministrations and rescuing power. Their deep and earnest love for the souls for whom Christ has died is beyond measurement. They would make these deceived souls intelligent in regard to how they might arm themselves and break the spell which Satan has cast upon them. If they would only look unto Jesus, and for one moment discern truly, sincerely, what love has been expressed in the sacrifice which has been made for them! If only they could see the determined efforts of Satan to eclipse by his hellish shadow every ray of light that would come into the mind and heart of persons now dead in trespasses and sins! O, that they would awake from their torpor as the whole world will soon awake by the trumpet of God, which will announce His appearing! 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 18

Delay is dangerous business. Could all see Christ before the throne, waiting for their prayers, waiting for them to surrender their will, to cease their rebellion and come back to their allegiance to God, in deep penitence they would pray the Father to forgive their transgression of His law, and forgive them for the influence they have exercised in causing others to disregard the law of Jehovah. The confederacies of the enemy’s army are triumphing in their delay. Will they longer remain under the condemnation of the law? Or will they stand on the side of Christ, and with their influence help the betrayed, rebellious race by their own experimental knowledge? Will they now become co-workers with Jesus Christ, who is making personal intercession for them before the Father? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 19

Angels are keeping back the destroying agencies; for they have an intense interest for these rebellious sons, and they want to help them to return to the fold in safety and peace, that they may finally be overcomers, and be saved, eternally saved with the family of God in heaven. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 20

All heaven is waiting the result of the struggle going on in the human soul. What will the decision be? The powers of darkness claim them, and point to their spotted garments of rebellion, and to the sign they bear in non-conformity to the laws of God’s kingdom, as evidence of the justice of their claim. Shall Jesus, the High Priest, speak in your behalf, “Take away the filthy garments from him, ... and clothe him with a change of raiment”? [Zechariah 3:4.] Christ has been pleading against strong and deceptive principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 21

“And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan” (the mighty general of armies) “standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before them, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 22

“And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of host: if thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou will keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” [Verses 1-7.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 23

Jesus is waiting, pleading for souls to honor God by rendering unto Him allegiance. The sure promise is given to all who will unite with Christ in holy confederacy, sealing, if need be, their fidelity with their blood. The Lord Jesus, the Prince of life, gave His blood to make it possible for man to keep the commandments. Then, who do not souls see their privileges, and grasp them, and turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart? 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 24

The Lord is soon coming, and the great conflict that Satan created in the heavenly courts will be forever decided. Blood-bought souls are ever dear to the Saviour. What these souls want is a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” What is truth? It is revealed in Exodus 31:12-18. “The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore: for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 25

“Six days may work be done: but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh he rested and was refreshed.” [Verses 15-17.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 26

The Lord Jesus, before the armies of heaven and the armies of Satan, uplifts the bloodstained banner of the cross. The words came from His lips, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan: even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” [Zechariah 3:2.] “Plucked out of the fire.” Only God and Christ know how much that means. God calls for agencies, ministers to serve, to engage heart and soul and voice, every entrusted capability, to work with the great Sinbearer, the Saviour of a sinful race. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 27

The glad message of (Hebrews 1:14) is for all. The entire chapter is a wonderful encouragement for every tried and tempted soul. “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” [Verses 13, 14.] These messages are coming down along the line to our time, to them that shall be heirs of salvation. Angels actually come to our world. Nor are they always invisible. They sometimes veil their angelic appearance, and appearing as men, they converse with and enlighten human beings. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 28

The work of preparation is going on. While some are in the valley of decision, angels are uniting with true, whole-hearted servants of Christ to help these needy souls. Some are to become workers together with God in the very churches of which they were once members. Angels of God will work with them to bring men to repentance. There are many who feel too timid to make any effort to win souls, to enlighten the ignorant, or to relieve the oppressed. May the Lord help them to awake! The churches must be aroused; for the angels of heaven are waiting for human agencies to begin to work, as did the apostles at the descent of the Holy Spirit. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 29

In every place where the apostle Paul was called to go after his conversion, he gave a vivid presentation of the ministration of heavenly angels in his conversion. The Lord calls upon those who bear the name of Christ to cooperate with Him. This is a real, genuine union in ministerial service. Church members who have had light upon the truth must be converted and become Christians in practice. They must obey the truth, else they will become Satan’s vigilant church-workers, to annoy and perplex those who are weak in the faith. Christ and His angels are at work, and what are we as individuals doing? Read the message from the lips of Christ in (Matthew 18) and Luke 15:10. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 30

Every soul that lives must give an account of His stewardship. Especially will those who are shepherds of the flock be called to account. Fathers and mothers, upon whom rests the fashioning and molding of the characters of their children from babyhood to years of accountability, are home-stewards, whom the Lord trusts with His goods. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 31

In Deuteronomy, chapters five and six, the Word of the Lord is given unto Moses to be given to the people of Israel. Chapter five contains the Word of God, definitely specifying His commandments. “Thou shalt ... keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” [Verses 11-15.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 32

What could be stated more definitely than this requirement? The whole of chapter five is of sacred importance to all those who love and serve God. Chapter six continues this subject. “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy sons son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that you may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee in the land which floweth with milk and honey. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” [Verses 1-5.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 33

This requirement takes the whole man into covenant relation with God. “And these words, which I command thee this day, Shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up, and thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shalt be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” [Verses 6-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 34

These two chapters are the words of Jesus Christ, spoken to his servant Moses to give to more than a million people who had come out of Egypt. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 35

Read carefully and with an attentive heart the entire seventh chapter of Deuteronomy. “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bond-men, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 36

“Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; and repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.” [Verses 6-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 29, 1900, par. 37