Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 51, 1901

The Need of Self-Examination


June 26, 1901

This manuscript is published in entirety in 1SM 89-93. +Note

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith, prove your own selves.” [2 Corinthians 13:5.] Closely criticize the temper, the disposition, the thoughts, words, inclinations, purposes, and deeds. How can we ask intelligently for the things we need unless we prove by the Scriptures the condition of our spiritual health? 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 1

Many in their religious life are making crooked paths for their feet. Their prayers are offered in a loose, haphazard manner. He who is placed in a position of responsibility should remember that of himself he is not able to do that which is required of him. Every day he should remember that he is a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 2

No one is to wait to be borne to fields of labor and provided with costly facilities for doing good. He who serves must cheerfully take up his work, however humble it is, and wherever he may be placed. Christ, our example in all things, was poor, that <through His poverty> He might make many rich. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 3

He whose heart is filled with the grace of God and love for his perishing fellow men will find opportunity, wherever he may be placed, to speak a word in season to those who are weary. Christians are to work for their Master in meekness and lowliness, holding fast to their integrity amid the noise and bustle of life. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 4

God calls upon men to serve Him in every transaction of life. Business is a snare when the law of God are not made the law of the daily life. He who has anything to do with the Master’s work is to maintain unswerving integrity. In all business transactions, as verily as when on bended knees he seeks help from on high, God’s will is to be his will. He is to keep the Lord ever before him, constantly studying the subjects about which the holy Word speaks. Thus, though living amid that which would debase a man of lax principle, the man of piety and stern integrity preserves his Christianity. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 5

The world is no more favorable today for the development of Christian character than in Noah’s day. Then wickedness was so widespread that God said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” [Genesis 6:7.] 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 6

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. ... Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” [Verses 8, 9.] Yes, amid the corruption of that degenerate age, Noah was a pleasure to his Creator. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 7

We are living in the last days of this earth’s history, in an age of sin and corruption, and like Noah we are to so live that we shall be a pleasure to God, showing forth the praises of Him “who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] In the prayer which Christ offered to His Father just before His crucifixion, He said, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” [John 17:15.] 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 8

When men and women have formed characters which God can endorse, when their self-denial and self-sacrifice have been fully made, when they are ready for the final test, ready to be introduced into God’s family, what service will stand highest in the estimation of Him who gave Himself a willing offering to save a guilty race? What enterprise will be most dear to the heart of infinite love? What work will bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to the Father and the Son?—the salvation of perishing souls. Christ died to bring to men the saving power of the gospel. Those who co-operate with Him in carrying forward His great enterprise of mercy, laboring with all the strength God has given them to save those nigh and afar off, will share in the joy of the Redeemer when the redeemed host stands around the throne of God. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 9

God has entrusted means and capabilities to His servants for the doing of a work far higher than that which today He looks upon. “O,” said the heavenly Messenger, “the Lord’s institutions are terribly behind the greatness of the truths which are being fulfilled at the present time. There is a fearful misconception of the claims of duty. The frosty atmosphere in which believers are content to live retards the self-sacrificing movements which should be made to warn the world and save souls. The powers of darkness are working with an intensity of effort, and year by year thousands of people, from all kindreds, nations, and tongues, pass into eternity, unwarned and unready. Our faith must mean something more definite, more decided, more important. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 10

“Ask my institutions and churches, ‘Do you believe the word of God? What then are you doing in missionary lines? Are you working with self-denial and self-sacrifice? Do you believe that the word of God means what it says? Your actions show that you do not. How will you meet at the bar of God those who, unwarned, are passing into eternity? Will there be a second probation? No, no. This fallacy might just as well be given up at once. The present probation is all that we shall have. Do you realize that the salvation of fallen human beings must be secured in this present life, or they will be forever lost?’” 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 11

The Laodicean message is applicable to the church at this time. Do you believe this message? Have you hearts that feel? Or are you constantly saying, We are “rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing”? [Revelation 3:17.] Is it in vain that the declaration of eternal truth has been given to this nation to be carried to all the nations of the world? God has chosen a people and made them the repositories of truth weighty with eternal results. To them has been given the light that must illuminate the world. Has God made a mistake? Are we indeed His chosen instrumentalities? Are we the men and women who are to bear to the world the messages of Revelation fourteen, to proclaim the message of salvation to those who are standing on the brink of ruin? Do we act as if we were? 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 12

In a clear, determined voice the messenger said, “I ask you, what are you doing? O that you could comprehend! O that you could understand the importance of the warning and what it means to you and to the world! If you did understand, if you were filled with the spirit of the One who gave His life for the life of the world, you would co-operate with Him, making earnest, self-sacrificing efforts to save sinners.” 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 13

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:4.] A great awakening must come to the church. If we only knew, if we only understood, how quickly the spirit of the message would go from church to church. How willingly would the possessions of believers be given to support the work of God. God calls upon us to pray and watch unto prayer. Cleanse your homes of the picture-idols which have consumed the money that ought to have flowed into the Lord’s treasury. The light must go forth as a lamp that burneth. Those who bear the message to the world should seek the Lord earnestly, that His Holy Spirit may be abundantly bestowed upon them. You have no time to lose. Pray for the power of God, that you may work with success for those nigh and afar off. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 14

We must have genuine faith. As yet we scarcely grasp the reality of the truth. We only half believe the Word of God. A man will act out all the faith he has. Notwithstanding that the signs of the time are fulfilling all over the world, faith in the Lord’s coming has been growing feeble. Clear, distinct, certain, the warnings are to be given. At the peril of our souls we are to learn the prescribed conditions under which we are to work out our own salvation, remembering that it is God which worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 15

It will not do for us to float along with the current, guided by tradition and presumptuous fallacies. We are called laborers together with God. Then let us arise and shine. There is no time to spend in controversy. Those who have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus must now become one in heart and purpose. All differences must be swept away. The members of the church must work unitedly under the great Head of the church. 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 16

Let those who have a knowledge of the truth arise and shine. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” [Isaiah 58:1.] No longer mutilate the truth. Let the soul cry out for the living God. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils.” [Isaiah 2:22.] The Comforter will come to you, if you will open the door to Him. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings 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 4:14-16.] 16LtMs, Ms 51, 1901, par. 17