Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 120, 1901

Fidelity to Principle


November 24, 1901

Previously unpublished. +Note

All who are living in this world are amenable to the law of God; for they are dependent on God for life and are living in His home—the earth. Every business transaction, whether pertaining to secular or religious matters, is to be in accordance with the principles of God’s wise and holy and just law. In all commercial matters, in all agricultural interests, God’s law is to be the standard. Religion is not something that has no relation to the common business vocations of life; something that is to be kept within a certain prescribed limit. It is to be brought into the daily experience. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 1

Men who occupy high places in courts of justice may ignore the law of God, but that does not detract one jot or tittle from its claims. During Christ’s ministry on earth, a lawyer came to Him with the question, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This is a positive question, and it received just as positive an answer. And the question and answer mean much to us, for they tell us how to secure our present and eternal welfare. Jesus said to the lawyer, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” He replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said, “this do, and thou shalt live.” [Luke 10:25-28.] Then a clear sense of conviction came to the lawyer. He realized that he had not obeyed the Lord in the light of the law, the claims of which are binding on all. He had known the theory of life, but had not brought it into the practical life. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 2

When Christ came to this world, He found the leaders of His people proving untrue to their sacred trust. Many of the people came a long distance to attend the passover, and after reaching Jerusalem purchased animals for offerings. The priests and rulers took advantage of this, buying animals at a low figure and selling them at exorbitant prices. Professedly these merchants in the temple were obeying the principles of truth, but they took unjust advantage of circumstances. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 3

Although it had been foretold that in a few years hence the temple would be destroyed, yet Christ and His disciples sought to give all possible dignity and sacredness to the temple and its services, which, according to the appointment of God, were to continue until type met antitype in the death of the Lamb of God. Christ cleansed the temple of the shameful traffic. “Take these things hence,” He said. “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” [John 2:16; Matthew 21:13.] Here He referred to the robbery of the priests in taking advantage of circumstances to charge exorbitant prices. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 4

The Jews were very proud of the richness and beauty of the temple. But the outside adornment did not sanctify the worshipers. In language that could not be misunderstood, Christ declared that the temple was desecrated by the conduct of the men who claimed to be performing acceptably the sacred services ordained by God. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 5

These men charged Christ with profaning the temple, and declared that He was its enemy. But before all the people, He demonstrated that He was a truer friend to the temple than were the priests and rulers who were violating its sacredness. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 6

Those who are bearing responsibilities in our institutions should in their business relations strictly follow Bible principles. Why are church members guilty of transgressing the law of God in their dealings with their fellow men? Why do those who claim to be followers of the Saviour take advantage of those who have confidence in their integrity because they are church members? Why are professing Christians dishonest in their transactions, unfair in buying and selling, as were those who in Christ’s day carried on a dishonest traffic in the very courts of the temple? All who disregard the divine precepts will suffer the consequences that must come upon every transgressor, every rebel against the Creator and Redeemer of the world. 16LtMs, Ms 120, 1901, par. 7