Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 117, 1902

“I cannot sleep after half past ten ...”

Los Angeles, California

September 18, 1902

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 963-964. +Note

I cannot sleep after half-past ten o’clock. My mind is heavily burdened. I was speaking earnestly to the brethren in Southern California in reference to the school at Fernando. Perplexing questions had arisen in reference to the school. One of authority was in the assembly, and He gave counsel in regard to the way in which the school <soon to open> should be conducted. An earnest interest was shown in the words spoken, which made a deep impression on our minds. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 1

Our Counsellor said, “If you follow on to know the Lord, you will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. The teachers in the school should be learners with the students in all the instruction given. They are constantly to receive grace and wisdom from the Source of all wisdom. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 2

“You are just beginning your work. Not all your ideas are positively correct. Not all your methods are wise. It is not possible that your work, at its commencement, will be perfect. But as you advance, you will learn how to use to better advantage the knowledge that you gain. In order to do their work in harmony with the Lord’s will, teachers must keep their minds open to receive instruction from the great Teacher.” 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 3

The Knowledge of God

There is a great treasure of knowledge to be obtained in regard to the law of God—not head-knowledge merely, but heart-knowledge, a knowledge of the saving grace of Christ. To have this knowledge means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Every human being who gains a knowledge of the truth by submitting to its sanctifying power will stand complete in Christ. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 4

The knowledge of God is as a great ocean, without bottom or shore. No line can fathom it, no eye measure it. Every needy soul may be supplied from this boundless sea. In every emergency, every time of need, men and women may receive God’s grace and power, and yet there will be no lessening of the supply. God’s great resources cannot be too heavily drawn upon. The love expressed for all true, earnest seekers after truth is without measure. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 5

A cold, lifeless theory is not a knowledge of God. Those who have a knowledge of God must have His love, must understand its sacrifice, its condescension. The hungry mind and heart must receive His grace, to impart to others its fulness, its sufficiency. It is not a head acceptance of truth, but a heart reception, which molds and fashions aright the emotions and impulses of the soul, making it tender and compassionate, humble and contrite before God. Christ received into the heart makes man one with God in His beloved Son. Then the love of the Redeemer is acknowledged as beyond estimate. And more than this: The life and character are changed by the presence of the indwelling Saviour. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 6

In all ages God has given human beings divine revelations, that thus He may fulfil His purpose of unfolding gradually to the mind the doctrines of grace. His manner of imparting truth is illustrated by the words, “His going forth is prepared as the morning.” [Hosea 6:3.] He who places himself where God can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of noonday. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 7

When the heart is molded and fashioned by the love of Christ, then, and then only, are you qualified to be teachers in the school or in the church. Then and then only can you impart the knowledge of God as it shines in the face of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit is with you as you teach, quickening your minds, showing that Bible truth has life-giving power, power to convict the students and to reflect light from their minds to the minds of their teachers. Teachers and students can sit together in heavenly places, 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 8

The Promise of the Spirit

Nearly two thousand years ago there was heard in heaven a voice of strange and mysterious import: “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me.” [Hebrews 10:5.] “Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.” [Psalm 40:7, 8.] Christ came to this earth to bring to men a knowledge of God and heaven. But we do not half comprehend the significance of the Saviour’s lessons. We do not realize how much they mean to the beings He has created. He loves the human race. Do you ask how much? I point you to Calvary. But earthly cares and earthly interests hide from our view the things of heavenly origin, so that their importance is not understood. If our ministers and teachers had a deeper sense of their spiritual need, they would enter upon their work for the churches and for the youth with a realization of the sacredness of their trust. And a higher life would circulate through our churches and institutions. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 9

Not only by our words are we to teach the truth. We are to teach it by our actions. Our characters are to bear witness to its power. We are to be examples to those whom we teach, that their eyes may be opened to the wonderful truths contained in the instruction given by the great Teacher. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 10

Christ’s every saying is of inestimable value. But not yet do we know the depth of the meaning of the Saviour’s words. We have not brought them into the daily experience. We have not yielded our minds to the Holy Spirit, that we may understand the importance which the Originator of truth attached to His lessons. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 11

The disciples, by their slowness of comprehension, lost much of the power of Christ’s words. They did not understand His lessons in their highest spiritual meaning. When He tried to show them that it was necessary for Him to die on the cross, in order to bear the penalty of transgression in man’s behalf, they frankly acknowledged that they could not understand the meaning of His words. Christ reproved them for failing to see the meaning of the work He had come to this earth to accomplish. And then, in tender sympathy and compassionate love, He promised to send them His Spirit, who would bring to their minds the words He had spoken to them while on this earth. “The Comforter ... whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:26.] After His resurrection, He appeared to two of His disciples, and “opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” [Luke 24:45.] 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 12

Seeking for the most powerful agency to send to the aid of the disciples when He should no longer be with them, Christ promised to send them His Spirit. “When the Comforter is come,” He said, “whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” [John 15:26, 27.] Christ declared that the disciples would reap the harvest of His seed sowing, and that after His ascension they would do even greater works than He had done. And as they saw the fulfilment of all that was predicted of Him—His trial in the judgment hall, His rejection, His death on Calvary—they were so filled with love for Him and for those for whom He died that hearts were melted by the words they spoke and the prayers they offered. They spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit, and under the influence of that power thousands were converted. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 13

The promise of the Spirit is made to us just as surely as it was made to the disciples. God stands ready to give us the power that He gave them. It is His purpose that the truth shall have an uplifting, ennobling influence on human hearts, that by the contemplation of His Word the mind shall constantly increase in power and value. As we press forward to grasp the truth, God gives the receiver greater and still greater revelations of truth, purifying and ennobling him, bringing him nearer and nearer perfection, until he is pronounced complete in Christ—the standard of perfection. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 14

The Lord desires those who believe the truth for this time to be more deeply affected by the solemn, testing message they bear. But O how many there are whose hearts and minds are blinded by the influence of worldliness! They do not discern or appreciate the sacredness of present truth. The truth is not revealed with power in their lives, because worldly mindedness and self-exaltation take their places in their hearts. The cares of the world choke the good seed. Worldly interests absorb the attention, and the life does not reveal holiness to God. Devotion to the Master’s service, and the sanctification that comes from a belief of the truth, is entirely lacking. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 15

The condition of many of those who claim to be the children of God is exactly represented by the message to the Laodicean church. There is opened before those who serve God, truths of inestimable value, which, brought into practical life, show the difference between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 16

The earth itself is not more richly interlaced with veins of golden ore than is the field of revelation with veins of precious truth. The Bible is the storehouse of the unsearchable riches of God. But those who have a knowledge of the truth do not understand it as fully as they might. They do not bring the love of Christ into the heart and life. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 17

The student of the Word finds himself bending over a fountain of living water. The church needs to drink deeply of the spirituality of the Word. Their service to God needs to be very different from the tame, lifeless, emotionless religious experience that makes many believers but little different from those who believe not, very similar in spirit to the unconverted. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 18

The Holy Spirit is the efficiency and power of all God’s servants. At this time the church greatly needs this power and efficiency, but many of the members have lost all sense of their need. My brethren, as you organize churches and establish schools, remember the words I am speaking to you. Has not the church lost sight of the promise that the Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children? The church members in every place need to be converted. There is need of a change of heart; then there will be a change of character. God’s people have stopped short of the advancement that He desires them to make. They have not placed themselves in connection with the Source of all power. They are not ready for the coming of the Lord, and while they are unready, how can they help others to prepare? 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 19

The call to every one who knows the truth is to proclaim it to those who know it not, not in self-sufficiency, but in the power of Him who declares, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [Verse 5.] Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. The truly converted are blessed by the Holy Spirit, that they may bless others. In the place of wounding and bruising the hearts of their fellow workers, men and women are to uplift and strengthen them. Thus they honor and glorify God. Not an unkind word is to pass their lips. All that they say is to heal and restore. When the workers in God’s cause know the truth as it is in Jesus, they will be as salt that has retained its savor. Filled with love for sinners, they will proclaim the message of present truth with such power that many will be converted. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 20

“Except a man be born again,” Christ declared, “he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” [John 3:3, 5.] Our hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong must be overcome. Only those who are converted daily are vessels unto honor. They will receive the holy oil which God pours into the hearts that are emptied of selfishness and cleansed of worldly ambition. When our workers receive this holy oil, they will not take upon themselves the responsibility of accusing and condemning their fellow workers. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 21

The present is a time of overwhelming iniquity. The increase of crime and deception calls for a most decided revelation of piety among those who know the truth. The world needs to see in Christians an evidence of the power of Christianity. There should be hundreds more at work, clothed with holy zeal, filled with a power proportionate to the importance of the message they are proclaiming. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 22

Ministers and teachers, before you engage in your work, be sure that you are walking in the light as Christ is in the light. Obey the words, “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.] Prayerfully study the work to be done, and then enter upon it with full assurance of faith, but with no boasting, no self-sufficiency; for this is destructive to all effort. Go to work in quietness and humility, in the meekness and lowliness of Christ, knowing that a trying time is before you, realizing that you will always need the grace of Christ in order to understand how to deal with minds. Watch unto prayer. Guard yourselves. Christ desires you to be no longer children, tossed to and fro by human impulse, but men and women strong in His strength. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 23

Our workers—ministers, teachers, physicians, directors—all need to remember that they are pledged to co-operate with Christ, to obey His directions, to follow His guidance. Every hour they are to ask and receive power from on high. They are to cherish a constant sense of the Saviour’s love, of His efficiency, His watchfulness, His tenderness. They are to look to Him as the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. Then they will have the sympathy and support of the heavenly angels. Christ will be their joy and crown of rejoicing. Their hearts will be controlled by the Holy Spirit, and they will have a knowledge of the truth which those who are merely nominal believers can never gain. 17LtMs, Ms 117, 1902, par. 24