Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 138, 1902

Diary/The Formation of Character

St. Helena, California

July 7, 1902

This manuscript is published in entirety in 18MR 162-167. +Note

I am enjoying much better health now than I have ever enjoyed in the past. 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 1

The Lord is giving me precious presentations of what He desires to do for those who will to do the will of God. “Who then is a faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, that He shall make him ruler over all His goods. But and if that servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 24:45-51.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 2

Those who are in any way connected with the church of God must be humble. All are invited to come to Christ in their great need and to take His yoke upon them. “Learn of Me,” says Christ; “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.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 3

It greatly dishonors God for any one in any way to disregard the great salvation brought to mankind at so great a cost, even the life of the only begotten Son of God. Men and women have no right to refuse the invitation of Him who has died for their redemption. Christ offers life eternal to those who choose to be obedient and submissive to God’s will in this life. By bearing the yoke of willing obedience, they testify to world unfallen, to angels, and to men, that they have accepted Christ as their Ruler, and are conforming their lives in accordance with His will. 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 4

Those who refuse to accept Christ’s invitation to wear His yoke of obedience and to learn of Him His meekness and lowliness will not form characters that fit them to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Before the universe such persons bear a direct testimony against Christ. They do their Saviour a great wrong. By their choice they reveal that they despise the great salvation which the heavenly Father has placed within their reach. They do not properly estimate the value that Christ has placed upon them. They fail of realizing that Christ has purchased them at an infinite cost. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 5

Christ took upon Himself the nature of humanity, to make it possible for Him to suffer and to die as a propitiation for the sins of the fallen race. Through His merits repentant sinners may unite with divinity. His they are by creation and by redemption. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 6

The Lord is doing a great work in the earth. With intense interest He is examining every man’s fitness of character to associate with the sinless angels and with the redeemed family in heaven. Not one of the ransomed host will be disposed to begin a rebellion similar to the one that Satan began before the creation of our race. The Lord gives men and women probationary time in which to acquaint themselves with His terms of salvation. They are given opportunity to unite with Him, as “laborers together with God,” to mold their characters after the similitude of the Divine. [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Thus they heed His words of counsel, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] They profit by the words of warning: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” [Luke 21:34, 35.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 7

All who are careless and indifferent, all who have given themselves to the world body, soul, and spirit will find themselves, whatever their position, unready for His appearing. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” [Verse 36.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 8

Christ is made the Judge of every man’s character. All judgment is given by the Father into His hands. Daily the examination of every man’s character is being carried on. God is particular in requiring every one to be truthful in speech. “By thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 9

Many, many are trusting to their own righteousness. They set up a standard for themselves and do not submit to the will of Christ and allow Him to clothe them with the robe of His righteousness. They form characters according to their own will and pleasure. Satan is well pleased with their religion. They misrepresent the perfect character—the righteousness—of Christ. Themselves deceived, they deceive others. They are not accepted of God. They are liable to lead other souls into false paths. They will at last receive their reward with the great deceiver—Satan. 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 10

There are a large number of professing Christians who do not really follow Jesus. They do not bear the cross by proper self-denial and self-sacrifice. Although making a great profession of being earnest Christians, they weave into the fabric of their characters so many of the threads of their own imperfections that the beautiful pattern is spoiled. Of them Christ says: “You boast of being rich and increased with supposed spiritual attainments. In reality you are neither cold nor hot, but are filled with vain conceit. Unless converted, you cannot be saved; for you would mar heaven with your unsanctified wisdom. I cannot endorse your spirit and your work. You do not act according to the divine example. You are following a pattern merely of your own invention. Because you are lukewarm, I must spue you out of My mouth.” [See Revelation 3:15-17.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 11

Let us thank the Lord that while this class is so numerous, there is still time for repentance. Jesus says, “I, your Redeemer, know your works. I am familiar with the motives that prompt you to declare boastingly in regard to your spiritual condition, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ Thou ‘knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’” [Verse 17.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 12

Those who are in this condition are wilfully ignorant. They do not discern the real character of sin. By their wrongdoing they constantly misrepresent the character of Christ and put Him to open shame. Professing to have a knowledge of the truth, they act in spirit as novices. They do not seem to understand the truth that must be expressed in word and deed to show a decided difference between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. They are false claimants of every Christian blessing and privilege, when, as Christ representatives, they are not rich in spiritual grace or in good works. They are wretched, poor, blind, maimed. What a position to be in! They stand in their own light. 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 13

But notwithstanding their wilful ignorance, they are not left by the Lord without added warning and counsel. “I counsel thee,” He pleads, “to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 18-22.] 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 14

There are some who will not hear. So long have they chosen to follow their own way and their own wisdom, so long have they cherished defective hereditary and cultivated tendencies of character, that they are blind, and cannot see afar off. By them, principles are perverted; false standards are raised; tests are made that bear not the signature of heaven. Thus many of God’s professed people are assimilating worldly ideas and forming characters that will exclude them from heaven. And yet some of these very ones make their boasts in the Lord as a people who do righteousness and forsake not the ordinances of their God. 17LtMs, Ms 138, 1902, par. 15