Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 143, 1903




Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 358.

The light given me is that we are to learn to answer the prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John. We are to make it our first study. Every gospel minister, every medical missionary, is to learn the science of Christ’s prayer. My brethren and sisters, I ask you to heed these words and to bring to your study a calm, humble, contrite spirit and the healthy energies of a mind under the control of God. Those who learn the lessons contained in this prayer will not make one-sided developments, which no future training will ever correct. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 1

The Lord calls for men of genuine faith and sound minds—men who recognize the distinction between the true and the false. Last night, I heard important instruction given by One of authority. He said that each one must now be on guard, studying and practicing the lessons given in the seventeenth chapter of John and preserving a living faith in the truth for this time. We need now to search for the truth as for hid treasures. We need that self-control that will enable us to bring our habits into harmony with the prayer of Christ. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 2

God designs His children shall blend in unity. Do they not expect to live together in the same heaven? Is Christ divided against Himself? Will He give His people success before all the rubbish of evil-surmising and discord is swept away, before the laborers, with unity of purpose, devote heart and mind and strength to the work so holy in God’s sight? 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 3

Union brings strength; disunion, weakness. United with one another, working together in harmony for the salvation of men, we shall indeed be “laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Those who refuse to work in harmony greatly dishonor God. The enemy of their souls delights to see them working at cross purposes with one another. Such ones need to cultivate brotherly love and tenderness of heart. If they could draw aside the curtain veiling the future, and see the result of their disunion, they would surely be led to repent. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 4

The world is looking with gratification at the disunion among Christians. Infidelity is well pleased. God calls for a change among His people. Union with Christ and with one another is our only safety in these last days. Let us not make it possible for Satan to point to our church members, saying, “Behold how these people, standing under the banner of Christ, hate one another. We have nothing to fear from them while they spend more strength in fighting one another than in warfare with my forces.” 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 5

After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 6

The unbelievers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] So closely were they to be united to Christ that they would be enabled to fulfil His requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness was to be magnified. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 7

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and of the great love He had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lesson of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 8

The apostle John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church, and he dwelt particularly upon this point. Up to the day of his death, he urged upon believers the constant exercise of love for one another. His letters to the churches were interwoven with this thought. “Beloved, let us love one another,” he wrote; “for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. ... God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. ... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” [1 John 4:7, 9, 11.] 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 9

In the church of God today brotherly love is greatly lacking. Many of those who profess to love the Saviour neglect to love those who are united with them in Christian fellowship. We are of the same faith, members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. How close and tender should be the tie that binds us together. The people of the world are looking at us to see if our faith is exerting a sanctifying influence upon our hearts, making us Christlike. They are ready to discover every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 10

It is not the opposition of the world that endangers us the most; the evil cherished in the hearts of professed Christians works our most grievous disaster and retards most the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening ourselves in spiritual things than by being envious, suspicious of one another, full of fault-finding and evil-surmising. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown of peace of them that make peace.” [James 3:15-18.] 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 11

Harmony and unity existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness. But in order to do this, we must place ourselves under Christ’s command. Our characters must be moulded in harmony with Christ’s character; our wills must be surrendered to His will. Then we shall sit together without a thought of collision. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 12

Little differences, dwelt upon, lead to actions that destroy Christian fellowship. Let us not allow the enemy thus to gain the advantage over us. Let us keep drawing nearer to God and to one another. Then we shall be as trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord and watered with the river of life. And how fruitful we shall be. Did not Christ say, Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit? [John 15:8.] 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 13

The heart of the Saviour is set upon His followers’ fulfilling God’s purpose in all its height and depth. They are to be one in Him, even though they are scattered the world over. But God cannot make them one with Christ and with one another unless they are willing to give up their own way for His way. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 14

When Christ’s prayer is fully believed, when its instruction is brought into the daily lives of God’s people, unity of action will be seen in our ranks. Brother will be bound to brother by the golden threads of the love of Christ. The Spirit of Christ alone can bring about this oneness. He who sanctified Himself can sanctify His disciples. United with Him, they will be united to one another in the most holy faith. When we strive for this unity, as God desires us to strive for it, it will come to us. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 15

Nov. 18, 1903

I thank the Lord for the instruction that I have received from His Spirit during the past night. The subject dwelt upon seemed to be the same as was dwelt upon the night before. Some advancement was made. Searching questions were put to individuals, and free, open confessions were made. The words “Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth” [John 17:17] were repeated over and over again. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 16

Some in the meeting were evidently finding their way to the light. Thanksgiving was offered to God for food, for raiment, for life. Men praised Him for not cutting them off in their unbelief. With brokenness of heart they expressed their gratitude to Him for the marked evidences that day by day they had received of His lovingkindness. 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 17

One said, “How undeserving I have been of God’s mercy! I condemn myself for failing to acknowledge His kindness, for offering Him so little praise. My heart is all aglow as I think of His love for me. I am more than thankful for His mercy.” 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 18

Another bore testimony that his understanding seemed to be thoroughly awakened. “I can now see,” he said, “my failure to move constantly onward and upward; my failure to appreciate my brethren; my unbelief. I have not been sanctified through the truth. I have refused to harmonize with those who did not accept my views. Spiritual blindness has prevented me from seeing Christ. I could not learn of Him, because Satan was constantly by my side, tempting me. But the Lord has opened my eyes. He has changed my heart. He has subdued my evil temper. I love Jesus and long to be conformed to His image. To be like Him is the great desire of my heart. I see that I am in absolute need of reconversion, that I may know, in some degree, the height and depth and breadth of the love of Christ. The Lord has indeed dealt very bountifully with me, and I praise His holy name.” 18LtMs, Ms 143, 1903, par. 19