Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 43, 1908

Sermon/Lessons From the Fifty-Eighth of Isaiah

Oakland, California

March 14, 1908

Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 15; CD 309; 4BC 1151-1154; 5MR 82-83; 11MR 188. +Note

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of Me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and Thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and Thou takest no knowledge? 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 1

“Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labors. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” [Isaiah 58:1-6.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 2

Men have no right to place yokes on the necks of their brethren. They have no right to exercise a power so dominating that their brethren will look upon them with fear, instead of looking unto the Lord God of Israel and fearing Him and doing His will. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 3

“To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed to free, and that ye break every yoke”—this is the message that the Lord has given me to bear to those assembled here today. [Verse 6.] There is to be a reformation all through these cities, that the inhabitants of these crowded centers may know what it means to serve the Lord God of Israel and to glorify His name. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 4

We continue reading. Seventh verse: “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 5

All about us in Oakland and San Francisco, and in every other city of this land, there are many who have been so blinded and bound about by the enemy of their souls, that they cannot recognize the Lord God of heaven and His will concerning them. They seem unable to realize the times in which they are living. And yet here we are, professedly the Lord’s people, with the accumulated light of centuries shining along our pathway. What are we doing for those who are groping their way in the mists of error? The coming of the Lord is near. It hasteth greatly. The Lord is coming in such a time as many look not for Him, and who is prepared for His coming? What are we doing to warn our friends and neighbors? Are we faithfully doing all in our power to let our light shine out into this moral darkness and illuminate the pathway of those who are seeking to find the way of life eternal? 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 6

Note the inspired promise of the prophet to those who do all in their power to relieve distress, both physical and spiritual. “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.” [Verse 8.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 7

As Christians we are to have a righteousness that shall be developed and seen—a righteousness that represents the character of Jesus Christ when He was in our world. He came and died in order that we might live. He gave His life to purchase every soul of the human family. But only those who come to Him in faith, nothing wavering, will be granted the boon of life eternal. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 8

The Christian life does not call for undue suffering and hardship. We are not asked to sit in sackcloth and ashes; but we are asked to recognize God as our helper, and to co-operate with Him in doing His will, so that He may bless us and enable us to live the Christian life. He is our strength, our frontguard, and our rereward. And whatever our estate, we may be assured that Christ has lived and suffered in our behalf, and that by His grace we may be strong to prevail. The King of glory, He stooped low to rescue humanity. Laying aside His royal crown and kingly robe, He came to this earth in the likeness of humanity, as the poorest of the poor. By personal experience He knew what it meant to be poor and oppressed. And in the busy years of His ministry, when surrounded by crowds seeking to be healed of their infirmities, He never turned one away. Although oft faint with hunger and weariness, He attended to the needs of all who sought His help. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 9

At times His friends and relatives feared for His life, the pressure was so great. On one occasion when His mother and His brethren begged Him to rest, and He saw how concerned they were over His welfare, He called for a boat and went to the other side of the sea, away from the press of the throng. But only for a little while did He remain, and then He was once more back with the multitude. He could not turn aside from suffering humanity unless first He had helped them escape from their afflictions. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 10

We read further: “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually.” [Verses 9-11.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 11

A follower of Christ is one who lives a Christlike life. In his association with the sick and the suffering, the unconverted and the backslider, he does all in his power to help. His light is ever bright, and many are blessed through the influence of his helpful ministry. God desires that every soul shall become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 12

We are now preparing for eternity. Time will not last much longer; for we are living in the closing days of this world’s history. Satan knows that his time is short, and he is now at work with all his masterly power. We need to be instant in prayer; for in communion with God we shall find strength to resist the enemy. If we are not watchful, we may be ensnared, and yet not realize our condition. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 13

It is our privilege to live in the light or in the darkness. Our spiritual condition is dependent on our consecration of soul, body, and spirit to Him who has purchased us by the sacrifice of His own life. We are the property of Christ. We have been bought with a price—and what a price! We can acknowledge God’s ownership by walking in accordance with a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” advancing step by step in faith. In the light of the infinite cost of our redemption, how essential it is that we have keen spiritual discernment! Never should we lose sight of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Oh, the suffering, the agony, endured by Him! He died to save a lost world. If we choose, we may blind our eyes to His sacrifice in our behalf; but in the way of unbelief there is naught but darkness and death. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 14

In our world there are two classes. One is made up of those who behold a crucified and risen Saviour. The other includes all who have chosen to look away from the cross and to follow the leadings of satanic influences. The latter class are busily engaged in putting stumbling blocks before God’s people, to cause them to fall, and turn from the path of obedience into the broad way of disobedience and death. Evil angels are striving to obscure the clear vision of commandment-keepers, and to darken the understanding that they will not be able to discern between righteousness and unrighteousness. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 15

Many choose unrighteousness because Satan presents it in such a way that it seems attractive to those who are not on guard against his wiles. And he works in a special manner through unsanctified men and women who profess to be children of God. In some way or other the enemy will seek to deceive all, even the very elect. Only as we are partakers of the divine nature can we escape the corrupting influences that are brought to bear upon us by the enemy of our souls. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 16

As Satan seeks to break down the barriers of the soul, by tempting us to indulge in sin, we must by living faith retain our connection with God and have confidence in His strength to enable us to overcome every besetment. We are to flee from evil and seek righteousness, meekness, and holiness. Rightdoing develops strength of character and begets confidence in our Christian integrity on the part of those who are watching us to see whether the Christian religion is really a molding power in our lives. We are to obey the injunction, “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.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 17

Of him who walks in the way of life everlasting, using his blessings to bless others, the prophet Isaiah declares: “The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” [Isaiah 58:11.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 18

These blessings we need. We need the water of life that flows from Jesus Christ, which will be in us a well of water springing up into everlasting life. “The Lord shall guide thee continually.” [Verse 11.] When we are guided by the Lord, we shall have clear discernment. We shall not call righteousness unrighteousness, nor think that things that the Lord has forbidden are right. We shall understand where the Lord is working. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 19

Many have not understood this. There are some whom I know have been led astray by the enemy. But God wants to make you a partaker of the divine nature. He wants no yoke of human authority on your neck, but that you shall look to Him who is able to save to the uttermost every one that comes to Him in righteousness and truth. We have no time to tamper with the enemy; for we are very near the close of this earth’s history. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 20

“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” [Verse 12.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 21

A breach has been made in the law of God, and He is calling for a people that will repair this breach. A spurious Sabbath has been exalted instead of the Sabbath of Jehovah. Soon laws will be passed, compelling all to observe the first day of the week instead of the seventh. We must meet this difficulty, and we shall find trouble enough, without stirring up contention among those who profess to be keeping God’s commandments. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 22

“Thou shalt be called The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thin own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 23

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” [Isaiah 58:12-14; 59:1, 2.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 24

God wants us to be in a position where we may do real missionary work. We should feel for our fellow men the same sympathy that Christ felt for humanity. His sympathy led Him to redeem them, even at the cost of His own blood. If we would carry out the principles of the law of God, we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 25

The Lord is calling upon His people to finish His work in the earth. As for me, I purpose to stand in my lot and place; and wherever the Lord bids me go, I shall raise the note of warning. He requires of us that the divine impress shall be upon all our words, upon all our business transactions. Wherever we go, we are to let our light shine in the community around us. We are preparing to enter the pearly gates of the city of God. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 26

But many of you are not ready for the coming of Christ. The Lord has bidden me bear to this people the message, Prepare to meet thy God. There is earnest work before you. There are hundreds even in this vicinity who should be converted, and who might even now be rejoicing in the knowledge of the truth, if all had done their duty faithfully. There is a world to hear the message, yet some of our ministers have been hovering over small churches, when the members of these churches themselves ought to be active in spreading the knowledge of the truth to those around them. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 27

We cannot give this solemn warning unless we ourselves are partakers of the light and grace and the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Let it be known that there is a God in Israel. We are to lift up our voice like a trumpet, and show God’s people their transgressions. If we do this faithfully and fearlessly, many will take heed and will seek the Lord and find Him. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 28

I would ask you, Have you done the work of the Lord in meekness and in sanctification of the Spirit? In the visions of the night I have seen some of the baneful results of unsanctified minds influencing other minds. Some have placed yokes on the necks of their brethren, and God now demands that these yokes shall be broken. Let every one realize that there is freedom in Jesus Christ. He loves you, and He desires to reveal Himself unto you, that you may reveal Him to the world. He desires you to tell others of His love and of His willingness and power to save. Jesus Christ, the Lord our righteousness, will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rereward. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 29

I ask you to search well your own hearts. Put away the evil speaking that has been weakening the faith of some of God’s people. We must have a living faith in God. We cannot afford to go backward. We must press forward in the footsteps of our Redeemer, even though we are led through a cloud. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 30

In the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, the prophet speaks of the mission of our Saviour. He says: 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 31

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” [Verses 1, 2.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 32

The Lord is not pleased to have His people a band of mourners. He wants them to repent of their sins, that they may enjoy the liberty of the sons of God. Then they will be filled with the praises of God, and will be a blessing to others. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 33

The Lord Jesus was anointed also “to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that the might be called Trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” [Verse 3.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 34

“That He might be glorified”—O that this might be the purpose of our lives! Then we should have regard to the expression of our countenance, to our words, and even to the tone of our voice when we speak. All our business transactions would be wrought in faith and integrity. Then would the world be convinced that there is a people that are loyal to the God of heaven. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 35

So long as God gives me strength, I shall endeavor faithfully to bear to His people the messages of warning that He gives me. It pains me to think of the loss of souls. I find no pleasure in thinking that there are some who have seen great light, and who have enjoyed wonderful privileges, but who are still in the darkness of error. God calls for all to come into harmony with Himself. He will receive them if they will put away their evil actions. By a union with the divine nature of Christ, they may escape the corrupting influences of this world. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 36

It is time for every one of us to decide whose side we are on. The agencies of Satan will work with every mind that will allow itself to be worked by him. But there are also heavenly agencies waiting to communicate the bright rays of the glory of God to all that are willing to receive Him. It is truth that we want, precious truth in all its loveliness. Truth will bring liberty and gladness. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 37

We are to take a special interest in those who know not the special truths for this time. Had faithful work been done in Oakland during the past few years, hundreds more would have been converted. Will those whose eyes have been blinded, now seek earnestly for a clear spiritual vision, that a new order of things may be seen. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 38

In the following verses our work is pointed out: “And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen, and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.” [Verses 4-6.] 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 39

We are all amenable to God for the character of the influence we exert. Are we preparing for the day of our God which is soon to burst upon us, or are we closing our eyes, and blinding the eyes of others, that they shall not discern where the enemy is working? 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 40

We plead for temperance in all points. I remember how the temperance question forty years ago was all alive. My husband was living then, and as we went from place to place, we would advocate the principles of temperance in all things. There must be temperance in eating as well as in drinking. Our appetites are to be under a sensible control. The Lord is not pleased when we load our digestive organs with the flesh of dead animals, or with a large variety of foods at the same meal. It is well to eat one class of foods at one meal, and other kinds of food at a different meal. Fruit we would especially recommend as a health-giving agency. But even fruit should not be eaten after a full meal of other foods. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 41

We may preserve our health if we will use good common sense. That is why we have established sanitariums in so many places, that a proper education might be given. But notwithstanding all the light that God has given on this subject, there are some who will eat anything and everything that they desire. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 42

God is willing to work with everyone who will seek for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But if you turn away from that righteousness, if you refuse to heed the light that God has given, you cannot claim His promises. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 43

May the Lord bring into our ranks the spirit of freedom. He is coming soon, to take to Himself those who are tried and proved. But what a loss will come to those who have not purified their souls through obedience to the truth. They will lose eternal life, an eternal life free from pain and suffering, a life where sin is unknown. This reward Christ has provided for all who will receive and acknowledge Him. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 44

May the Lord help us to humble our souls before Him, and learn of Jesus Christ as little children, that we may practice the truth in righteousness. If we do this, we may rejoice in the Lord. We may be happy and joyous in our God. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 45

I want you all to be saved in the kingdom of glory. As I see how much Christ has done for you, I am determined, so long as I have strength, to extend the invitation to come up on the platform of eternal truth, where you may know that you are experiencing the keeping power of God, and that there awaits you in the kingdom of God the life eternal. 23LtMs, Ms 43, 1908, par. 46