General Conference Bulletin, vol. 3




Reading for Thursday, December 27.

This admonition is found in the epistle to the Ephesians, fifth chapter and first verse, and by reading the connection we find that it is given in regard to our relation to one another. The last verse of the fourth chapter reads as follows: “Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The second verse in the fifth chapter says: “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” Then in all our association with one another we should be guided by the example God has given us, because the text says that we should be his followers. GCB July 1, 1900, page 173.2

When sin entered the world, separation between God and man was made; the fault was wholly on man’s side. The Lord had formed man in his own image, and provided him with a beautiful home, and made everything pleasant and good for him; and when man, notwithstanding all this, sinned against him, God might have said: “I have nothing to do in this matter; if a reconciliation be made between us, he must come to me, confess his sins, and ask to be restored into my favor.” But sin had already blinded and weakened him, so that he could not do that. If God had not interceded, we should all have been lost. Adam did what he could, and that was to hide himself. Genesis 3:10. He covered his transgression by hiding his iniquity in his bosom. Job 31:33. He accused God and the woman he had given him, and thus revealed his inability, not only to save himself, but also to confess his sin. GCB July 1, 1900, page 173.3

Therefore, although it was we who had separated ourselves from God, and he had no part in the matter at all, yet the thought of reconciliation did not originate in our hearts, but in his great heart of love. Before Adam was compelled to hear the result of his transgression pronounced, he was permitted to hear words that contained hope and consolation for him: “It [the seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [the serpent’s] head.” Genesis 3:15. These precious words contained the blessed gospel. In sinning, Adam and Eve doubted the wisdom and love of God, but instead of casting us off to destruction, he now, in the remedy he provided, revealed greater love and wisdom,—such love and wisdom that it seems impossible for anyone to doubt; and yet, like our first parents, we have all doubted him, sinned against him, and grieved his great, tender, fatherly heart. GCB July 1, 1900, page 173.4

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” 1 John 4:11. We can easily understand that when God is loved, he is pleased to see the same principle manifested in us, who are the objects of his love, and we should not only be willing to love one another, but we should be grateful to him because he has made it possible for us to be his followers; as the very command given us to do so contains as assurance of ability to follow him. His word to us has in itself power to accomplish what it says, when we receive it by faith. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13. GCB July 1, 1900, page 173.5

When Peter came to Jesus, and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven time? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21, 22); and then our Saviour continued: “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” Matthew 18:23-35. GCB July 1, 1900, page 173.6

This parable of our Saviour reveals, first, our great debt to God and our inability to pay it; second, his tender love and mercy in forgiving it all; third, although the Lord has been so good to us, we are apt to be cold, hard-hearted, and unforgiving toward one another, even when the wrong done to us is almost nothing to be compared with the great debt the Lord has forgiven us; fourth, if we continue showing that spirit, we will thereby separate ourselves from God, and be among the lost, who will suffer the second death. May the Lord forbid that this should be the case with any of us; but may we be “followers of God, as dear children.” GCB July 1, 1900, page 174.1

Christ in leaving heaven for our sake to suffer and die for our sins, revealed the principle of love perfectly. This pleased God. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of him, says: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgement to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1. And as he was about to enter upon his public ministry, the words came from heaven: “Thou art my beloved son; in thee I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22. Again we read: “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” Hebrews 1:9. When this same principle is revealed in God’s children, and carried out by them, the Lord will also delight in them and rejoice over them. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17. GCB July 1, 1900, page 174.2

Not only should God’s dealings with us as sinners ever be in our thoughts, and be our guide and example in all our association with one another, but we should also remember that he has entrusted us with the gospel. He has condescended to use all who by living faith become acquainted with him, to bring the good tidings of his love, which is salvation, to their fellow men. The same Spirit which, when we believe, sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Romans 5:5), reveals to us our duty and privileges in this respect. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20. Many seem to think that it is the ministers only who are spoken of in this text; but while the Lord in a special manner has called them to labor in word and doctrine, yet, when we read the connection, we see plainly that it is said concerning all who have become new creatures in Christ. Verse 17. This was revealed so plainly to the apostle Paul that he said: “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:16. Christ was revealed to him, not because he alone should enjoy his love and peace, but that he might preach him to the heathen. Galatians 1:16. He said: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” Romans 1:14. GCB July 1, 1900, page 174.3

The Spirit of God which made this so plain to this servant of God, will also make it plain to us, if we seek him with all our hearts as he did, and walk in the light as he did. He did not confer with flesh and blood, “but,” says he, “what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Philippians 3:7-10. GCB July 1, 1900, page 174.4

“If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we know it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” Proverbs 24:11, 12. Oh, how many of all nations are “drawn unto death” and “ready to be slain,” and if we “forbear to deliver them,” and excuse ourselves, saying, “Behold, we know it not,” will not the Lord, who knows every thought of our hearts, render to us according to our works? If we walk in the light, the burden for the salvation of souls will be upon us. “Bear in mind that just the degree of love you have for God you will reveal for your brethren and for souls who are lost and undone, out of Christ.”—The Review and Herald, January 9, 1900. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.1

“How many of those whose hearts should be tender and compassionate refuse to admit Christ into their hearts, and therefore fail to speak kindly and tenderly to those who are in trouble? Their brother may be very much in need of encouragement, but they have none to give. They have lost the dear Saviour if they ever had him They are strangers to his tenderness and love. A stern, cold, forbidding, steel-like spirit controls them; and works of mercy and love are barred out. All such should remember that they do not belong to Christ’s family. He does not knowledge them as his brethren. Selfishness, self-love, is the controlling element in their lives. The image of God is not stamped on the soul.”—The Review and Herald, March 27, 1900. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.2

“Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be; blessed shall she be above women in the tent.” Judges 5:23, 24. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.3

In the first of these verses the angel of the Lord pronounces twice a curse upon Meroz, and in the second he pronounces twice a blessing upon Jael, the wife of Heber. What was the reason for this? The Lord had a work,—a battle,—and the inhabitants of Meroz did not take part in it. Perhaps they would have liked to see the Israelites conquer, but they simply did nothing, and the words of the angel are that they came not to “the help of the Lord against the mighty,” and they were cursed. Jael did what she could. Her faith in God and love for his cause was such that although she was a woman, she could not be an idle observer. She watched for a chance to do something, and when the opportunity presented itself, she was ready to improve it, and she was blessed. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.4

Now it can be said as never before, that “the end of all things is at hand,” and yet there is a great work to be done. The four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, are still holding the four winds, and the angel ascending from the east is still crying with a loud voice, “Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” Revelation 7:1-3. The last struggle between truth and error, light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, is right before us. We are in danger both from within and from without. Never has a more sacred work been entrusted to any people than the work the Lord has entrusted to us, and yet few realize it as they should. Satan is angry; and the church of God, which is the object of Christ’s love, is the object of his wrath. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Revelation 12:12. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. The conflict is over the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.5

Notwithstanding all the hindrances and difficulties in every way that Satan and unbelievers could command, the work of God has steadily moved forward until it has encircled the earth. While many perplexities have arisen, and great mistakes have been made, because we have not been so closely connected with the Captain of our Salvation as we should have been, yet may it not be that God in his mercy will turn these perplexities and mistakes into blessings? May the Lord of all mercy greatly bless his dear people, pardon all our sins, fill our hearts with his love, and make us all “followers of God, as dear children.” GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.6

L. JOHNSON. GCB July 1, 1900, page 175.7