The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials


Chapter 197—Untitled


May 11, ’99

Those who have been separating from Christ by reason of false theories and maxims and customs hear the truth sent from God as a strange thing and inquire, “Doth he not speak in parables?” They lose sight of God and his manner of working, which is often as unexpected to the agent whom he uses as to the people to whom the agent is sent. In some characters, prejudice is so strengthened by the first resistance of the truth that they take false positions, and hold to them, notwithstanding the most positive evidence from the word. With many there is an apparent desire to be much in prayer with God, and yet when the word comes from the Lord, they are startled into resistance, and they exclaim against it and the messenger as did the Jews, saying, “He is tearing away the very pillars of our faith.” In their blindness they do not comprehend what constitute the pillars of <genuine> faith. 1888 1687.1

This departure from God and his word has for a long time been coming in; and it was God who called the attention of several of our brethren to the Scriptures, calling upon them to dig for the truth which had been buried beneath customs and traditions, as for hidden treasure. Truths which to many minds have been a great mystery are to be unfolded. “The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” This word is in a special sense to be proclaimed, that those who believe in Christ as a personal Saviour may have eternal life. 1888 1687.2

When the Israelites were dying from the sting of the fiery serpents, a brazen serpent was uplifted in the midst of them, that all might look and live. But there were those who stopped to reason regarding the foolishness of looking for relief to this means. That they should be healed by looking at a piece of brass was absurd to their minds, and they said, “We will not look.” This decision was fatal, and all who would not accept the provision made perished. 1888 1687.3

The brazen serpent was uplifted in the wilderness that those who looked in faith might be made whole. In like manner God sends a restoring, healing message to men, calling upon them to look away from man and earthly things, and place their trust in God. He has given his people the truth with power through the Holy Spirit. He has opened his word to those who were searching and praying for truth. But when these messengers gave the truth they had received to the people, they were as unbelieving as the Israelites. Many are cavilling over the truth brought to them by humble messengers. They question, How can this message be truth? How is it possible that by looking to Jesus and believing in his imputed righteousness, I may gain eternal life? Those who have thus refused to see the truth do not realize that it is God with whom they are in controversy, that in refusing the message sent them, they are refusing Christ. 1888 1688.1

Nicodemus was surprised that Jesus should tell him he must be born again. “How can these things be?” he asked. “Jesus answered and said unto him, “Art thou a Master in Israel, and knowest not these things?” The same question may be applied to those today who while standing in positions of trust know not the truth God has sent to his people. After years of refusal, they see glimmerings of light, but they have not entirely put away their sinful unbelief, and all heaven is ashamed of them. If these souls would only make the experiment, taking their burden of sin to Jesus for his forgiveness, they would understand what it means to be justified by faith, and their testimony would be heard in the congregation, “The Saviour has cleansed us from all sin. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1888 1688.2

Christ's lessons were not a new revelation, but old truths which he himself had originated and given to the chosen of God, and which he came to earth to rescue from the error under which they had been buried. He himself was the great center of light and truth, but his instruction to the Jewish people was a new revelation to them. The Jewish economy is not yet fully comprehended by men today. Truths vast and profound are contained in Old Testament history. The gospel is its interpreter, the key which unlocks its mysteries. The plan of redemption is unfolding these truths to the understanding. For a few years in the past, and especially since the Minneapolis meeting, truths have been made known that have been of great value to the world and to the people of God. The way has been made so plain that honest hearts cannot but receive the truth. But there are still treasures to be searched for. Let the shaft which has begun to work the mine of truth sink deep, and it will yield rich and precious treasures. 1888 1689.1

My heart aches for the heritage of the Lord. Precious souls in whom I have been interested for years are refusing the light which would place them under the guardianship of the Holy Spirit, to be moulded after the divine similitude. They have taken their stand on the strong side of the question, and view everything in the light of their previous opinions. How sad I have been made to see them turning from light, and choosing to walk in the sparks of their own kindling. Human wisdom and knowledge has taken the place of the Holy Spirit's teaching. Men who do not walk in the light will walk in darkness and know not at what they stumble. They choose their own way, and not the way of the Lord. We would echo the words of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” “The words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” 1888 1689.2

God designs that the plan of redemption shall come to his people as the latter rain; for they are fast losing their connection with God. They are trusting in man, and glorifying man, and their strength is proportionate to the strength of their dependence. Some matters have been opened before me which will be fulfilled ere long. We are to know more than we do at the present time. We are to comprehend the deep things of God. There are themes to be dwelt upon which are worthy of more than a passing notice. Angels have desired to look into the truths which are revealed to the people who are searching God's word and with contrite hearts praying for wisdom, for greater lengths and breadths and heights of that knowledge which God alone can give. 1888 1690.1

Hundreds of commentaries have been written upon the gospel by men who are called great, and as we near the closing scenes of this earth's history still more wonderful representations will be made. We need to study the Scriptures with humble, contrite hearts. Those who will devote their powers to the study of God's word, and especially the prophecies referring to these last days, will be rewarded by the discovery of important truths. The last book of the New Testament Scriptures is full of truths that need to be understood. Satan has blinded the eyes of men, and they have been glad of any excuse for not making a study of this book. Here Christ has declared through his servant John what shall be in the last days. 1888 1690.2

Every Bible student in our school should study these prophecies with diligence. As we search the Scriptures, the character of Christ will appear in its infinite perfection. He is the one in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. He is eternal life to all who will eat his flesh and drink his blood. Those who will look to him may be healed of the serpent's sting: for he is sin-bearer, the only remedy for sin. By beholding him, we may become changed into the same image. Nothing must interpose between the soul and God. Faith, love, adoration, are to grow in the soul of the student. We are in possession of the richest treasures of truth, and if we follow on to know the Lord, we shall have a large field in which to work. The word records the deeds of mercy and the wonderful restoring power of Jesus. With aching hearts we read of his sorrow because of the sins we have committed, We may learn too how through his suffering and sacrifice in our behalf, we may be complete in him. Inspiration tells the story which is of more importance to us than all human learning, however broad and deep. 1888 1691.1

“This is life eternal,” Christ said, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Why do we not realize the value of this knowledge. Why are not these glorious truths glowing in our hearts, trembling upon our lips and pervading our whole being. 1888 1692.1

In giving us his word, God has put us in possession of every truth essential for our salvation. The storehouse of the unsearchable riches of Christ is open to heart and mind. Thousands of men and women have drawn water from the wells of salvation, yet there is no diminishing of the supply. Thousands have set the Lord before them, and by beholding been changed into the same image. Their spirit burns within them as they speak of his character, telling what Jesus is to them and what they are to Jesus. But these men have not exhausted the grand and holy themes. Thousands more may engage in the work of searching out the mysteries of salvation. The life of Christ and the character of his mission may be dwelt upon, and rays of light will shine forth more distinctly at every attempt to discover truth. Each fresh search will reveal something more deeply interesting than has yet been unfolded. The subject is inexhaustible. The study of the incarnation of Christ, his atoning sacrifice and mediatorial work, will employ the mind of the diligent student as long as time shall last, and looking to heaven with its unnumbered years, he will exclaim, “Great is the mystery of godliness.” 1888 1692.2