The Review and Herald


August 13, 1901

To My Brethren and Sisters in the Faith, Nigh and Afar Off


Letters have come to me, asking in regard to the teaching of some who say that nothing that has life should be killed, not even insects, however annoying or distressing they may be. Is it possible that any one claims that God has given him this message to give to the people? The Lord has never given any human being such a message. God has told no one that it is a sin to kill the insects which destroy our peace and rest. In all His teaching, Christ gave no message of this character, and His disciples are to teach only what He commanded them. RH August 13, 1901, par. 1

There are those who are always seeking to engage in controversy. This is the sum of their religion. They are filled with a desire to produce something new and strange. They dwell upon matters of the smallest consequence, exercising upon these their sharp, controversial talents. RH August 13, 1901, par. 2

Idle tales are brought in as important truths, and by some they are actually set up as tests. Thus controversy is created, and minds are diverted from present truth. Satan knows that if he can get men and women absorbed in trifling details, greater questions will be left unheeded. He will furnish plenty of material for the attention of those who are willing to think upon trifling, unimportant subjects. The minds of the Pharisees were absorbed with questions of no moment. They passed by the precious truths of God's word to discuss the traditionary lore handed down from generation to generation, which in no way concerned their salvation. And so today, while precious moments are passing into eternity, the great questions of salvation are overlooked for some idle tale. RH August 13, 1901, par. 3

I would say to my brethren and sisters, Keep close to the instruction found in the word of God. Dwell upon the rich truths of the Scriptures. Thus only can you become one in Christ. You have no time to engage in controversy regarding the killing of insects. Jesus has not placed this burden upon you. “What is the chaff to the wheat?” These side issues which arise are as hay, wood, and stubble compared with the truth for these last days. Those who leave the great truths of God's word to speak of such matters are not preaching the gospel. They are dealing with the idle sophistry which the enemy brings forward to divert minds from the truths that concern their eternal welfare. They have no word from Christ to vindicate their suppositions. RH August 13, 1901, par. 4

Do not spend your time in the discussion of such matters. If you have any question as to what you should teach, any question as to the subjects upon which you should dwell, go right to the discourses of the Great Teacher, and follow His instructions. Study the counsel He gave the lawyer regarding the keeping of the law. RH August 13, 1901, par. 5

“Behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said, What is written in the law? how readest thou?” The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” RH August 13, 1901, par. 6

The lawyer felt annoyed by the Saviour's reply; for he knew that he had not fulfilled the requirements of the law, and he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” In answer, the Saviour related, in the form of a parable, an incident which had lately taken place. He spoke of a man who, going from Jerusalem to Jericho, fell among thieves, who robbed and wounded him, leaving him to die by the wayside. “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.” They knew the precious lessons of mercy and compassion which from the pillar of cloud Christ had given to Moses to give to the children of Israel; but in utter disregard, they refused to help their suffering brother. RH August 13, 1901, par. 7

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” RH August 13, 1901, par. 8

Then Christ asked the lawyer, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?” So interested had the audience become in the narrative that many voices united with the lawyer's in saying, “He that showed mercy on him.” Then said Jesus, “Go, and do thou likewise.” RH August 13, 1901, par. 9

Do not allow anything to draw your attention from the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This is a life and death question, which we must each settle for eternity. Let the mind be weighted with the importance of the solemn truth which we possess. Those who allow the mind to wander in search of cheap, unimportant theories need to be converted. RH August 13, 1901, par. 10

The sixth chapter of John is full of elevating, ennobling instruction. “Labor not for the meat which perisheth,” Christ said, “but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.... I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.... It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” RH August 13, 1901, par. 11

Read and study these words, instead of engaging in controversy regarding matters of little consequence. The character is built up from the food given to the mind. Let us, then, feed upon Christ. Let the mind dwell upon the subjects which are of eternal consequence. Let the people of God dig deep into the mines of truth, that they may secure the treasures of righteousness. Christ has the richest gifts of heaven to bestow on those who believe in Him. He has been intrusted with the greatest of all gifts,—the gift of eternal life. And to all He gives the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; 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.” RH August 13, 1901, par. 12

This is the instruction which the people need. As we go to Christ in our helplessness, studying His word, applying it to our own experience, asking, “What saith the Master?” His word is made unto us life and strength, comfort and joy, hope and assurance. This is feeding on Christ. RH August 13, 1901, par. 13

Jesus offers himself for the life of the world. He stands before the Father, bearing the sins which man commits. To Him every believing soul may transfer his burden. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Innocent of all sin, He bears the guilt of the sinner, that to the sinner may be imputed the merits of His righteousness. RH August 13, 1901, par. 14

How important are these lessons! Yet how few seek to understand them. How many, forgetting them, stoop down to gather up small trivialities, which are not of the least importance. The life of Christ, His ministry and teachings,—this is the theme upon which we are to dwell. We have no time for empty, foolish talk. The keeping of God's commandments is to be the subject of our conversation and the highest aim of our lives. Heaven is worth everything to us. RH August 13, 1901, par. 15

In our search for the gifts of heaven, we are directed to do one thing, and this includes all others. We are to believe on Him whom God has sent as His commissioner to reconcile man to God. The attributes of Christ are to be studied and earnestly sought for, that we may be complete in Him, revealing His beauty of character. As through Christ man returns to his loyalty and draws nigh to God, rest and peace and security come to him. RH August 13, 1901, par. 16

To believe in Christ, we must come to Christ and follow Him. Repentance toward God means the confession and forsaking of all sin. It means laying hold of Christ as a personal Saviour, and continuing to hold fast to Him as the chief good. He is our Prince, our Saviour. Only through Him can we approach the Father. Loving Him day by day and hour by hour, eating His flesh and drinking His blood, taking Him as the man of our counsel, living by every word that proceedeth out of His mouth,—only thus can we reach heaven. RH August 13, 1901, par. 17

To us has been given the high privilege of living as Christ lived. Our life is to be hid with Christ in God. Then we shall have the richest blessings of heaven to impart to those in need. From the indwelling Saviour we shall receive each day a fresh supply of grace and power. Reveal Christ in your willing obedience, your meekness and lowliness of heart, your self-sacrificing devotion. Thus you will let your light shine, and God will be glorified. Preach the gospel; for it brings salvation to those who accept it. Live the gospel, in the highest, most sacred sense. Doing this, you are laborers together with God, carrying out the plans of the wonderful Counselor. RH August 13, 1901, par. 18

Erroneous theories, with no authority from the word of God, will come in on the right hand and on the left, and to weaklings these theories will appear as truth which makes wise. But they are as nothingness. And yet many church-members have become so well satisfied with cheap food that they have a dyspeptic religion. Why will men and women belittle their experience by gathering up idle tales and presenting them as matters worthy of attention? The people of God have no time to dwell on the indefinite, frivolous questions which have no bearing on God's requirements. RH August 13, 1901, par. 19

God desires men and women to think soberly and candidly. They are to ascend to a higher and still higher grade, commanding a wider and still wider horizon. Looking unto Jesus, they are to be changed into His image. They are to spend their time in searching for the deep, everlasting truths of heaven. Then there will be nothing frivolous in their religious experience. As they study the grand truths of God's word, they endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. They see that the most uplifting, ennobling truths are those most closely connected with the Source of all truth. And as they learn of Him, their motives and sympathies become firm and unchanging; for the impressions made by the All-wise are substantial and enduring. The living water, which Christ gives, is not like a surface spring, which babbles for a short time, and then dries up. The living water springs up unto everlasting life. RH August 13, 1901, par. 20

Let us follow the revealed will of God. Then we shall know that the light we receive comes from the divine source of all true light. Those who co-operate with Christ are on safe ground. God richly blesses them as they consecrate their energies to the work of rescuing the world from corruption. Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly to represent the Saviour to the world. RH August 13, 1901, par. 21