The Review and Herald

1449/1902

September 13, 1906

Love Toward God and Man

[A discourse given at the Oakland, Cal., camp-meeting, Sabbath, July 21, 1906.]

EGW

“A certain lawyer stood up,” and tempted Christ, “saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, 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.” RH September 13, 1906, par. 1

“Thou hast answered right,” Christ declared; “this do, and thou shalt live.” RH September 13, 1906, par. 2

In the question, “What is written in the law?” the Saviour referred to the ten commandments communicated to the Israelites at Sinai. Those to whom had been entrusted the sacred oracles had well-nigh lost sight of these precepts. There came a time when Christ saw that Satan was gathering the whole world, as it were, in his grasp. The enemy was working with the intensity with which he had worked in the heavenly courts, when first he refused to yield to the mighty Monarch of the universe. Satan was rapidly leading the world to act counter to God's law, counter to the principles of righteousness that should have been made their rule of action. RH September 13, 1906, par. 3

Christ saw that the time had come when Satan's power over mankind must be broken. Before the fall of man, the Son of God had united with his Father in laying the plan of salvation. God was to be manifested in Christ, “reconciling the world unto himself.” And now, thousands of years later, the fulness of time came for the infinite sacrifice to be made. Divinity was to be communicated to humanity through a divine-human Saviour. The great Life-giver was to purchase the whole world by giving his own life as a ransom. RH September 13, 1906, par. 4

Christ came, but not in the brightness of his divine glory. He laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown, clothed his divinity with humanity, and came to live upon the earth as a man among men. Had he come in the full power and glory of his divinity, sinners could not have stood in his presence without being destroyed. He came to meet humanity in its most sinful and corrupt form. Thus divine love was manifested toward erring mortals. RH September 13, 1906, par. 5

The Saviour gained victories over temptation through power imparted from above in answer to prayer. He met the enticements of the enemy with the sword of the Spirit—God's Word. Again and again he declared, “It is written.” And when the lawyer stood up to question him while he was teaching the people, he drew from the questioner the answer desired, by appealing to the lawyer's knowledge of God's Word. RH September 13, 1906, par. 6

It was to vindicate the just claims of the law of God, and to establish the supreme authority of its divine Author, that Christ came to this earth. The lawyer, while trying to prove that Christ lightly regarded the law given from Sinai, found himself a lawbreaker. Rather than repent, he sought to justify himself by putting another question, “Who is my neighbor?” RH September 13, 1906, par. 7

By a short story Jesus brought to view the duty of man toward his fellow man and toward God. “A certain man,” he said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 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.” RH September 13, 1906, par. 8

Not all who claim to keep God's law—a law given by One who is full of compassion, long-sufferance, and loving-kindness—reveal a love for their neighbor as great as their love for themselves. Not all reveal, in word and deed, that they comprehend God's great love for humanity. RH September 13, 1906, par. 9

“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 September 13, 1906, par. 10

Fixing his eyes upon the lawyer, in a glance that seemed to read his soul, the Saviour inquired, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?” RH September 13, 1906, par. 11

The lawyer answered, “He that showed mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go, and do thou likewise.” Show the same tender kindness to those in need. Thus you will give evidence that you keep the whole law. RH September 13, 1906, par. 12

In giving this lesson, Christ presented the principles of the law of God in a direct, forcible way, showing his hearers that they had neglected to carry out these principles. His words were so definite and pointed that the listeners found no opportunity to cavil or raise objections. RH September 13, 1906, par. 13

Those who study this lesson aright will see that in order to keep the law it is necessary to have a knowledge of God; for the law is a transcript of his character, and his character is love. Moses prayed, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” RH September 13, 1906, par. 14

The lawyer asked. “Who is my neighbor?” The despised Samaritan of whom Jesus told, acted as Jesus would have acted toward the suffering Jew robbed by the wayside and left to perish. He fulfilled the command, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was despised. This Samaritan represents Christ. The Saviour stooped from the position of commander in the heavenly courts to become a servant. He clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, yet he humbled himself. His whole life was one of poverty and self-denial. For our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He did not live to please himself. His life is the mystery of godliness. RH September 13, 1906, par. 15

Jesus was the foundation of the Jewish economy, the author of all the laws, statutes, and requirements of his chosen people. How his soul was pained and his heart filled with grief as he saw those who claimed to be the depositaries of truth, mercy, and compassion, so destitute of the love of God! RH September 13, 1906, par. 16

In the providence of God, the priest and the Levite were brought in contact with a suffering fellow creature, that they might minister to him. Christ is constantly weaving the web of human events. He placed this suffering man where one who had sympathy and compassion would give attention to his needs. The Lord permits suffering and calamity to come upon men and women to call us out of our selfishness, to awaken in us the attributes of his character,—compassion, tenderness, and love. RH September 13, 1906, par. 17

Divine love makes its most touching appeals when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. He was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In all our afflictions he is afflicted. He loves men and women as the purchase of his own blood, and he says to us, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” RH September 13, 1906, par. 18

(To be concluded.)