The Review and Herald

1451/1902

September 27, 1906

“Behold, What Manner of Love!”

[A discourse given at the Oakland, Cal., camp-meeting, July 25, 1906.]

EGW

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 1

What a precious privilege is this,—that we may be sons and daughters of the Most High, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ! What love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God, and adopted into his family! RH September 27, 1906, par. 2

It is sin that alienates from God. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whoso sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 3

To every one who surrenders fully to God is given the privilege of living without sin, in obedience to the law of heaven. RH September 27, 1906, par. 4

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 5

God requires of us perfect obedience. We are to purify ourselves, even as he is pure. By keeping his commandments, we are to reveal our love for the Supreme Ruler of the universe. And the Lord has not left us in ignorance regarding his law. While enshrouded in a thick cloud, he repeated from Mount Sinai the holy precepts of the decalogue distinctly and with solemn impressiveness. So deeply were the people impressed when they “saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking,” that “they removed, and stood afar off.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 6

“Speak thou with us,” they pleaded with Moses, “and we will hear: but let not God speak with us; lest we die.” “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Every provision against sin has been made in our behalf. RH September 27, 1906, par. 7

The importance of obedience was further impressed upon the minds of the Israelites by the Lord himself, when, as recorded in the thirty-first of Exodus, he “spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.... Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. RH September 27, 1906, par. 8

“And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 9

In the providence of God, these same commandments that were written with the finger of Jehovah and entrusted to the Israelites, are now committed to our care. Upon us rests the solemn obligation of proclaiming God's law to an impenitent world. The last great conflict over the question of loyalty to God, will turn on obedience to the Sabbath commandment, which is so plainly enforced by the Lord himself, “for a perpetual covenant.” Men will labor with an intensity from beneath to make of no effect God's command regarding the observance of the seventh day; but we are not to be influenced by anything that man may do. Our allegiance to the King of kings must ever be made a matter of paramount importance. We can not afford to be out of harmony with the Creator of the universe. RH September 27, 1906, par. 10

Men may make laws to enforce Sunday observance, but they have no Scriptural authority for so doing. We can not do otherwise than obey the law of Jehovah, irrespective of any conflicting law enacted by man. When man-made laws are contrary to God's sacred enactments, we must choose to obey God rather than man. While respecting earthly authorities in so far as they do not interfere with our allegiance to God, we are ever to acknowledge our divine Ruler as the Supreme Authority. And in all our efforts to remain true, we are to keep constantly in mind the words of the beloved disciple, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 11

The final conflict is near at hand, but many are asleep regarding the responsibilities of the hour. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 12

Years ago, in the early days of our denominational work on the Pacific Coast, my husband and I united with a few faithful brethren and sisters in an effort to build meeting-houses in San Francisco and in Oakland. At that time there were not many believers, and we had to make heavy personal sacrifices in order to secure sufficient means with which to erect churches and establish institutions. But we realized that San Francisco and Oakland must be worked, and so we toiled and struggled until the Laguna Street church in San Francisco and the first church in Oakland were built. RH September 27, 1906, par. 13

San Francisco has been visited with a terrible calamity. The Lord in mercy spared life, in order that the people may still have opportunity to repent. The wickedness practised in San Francisco, and in Oakland as well,—though in a lesser degree,—has been opened before me again and again. No tongue can describe the conditions that existed before the earthquake; words are inadequate to portray the awful iniquity carried on. To an unusual extent, many were “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,” “heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 14

God has manifested his displeasure in a signal manner in San Francisco. He is seeking to teach men that they can not always disregard his authority with impunity. He has given to us a law, which, sooner or later, we must acknowledge as holy, and just, and good. The Ruler of the universe bears long with those who trample on his law and disregard his holy Sabbath; but in the fulness of time he arises to vindicate his supreme authority. RH September 27, 1906, par. 15

In his judgments, God remembered mercy. He spared life. We now have a solemn work to do in San Francisco. The third angel's message is to be proclaimed in San Francisco with power. If possible, the people are to be aroused to a realization of their peril. By this stroke of God's providence they are to understand that it requires but a single touch from the One in supreme authority to break up the foundations laid by man, and to bring destruction to the works of human hands. God's judgments are not sent for naught. They are given in order that all may take warning. Every one should inquire, Have I a hope in God? Do I believe in him? Can I take hold of him by living faith? RH September 27, 1906, par. 16

In the midst of the confusion caused by the earthquake and the fire, the people are to be taught to discern the wondrous import of the words, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 17

Diligent work is now called for. In this crisis, no half-hearted efforts will prove successful. In all our city work, we are to hunt for souls. Wise plans are to be laid, in order that such work may be done to the best possible advantage. More and more, as wickedness increases in the great cities, we shall have to work them from outpost centers. This is the way Enoch labored in the days before the flood, when wickedness was rife in every populous community, and when violence was in the land. RH September 27, 1906, par. 18

God in his providence has spared Oakland, and thousands are flocking to it. We have a present duty to perform in Oakland. We are now to give this city a decided warning; for God has spared it in order that we may do a thorough and a quick work here. Let not those who are in this place become discouraged over the outlook. The Lord has a message to be borne just now to the people in Oakland. Decided efforts are to be made to lead men and women to see that God is Supreme Ruler, and that his commandments are to be obeyed. RH September 27, 1906, par. 19

In the night season there have passed before me many presentations, in figures, regarding the work to be done in Oakland. Among other things, I saw One from heaven standing before the people in Oakland and in the surrounding cities, and bearing the proclamation, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 20

To the members of the Oakland church I would say: Do not be discouraged because many of your brethren and sisters are going away in response to the counsels given that our people should leave the cities. Do not feel that Oakland is to be left without a witness. Help and strength must be given to the work in Oakland. God may touch Oakland, but he has spared it thus far, in order that those who have never heard the third angel's message, may be warned and converted and saved. Those who choose to stand on the Lord's side shall behold “what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” RH September 27, 1906, par. 21

Much missionary work is to be done in Oakland, and in the surrounding communities. We expect to stand by the brethren and sisters of the Oakland church; and we shall expect you to unite heartily with the conference laborers by rallying around the standard and by doing much personal work among your neighbors and friends. Money will also be needed for the maintenance of the laborers. Let every church-member deny self as Christ denied himself. Let us study the closest economy because of the many pressing calls for means to advance the message. As we sacrifice willingly, God will not fail us in time of need. The Source of all our blessings, he will not allow us to suffer because of our liberality. RH September 27, 1906, par. 22

More and more, as time advances, our people will have to leave the cities. For years we have been instructed that our brethren and sisters, and especially families with children, should plan to leave the cities as the way opens before them to do so. Many will have to labor earnestly to help open the way. But until it is possible for them to leave, so long as they remain, they should be most active in doing missionary work, however limited their sphere of influence may be. As they yield their talents and their all to God to be used as he may direct; as they live out their consecration by engaging in practical missionary work wherever opportunity affords, God will bless them with wisdom and discretion, and in his own way and time he will make it possible for them to place themselves where they will not be surrounded constantly with the contaminating influences of modern city life. RH September 27, 1906, par. 23

O, how much we need genuine missionaries! How much we need men and women who will labor under the supervision of the Almighty, in the power of his Spirit! How much we need those who know that God has called them to his service! It is when the work goes hard, that living missionaries reveal by their courage and fortitude and their trust in God that they are led and taught by the Holy Spirit. RH September 27, 1906, par. 24