The Review and Herald

137/1902

November 28, 1878

Search the Scriptures

EGW

The word of God has not been appreciated, but sadly neglected. This book, revealing the will of God to man, deserves to be held in the highest esteem, not only by the rich, but by the common people. Instruction of the highest value is given to the working class. The apostle enjoins upon slaves under masters to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour. Those in the humblest employment can, through connection with God, so order their conversation and be so circumspect in deportment as to bring no dishonor or reproach upon the cause of the Redeemer. They will not by inconsistencies furnish occasion to bring the truth into disrepute, when it should be a savor of life unto life. RH November 28, 1878, par. 1

In a special manner, those who are blessed with a connection with God, should, by close application to his sacred word, imitate the great Pattern in doing good, thus exemplifying the life of Christ in their daily conversation, in pure and virtuous characters. By being courteous and beneficent they adorn his doctrine, and show that the truth of heavenly origin beautifies the character and ennobles the life. Christ's followers are “living epistles, known and read of all men.” Their daily words and noble actions recommend the truth to those who have been prejudiced against it by nominal professors, who have had a form of godliness, while their lives have testified that they know nothing of its sanctifying power. RH November 28, 1878, par. 2

No man, woman, or youth can attain to Christian perfection and neglect the study of the word of God. By carefully and closely searching his word we shall obey the injunction of Christ, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” This search enables the student to closely observe the divine Model, for they testify of Christ. The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” It is not in looking away from him, and in losing sight of him, that we imitate the life of Jesus; but in dwelling upon and talking of him, and seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character; seeking to approach through earnest, persevering effort, through faith and love, the perfect Pattern. The attention being fixed upon Christ, his image, pure and spotless, becomes enshrined in the heart as “the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely.” Even unconsciously we imitate that with which we are familiar. By having a knowledge of Christ, his words, his habits, his lessons of instruction, and by borrowing the virtues of the character which we have so closely studied, we become imbued with the spirit of the Master which we have so much admired. RH November 28, 1878, par. 3

After the resurrection, two disciples traveling to Emmaus were talking over the disappointed hopes occasioned by the death of the beloved Master. Christ himself drew near, unrecognized by the sorrowing disciples. Their faith had died with the Lord, and their eyes, blinded by unbelief, did not discern the risen Saviour. Jesus, walking by their side, longed to reveal himself to them, but he did not choose to do so abruptly; he accosted them merely as fellow-travelers, and asked them in regard to the communication which they were having one with another, and why they were so sad. They were astonished at the question, and asked if he were indeed a stranger in Jerusalem and had not heard that a prophet mighty in word and in deed had been taken by wicked hands and crucified. And now it was the third day, and strange reports had been brought to their ears that Jesus had risen, and had been seen by Mary and certain of the disciples. Jesus said to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory?” And beginning at Moses and the prophets, he opened to them the scriptures concerning himself. RH November 28, 1878, par. 4

When they arrived at Emmaus, Jesus made as though he would have gone farther; but the disciples constrained him to tarry with them, for the day was far spent and the night was at hand. The evening meal was quickly prepared, and while Jesus was offering devotional thanks the disciples looked at one another with astonished glances. His words, his manner, and then his wounded hands were revealed, and they exclaimed, “My Lord and my God.” Had the disciples been indifferent in regard to their fellow-traveler, they would have lost the precious opportunity of recognizing their companion who had reasoned so ably from the Scriptures regarding his life, his suffering, and his death and resurrection. He reproved them for not being acquainted with the scriptures in reference to himself. Had they been familiar with the Scriptures, their faith would have been sustained, their hopes unshaken; for prophecy plainly stated the treatment Christ would receive from those he came to save. The disciples were astonished that they could not discover Christ at once, as soon as he spoke with them by the way, and that they had failed to bring to their support the scriptures which Jesus had brought to their remembrance. They had lost sight of the precious promises; but when the words spoken by the prophets were brought to their remembrance, faith revived, and after Christ revealed himself they exclaimed, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” RH November 28, 1878, par. 5

The word of God, spoken to the heart, has an animating power, and those who will frame any excuse for neglecting to become acquainted with it will neglect the claims of God in many respects. The character will be deformed, the words and acts a reproach to the truth. The apostle tells us, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” One of the prophets of God exclaims, “While I was musing, the fire burned.” If Christians would earnestly search the Scriptures, more hearts would burn with the vivid truths therein revealed. Their hopes would brighten with the precious promises strewn like pearls all through the sacred writings. In contemplating the history of the patriarchs, the prophets, the men who loved and feared God and walked with him, hearts will glow with the spirit which animated these worthies. As the mind dwells upon the virtue and piety of holy men of old, the spirit which inspired them will kindle a flame of love and holy fervor in the hearts of those who would be like them in character. RH November 28, 1878, par. 6

The student of the Sabbath-school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes his name. Teachers in the Sabbath-school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not, parrot like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand. “They are they which testify of me”—the Redeemer, him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with the spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge? The prayer of Christ for his disciples was, Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. If we are to be sanctified through a knowledge of the truth found in the word of God, we must have an intelligent knowledge of his will therein revealed. We must search the Scriptures, not merely rush through a chapter and repeat it, taking no pains to understand it, but we must dig for the jewel of truth which will enrich the mind, and fortify the soul against the wiles and temptations of the arch-deceiver. RH November 28, 1878, par. 7

Parents plead trifling excuses for not interesting themselves in the lessons with their children, and they fail to become conversant with the Scriptures. Fathers as well as mothers excuse themselves from disciplining their own minds. They do not seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, but exalt the temporal above the spiritual and eternal. This forgetfulness of God and neglect of his word is the example they give their children, which molds their minds after the worldly standard and not after the exalted standard erected by Christ. Some fathers will while away hours in their own amusement, in conversation upon worldly things, and put God out of their thoughts and hearts. How much more profitable to be faithful disciples of Christ, engaged in searching the Scriptures that they may be thoroughly furnished to all good works, and be able to give an intelligent explanation of the word given of God to guide our footsteps to the eternal shores. RH November 28, 1878, par. 8

Mothers are heard to deplore that they have no time to teach their children, no time to instruct them in the word of God. But these same mothers find time for outward adorning, time to ornament with tucks and ruffles and needless stitching. Needless trimming is seen upon their own dresses and their children's. The inward adorning of the mind and the culture of the soul are neglected as though inferior to the adornment of the apparel. The minds of mothers and children are starved in order to follow custom and fashion. RH November 28, 1878, par. 9

Fathers and mothers, we entreat you to take up your long-neglected duties. Search the Scriptures yourselves; assist your children in the study of the sacred word. Make diligent work because of past neglect. Do not send the children away by themselves to study the Bible, but read it with them, teach them in a simple manner what you know, and keep in the school of Christ as diligent students yourselves. Be determined that this work shall not be neglected. Mothers, dress yourselves and your children in modest apparel, clean and neat, but without needless adornment. When you learn to do this, to dress with conscientious plainness, then you will have no excuse for being novices in the Scriptures. Follow Christ's injunction, “Search the Scriptures,” then you will advance in spiritual strength yourselves, and be able to instruct your children so that they need not come to the Sabbath-school untaught. RH November 28, 1878, par. 10

Many of the youth say, I have no time to study my lesson. But what are they doing? Some are crowding in every moment to earn a few cents more, when this time pressed into work, if given to the study of the Bible would, if they practiced its lessons, save them more than the amount gained by overwork. It would save much that is expended in needless ornaments, and preserve vigor of mind to understand the mystery of godliness. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But these very youth who profess to be Christians gratify the desires of the carnal heart in following their own inclinations; and God-given probationary time, granted them to become acquainted with the precious truths of the Bible, is devoted to the reading of fictitious tales. This habit once formed is difficult to overcome; but it can be done, it must be done by all who are candidates for the heavenly world. That mind is ruined which is allowed to be absorbed in story-reading. The imagination becomes diseased, sentimentalism takes possession of the mind, and there is a vague unrest, a strange appetite for unwholesome mental food, which is constantly unbalancing the mind. Thousands are today in the insane asylum whose minds became unbalanced by novel-reading, which results in air-castle building, and love-sick sentimentalism. The Bible is the book of books. It will give you life and health. It is a soother of the nerves, and imparts solidity of mind and firm principle. RH November 28, 1878, par. 11

The student of the Sabbath-school should be in earnest, should dig deep and search with the greatest care for the precious gems of truth contained in the weekly lessons. The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be his followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of his word. When and where can this be better obtained than in youth at the Sabbath-school? Parents should in no case treat this matter indifferently. RH November 28, 1878, par. 12