The Review and Herald


August 3, 1911

Divine Wisdom


As Paul journeyed from Berea, he stopped at Athens to await the arrival of Silas and Timotheus; and “his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” The philosophers who entered into conversation with the apostle were soon convinced that his knowledge exceeded their own. He was competent to meet their opposition on their own ground, matching logic with logic, learning with learning, philosophy with philosophy, and oratory with oratory. RH August 3, 1911, par. 1

At the close of his labors he looked for the results of his work. Out of the large assembly that had listened to his eloquent words, only three had been converted to the faith. He then decided that from that time he would maintain the simplicity of the gospel. He was convinced that the learning of the world was powerless to move the hearts of men, but that the gospel was the power of God unto salvation. RH August 3, 1911, par. 2

Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He declares: “For Christ sent me ... to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” RH August 3, 1911, par. 3

The great and essential knowledge is the knowledge of God and of his Word. Peter exhorted his brethren to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” There should be a daily increasing of spiritual understanding; and the Christian will grow in grace just in proportion as he depends upon and appreciates the teaching of the Word of God, and habituates himself to meditate upon divine things. RH August 3, 1911, par. 4

All pride of opinion, all dependence upon the wisdom of this world, are unprofitable and vain. When men, instead of humbly receiving the truth of God in whatever way it may be sent to them, begin to criticize the words and manners of the messenger, they are manifesting their lack of spiritual perception, and their want of appreciation for the truth of God, which is of vastly more importance than the most cultured and pleasing discourse. One critical speech, disparaging the messenger of God, may start a train of unbelief in some mind that will result in making of none effect the word of truth. Those who have a constant struggle to cherish humility and faith, are far from being benefited by this course. Anything like pride in learning, and dependence upon scientific knowledge, which you place between your soul and the word of the Bible, will most effectually close the door of your heart to the sweet, humble religion of the meek and lowly Jesus. RH August 3, 1911, par. 5

The world's Redeemer did not come with outward display, or a show of worldly wisdom. Men could not see, beneath the disguise of humility, the glory of the Son of God. He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was to them as a root out of dry ground, with no form nor comeliness that they should desire him. But he declared: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” RH August 3, 1911, par. 6

Christ reached the people where they were. He presented the plain truth to their minds in the most forcible and simple language. The humble poor, the most unlearned, could comprehend, through faith in him, the most exalted truths of God. No one needed to consult the learned doctors as to his meaning. He did not perplex the ignorant with mysterious inferences, nor use unaccustomed and learned words, of which they had no knowledge. The greatest Teacher the world has ever known was the most definite, simple, and practical in his instruction. RH August 3, 1911, par. 7

While priests and rabbis were assuring themselves of their competency to teach the people, and to cope even with the Son of God in expounding doctrine, he charged them with ignorance of the Scriptures or the power of God. It is not the learning of the world's great men that opens the mysteries of the plan of redemption. The priests and rabbis had studied the prophecies, but they failed to discover the precious proofs of the Messiah's advent, of the manner of his coming, of his mission and character. Men who claimed to be worthy of confidence because of their wisdom, did not perceive that Christ was the Prince of life. RH August 3, 1911, par. 8

The rabbis looked with suspicion and contempt upon everything that did not bear the appearance of worldly wisdom, national exaltation, and religious exclusiveness; but the mission of Jesus was to oppose these very evils, to correct these erroneous views, and to work a reformation in faith and morals. He attracted attention to purity of life, to humility of spirit, and to devotion to God and his cause, without hope of worldly honor or reward. He must divest religion of the narrow, conceited formalism which made it a burden and a reproach. He must present a complete, harmonious salvation to all. The narrow bounds of national exclusiveness must be overthrown; for his salvation was to reach to the ends of the earth. He rejoiced in spirit, as he beheld the poor of this world eagerly accepting the precious message which he brought. He looked up to heaven, and said: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” RH August 3, 1911, par. 9

(Concluded next week.)