The Review and Herald


November 24, 1885

The Heavenly Guest

[Remarks addressed to the ministers assembled in General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in their morning meeting held November 1, 1884.]


Text: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. RH November 24, 1885, par. 1

Since we last met in General Conference, a year with its burden of records has passed into eternity. I am happy to meet you all here at the opening of another session, and grateful that during the past year the Lord has given me strength to labor far beyond my expectations. RH November 24, 1885, par. 2

We want to make this season that we spend together one of great profit to us all. I know that in many hearts the inquiry arises, “Where shall I find Jesus?” There are many who want his presence, want his love and his light; but they know not where to look for Him for whom their hearts yearn. And yet Jesus does not hide himself away; no one need search for him in vain. “Behold,” he says, “I stand at the door, and knock If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus invites us to accept his presence; we are to open the door of the heart, and let him in. But he will not share a divided heart. If it be given to the service of mammon, if selfishness and pride fill its chambers, there will be no room for the heavenly Guest; he will not take up his abode with us until the soul-temple has been emptied and cleansed. Yet there is no need of making a failure in the Christian life. Jesus is waiting to do a great work for us, and all heaven is interested in our salvation. RH November 24, 1885, par. 3

Our Redeemer testifies: “Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” Through this open door into the temple of God, we see the royal law, deposited in the ark of the testament. Through this open door, light shines from that holy, just, and good law, presenting to man the true standard of righteousness, that he may make no mistake in the formation of a character that will meet the requirements of God. Sin is condemned by that law; we must put it away. Pride and selfishness can find no place in the character without crowding out him who was meek and lowly of heart. RH November 24, 1885, par. 4

The law of God is the standard by which character is to be tested; if we erect a standard to suit ourselves, and attempt to follow a criterion of our own devising, we shall utterly fail to secure heaven at last. We are altogether too selfish, loving our own way and cherishing our mistakes. Many have received as a birthright traits of character that do no honor to the cause of God, and through wrong education these have developed into marked defects. Many have become sharp, domineering, critical of others. They choose to put their own mold on the cause of God, thus marring the work, forgetting that the signet of Christ should be placed upon themselves and upon their labors in his cause. RH November 24, 1885, par. 5

Jesus is the perfect pattern. Instead of trying to please self and have our own way, let us seek to reflect his image. He was kind and courteous, compassionate and tender. Are we like him in these respects? Do we seek to make our lives fragrant with good works. What we need is the simplicity of Christ. I fear that in many cases a hard, unfeeling spirit, that is entirely unlike that of the divine Pattern, has taken possession of the heart. This cast-iron principle, which has been cherished by so many, and which has even been thought a virtue, must all be removed, that we may love one another as Christ has loved us. RH November 24, 1885, par. 6

It is not enough that we merely profess the faith; something more than a nominal assent is wanted. There must be a real knowledge, a genuine experience in the principles of the truth as it is in Jesus. The Holy Spirit must work within, bringing these principles into the strong light of distinct consciousness, that we may know their power and make them a living reality. The mind must yield obedience to the royal law of liberty, the law which the Spirit of God impresses upon the heart, and makes plain to the understanding. The expulsion of sin must be the act of the soul itself, in calling into exercise its noblest powers. The only freedom a finite will can enjoy, consists in coming into harmony with the will of God, complying with the conditions that make man a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. RH November 24, 1885, par. 7

There are some who make great pretensions to piety while they stand on the side of the great rebel as transgressors of the law of God. But are they holy and sanctified?—Oh, no! They are not, as obedient children, walking in all the statutes of the Lord blameless. They give nothing, and yet presumptuously claim everything; while we as a people, who are seeking to obey the divine law and lead others to obey it, give obedience, give ourselves, and claim but little in return. Because so many prate about holiness and sanctification when their works testify against them, we must not get the idea that there is no such thing. There is a genuine and a false sanctification; and we can tell the one from the other only by the rule that Christ has given,—“By their fruits ye shall know them.” RH November 24, 1885, par. 8

The human character is depraved, deformed by sin, and terribly unlike that of the first man as he came from the hands of the Creator. Jesus proposes to take man's deformity and sin, and to give him, in return, beauty and excellence in his own character. He engages to renovate the soul through the truth. Error cannot do this work of regeneration; therefore we must have spiritual eyesight to discern between truth and falsehood, that we fall not into the snare of the enemy. RH November 24, 1885, par. 9

God has honored his Son by making him the model after which he molds the characters of all who believe on him. He takes of the things of Christ, and reveals them to us, that we may catch his temper and bear his likeness. All who will open their hearts to receive him, may have Jesus as an honored guest. And when they meet for worship, angels of light will accompany them; for they are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. The glory and majesty of one angel was sufficient to cause the stern Roman soldiers who guarded the tomb of Christ to fall to the earth as dead men. Then what power might attend the servants of Christ, if they would live so as not to grieve away these heavenly messengers. RH November 24, 1885, par. 10

Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” Will we let him in? He would not have us stand at this time, amid the perils of the last days, in our own finite strength. We cannot afford to be without his presence; for he says, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” But if he abides in the heart by living faith, we can do all things in his name. Jesus loves us; he is working for our interest, and he wants us to trust him fully. He will be the Captain of our salvation if we will let him lead us on to victory. RH November 24, 1885, par. 11

The obstacles, provocations, and hardships that we meet, may prove to us, not a curse, but the greatest blessings of our lives; for the grandest character are built amid hardships and trials. But they must be received as practical lessons in the school of Christ. Every temptation resisted, every trial bravely borne, gives us a new experience, and advances us in the work of character-building. We have a better knowledge of the working of Satan, and of our own power to defeat him through divine grace. RH November 24, 1885, par. 12

Jesus was the light of the world; and he says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Then it is our privilege to walk in the sunshine of his presence, and to weave into the characters we are forming the golden threads of cheerfulness, gratitude, forbearance, and love. We may thus show the power of divine grace, and reflect light from Heaven amid all the frets and irritations that come to us day by day. RH November 24, 1885, par. 13

“An open door” has been set before us, and our opponents, with Satan, who is the chief opposer of righteousness, at their head, cannot close that door. Our heavenly Father himself has opened it, and “no man can shut it,” Then why do we go stumbling along without light? Why do we complain of clouds and darkness, when there is an open door of mercy, and Jesus is engaged in a special work in our behalf, making an atonement for us, presenting our names before the Father? He is waiting to be gracious. “Behold.” he says, “I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” And then comes the gracious assurance: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.” [It would have afforded us pleasure to promptly lay before our readers the entire series of Sr. White's talks to ministers in their morning meetings held in connection with the General Conference last fall; but there has been unavoidable delay in their publication, and only a part have been preserved. We feel sure, however, that as the time of our next annual meeting has now arrived, and as we cannot enjoy the presence and counsel of Sr. White, the good words spoken a year ago will be doubly welcome. We bespeak for them a careful reading, as all will find in them words of warning, instruction, and encouragement.] RH November 24, 1885, par. 14