Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)


Ms 2, 1900

The Need of a Reformation


January 2, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 16; 6MR 39-40; 9MR 229-230; MR311 45-46. +Note

Paul wrote to the Romans, “When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 6:20-23.] 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 1

Paul felt that the Lord’s requirements must be obeyed, His judgments avoided. Like Paul, we must make every effort to obtain the crown of life, which brings eternal honor to every victor. We must not be content to live useless lives. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 2

What is humility?—That sense of sin and unworthiness which leads to repentance. But we must be assured of the malignity of a disease before we feel our need of a cure. Those who do not realize the sinfulness of sin are not able to appreciate the value of the atonement and the necessity of being cleansed from all sin. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 3

The sinner measures himself by himself and by those who, like himself are sinners. He does not look at the purity and holiness of Christ. But when the law of God brings conviction to his heart, he says with Paul, “I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained unto life, I found to be unto death.” [Romans 7:9, 10.] “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay; I had not known sin but by the law; for I had not known lust except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. ... Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” [Verses 7, 12.] 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 4

God created man for His glory. He will not, cannot, endure the presence of sin in His dominion. If there are in the church those who are willfully sinning against God, every possible means should be used to bring them to repentance. If this is not done, God’s name is dishonored. He is too pure to look upon iniquity with favor. He cannot endure the dishonesty and selfishness cherished in the hearts of those who practice robbery toward God by taking means from His treasury to pay themselves for their services, while many who are laboring far harder to advance the cause of God do not receive half as much. God calls this selfishness and idolatry, and He will remove His Spirit from those who have thus allowed themselves to become spiritually blind. Their consciences are not sensitive. Like Judas, they allow themselves to be tempted by the enemy. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 5

God will not tolerate the slightest deviation from right principles. He has given to the world the purest, most elevated code of morals. These principles His people must bring into the practical life. Adam’s sin would be regarded by the churches of today as a simple mistake, to be at once forgiven and no more thought of. But God’s standard is high and His Word immutable, and all selfish, covetous practices are an abomination in His sight. The hearts of believers need to be purified, sanctified, refined, ennobled. The Lord will not give prosperity to the work while an avaricious, grasping spirit is cherished by the church members and especially by the leaders and teachers. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 6

The Lord declares, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” [Matthew 5:5.] But very little meekness is circulating through our publishing houses. “Will a man rob God?” [Malachi 3:8.] But in many places robbery toward God is practiced by men who ought to be the last to do this work. You need to examine yourselves. How much fairness have you shown in your actions, how much integrity, how much self-denial? O my brethren, many of you are all wrong, and have been all wrong for many years. By setting your wages so high, you have shown a selfish, grasping spirit. For years testimonies have been sent to you on the point of receiving such high wages; but who has been convicted? Who has been afraid of the condemnation of God? 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 7

There is a work to do in all our institutions. The sin of selfishness and covetousness has been manifested by the men who carry heavy responsibilities in connection with our publishing houses. This is a curse to spirituality. Money has been taken from the treasury by men whose lives ought to be examples of righteousness. All these deeds are known to God. He hates the spirit which prompts men to use in self-gratification the money which should go to those who are laboring hard and earnestly in the Lord’s vineyard. The Judge who judgeth righteously beholds every transaction. Sin is sin everywhere. When men act upon the principle that has been and is being acted upon by some in our institutions, they are playing a losing game. Unless those in positions of trust work in Christ’s way, unless their souls are emptied of selfishness, they will be brought into strait places. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 8

Those in the churches who help to sustain the work and cause of God know what it means to deny self and make sacrifices for God. The dearth of means in the treasury is the result of unfair appropriation of means by large wages. Money has been misappropriated by those at the head of the work, and the churches are disappointed. Consecration and self-denial is called for from all. The Lord has not moved upon His people to give of their substance, because covetousness, which is idolatry, is practiced. The Lord God of Israel is not pleased. His frown is upon those who have so little of the spirit of self-sacrifice that they expect others to do all the sacrificing. The Lord is weighing moral worth. He distinguishes His precious ones from those who are selfish and covetous. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 9

What a solemn thing it is to be stewards of sacred truth. For forty years the Lord educated the children of Israel in the wilderness that they might glorify His name and become a great nation in the sight of the peoples round them. Moses declared to them, “The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers.” [Deuteronomy 7:6-8.] 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 10

Look up, my brethren. Has the gospel lost its power to impress hearts? Is it because the regenerating influence of the Spirit of Christ has died away that hearts are not purified, sanctified, and prepared for the Holy Spirit? No; the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of the living God, is with us yet; but it must be wielded with earnestness. Let us use it as did God’s sanctified ones of old. By its living, quickening power it will cut its way to hearts. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 11

O, my soul is burdened for our institutions. What has become of the spirit of Christlike self-denial? God calls for a cleansing of His institutions, for a manifestation of the spirit of self-sacrifice. We need so much the revival of the day of Pentecost. Those who advocate truth by pen and voice should be governed by Christlike principles. Remember, my brethren, the record stands just as it will appear in the judgment. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 12

The Lord calls for a reformation all through our ranks. Do not ask the Lord to humble you. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. If ever a people needed the spirit and grace of Christ, it is those in our institutions. If the men in high positions of trust are not purged from the spirit of selfishness, they will have to step down and seek some other work. Those who are in God’s service must closely examine themselves and seek earnestly for soul-cleansing, or God will remove them from their place. Men must be under God’s discipline. There must be seen less of self and more of Christ. Then sinners will be converted. As a people to whom have been committed the most sacred truths ever committed to mortals, we must catch the Spirit of Christ and practice His principles. He says, “He that will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] When we follow Christ in meekness and lowliness, there will be more means to use for the advancement of missionary work. Rest is found in wearing the yoke of Christ. By bringing His virtues into the practical life, we become like Him. Thus we learn to avoid the distortion of sin. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 13

Why are not the demonstrations of the Spirit of God as marked as they were in the days of the apostles? Because there is no room in our hearts for the Spirit to work. Wake up, my brethren, lest you sleep the sleep of death. Let cold formality be a thing of the past. Sinners are perishing out of Christ. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 14

When the church is awakened, decided changes will be made. Men and women will be converted, and so filled will they be by the Spirit of God that they will pass from country to country, from city to city, proclaiming the message of truth. With hearts filled with earnest love for souls, they will open their Bibles and present the Word—“It is written.” Wherever they go a people will be raised up to stand in the day of the Lord. The simplicity of these humble workers will be their strength, for angels of God work with those who are humble and obedient. Learned, eloquent men will not see the results from their work that are seen by these humble, zealous, praying men. 15LtMs, Ms 2, 1900, par. 15