The Review and Herald

1087/1902

September 25, 1900

Self-Exaltation

EGW

Self-exaltation is a dangerous element. It tarnishes everything it touches. It is the offspring of pride, and it works so ingeniously that, unless guarded against, it will take possession of the thoughts and control the actions. RH September 25, 1900, par. 1

The Laodicean message must be proclaimed with power; for now it is especially applicable. Now, more than ever before, are seen pride, worldly ambition, self-exaltation, double-dealing, hypocrisy, and deception. Many are speaking great swelling words of vanity, saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Yet they are miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. RH September 25, 1900, par. 2

There are those who sincerely desire to see God, and who, in true penitence, seek the Lord, that they may find him, and by his power reach the high and holy ideal set before them. With unfeigned lips they pray, “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” “Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.” “O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, and in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 3

But there are also those who go on frowardly in their own way. The Lord says to them, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Let those who name the name of God search their hearts to see whether they be in the faith. Let them search the Word carefully, reviewing the experience of God's ancient people. RH September 25, 1900, par. 4

“An angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. And it came to pass, when the Angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 5

The people bowed before God in contrition and repentance. They offered sacrifice, and confessed to God and to one another. The sacrifices they offered would have been of no value if they had not shown true repentance. Their contrition was genuine. The grace of Christ wrought in their hearts as they confessed their sins and offered sacrifice, and God forgave them. RH September 25, 1900, par. 6

The revival was genuine. It wrought a reformation among the people. They remained true to the covenant they had made. The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen the great works of the Lord. Their sins were repented of and forgiven, but the seed of evil had been sown, and it sprang up to bear fruit. Joshua's life of steadfast integrity closed. His voice was no longer heard in reproof and warning. One by one the faithful sentinels who had crossed the Jordan laid off their armor. A new generation came upon the scene of action. The people departed from God. Their worship was mingled with erroneous principles and ambitious pride. RH September 25, 1900, par. 7

“And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim. And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger.... And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: that through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 8

Man is prone to forget God, though claiming to serve him. The people of Nazareth thought they loved Christ, but when he showed them that they were no more the favorites of heaven than were the Gentiles, they dragged him from the synagogue, and tried to throw him from the crown of the hill. The multitudes who were fed by Christ thought they loved him, until he told them that they cared more for the bread that perishes than for the bread of eternal life. The rich young ruler thought he loved the Saviour. He had listened to the gracious words that fell from his lips, and had seen his wonderful works. But when the Saviour said, “Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me,” he went away sorrowful, clinging to his idol. He loved his riches more than he loved Christ. Simon the Pharisee thought he loved Jesus, until he found that the Saviour did not esteem him as highly as he did a poor, sorrowful, repentant woman. RH September 25, 1900, par. 9

Many see much to admire in the life of Christ. But true love for him can never dwell in the heart of the self-righteous. Not to see our own deformity is not to see the beauty of Christ's character. When we are fully awake to our own sinfulness, we shall appreciate Christ. The more humble are our views of ourselves, the more clearly we shall see the spotless character of Jesus. He who says, “I am holy, I am sinless,” is self-deceived. Some have said this, and some even dare to say, “I am Christ.” To entertain such a thought is blasphemy. Not to see the marked contrast between Christ and ourselves is not to know ourselves. He who does not abhor himself can not understand the meaning of redemption. To be redeemed means to cease from sin. No heart that is stirred to rebellion against the law of God has any union with Christ, who died to vindicate the law and exalt it before all nations, tongues, and peoples. Pharisaic self-complacency and bold assumptions of holiness are abundant. There are many who do not see themselves in the light of the law of God. They do not loathe selfishness; therefore they are selfish. Their souls are spotted and defiled. Yet with sin-stained lips they say, “I am holy. Jesus teaches me that the law of God is a yoke of bondage. Those who say that we must keep the law have fallen from grace.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 10

Christ says, “Blessed are they that do his commandments.” The heavenly benediction is pronounced upon those who keep the law. “They shall have right to the tree of life,” the Saviour declares, “and shall enter in through the gates into the city.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 11

We must decide for ourselves whether or not these words will be spoken to us. A right decision will be revealed by action in harmony with the law of God. But we can not possibly keep the commandments without the help of Christ. He alone can save us, by cleansing us from all sin. He does not save us by the law; but neither will he save us in disobedience to the law. He draws us to himself because he has been lifted upon the cross of Calvary. RH September 25, 1900, par. 12

The degree of our love for God depends upon the clearness and fullness of our conviction of sin. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The more we see of the perils to which we have been exposed by sin, the more grateful we shall be for deliverance. RH September 25, 1900, par. 13

Finite man, though supposing himself to be wise, can not see God until he becomes a fool in his own estimation. God is infinitely wise and just and good. His plan for the redemption of the human race is not comprehended by the wisest of this earth. Men grasp at one item of science, and in their foolishness, thinking themselves wise, they exalt science above the God of science. But all true science proceeds from God. RH September 25, 1900, par. 14

Men exalt themselves among men, and speak of what they know of higher education. If they only knew more, they would wish to sink out of sight. They may think and reason to the utmost of their ability; but were the veil lifted, they would see infinity beyond. They know hardly anything of the mysteries of God, who holds supervision over the universe. It will take all eternity to unfold his plans. Let those who think themselves competent to weigh and measure the counsels of divine wisdom be assured that they know not even the A B C of what is comprehended in higher education. When they gain even a glimpse of the true and living God, they will show a becoming humility. The sight will suggest the command, “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.” RH September 25, 1900, par. 15

God has worlds upon worlds that are obedient to his law. These worlds are conducted with reference to the glory of the Creator. As the inhabitants of these worlds see the great price that has been paid to ransom man, they are filled with amazement. With intense interest they watch the controversy between Christ and Satan; and as this controversy progresses, and the glory of God shines brighter and brighter, they give praise to God. And yet, because finite men can discern a little of God's marvelous power, they take the glory that belongs to the Creator. Oh, that the veil could be removed, and they could see beyond their wisdom! Every mouth would cease its boasting. Men would see the greatness of the plans of God, and their knowledge would seem to them unspeakably inferior. They would never again think themselves qualified to sit in judgment on God's plans, or to arraign him before their tribunal that they might pass sentence on his works. RH September 25, 1900, par. 16