Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Ms 11, 1906

Growing in Grace

St. Helena, California

November 27, 1905

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 274-278.

I have slept until half-past three o’clock this morning. During the night I often have periods of wakefulness, when my soul is continually ascending to God in prayer. It is at these times that I have my best seasons of communion with God; for in the night He always seems very nigh unto me, guiding me. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 1

It is our privilege to gather strength from the Lord and to be fitting up characters for translation to heaven and to the mansions that He is preparing for us. We should be continually grateful for the power from above that has been promised us. Christ was that “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:9-14.] 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 2

Why do we not so prepare our hearts that we will take the promise, and, through the operation of the Holy Spirit, receive Christ as an ever-abiding power, to be our sufficiency, our acknowledged power for maintaining our strength, that we may reveal to friend and foe that we have an abiding Christ? It is the privilege of every one to exert an influence, individually, as one who has received Christ and who believes in Him. My brother, my sister, yield your whole mind and soul and body to the Lord. Rest in the arms of your compassionate Saviour. You need not rush hither and thither to obtain relief from human agencies. Christ is nigh, inviting you, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Let no one hear from your lips words of complaint or of judging. The Lord has not placed any of us on the judgment seat. Simply come to Jesus. Lay your burdens at His feet. “I will receive you,” He declares; “I will give you rest.” [2 Corinthians 6:17; Matthew 11:28.] 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 3

You have a battle to fight, and so have we all. We can make this battle very much more severe by turning away from Christ and from wearing the yoke that He asks every one of us to wear. Does He not tell us the truth when He says, “My yoke is easy”? [Verse 30.] If we manufacture yokes for ourselves, as many are doing, we shall find them extremely galling; but if we take the yoke that Christ has prepared for us, and become meek and lowly in heart, self will be hid with Christ in God. This is the correct position for us to occupy. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 4

A follower of Jesus refrains from gathering up burdens and responsibilities that he is unable to bear—burdens that crush the life forces and that give no relief. Christ has not given us any such work to do. We must receive Him, believe in Him, and reveal His character, showing by our religious experience that we have been born of God. Then we shall have healthful heartbeats. “Born again, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:13.] The power comes to us through receiving Jesus Christ. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [Verse 14.] 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 5

The Lord foretells the going forth of deceivers. He cautioned His disciples to be wide-awake regarding the signs of the times. Instead of revealing that which would have tended to arouse their curiosity over matters that they were unprepared to handle or to discuss with profit, He gave them decided instruction as to what they ought to do in order to be prepared for the events that would take place. And this instruction that He gave His disciples has come down through the centuries to our time. The warnings that we find recorded in Holy Writ, regarding the perils which would always surround the Christian church, belong to the people that are especially concerned in all these things. Christ foretold that the going forth of deceivers would be accompanied with more danger to His disciples than would persecution. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 6

This warning is repeated several times. Seducers, with their scientific problems, were to be guarded against more carefully than any other peril that they would meet; for the entrance of these seductive spirits meant the entrance of the specious errors that Satan has ingeniously prepared to dim the spiritual perceptions of those who have had but little experience in the workings of the Holy Spirit and of those who remain satisfied with a very limited spiritual knowledge. The effort of seducers has been to undermine confidence in the truth of God and to make it impossible to distinguish truth from error. Wonderfully pleasing, fanciful, scientific problems are introduced and urged upon the attention of the unwary; and unless believers are on their guard, the enemy, disguised as an angel of light, will lead them into false paths. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 7

The Saviour foretold that in the latter days false prophets would appear and draw away disciples after them; and also that those who in this time of peril should stand faithful to the truth that is specified in the book of Revelation would have to meet doctrinal errors so specious that, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 8

God would have every true sentiment prevail. Satan can skilfully play the game of life with many souls, and he acts in a most underhanded, deceptive manner to spoil the faith of the people of God and to discourage them. And when men, who are in positions of responsibility, permit themselves to be led astray, as many do, by the sophistries of Satan, the enemy gains a great victory. He works today as he worked in heaven—to divide the people of God in the very last stage of this earth’s history. He seeks to create dissension, and to arouse contention and discussion, and to remove if possible the old landmarks of truth committed to God’s people. He tries to make it appear as if the Lord contradicts Himself. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 9

It is when Satan appears as an angel of light that he takes souls in his snare, deceiving them. Men who pretend to have been taught of God will adopt fallacious theories and in their teaching will so adorn these fallacies as to bring in satanic delusions. Thus Satan will be introduced as an angel of light and will have opportunity to present his pleasing fables. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 10

These false prophets will have to be met. They will make an effort to deceive many, by leading them to accept false theories. Many Scriptures will be misapplied in such a way that deceptive theories will apparently be based upon the words that God has spoken. Precious truth will be appropriated to substantiate and establish error. These false prophets, who claim to be taught of God, will take beautiful Scriptures that have been given to adorn the truth and will use them as a robe of righteousness to cover false and dangerous theories. And even some of those, who in times past the Lord has honored, will depart so far from the truth as to advocate misleading theories regarding many phases of truth, including the sanctuary question. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 11

Some talk of “principles” that actuate their service and their teachings; but neither in word nor in deed, by strict integrity and by proper dealing, do they reveal that a work of grace has transformed the heart. They are not drawing from Christ the wholesome light and life and grace by which deep impressions are made upon minds, causing them to become more and still more Christlike. Some of those who claim to follow certain well-defined “principles,” walk and talk like unconverted worldlings. To such, the words of Christ are repeated over and over again: “I know thy works.” [Revelation 2:2.] This is the message sent to the church at Ephesus. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 12

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus” the aged prophet John was bidden to write: “These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Verses 1-5.] 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 13

In this Scripture are outlined the conditions of acceptance with God. The first experience of the Ephesus church led to good works. God took delight in the fact that His church reflected the light of heaven by revealing the Spirit of Christ in tenderness and compassion. The love that dwelt in the heart of Christ; the love that caused him to give Himself a sacrifice for humanity, and to suffer with forbearance the reproach of men, even to the extent of being called a devil; the love that prompted Him to perform mighty works of healing during His ministry—this was the love that was to be revealed in the lives of His disciples. But they neglected to cherish Christ’s compassion and tenderness. Self, as manifested in hereditary traits of character, spoiled the principles of the grand, good works that identified the members of the Ephesus church as Christians. The Lord Jesus must needs show them that they had lost that which was everything to them. The love that constrained the Saviour to die for us was not revealed in its fulness in their lives; and hence they were unable to bring honor to the name of the Redeemer. And as they lost their first love, they increased in a knowledge of scientific theories originated by the father of lies. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 14

In view of the many virtues enumerated, how striking is the charge brought against the church at Ephesus: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love!” [Verse 4.] This church had been highly favored. It was planted by the apostle Paul. In the same city was the temple of Diana, which, in point of grandeur, was one of the marvels of the world. The Ephesian church met with great opposition, and some of the early Christians suffered persecution; and yet some of these very ones turned from the truths that had united them with Christ’s followers and adopted, in their stead, the specious errors devised by Satan. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 15

This change is represented as a spiritual fall. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works”—as outlined in the preceding verses. [Verse 5.] They believers did not sense their spiritual fall. They knew not that a change had taken place in their hearts, and that they would have to repent because of the noncontinuance of their first works. But God in His mercy called for repentance, for a return to their first love and to the works that are always the result of true, Christlike love. 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 16

“Repent, and do the first works,” the Saviour pleads; “or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Verse 5.] 21LtMs, Ms 11, 1906, par. 17