Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 10 (1895)


Ms 3, 1895

Testimony Regarding Brother Humphrey

Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville, N. S. W., Australia

February 1, 1895

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 928; LDE 68-69. +Note

Christ revealed His character to Moses, and made all His goodness pass before him. Moses prayed, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” And the Lord answered saying, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. ... And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children (because they follow the example given them by their fathers, and indulge in iniquity to their own destruction) unto the third and to the fourth generation.” [Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 1

Thus was the glory of God revealed to Moses by the revelation of His character of mercy and truth. The lesson for us in these words is that we too should manifest these same attributes of character and cherish a spirit that will be cherished of tenderness, sympathy, and compassion. This is the spirit that will be cherished and manifested by all those who have Christ abiding in their hearts. Self and selfishness will be uprooted, and a spirit of forgiveness will be cultivated. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 2

The same lesson is revealed in all the instruction of Christ in the New Testament. In the parable of the two debtors a lesson is given to us in regard to the way in which the Lord designs we should imitate His example in dealing with each other, not only in church capacity but in business relations, and in every relation in life. This parable was spoken in answer to a question that was asked by Peter. Peter came to the Lord and said, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 3

“And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and released him, and forgave him the debt.” [Matthew 18:21-27.] A sinner forgiven of a great debt should in his turn heartily forgive the errors and sins of others. But instead of this, “The same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence, and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.” [Verse 28.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 4

This illustration represents the course of action that is pursued by many who owe God a great debt. For years they have been squandering their Lord’s goods until they owe Him an innumerable sum. The King of kings discerns the great extent of the fraud practiced against Him, and justice demands that all he has shall be sold; but when the debtor pleads for delay, beseeches for mercy, promises to do all in his power, to his great astonishment, he is told that the whole debt is cancelled. What relief comes to him! What a burden rolls off his terror-stricken soul! 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 5

But ere long an opportunity is presented to him to test the character of his gratitude, and to make manifest whether or not the mercy and goodness of God has affected his character. He meets one who has served under him, who owes him a small sum; but as soon as he sees him, he is stirred with the spirit of Satan. Seizing the man by the throat, he exclaims in a voice of passion, “Pay me that thou owest.” [Verse 28.] The terrified debtor falls at his feet, pleading for mercy in the same language that he himself had used in presenting his case to the king. The piteous plea, the tears of distress of the man who is in his power, do not move him. Though he himself had been in a similar position, he has sympathy for the distressed debtor. Rather than manifest compassion, he would exact his rights to the uttermost farthing. He cast the debtor into prison, without an acknowledgment that he had any claim on his sympathy. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 6

But there are those who observe the conduct of this heartless man, and report his merciless treatment to his lord. The king calls the hardhearted servant into his presence, and says, “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” [Verses 32-35.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 7

I wish you carefully to consider the manner of your life and character. Are you righteous, merciful, pure, and just? Your sins against God have been described as of an aggravated character. You desire the Lord to forgive you for all your misconduct, but are you as ready to forgive others as He is to forgive you? You have not spiritual light, because you walk away from the light and choose darkness rather than light. Jesus invited the Jews who stood aloof from Him to come unto Him. He said, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] Christ is the life of the world, yet they refused Him, and stood apart from Him, criticizing His words and His works. They did not feed upon Him, and receive Him into their spiritual life. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 8

You have been doing the same thing. You have been manifesting the same spirit as was manifested by the Jews. You have fed upon that which would cultivate doubt, and have turned others out of the way, and have revealed to the heavenly intelligences the fact that if you had lived in the days of Christ, you would have treated Christ just as the Jews treated Him, and would have made yourself equally guilty with those who refused, rejected, and crucified the Lord of glory. You have no power of yourself to change your manner of life, but if you seek the Lord with all your heart, He will be found of you. Jesus Christ is your only helper. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 9

You have hung as a weight upon the church. You have not helped to advance the cause by dealing honorable with your Lord who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] The conditions upon which eternal life is promised is that you believe in Christ as your personal Saviour. But you yourself have failed to lay hold upon Christ as your personal Saviour, yet you have climbed upon the judgment seat to behold that which you have deemed inconsistent in others. Your self-esteem has led you to judge the motives of others, and to think and speak evil of them. You are not seeking to behold the good, to look upon that which is praise-worthy and virtuous. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 10

The Lord says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” [Philippians 4:4-8.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 11

You have failed in fulfilling God’s requirements, and have practiced robbery toward God all your life. Please turn to the third chapter of Malachi, and read the entire chapter. The Lord says, “Even from the days of your fathers ye have gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” But He does not cast off the offender because of his ingratitude, because he has not appreciated the blessings, the light and the generous favors He has bestowed upon him. He holds out to the sinner His forgiving mercy, saying, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.” But ye said, “Wherein shall we return?” [Verse 7.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 12

Have you not in heart expressed this same question? Have you not said, What have I done that is so much out of the way? Rather ask yourself, What have I left undone? God is presenting the sure result of not doing His requirements. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Have you had faith? “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, (that there is an all-powerful God, who knoweth every phase of your experience, every secret of your life) and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 13

If you had done the will of God as an obedient child, you would have found happiness in bringing to God a faithful tithe to put into His treasury for the support of His ministers who are teaching the truth. You would have thought it a privilege to bring to God that which He claims as His own. But in order to ease your conscience for not performing your duty, you have turned to the business of judging others, and of finding fault with God’s workmen. You were content to let the work go without help, and did not stand at your post of duty to do your appointed work, but more than this, you hindered others by your unconsecrated course of action. For the example you have given to others the Lord will judge you, unless you zealously repent, for God is not to be trifled with. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 14

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:8-12.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 15

I am commissioned to bring these things before you, to reprove you for your course of action, and to set before you the fact that your soul is in peril. The question is asked, “What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” [Malachi 3:8.] Would you make the excuses before heaven that you have made here for neglect of duty, and the excuses that you have put into the mouths of others? If a man dealt dishonestly with you, you would seize him as did the relentless servant in the parable, and cry with passion, “Pay me that thou owest.” [Matthew 18:28.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 16

Yet you have been withholding from God, and have been practicing robbery toward Him during your lifetime. Do you want God to treat you as you have treated others? Is it not best for you to ask the Lord to cleanse the soul-temple from its pollution of selfishness? Had you done your duty in helping the church as God requires that you should, your interests would have been identified with those of the church, and you would have received the blessing which always follows obedience. God is the only being in the universe that knows men exactly as they are. He Himself weighs the exact amount of your responsibility to Him, and knows all the circumstances of your life. You should fear to transgress, lest you reach the limit of the figures that mark the end of your probation, and the Lord say, “Here is a tree to which I have come time and again hoping to find fruit, but I find none. Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” [Luke 13:7.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 17

You have been selling your soul to the enemy, but that soul has been purchased by the precious blood of the only begotten Son of God. He endured humiliation, shame, and contempt in order that He might make provision for you—make it possible to give you a time of probation, a time for trial of character in order that you might work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for “it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] For our sake Christ became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich, and obtain a place with the saints in light. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 18

But if we would work in unison with Christ, we must make the best use of the means which the Lord has provided. We must study the Scriptures and receive the messages which God shall send to us. The Lord has charged His messengers with the solemn charge: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” [2 Timothy 4:1-4.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 19

If the Lord sends you a message through His ministers who are commanded to reprove, rebuke, with all longsuffering and doctrine, it is your place to respect the message. The Lord works in co-operation with the will and action of the human agent. It is the privilege and duty of every man to take God at His word, to believe in Jesus as his personal Saviour, and to respond eagerly, immediately, to the gracious propositions which He makes. He is to study to believe and obey the divine instruction in the Scriptures. He is to base his faith <not on feeling> but upon the evidence and the Word of God. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 20

Those who feel at liberty to question the Word of God, to doubt everything where there is any chance to be unbelieving, will find that it will require a tremendous struggle to have faith when trouble comes. It will be almost impossible to overcome the influence that binds the mind which has been educated in the line of unbelief, for by this course the soul is bound in Satan’s snare and becomes powerless to break the dreadful net that has been woven closer and closer about the soul. In taking a position of doubt, man calls to his aid the agencies of Satan. But the only hope of one who has been educated in the line of unbelief is to fall all helpless upon the Saviour, and like a child submit his will and his way to Christ, that he may be brought out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 21

Man does not have the power to recover himself from the snare of Satan. He who educates himself in the line of questioning, doubting, and criticizing strengthens himself in infidelity. He may put in a plea of innocence and irresponsibility for his course of action, but this will count nothing with God. He cannot release himself from the claim that the Lord has upon him. To doubt a truth does not change the fact that exists, and cannot repeal the laws of God’s government. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 22

Men are amenable to law, and the laws of God’s government are authoritative, plain, and decided, and cannot be evaded. Men may complain concerning the terms and conditions of salvation, but their complaint does not change these conditions or lessen the obligation of man to his God. These obligations are not measured by what a man trains himself to believe, but are far-reaching. The human agent is responsible to God to educate himself aright, to have a proper faith, to use his reasoning powers that he may know what he ought to know and believe what he ought to believe. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 23

If we misuse the light and fail to improve the opportunities that God has given, if by false reasoning, or by indulgence in sin, we pervert our physical, mental, and moral powers, then we cripple our capabilities, and will be called upon to render an account for what we do not make of ourselves, because of failure in improving the opportunities and privileges that are ours. This is the result of not cooperation with the heavenly intelligences, whose work it is to unite divine power with human effort, in order that men may resist every adverse influence. We are not to be uninformed, but we are to perform our appointed work with constantly improving ability. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 24

Every human being in possession of reason is under obligation to make the best possible use of the facilities within his reach, and to be complete in Christ. The more we exercise our minds in seeking to comprehend what are our full duties, the more our power will increase to perform them. The Word of God condemns a false opinion of things; it says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; the bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” [Isaiah 5:20, 21.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 25

Let no one think that he can trifle with the privileges that have been bought with the blood of the only begotten Son of the infinite God. We are responsible as servants of Jesus to be all that we may be by becoming doers of His words. In the day of final account, we shall be judged by the standard of what we ought to have been, and what we ought to have done. God is speaking to the Sydney church by His word, by the message which He is sending; and will anyone venture to say, as did Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?” [Exodus 5:2.] The Word of God will judge everyone. I present the fact to the Sydney church that many of you have not walked in the light as Christ is in the light; you have not represented Christ to the world. What are you going to do about it? God has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness. In these hours of probation you are individually deciding your own destiny. We read that we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 26

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” [1 Peter 4:17, 18.] “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” [Ezekiel 9:4-6.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 27

When the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, He will take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is then of the highest importance that we search the Scriptures to know what saith the Lord, in order that we may be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. Those who know not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are those who have the Bible in their possession, who know that the only begotten Son of God gave His precious life to make it possible for them to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, and yet who have neglected the Word of God. These “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” [2 Thessalonians 1:9.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 28

God holds men responsible for obtaining a knowledge of Him and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. In the prayer of Christ just prior to His crucifixion, “He lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:1-3.] What a saying is this! how full, how deep, how comprehensive! 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 29

There is no excuse for those who will persist in remaining in ignorance of God and of Jesus Christ. Those who do remain in ignorance, remain so at the expense of the loss of their souls. Can any of us afford this? “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might. Let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight.” [Jeremiah 9:23, 24.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 30

The Lord calls upon every human being to cultivate the attributes of character in which He delights. The whole universe of heaven rejoices when men appreciate and practice the attributes of the character of God. Those who refuse to do this, who are full of questioning and unbelief, <are by their course of action deciding> their own cases. God understands His own prerogative, and He will exercise His authority in bringing sentence upon those who have disregarded His law. Men will be judged according to their use or abuse of the privileges that have been bought for them at infinite cost to heaven. There is no place in the kingdom of God for transgressors of His law. 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 31

Christ has gone to prepare mansions for those who love God and keep His commandments. He says, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. ... Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. ... And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” [Revelation 22:12, 14, 17, 16.] 10LtMs, Ms 3, 1895, par. 32