Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 154, 1898

The Pearl of Great Price


November 22, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 49; 7MR 180-181. +Note

“Again the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls; who, when he hath found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” [Matthew 13:45, 46.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 1

Truth is represented as a pearl of great price. On one occasion our Lord warned His disciples to beware how they cast their pearls before those who had not discernment to appreciate their value. They were to be careful how they applied their time and taxed their strength. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,” He said, “neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again, and rend you.” [Matthew 7:6.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 2

There are souls who will be rescued from the very depths of pollution. Isaiah speaks of this class. “Wash you, make you clean,” he says; “put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” [Isaiah 1:16-18.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 3

The evils are to be cut away from the life. The sins are to be repented of. Though they be as scarlet, they are to be as white as snow. Just as great a transformation as possible is to take place in the character. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 4

But if, after test and trial, after being brought into connection with those who work in their behalf, men and women do not give evidence that they have been purified from wrong habits and practices, they show that they do not appreciate the pearl of great price. If in any transaction, temporal or spiritual, they show dishonesty, if they are not straightforward, they show that they regard the rich mercies of God as a common thing. They cannot see the value of the pearl of great price. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land,” God declares. “But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. How is the faithful city become an harlot!” [Verses 19-21.] How have those who have had every opportunity to know the truth become defiled with the corruptions of the ungodly? “It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver has become dross; thy wine mixed with water.” [Verses 21, 22.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 5

Those represented in these words have mingled the sacred with the common. They profess to believe the truth; but they cannot carry dishonest practices in the narrow road and through the strait gate. By their actions they show that they have chosen the road in which the world travels. “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be which find it.” [Matthew 7:13, 14.] “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are. Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 6

“But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing to teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west and from the north and from the south and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.” [Luke 13:24-30.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 7

When men show that the fruit they bear is the fruit of the forbidden tree, beware lest by connecting with them you lose your connection with God. The knowledge gained by a connection with them is misleading and confusing. You cannot be a savor of life unto life to them, for they will not appreciate the Word of God. Beware of men who give evidence that God is not working with them. Because of the fruit they bear, those who are working in accordance with correct principles are dishonored. “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.” [Matthew 7:6.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 8

We shall in the future, as we have in the past, see all kinds of characters developed. We shall witness the apostasy of men in whom we have had confidence, in whom we trusted, who, we supposed, were as true as steel to principle. Something comes to test them, and they are overthrown. If such men fall, some say, “Who can we trust?” This is the temptation Satan brings to destroy the confidence of those who are striving to walk in the narrow way. Those who fall have evidently corrupted their way before the Lord, and they are beacons of warning, teaching those who profess to believe the truth that the Word of God alone can keep men steadfast in the way of holiness, or reclaim them from guilt. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 9

The Word of God is the pearl of great price. It is unchangeable, eternal. Truth as it is in Jesus sets men right and keeps them so. But when men show themselves to be unimpressible, unable to appreciate the pearl of great price, when they deal dishonestly with God and unrighteously with their fellow men, it is not best to link up with them. We shall meet those who have so perverted their conscience that they are unable to discern the precious truths of God’s Word. Then let all be careful with whom they connect. The truth is no truth to those who do not obey it. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 10

Those who are doers of the Word have found the pearl of great price. The truth is as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast. When men drift away from the principles of truth, they always betray sacred trusts. Let every soul, whatever may be his sphere of action, make sure that the truth is implanted in the heart by the power of the Spirit of God. Unless this is made certain, those who preach the Word will betray holy trusts. Physicians will <be tempted and> make shipwreck of the faith. Lawyers, judges, senators, will become corrupted, and, yielding to bribery, will allow themselves to be bought and sold. Those who do not walk in the light as Christ is in the light are blind leaders of the blind. “Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees, whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” [Jude 12.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 11

Truth is to be enthroned in the heart; for it only can convince of sin and reclaim men from sin. And while God warns us to beware how we waste truths of the highest value upon those who do not appreciate them, He also presents to us such cases as that of Cornelius the centurion, “a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.” An angel came to this man, saying to him, “Cornelius.” When he saw the angel, “he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now, send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter. He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” [Acts 10:2-6.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 12

There are many today who are in the same position as Cornelius. They are living up to light they have received, and God speaks to them as He spoke to Cornelius, and brings them by His appointed agencies to the place where they will receive the truth into good and honest hearts. God reveals Himself to those who form characters that He can approve. The prayers of those who fear Him, who recognize their obligations to Him, are heard and answered. The Lord takes special notice of those who walk in the light that He has given them, who testify by their deeds that they honor God. He will present through Peter the pearl of great price, and through Cornelius and his family many souls will be brought to the light. The Lord also has a knowledge of those who say and do not, whose lives are a denial of the truth. If these men knew what they were losing by failing to secure the pearl of great price, how sorry they would be. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 13

In every place God has His witnesses, who testify to the power of His rich grace. In the eyes of men they may appear inferior, but in all their ways they acknowledge God, and He directs their path. They testify to the transforming power of the grace of Christ, for they stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel. It is only by Christ’s power that we can conquer. If men knew with what delight the Lord looks upon obedience, they would praise Him more, and rejoice more in the light. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 14

Christ is ready to receive all who come to Him in sincerity. But He will not tolerate one particle of pretense or hypocrisy. He is our only hope. He is our Alpha and Omega. He is our sun and our shield, our wisdom, our sanctification, our righteousness. Only by His power can our hearts be kept daily in the love of God. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 15

When Christ compared the kingdom of heaven to a pearl of great price, He desired to lead every soul to appreciate that pearl above all else. The possession of the pearl, which means the possession of Christ as a personal Saviour, is a symbol of the highest riches. It is a treasure above every earthly treasure. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 16

God declares, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” “Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” [Revelation 3:4, 11; 16:15.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 17

In the parable the merchantman is represented as selling all that he had to gain possession of one pearl of great price. This is a beautiful representation of those who appreciate the truth so highly that they give up all they have to come into possession of it. They lay hold by faith of the salvation provided for man at the sacrifice of the only begotten Son of God. The righteousness of Christ, as a pure, white pearl, has no defect, no guilt, no stain. No work of man can improve the great and precious truths of God’s Word. They are not a mixture of truth and error. They are without a flaw. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 18

Christ has revealed the value of the Word. He declares that it is His flesh and blood, which we must eat and drink if we would be partakers of the divine nature. “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ... This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 19

“For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. ... It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:35, 50, 51, 54-57, 63.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 20

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Salvation, with its blood-bought, inestimable treasures, is the pearl of great price. It may be searched for and found. But all who really find it will sell all they have to buy it. They give evidence that they are one with Christ as He is one with the Father. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 21

There are some who are seeking, always seeking, for the goodly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. Therefore they do not find the precious pearl. They have not overcome unholy ambition and their love for worldly attractions. They do not lift the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. They never know what it is to have peace and harmony in the soul; for without entire self-surrender there is no rest, no joy. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved means to be not almost but wholly lost. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 22

God desires us to realize the value He sets on His believing people. “For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 23

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” [Isaiah 61:7-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 24

“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heart it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [Malachi 3:16-18.] “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” [Psalm 34:15-18.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 25

A daily consecration to God brings peace and rest. The merchant sold all that he had to possess the pearl. When those who are seeking for salvation refuse to fail or be discouraged, they will find peace and rest in the Lord. Christ will clothe them with His righteousness. He will provide them with a clean heart and a renewed mind. These blessings cost the life of the Son of God, and are freely offered to us, those for whom the sacrifice was made. But how do many treat the offered gifts? They turn away, choosing rather the pleasures of this life. Christ says of them, “Ye would not come unto me that ye might have life.” [John 5:40.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 26

Sinners are under a fearful deception. They despise and reject the Saviour. They do not realize the value of the pearl offered to them, and cast it away, rendering to their Redeemer only insult and mockery. Many a woman decks herself with rings and bracelets, thinking to gain admiration, but she refuses to accept the pearl of great price, which would secure to her sanctification, honor, and eternal riches. What an infatuation is upon the minds of many! They are more charmed with earthly baubles, which glitter and shine, than with the crown of immortal life, God’s gift for loyalty. “Can a maid forget her ornaments,” He asks, “or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.” [Jeremiah 2:32.] 13LtMs, Ms 154, 1898, par. 27