Mrs. E. G. White
The Lord would have every one holy, even as he is holy. Those who love him will be merciful, true, kind, and forgiving. Christ is seeking to uplift all who will be lifted to companionship with himself, that they may be one with him as he is one with the Father. If you are not thus, you are in companionship with the enemy of all good. God is waiting to impart his richest blessings to all who will receive them, that all may reveal Christ's spirit, by helping those who are suffering for the temporal and spiritual necessities of life. Christians who are Christians in truth, and not in name only, who are meek and lowly followers of the Master, will act as did this Samaritan. They will live his life of service. Christ has made all one. In him there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. The Bible declares that all human beings are to be respected as God's property. Divine love makes its most touching appeals when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. He was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. In all our afflictions he is afflicted. He created man, and died to save him. He loves men and women as the purchase of his own blood, and he says to us, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another.”
There are men professing to serve God who act the part of the priest and the Levite. All around them they see want and suffering, but with heartless indifference they pass by on the other side. Our churches need a reconversion. The Holy Spirit of God must come into our hearts. We must submit to its molding and fashioning, or we shall lose our title to the immortal inheritance. The Lord will not tolerate the actions of many. There are hard, stony, unsympathetic hearts, which must be softened and subdued by grace.
Time is a precious gift. The probation granted us by God is to be appreciated as an opportunity to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The Laodicean message applies to all who profess to keep the law of God, and yet are not doers of it. We are not to be selfish in anything. Every phase of the Christian life is to be a representation of the life of Christ. If it is not, we shall hear the terrible words, “I know you not.” We need far more disinterested benevolence. Often we shall be called upon to sacrifice in order to help those who are in need, and we should do this cheerfully, glad for the privilege to follow the Master.
Whatever the difference in religious belief, a call for suffering humanity must be heard and answered. In cases where there is bitterness of feeling because of a difference in religion, much may be done by personal service. As we reveal the attributes of true goodness by loving ministry, we break down prejudice, and win souls to Christ. By doing good to those who are at enmity with us, we manifest the virtues of Christ. We are to regard every human being, of whatever caste or nationality, whether he is white or black, high or low, as our neighbor. The arm of compassion must reach to any depth to save perishing souls. Thus we give evidence to the world that we have the mind of Christ. Without this evidence we show that we know him not.
Obedience to the precious word of God brings the beauty of holiness. That word, whether in the New Testament or in the Old, can not be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. It ever maintains its high and holy standard, saying, “This do, and thou shalt live.” All human beings need a standard, and this standard is plainly revealed in God's word, which is the expression of his will. This word reveals to man his defects of character, and the hopelessness of his condition unless he returns to his loyalty. Through faith in Christ all excellence may be reached. The word of God requires obedience to his law, presenting the character of Christ in contrast to the character of men.
Christ comes to us with an invitation of mercy, holding before us the mirror of God's law, and presenting its claims. “Come unto me,” he says, “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.” Walk with me, and I will fill your path with light. Christ humbled himself that he might encircle the human race with his long human arm, while with his divine arm he lays hold of the throne of God. He came to show how man should treat his fellow man. He came to uplift the sufferer and comfort the oppressed. To Moses he proclaimed himself, “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” But God can not let sin, unrepented of, go unpunished. He could not welcome any sinner into the courts of heaven. This would introduce woe and misery there. He will by no means clear the guilty. He visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations.
Sin perpetuates itself. How cruel then it is for those who claim to have a knowledge of God to show that they are not doers of his word. They indulge in evil thinking, criticizing, and accusing, and in this way they misrepresent Christ's character. They are false witnesses, just as were the Jews. I pray that the vision of the soul may be sanctified, that the sin of accusing and criticizing may be put away, as a sin that crucifies afresh the Son of God, and puts him to an open shame. The Holy Spirit must work in our hearts. Let no false pride, no pharisaism, be cherished. Rather let us seek for the spirit of a little child. If we knew, if we only knew, how the Lord regards those who indulge so freely in evil surmising, we would fear to manifest such, a spirit. These surmisings are a repast from the enemy, a banquet of his own preparing. Those who give place to them have an experience in accordance with them; for the mind is built up from the food given it.
“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved.”
The Lord can do very little for us while we live in transgression, breaking the first four and the last six commandments. All who love God supremely will love their neighbor as themselves. The keeping of the new commandment is to the believer a step heavenward. The one thing that will give God's people the supremacy is obedience to the command, “These things I command you, that ye love one another.” “Neither pray I for these alone,” Christ said, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Christ's words should be appreciated and obeyed, and they will be when his professed followers have that repentance which needeth not to be repented of. “As the Father hath loved me,” he declares, “so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.... These things I command you, that ye love one another.”
The greatest cause of weakness among those who are looking for the Lord's second coming is lack of love and confidence. This causes suspicion. There is a lack of frankness; the way is hedged up by supposition. Some one discovers a supposed defect in a brother or sister, and he acts on this supposition, as if it were true. When criticism and faultfinding, and a desire for the highest place enter the church, the serpent, disguised, enters with them, leaving a trail of evil wherever he goes. The leaven works, and the men God has appointed to do a certain work are regarded with suspicion and distrust, although there may not be the slightest cause for this. Unless this evil is uprooted, unless the Holy Spirit works to cast out the enemy, the life God designs to be a success will be a failure. Satan will make the mind a depository for his insinuations, and the man will lose the battle, when he might have gone forward to victory.
Please read the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of 1 Corinthians. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Let us wash our robe of character. Let us no longer bite and devour one another. Let those who claim to be Christians practise Christ's words. “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men.... Let all your things be done with charity.”