Ellen G. White Writings

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The Present Truth (UK)

January 26, 1893

“Knit Together in Love”

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another.” How much? “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do we regard this commandment sufficiently, so that we permit it to control mind and heart, and mould the character? “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Thus believers may bear to the world the credentials testifying that they are indeed children of God. Jesus says, “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.”

What can I present before my brethren and sisters more important for their study and practice than the prayer of Christ? The entire seventeenth chapter of John is full of marrow and fatness. Are there not urgent reasons why we should take heed to these words of Christ? Is it not time we sought for the unity for which the Saviour prayed? Shall we open our hearts to the melting love of Jesus? Shall we let that love take the place of the coldness and hardness that have been revealed in our characters? May the Lord have compassion upon us; may He forgive our perversity, and heal our backslidings, and unite the hearts of all that believe the truth in that oneness for which Christ prayed, that which exists between the Father and the Son.

The Gospel has little to fear from open opponents. It is the pretended friends of Christ, those who say, “I go,” but do not go, who are its most dangerous foes. They profess to love the Lord Jesus, but through the deceptions of Satan they work against Christ because they fail to be doers of His word.

He who carefully studies the word of God and brings its holy principles into his daily life, making every thought, word, and deed subject to its control will be a man of discernment; he has spiritual eyesight; he is not ignorant of Satan's devices. The love of God is in his heart, and he loves his fellow-men. Who can measure the loss we individually sustain by neglecting to obey the words of Christ? He is life to the dead, and wisdom to the ignorant. It is by His righteousness we are connected with God, and why do we treat so indifferently the prayer of Christ that His disciples may be one as He is one with the Father? Why do we not make most earnest efforts to answer this prayer?

The Saviour says to His professed people, “I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love.” If ever a people needed to repent because they had lost their first love, it is those who have had so great light. You can never understand what the loss means, until you repent of having given so little heed to the words of Christ. “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.” There is need of repentance because of the lack of love to God. He has not been loved with the whole heart, with the whole soul, with the undivided affections; and the second commandment has not been obeyed, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

In view of the wonderful manifestation of the love of Christ for fallen man, it is a great sin to misrepresent His character, as it has been misrepresented by every soul who has left the first love. Shall we not repent of this sin? Shall we take these things to heart, and make diligent work? God grant that the precious illumination of His Spirit may no longer be withheld from us.

The word of God cannot bend to men's liking. It requires obedience full and free. Will the church that professes to keep the commandments of God keep them in truth? Shall we be able to select a better guide, a better standard than is given us in the word of God? Why then do we kindle a fire, and walk in the sparks of our own kindling? The Eternal has opened up a path for us to travel which leads to the open gates of Paradise. Can we by following our own will and choosing to walk in our own way find a pleasanter path? What can spread sunshine through the soul as does the sense of sins forgiven? What can impart true nobility, if not restoration to the favour of God? Pure and undefiled religion means to love God supremely and our neighbour as ourselves. Could we understand the great loss we sustain in not following the Lord fully as directed in the wonderful prayer of Christ, so full of mercy and truth, we would make haste and repent, and be converted. To disregard this prayer is to quench the love of God in our hearts.

If those who profess to believe the present truth loved God supremely, and their neighbour as themselves, would there be so little done in presenting the truth to those about us? Every soul is to seek to be a blessing to others. Souls are perishing for the word of life, but the loss of her first love has left the church in blindness, and destitute of the blessings it is her privilege to enjoy. Lacking the power of God, he fails to accomplish the work of God. When we gather about the great white throne, before the Judge of the living and the dead, what excuse can we render to God for having failed to obey His word, failed to represent Christ before the world?

The man whose religion is planted in the heart is not guided by human opinions but by the verdicts of the unchanging One. In the judgment day it will be found that no one is able to cancel or revise the decisions of God; man cannot judge the word, but the word judges him. Every talent entrusted to men was given that it might be devoted to the work of saving the souls of the lost. If the talents have not been improved, if precious opportunities of enlightening others have been passed by unheeded, then the Lord's gifts have been wasted. To every man are committed talents, and if these are not improved, he will be treated as was the unprofitable servant in the parable.

Let us put away every idol. Let us seek God earnestly, and with the spirit of a little child take hold of our long-neglected work, and redeem the time. When we have less of self, and more of Jesus, we shall view these things in the right light. Let selfishness be uprooted, let the love of Jesus reign in the heart, and many souls will be saved as the result. In the past many have been repulsed, lost to God, lost to His cause, because of the unchristlike spirit and conduct which made it manifest that His professed people had left their first love. May God pity the church; for a great work must be done for its members or they are lost.

Mrs. E. G. White

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