Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 18, 1899

Not in Man's Wisdom

Mrs. E. G. White

Before his ascension, Christ commissioned his disciples: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” When the disciples prepared themselves for the descent of the Holy Spirit, by putting away all selfishness, all love of supremacy, and all differences, by becoming of one accord, of one mind, divine grace came upon them in a marked manner. The pentecostal season brought to them the evidences that they were accepted in the Beloved, and that their prayers, ascending to God in faith, would assuredly be answered. The power of the Holy Spirit was given to accompany the preaching of the Word.

In the commission to the disciples, and the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Christ shows that power and wisdom are not with the many, and that they do not come from man, but from Christ. The apostle Paul declares: “He is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of the cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; ... even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Speaking to his disciples, Christ said, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.” These they were to proclaim to the world. “What ye hear in the ear,” he said on one occasion, “that preach ye upon the housetops;” for there is nothing in the knowledge of truth and righteousness that is to remain a mystery. The door is thrown open for all who believe. “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

Christ makes a distinction between those who believe on him and those who do not, and tells his followers the evidence they must give to the world that they love the Saviour, who gave his life a ransom for them. “If ye love me,” he says, “keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world can not receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.... If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

The apostle Paul declares: “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

This scripture explains why men whose minds are occupied with worldly things do not give attention to things of eternal interest. Either God or Satan has the control of the intellect. If man sustains no vital relation to God, he reveals that he is connected with another leader, who is controlling his mind, and holding him in darkness, that he may not see the evidences of truth. The world can not receive the Spirit of truth, because they have not made the truth, which would make them wise unto salvation, their study. They can not receive truth, because they do not see Christ as the truth. They do not know him. “This is life eternal,” said Christ, “that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Those who know the truth are responsible for those who know it not. As a part of God's great firm, we have a work to do in building up the interests of that firm. As instruments of righteousness, we are to build up the kingdom of God, according to the plans he has laid before us. All who are connected with God will be imbued with his Spirit. The light that has been given them they will communicate to those who are in darkness. They will never cease their efforts to win souls to Christ. This is the work before all who claim to believe in Jesus. And in this work they will give themselves to God, soul, body, and spirit. They will bear their burden of soul in prayer to God, that those who know him not may be convicted and converted. To neglect this work is to insult Jehovah, to grieve the Holy Spirit, and to prove disloyal to Christ.

The Lord would have all his workers weighted with a wisdom that is divine, that wisdom which God gives to all who ask in faith. Paul said: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.”

The apostle Paul had all the privileges of a Roman citizen. He was not behind in the Hebrew education; for he had learned at the feet of Gamaliel; but all this did not enable him to reach the highest standard. With all this scientific and literary education, he was, until Christ was revealed to him, in as complete darkness as are many at this time. Paul became fully conscious that to know Jesus Christ by an experimental knowledge was for his present and eternal good. He saw the necessity of reaching a high standard.

It had been Paul's custom to adopt an oratorical style in his preaching. He was a man fitted to speak before kings, before the great and learned men of Athens, and his intellectual acquirements were often of value to him in preparing the way for the gospel. He tried to do this in Athens, meeting eloquence with eloquence, philosophy with philosophy, and logic with logic; but he failed to meet with the success he had hoped for. His after-sight led him to understand that there was something needed above human wisdom. God taught him that something above the world's wisdom must come to him. He must receive his power from a higher source. In order to convict and convert sinners, the Spirit of God must come into his work, and sanctify every spiritual development. He must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.

Christ is the mystery of godliness, and God calls for a humble reliance upon him, whose divine aid is promised to all. The church at Corinth did not make the fear of Christ the first, the last, and the best in everything. They were fearful of offending the Jews and the learned heathen, and they were becoming weak. Paul declared to them that he had not come to them with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that their faith might not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. “Howbeit,” he said, “we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught.” “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

This mystery all the intelligence of human beings is of itself incapable of understanding. Man's learning may be considered supreme, but it is not that higher education which he can take with him into the kingdom of heaven. The learned men of the world, notwithstanding all their intellectual studies, know not the truth as it is in Jesus. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul brings to view a kind of education which these supposed intellectual stars have not: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he says, “who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”

These divine heights the true believer may reach. All who will may see the mystery of godliness. But it is only through a correct understanding of Christ's mission and work that the possibility of being complete in him, accepted in the Beloved, is brought within our reach. His long human arm embraces the human family; his divine arm grasps the throne of the Infinite, that man may have the benefit of the infinite sacrifice made in his behalf. And to as many as receive him, he gives the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

There are many who are too exalted in their own opinion to receive this mystery. There is a science that the Most High would have these great men understand; but they can not see the Truth, the Life, the Light of the world. Human science is not divine enlightenment. Divine science is the demonstration of the Spirit of God, inspiring implicit faith in him. The men of the world suppose this faith to be beneath the notice of their great and intelligent minds, something too low to give attention to; but here they make a great mistake. It is altogether too high for their human intelligence to reach.

The gospel message is far from being opposed to true knowledge and intellectual attainments. It is itself true science, true intellectual knowledge. True wisdom is infinitely above the comprehension of the worldly wise. The hidden wisdom, which is Christ formed within, the hope of glory, is a wisdom high as heaven. The deep principles of godliness are sublime and eternal. A Christian experience alone can help us to understand this problem, and obtain the treasures of knowledge which have been hidden in the counsels of God, but are now made known to all who have a vital connection with Christ. All who will may know of the doctrine.

God is glorified in having channels through which he can communicate the treasures of heaven to a fallen world. Every one who will cleanse his soul of impurity, and let the similitude of Christ's character be placed on his character, will reflect back to God in pure currents the praise and thanksgiving of the souls he has won for Christ. The Saviour says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

July 18, 1899

Disease and Its Causes

Mrs. E. G. White

The mother too often meets with cold reserve from the father. If everything does not move off just as pleasantly as he could wish, he blames the wife and mother, and is indifferent to her cares and daily trials. Men who do this are working directly against their own interest and happiness. The mother becomes discouraged. Hope and cheerfulness depart from her. She goes about her work mechanically, knowing that it must be done, and this soon results in a loss of both physical and mental health. Children are born to them suffering with various diseases, and God holds the parents accountable in a great degree; for it was their wrong habits that fastened upon their unborn children the disease under which they are compelled to suffer all through their lives. Some live but a short time with their load of debility. The mother anxiously watches over the life of her child, and is weighed down with sorrow when she is compelled to close its eyes in death; and she often regards God as the author of all this affliction, when in reality the parents are the murderers of their own child.

The father should bear in mind that the treatment of his wife before the birth of his offspring will materially affect the disposition of the mother during that period, and will have much to do with the character developed by the child after its birth. Many fathers have been so anxious to obtain property quickly that higher considerations have been sacrificed; some have been criminally neglectful of the mother and her offspring, and too frequently the life of both has been sacrificed to the strong desire to accumulate wealth. Many do not immediately suffer the heavy penalty for their wrong-doing, and are asleep as to the result of their course. The condition of the wife is sometimes no better than that of a slave; and sometimes she is equally guilty with her husband, of squandering physical strength to obtain means to live fashionably. It is a sin for such to have children; for their offspring will often be deficient in physical, mental, and moral worth, and will bear the miserable, close, selfish impress of their parents, and the world will be cursed with their meanness.

It is the duty of men and women to act with reason in regard to their labor. They should not exhaust their energies unnecessarily; for by doing this, they not only bring suffering upon themselves, but, by their errors, bring anxiety, weariness, and suffering upon those they love. What calls for such an amount of labor?—Intemperance in eating and drinking, and the desire for wealth, have led to this intemperance in labor. If the appetite is controlled, and only healthful food is eaten, there will be so great a saving of expense that men and women will not be compelled to labor beyond their strength, and thus violate the laws of health. The desire of men and women to accumulate property is not sinful if in their efforts to attain their object they do not forget God, and transgress the last six precepts of Jehovah, which dictate the duty of man to his fellow man, and so place themselves in a position where it is impossible for them to glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are his. If, in their haste to be rich, they overtax their energies, and violate the laws of their being, they place themselves in a condition where they can not render to God perfect service, and are therefore pursuing a course of sin. Property thus obtained is gained at an immense sacrifice.

Hard labor and anxious care often make the father nervous, impatient, and exacting. He does not notice the tired look of his wife, who has labored with her feeble strength just as hard as he has labored with his stronger energies. He suffers himself to be hurried with business, and through his anxiety to be rich, loses in a great measure the sense of his obligation to his family, and does not measure aright his wife's power of endurance. He often enlarges his farm, requiring an increase of hired help, which necessarily increases the housework. The wife realizes every day that she is doing too much work for her strength, yet she toils on, thinking the work must be done. She is continually reaching down into the future, drawing upon her future resources of strength, and is living upon borrowed capital; and at the period when she needs that strength, it is not at her command, and if she does not lose her life, her constitution is broken past recovery.

If the father would become acquainted with physical law, he would better understand his obligations and his responsibilities. He would see that he had been guilty of almost murdering his children, by suffering so many burdens to come upon the mother, compelling her to labor beyond her strength before their birth, in order to obtain money to leave for them. They nurse these children through their suffering life, and often lay them prematurely in the grave, little realizing that their wrong course has brought the sure result. How much better to shield the mother of his children from wearing labor and mental anxiety, and let the children inherit good constitutions, and give them an opportunity to battle their way through life, not relying upon their father's property, but upon their own energetic strength! The experience thus obtained would be of more worth to them than houses and lands purchased at the expense of the health of mother and children.

It seems perfectly natural for some men to be morose, selfish, exacting, and overbearing. They have never learned the lesson of self-control, and will not restrain their unreasonable feelings, let the consequences be what they may. Such men will be repaid by seeing their companions sickly and dispirited, and their children bearing the peculiarities of their own disagreeable traits of character.

It is the duty of every married couple studiously to avoid marring the feelings of each other. They should control every look of fretfulness and passion. They should study each other's happiness in small matters as well as in large, manifesting a tender thoughtfulness in acknowledging kind acts and little courtesies. These small things should not be neglected; for they are just as important to the happiness of man and wife, as food is to sustain physical strength. The father should encourage the wife and mother to lean upon his large affection. Kind, cheerful, encouraging words from him to whom she has entrusted her life-happiness will be more beneficial to her than any medicine; and the cheerful rays of light that such sympathizing words will bring to the heart of the wife and mother, will reflect their own cheering beams upon the heart of the father.

The husband will frequently see his wife careworn and debilitated, growing prematurely old, in laboring to prepare food to suit his vitiated taste. He gratifies the appetite, and will eat and drink those things which cost much time and labor to prepare for the table, and which have a tendency to make those who partake of these unhealthful things nervous and irritable. The wife and mother is seldom free from headache, the children suffer from the effects of eating unwholesome food, and there is a great lack of patience and affection with parents and children. All are sufferers together; for health has been sacrificed to lustful appetite. The offspring, before its birth, has had transmitted to it disease and an unhealthy appetite. The irritability, nervousness, and despondency manifested by the mother will mark the character of her child.

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