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    December 1894

    “The Gifts: Their Presence and Object” The Home Missionary, 6, Extra, pp. 8-13.


    Reading for Monday, December 24

    The “gifts” suggested are the gifts of the Spirit of God. And the subject of our study at this time is not the presence and object of one gift only, but the Gifts: Their Presence and Object.HOMI December 1894, page 8.1

    We shall study first—HOMI December 1894, page 8.2


    This is so plainly stated in the Scriptures that surely none need mistake it. In Ephesians 4:7-15, we read:—HOMI December 1894, page 8.3

    “Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.... And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”HOMI December 1894, page 8.4

    Here are the several statements made as to the object of the gifts:—HOMI December 1894, page 8.5

    1. The perfecting of the saints.HOMI December 1894, page 8.6

    2. The edifying—the building up—of the body of Christ—the Church.HOMI December 1894, page 8.7

    3. To create in the people of God such a steadiness and stability of heart and mind and character that they shall never be moved by any power that may ever be enlisted against them.HOMI December 1894, page 8.8

    The chief of all these objects, that which might justly be termed the object of the gifts, seems to be “the edifying”—the building up—of the church. All the others seem to be contributory to this. Though “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal:” yet his profiting is to be used to the edifying of the church.HOMI December 1894, page 8.9

    He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.HOMI December 1894, page 8.10

    “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” 1 Corinthians 14:4, 5.HOMI December 1894, page 8.11

    “Forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” Verse 12.HOMI December 1894, page 8.12

    The propriety of praying or giving of thanks in an unknown tongue, is questioned because “the other is not edified.” Verse 17.HOMI December 1894, page 8.13

    “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” Verses 18, 19.HOMI December 1894, page 8.14

    “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” Verse 26.HOMI December 1894, page 8.15

    From all this counsel it certainly would appear that the one great object of the gifts is to build up the church in Jesus Christ.HOMI December 1894, page 8.16

    From this and other considerations it is plain also that the object of the gifts is not in any sense to satisfy curiosity, nor a desire for their display. For, although we are bidden to “desire spiritual gifts,” to “covet to prophesy,” and to “covet earnestly the best gifts:” yet we are also cautioned that there is a more excellent way to obtain them; and a more excellent way to go, even without them, than to have them merely upon a desire for their manifestation.HOMI December 1894, page 8.17

    “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”HOMI December 1894, page 8.18

    From this it is perfectly plain that the manifestation of all the gifts of the Spirit, if such a thing were possible, only in response to a desire for their bestowal, would do not one particle of good. As the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit, and as the manifestation of these gifts in response to only a desire for them, would “profit nothing,” it is clear enough that our minds are not to be turned to a longing desire for the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit of God.HOMI December 1894, page 8.19

    No, the one thing to which our most earnest attention is to be turned, and unto which our hearts shall aspire with the most intense longing, is charity, charity, CHARITY—the love of God, “the bond of perfectness.” Without this all else is nothing. This itself is the fulfilling of all the law and the prophets. And this all-important, this most to be desired thing is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost which is given us.HOMI December 1894, page 8.20

    To seek such an endowment of the Spirit of God as will shed abroad in our hearts the love of God, that we shall love one another and all men with the love of Jesus Christ—this is the great thing to be desired, the chief thing to be coveted, the one thing to be sought after.HOMI December 1894, page 9.1

    This brings all other good things in its train. It carries all things in itself. While though it were possible to have all other things without this, yet after all we would really have nothing, and we ourselves would be nothing.HOMI December 1894, page 9.2

    Then turn away the mind from all things but following after charity. And desire spiritual gifts only as the consequence of the abundance of the love of God shed abroad in the heart, and abounding in the life by the Holy Ghost. Let the seeking for this love of God absorb all the attention. Let the desire for this draw out the heart’s deepest longings. Let this engage the most devoted consecration. Let all this be so until the promise shall be fulfilled to every soul: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” For “this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive.” John 7:38, 39.HOMI December 1894, page 9.3

    Though this is so plainly stated in the Bible, and though it is so easy to see and so reasonable, yet it is a fact that thousands of our people as well as multitudes of others, have allowed their attention and their desires, too, to be drawn away after manifestations of gifts in miracles and signs and wonders. Many of our own people have looked at the “holiness bands,” the “faith healings,” “Christian Science,” etc., and have wondered why such things as were said to be done there, were not seen among us. And some have been drawn away by such things, to go with those bodies.HOMI December 1894, page 9.4

    Many others have queried thus with themselves: “These things are promised to the people of God in the last days, and we are in the last days. These signs were to follow them that believe. Now if we are the people of God, why are not these things seen among us? Why don’t these signs follow us as a people?” And they have thus queried themselves into a position where they are almost ready to doubt whether we have the truth.HOMI December 1894, page 9.5

    It is true that these things are promised to the people of God. They belong with the people of God. They belong among us. They are promised to us. These signs shall follow them that believe. They are to follow us. They ought to be following us now; for, “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.” John 14:12.HOMI December 1894, page 9.6

    Then why is it not so with us now? There is a reason for it. And that reason is, the great lack of the love of God among us. It is because of this very thing that we are now studying; namely, the desiring the manifestation of the gifts merely of themselves, without taking the more excellent way of earnestly desiring and diligently seeking the love of God to be shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, so that we shall love one another with the love of Christ. It is because of desiring the gifts, rather than desiring that charity—that love of God in the heart—which itself brings the gifts and all other of the good things of God. This is the reason.HOMI December 1894, page 9.7

    Where would be the good of the gift of tongues to a person who uses the only tongue that he now has in backbiting, talebearing, and gossiping about his brethren and neighbors? Where would be the benefit of the gift of understanding all mysteries, to a people who neglect the most precious of all mysteries; namely, God manifest in the flesh, which is Christ in you the hope of glory; and which has been so fully and so clearly revealed to all that all are without excuse for not understanding? If Christ in the days of his flesh had acted this way, then how many of those wondrous works would have been wrought in him? how many of the gifts of the Spirit of God would then have been manifested through him?HOMI December 1894, page 9.8

    No; these wondrous works were wrought in him because God dwelt in him by faith. The gifts of the Spirit were manifested through him because that Spirit dwelt in him and wrought in him unhindred. And this, too, while he in himself was just as weak as we are; while he was in fact just ourselves in the flesh—but trusting in God. For “in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren,” being tempted in all things “like as we are.” Hebrews 2:17; 4:15. If we would find the works of Christ among us, then Christ himself must be in us. “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 3:24.HOMI December 1894, page 9.9

    Thus again we are brought to view the absolute necessity of having the Holy Ghost to shed abroad the love of God in the heart, that abounding charity in the life, in order to find the manifestation of the gifts according to the mind of God and to our own profit. O let all seek this with all the heart, and with a never slacking consecration, till he pour out to us in its abundance the latter rain.HOMI December 1894, page 9.10

    “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even to-day do I declare that I will render double unto thee.... And they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of is people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon this land.” Zechariah 9:12, 15, 16.HOMI December 1894, page 10.1

    This is not to say, however, that there has been no seeking of the Lord, nor any devotion or consecration. Not by any means. There has been; and therefore there have been precious seasons of refreshment. Because, as there has been a seeking of the Lord and a measure of devotion, the Lord in his goodness has responded bountifully with light and blessing. And as is always the case with him, he has given far beyond the measure of our devotion and has bestowed even his bed gifts. Yet because of the lack of a deeper consecration and more constant devotion, these gifts have not been appreciated and profited by. And the Lord could not give more while the best are not truly valued.HOMI December 1894, page 10.2

    Therefore we can speak really and properly of—HOMI December 1894, page 10.3


    as well as of the object of them. There is not, it is true, the presence of all the gifts; and this for the reasons already given; but there has been, and there is, the presence of certain gifts—and these the best ones, or at least the first in order. For “God hath set some in the church: First, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers;” and “after that miracles;” and “then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”HOMI December 1894, page 10.4

    An apostle is one sent by the Lord with a special message, or to do a certain work. It is not necessary that there should be twelve, nor yet any certain number of them. There were more than twelve in the first days of the church. And as these in succession passed away, there were fewer of course. One alone sent of the Lord to do a special work in his cause, is as much an apostle as though he were one of a dozen or more. Nor is it essential that in order to be an apostle, he shall be acknowledged to be an apostle and received as such by those to whom he is sent or in whose behalf he labors. Paul’s apostleship was called in question almost everywhere he went, and was doubted by some who were prominent among the brethren, yet this in no wise proved that he was not an apostle. He was an apostle. Whether men recognized it or not did not affect the fact. He was sent of Christ to fill a special place in his cause and work; and it is the commission of Christ that makes men apostles, or prophets, or teachers, and not the will or choice of men.HOMI December 1894, page 10.5

    Nor is it necessary that there should be a direct succession of apostles all the way down to our day, in order that there should be such in our day. It is the message with which he is sent, and the work that is given him of God to do that constitutes one’s apostleship, and not any particular succession in office. None of the offices or dignities of the church of Christ are derivable by succession. They come only by appointment from the Lord Jesus himself, the Head of the church.HOMI December 1894, page 10.6

    Nor does it follow that because one is an apostle, it is impossible for him to make a mistake in conduct. Peter made a mistake at Antioch; and James made a mistake at Jerusalem, when he with others required Paul to compromise the faith; and Paul made a mistake when he yielded to their requirement. Acts 21:18; Sketches from the Life of Paul, 211-214. Men whom even the Lord chooses and sends, may possibly make mistakes; but the blessed thing over all is the precious fact that Christ who is the Head of the church, and who lives in the church, will surely point out and correct their mistakes; and Christ makes no mistakes.HOMI December 1894, page 10.7

    That the Lord has given to his cause in the third angel’s message, such as these—men whom he has sent with a special message and to do a special work under Christ in giving mold and right direction to this cause—is evident to all. And these workers and their work, are to be honored as of the Lord.HOMI December 1894, page 10.8

    “Every channel that God has used through which to communicate truth, is to be respected. God has appointed human agents who he has made channels through which the waters of life have flowed down through the ages of the past to our times. God has made them the depositaries of sacred truth, and they have been co-laborers with Jesus Christ in diffusing the light and truth that has made the church what it is to-day. Let God alone specify the mistakes that they have made; but let us be silent concerning what we may think is a defection. We have enough to do to learn the lessons he would have us learn.HOMI December 1894, page 10.9

    “Increased light has come to us from God as we have searched the living oracles. We have discovered gems that were more precious than gold and silver, and many of these rich treasures have been pointed out to us by men who are now laid away in the grave. Let us not depreciate one of God’s workmen. If God in his great mercy has traced the imperfection of any of his workmen, it is for the purpose of leading the church to shun his defects, and to imitate his virtues. Let us cherish the truth which he has spoken to us, and the counsel that has been given to us by men through whom God manifested his will in a marked manner. Let us be grateful that there were men who appropriated the grace of Christ, and bore the burden in the heat of the day, whose lips are now silent. The Lord Jesus bade John to write of them, ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.’ We should be careful how we handle the names of the precious and blessed ones who sleep in Jesus.HOMI December 1894, page 10.10

    “It has been at very great cost that the truth has been brought before the people. The third angel’s message was established through very great difficulties; for every conceivable obstruction was in the way of its proclamation at first. Those who have seen the truth at a later date, who have had no experimental knowledge as to what it cost to become a Seventh-day Adventist when all the believers could be numbered within a small compass, should be guarded in their expressions in regard to the men through whom the Lord wrought as pioneers in His work.”HOMI December 1894, page 11.1


    Teachers of his word and of his ways, as well as evangelists and pastors, it is also evident that God has given to his cause. Else what is the meaning of the system of ministers’ institutes and Bible schools that has been established among us, from which men and women are to go forth to teach the word of God and his message in his way? and of which he has spoken these words:—HOMI December 1894, page 11.2

    “The great advantages of the ministerial institutes are not half appreciated. They are rich in opportunities; but they do not accomplish half what they should, because those who attend them do not practice the truth which is presented before them in clear lines.”HOMI December 1894, page 11.3

    And this:—HOMI December 1894, page 11.4

    “Anything, anything, but men who have had all the privileges of the ministerial institutes, and yet do not absorb the truth, and therefore cannot give the truth to others.”HOMI December 1894, page 11.5

    And this also:—HOMI December 1894, page 11.6

    “I was bidden to look and behold what continuous efforts had been put forth and how precious time and money had been consumed in educating ministers in Bible truth and instructing them how to work, and yet how small a number had responded to the light that had been given, how few had been led to tremble at the word, and to arouse from their dormant, sluggish, spiritual state, to take in the fact that there is a world to be warned, and that there are souls who are perishing out of Christ.HOMI December 1894, page 11.7

    “The sanction of Heaven cannot be given to misuse of light and truth or to spiritual inactivity. Of those who have not improved their privileges it is written in the books of heaven, ‘Thou wicked and slothful servant, ... thou oughtest therefore to have put My money to the exchangers, and then at My coming I should have received Mine own with usury.’ Those who have been privileged to have the truth brought before them, should, irrespective of circumstances, receive the truth into good and honest hearts, and go to work as faithful stewards of the grace of Christ.HOMI December 1894, page 11.8

    “He who has heard the truth, who has realized that the light of Heaven has shone upon his soul, and who has not walked in the light, has hid his talent in the earth.... If the truth is received in the heart, and valued as a heavenly gift, it will be a working element, that will work from the heart, and its workings will be apparent in the outward life. The ministers who have had the privilege of attending ministerial institutes one upon another and have not used the grand principles of truth set before them, in not letting their light shine forth in steady rays to others, will lose the light they already have, because they have not diffused it to others.”HOMI December 1894, page 11.9

    “The Bible truths of justification and righteousness by faith have been set before large numbers of people. Some have been animated and delighted with the truth for a short time, but they do not appropriate the truth, and their minds and hearts are not purified from their sins. They do not cultivate an abiding faith, nor drink the rich and living draught placed to their lips, and they soon lose the impression made upon their hearts. Shall we not seek to arouse the sluggish sensibilities of those who know the truth, and impress upon them their duty to practice it themselves, and teach it to those who know it not? In this work the angels of God will co-operate with them, and those who are dead in trespasses and sins will be convicted and converted. The truth will become a living, working principle in their own hearts, and as they communicate to others that which they have received, the angels of God will communicate fresh and new light to the Christ-like workers. Those who wish to know the reality of Bible truth in their own experience, should impart it to the poor souls who are in the darkness of error.”HOMI December 1894, page 11.10

    Thus it is certainly true of us that “when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.” Hebrews 5:12.HOMI December 1894, page 11.11

    God’s gift of teaching and of teachers in that which, if accepted, would make us teachers, must not be slighted. These precious gifts are for the ministry, to bring us all in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man—unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. They will do this if allowed to accomplish that unto which they are sent. But in order that they may do it, they must be appreciated as the gifts of God, and accordingly received and retained by living faith.HOMI December 1894, page 11.12

    The other gift, which we all know that the Lord in his goodness has bestowed upon the church,—HOMI December 1894, page 11.13


    we have reserved until the last to be considered. This gift, although acknowledged all these years to be in the church, has yet been but comparatively little appreciated or profited by, for the real purpose for which it is given, that is, to draw us to the word of God as it is in Jesus. The work of prophesying, it is true is “unto edification, and exhortation, and comfort,” of the church, and of individuals. But yet this is rather in consequence of the one great object of the Spirit of prophecy, which is to draw men to the word of God and its precious fullness as it is.HOMI December 1894, page 11.14

    The Spirit of prophecy is the means through which Christ himself gives the true understanding and right interpretation of his word. Christ is the Author of the written word of God. This word “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” It was “the Spirit of Christ” in these holy men, which testified the things that are written and now preached unto us with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. 1 Peter 1:11, 12.HOMI December 1894, page 12.1

    It being the word of Christ himself, signified and testified by his own Spirit—by himself through his Holy Spirit—it follows that he alone by that same Spirit is qualified to interpret that word and infallibly give the right meaning of it. The only absolutely sure interpreter of any writing is the author of it himself. All others are liable to mistake, or fail to catch the real thought which the author intended to convey. How much more, then, is it so with the word of God—that word which is in meaning of eternal depth! How much more with this than with any other writing, are all others liable to mistake or to fail to catch the real thought of the Author! And how certainly therefore is the Author of this word the only one qualified to interpret it and to set forth its meaning! Christ alone, in his own proper person by his Holy Spirit, is the interpreter of his word. And that interpretation is infallible; because Christ alone possesses infallibility. Whoever else would presume to interpret the Bible and declare its meaning, would thereby put himself in the place of Christ. And this is the papacy.HOMI December 1894, page 12.2

    Christ alone is the interpreter of his word. And the evidence which he gives, the testimony of Christ, as to the meaning of his word, that is the meaning of it as he thinks it. That is the truth itself as it is in Jesus. And he who receives it thus receives the thought of Christ. And “the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”HOMI December 1894, page 12.3

    Consequently the one chief object of the gift of prophecy is to draw us to the word of God, and enable us to see there the “deep things of God;” to enable us to find there the precious hidden treasures; and to bring to understanding the things “that are hard to be understood.”HOMI December 1894, page 12.4

    This is the statement of the Testimony itself:—HOMI December 1894, page 12.5

    by simple direct testimonies, calling your attention to the words of inspiration which you had neglected to obey, and urging you to fashion your lives in accordance with its pure and elevated teachings.HOMI December 1894, page 12.6

    “The Lord deigns to warn you, to reprove, to counsel, through the testimonies given, and to impress your minds with the importance of the truth of His word. The written testimonies are not to give new light, but to impress vividly upon the heart the truths of inspiration already revealed. Man’s duty to God and to his fellow man has been distinctly specified in God’s word; yet but few of you are obedient to the light given. Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given, and in His own chosen way brought them before the people, to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse.HOMI December 1894, page 12.7

    “The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it, that the beautiful simplicity of truth may impress all.”—“Testimony,” No. 33, p. 193.HOMI December 1894, page 12.8

    The right use of the Testimonies, therefore is not to use them as they are in themselves, as though they were apart from the word of God in the Bible; but to study the Bible through them, so that the things brought forth in them we shall see and know for ourselves are in the Bible; and then present those things to others not from the Testimonies themselves, but from the Bible itself so that all others may see for themselves that the Bible says so.HOMI December 1894, page 12.9

    This and this alone is the right use of the Testimonies, whether used privately or publicly. The Testimonies are not to be appealed to with those that are without; for “prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” 1 Corinthians 14:22. And as they serve only for those who believe, these are to use them as the means of finding the precious things of the word of God in the Bible itself, and then present to those who are without these truths from the Bible alone.HOMI December 1894, page 12.10

    As the benefits of this gift as well as of all the others, are “for the work of the ministry,” let all our ministers as well as all others of our public workers make the right use of the Testimonies in their work, and there will not be nearly so much prejudice against the Testimonies either in the church or out of it. That is, let all faithfully study the Testimonies for themselves, to find the deep and precious things of the word that are there uncovered to the view, and then find these same precious things in the Bible (for they are all there somewhere) and make them your own from the Bible so that you can make them clear to all from the Bible alone.HOMI December 1894, page 12.11

    This of itself will make us all “mighty in the Scriptures.” This will give to us all “the tongue of the learned that we shall know how to speak a word to him that is weary.” And besides this then, when the Testimonies are brought to the minds of the people, even by the enemy, we can rest in perfect confidence, knowing that they will find there the very things that they have already heard from the Scriptures, and that they must therefore say that it is good. And besides, then we can tell them that it was by the aid of these that we were enabled to find so many of the deep and precious things of the Bible, and therefore we can with pleasure and with confidence recommend to them the use of the Testimonies for the same purpose, with the certainty of rich returns to all who will make such use of them.HOMI December 1894, page 12.12

    As a general thing indeed, it is better to use the Testimonies in this way with those who believe, as well as with those who are without. For a Testimony dated April 16, 1894, upon this subject, stating how every effort and every thing must draw the people to the word of God, goes so far as to say that the people “should not have their attention called to dreams or visions.” As this passage is so full and clear upon this point, and as it covers to much of the line traced in this reading, we can probably do no better than to close with the quotation of the passage in full. It is as follows:—HOMI December 1894, page 13.1

    “Calmly and clearly ‘preach the word.’ (See Scripture.) We must not regard it as our work to create an excitement. The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit which is light and life.HOMI December 1894, page 13.2

    “The people want a sign, as in the days of Christ. Then the Lord told them that no sign should be given them. The sign that should be manifest now and always, is the working of the Holy Spirit upon the mind of the teacher, to make the word as impressive as possible. The word of God is not a dead, dry theory, but Spirit and life.HOMI December 1894, page 13.3

    “Satan would like nothing better than to call minds away from the word, to look for and expect something outside of the word to make them feel. They should not have their attention called to dreams or visions. If they would have eternal life, they must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God.HOMI December 1894, page 13.4

    “In the days of Christ this statement offended many of his professed disciples, so that they went back and walked no more with him. The Lord Jesus explained his own words. He said, ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life,’ ‘Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’ This living bread of which Jesus spoke is of consequence; it is his word, which he has given us.HOMI December 1894, page 13.5

    “Teach these things. Educate the people to have a sound, solid experience, and do not create in them an appetite for something new, and strange, and startling. These are the very things which those that are weak in moral power crave as the liquor drinker craves liquor, and the result is that they are not sound in the understanding of the word. They have not root in themselves, and when the masterly working of Satan shall be made manifest, and he shall perform miracles to testify that he is Christ, those who have been controlled by feeling, who have fed on the sensational, and have been seeking for strange things, will be carried away, because they were not feeding on Christ.HOMI December 1894, page 13.6

    “‘He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him.’ They received life from Christ, just as the branch receives its nourishment from the vine. God help us to move soundly, solidly, because we are eating and drinking the flesh and blood of the Son of God.HOMI December 1894, page 13.7

    “‘Preach the word.’ Compared with the word, everything else is weakness itself. The word of God is the weapon of our warfare. Educate, train the people to be doers of the word, and they will then abide in Christ, and Christ will abide in them. Then they will discern the delusions of Satan; they will not be ignorant of his devices.”HOMI December 1894, page 13.8

    Such is the object of the gifts—“The perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;” through the word of God. May the Lord help us that we may so use these as he has appointed, and so be filled with the love of God, with that charity that is the bond of perfectness, which alone brings all good things in its trains.HOMI December 1894, page 13.9


    “Living Faith vs. a Dead Formalism” The Home Missionary, 6, Extra, pp. 23-28.


    Reading for Thursday, December 27

    THE term “living faith” is strictly proper; because faith indeed is a living thing. The just live by faith, and no man can live by what has no life in it. As we can live only by that which brings life to us, and as we live by faith, it is plain that faith is a living thing.HOMI December 1894, page 23.1

    Again: Faith is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), and he is the living God; Jesus is its Author (Hebrews 12:2), and in him is life—he is the life. In the nature of things that which comes from such a source must be of itself imbued with life. And as faith does come wholly from him who is only the living God, from him who alone is life, and not from ourselves (Ephesians 2:8); it is certainly imbued with life and so brings life to men, by which we may live indeed.HOMI December 1894, page 23.2

    Again: Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17); that word is “the faith word” (Titus 1:9), that is, the word full of faith; and that word is “the word of life.” Philippians 2:16. Therefore as the word of God brings faith, and is full of faith; and as that word is the word of life, it is evident that faith is life, is a living thing, and brings life from God to him who exercises it.HOMI December 1894, page 23.3

    What life is it then which faith brings to men?—Coming as it does from God, through Jesus Christ who is the “Author of life,” the only life with which it is imbued and which it could possibly bring to men is the life of God. The life of God is what men need and what we must have. And it is the life that God wants us to have; for it is written: “Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God.” Ephesians 4:17, 18. To be alienated from the life of God is to be separated from the life of God, and a stranger to it. This is the condition of those who are without God; for they are “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Ephesians 2:12. But the Lord does not want men to be separated from the life of God: for this is death. And he has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth.HOMI December 1894, page 23.4

    Therefore those who are strangers and foreigners, those who are alienated from the life of God, who will believe in Jesus, he makes nigh by the blood of Christ; so that they are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. Thus to the believers in Jesus, he says: “Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace who hath made both one.” Ephesians 2:13, 14. Even though it be true that this refers to making both Jew and Gentile one, the point is that this is accomplished only by making both at one with God. And men are made one with God only in Jesus Christ, who has come between and makes us one with God in himself. This is the atonement—the at-one-ment.HOMI December 1894, page 24.1

    Jesus came that men might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10. “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. And Christ is received by faith, and he dwells in the heart by faith. Ephesians 3:17. Therefore as the life of God only, eternal life, is in Jesus Christ, and as Christ dwells in the heart by faith, it is as plain as anything can be that faith brings the life of God to him who exercises it.HOMI December 1894, page 24.2

    It is the life of Jesus himself that is to be made manifest in our bodies, “For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” 2 Corinthians 4:11. And the life of Jesus is manifested in us, by Christ himself living in us; for “Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Galatians 2:20. This is living faith.HOMI December 1894, page 24.3

    Again he says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them;” “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you;” and “because I live, ye shall live also.” John 14:18, 19. It is by the Holy Spirit that he dwells in us; for he desires you “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” Ephesians 3:16, 17. And “at that day”—the day that ye receive the gift of the Holy Ghost—“ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” John 14:20. “And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 3:24. And we “receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Galatians 3:14.HOMI December 1894, page 24.4

    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” We must have the blessing of Abraham in order to receive the promise of the Spirit. The blessing of Abraham is righteousness by faith. See Romans 4:1-13. Having this, Abraham “received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had.” And we having this, can freely receive the promise of the Spirit circumcising the heart unto holiness and the seal of the righteousness of the faith which we had. Having the blessing of Abraham, and so being sons of God, God sends forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. Galatians 3:26; 4:4-6. Having the blessing of Abraham, that you may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, then ask that ye may receive—yea, ask and ye shall receive. For the word of God has promised, and faith cometh by hearing the word of God. Therefore ask in faith, nothing wavering, “for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”HOMI December 1894, page 24.5

    Such is living faith—the faith that comes from the living God; the faith of which Christ is the Author; the faith which comes by the word of God; the faith which brings life and power from God to men, and which works the works of God in him who exercises it; the faith which receives the Holy Spirit that brings the living presence of Jesus Christ to dwell in the heart and manifest himself still in mortal flesh. This and this alone is living faith. By this, Christians live. This is life itself. This is everything. Without this, everything is simply nothing or worse; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.HOMI December 1894, page 24.6

    With such faith as this, that is with true faith, there never can arise any question as to works; for this faith itself works, and he who has it, necessarily works. It is impossible to have this faith and not have works. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6. This faith being a living thing, cannot exist without working. And coming from God, the only works that it can possibly work are the works of God.HOMI December 1894, page 24.7

    Therefore anything that professes to be faith which of itself does not work the salvation of the individual having it, and which then does not work the works of God in him who professes it, is not faith at all, but is a fraud that that individual is passing off upon himself, which brings no grace to the heart, and no power to the life. It is dead, and he is still dead in trespasses and sins, and all his service is only a form without power, and therefore is only a dead formalism.HOMI December 1894, page 25.1

    But on the other hand, the faith which is of God, which comes by the word of God and brings Christ the living word to dwell in the heart and shine in the life—this is true faith which through Jesus Christ only lives and works in him who exercises it.HOMI December 1894, page 25.2

    Christ himself living in us; Christ in you the hope of glory; God with us; God manifest in the flesh not, to-day in our flesh, by the faith of Jesus Christ—this and this only is living faith. For “every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:2-4.HOMI December 1894, page 25.3

    Therefore, “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” Jesus said unto them and to us all: “Have the faith of God.” Mark 11:22, margin.HOMI December 1894, page 25.4

    This is what the Lord has desired ever since sin entered. This he desires forevermore. This is the all-important lesson that he sought to impress upon Israel from the day that he brought them out of the land of Egypt. When Moses said to him, “See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me,” the Lord did not even then tell him whom he would send with him, nor that he would send anybody with him. But the Lord did say to him: “My presence shall go with thee.” Instead of sending some one with us the Lord goes with us himself. It is far better to have the Lord himself go with us than to have some one else go, even though the Lord should send him. But this is just the great goodness of the Lord. He desires to go with us himself. He wants to be with us; this is the longing of his heart.HOMI December 1894, page 25.5

    It is true that he sent Jesus, his only begotten Son; but this is altogether that he himself might come to us, and go with us always. For Jesus is the revelation of the Father. He is “God with us.” By choosing sin, man separated himself from God. Yet in spite of this, the Lord would again dwell with men who would choose his way. But in sin, man could not bear the unveiled glory of the presence of the Most High. Therefore Jesus came to us and indeed became us, veiling his transcendent glory with human flesh, in order that God with him might be God with us. He emptied himself and took our form and nature, that in his love and in his pity the Father might come to us as he is; and that we might know him that is true and be in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.HOMI December 1894, page 25.6

    Therefore he said long ago, and says always: “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. Thus in Jesus, God himself dwells in us, and goeth with us. And therefore thus said the Lord. “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:10, 13. This is true to-day, and it was true to Israel in the day that God took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt and unto himself. And it is no more true to-day and to us than it was in that day and to them. Therefore he said then, as he says now and always, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”HOMI December 1894, page 25.7

    To this word then, Moses replied as we and all men must ever reply: “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” Exodus 33:15, 16.HOMI December 1894, page 25.8

    Nothing but the constantly abiding presence of God can ever separate us from this world or from the people or the things of this world. And this, for the simple reason that, as a real matter of fact, all of this world that can ever both us is just what is inside of us, and a part of us. Jesus “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” Galatians 1:4. Our sins are all from within us, and are but part and parcel of us. This body is a “body of death” simply because it is a “body of sin.” Romans 6:6; 7:24. In delivering us from our sins, Jesus delivers us from this present evil world. It is therefore plain that all of this world that can ever cause us any trouble is that which is in us and of us, by our sins being in us and of us. But thank the Lord that God in Jesus Christ can deliver and cleanse us from all sin.HOMI December 1894, page 25.9

    He delivers us from our sins, by delivering us from ourselves. And this he does by giving us himself and taking up his abode with us, and so dwelling with us and being in us. Without God with us, we are ourselves only of this world and of the people of this world; therefore to undertake to separate ourselves from this world and from the people of this world, would be but an attempt to separate ourselves from ourselves. But that we never can do. Therefore it is eternally true that the only way in which we can ever possibly be separated from this world or from the people of this world, is by the presence of God going ever with us. “So shall we be separated from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.”HOMI December 1894, page 26.1

    Just here is the point whereHOMI December 1894, page 26.2


    enters and takes the place of living faith. People want to be the Lord’s; they want to serve the Lord; they want to go to heaven; and knowing that this requires separation from the world, they “try to give up the world.” But instead of finding the living presence of the Lord by living faith, which of itself would accomplish all that is required and all that the heart can rightly desire, they undertake to separate themselves from the world and from the things that are in the world. This they hope to do by professing religion, joining the church, practicing the forms of religion, and “doing their best” to keep the commandments and obey the Scriptures. Not having the living presence of Christ in the heart to accomplish of itself the will of God and to work the works of God, they hope to supply the lack by practicing of themselves the forms of religion. But all this is only the form of godliness without the power, and can never bring peace to the mind nor rest to the heart.HOMI December 1894, page 26.3

    The profession of religion without the living presence and power of Christ in the heart and manifested in the life, is only a dead formalism. It matters not though it be the profession of Christianity itself, and a practice of all the forms of service and of worship that pertain to Christianity; if Christ himself is not a living presence and power in the heart and life, giving life to all the forms of service and or worship in which we engage, then it is all simply an outward service of mere forms and is therefore only a dead formalism.HOMI December 1894, page 26.4

    The forms even of Christianity can never give life to the observer of them. No; life is found only in Christ himself, by a living faith. And having by living faith found him who alone is life, he then is life to us and to all the forms too. Then all the service, and all the forms of service of Christ are always a delight. But to practice the forms of God’s service with the hope of getting life, instead of because we have the life of God already by having him who is the life, is a wearisome and vain procedure, and a profitless business.HOMI December 1894, page 26.5

    That this principle may be seen as it is in truth, let us review the things that were written aforetime for our learning—the things that happened unto them for examples, and which are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.HOMI December 1894, page 26.6

    The Lord called Israel unto himself and chose them to be his people. He gave them his presence, even himself, to go with them. He preached the gospel to them, and the gospel is always “Christ in you the hope of glory.” But they would not believe him. Numbers 14:11; Deuteronomy 32:20. So “the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Hebrews 4:2. And so not having his presence in the heart to separate them from themselves, they were so like the nations round that they were constantly falling away to the worship of their gods. Then when by this their burdens grew so heavy that they themselves realized that they could not be borne, they would turn unto the Lord with all the heart, and would put their trust in him alone, and thus would find deliverance from their sins and from all their oppressors. But finding themselves delivered, they did not still cultivate and court the presence of the Lord, and therefore their religion soon again became formal and they themselves so like the nations around that soon they again took up with their ways and worshiped their gods.HOMI December 1894, page 26.7

    But if they had only set their hearts upon the Lord and trusted him all the time, as they did in these spells of reform, they would have found him to be all the time just what he was on these occasions, and then their whole course would have been but one continual progress upward and onward, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour. Then they would have been a light to all the nations around.HOMI December 1894, page 26.8

    When, however, they had continued this course of “ups and downs” for a long time, then instead of being brought by their experience to the point where they should finally and forever distrust themselves and trust the Lord only, they came to the place where they actually distrusted the Lord and said that he had not fulfilled his promises—that the Lord had promised that they should be separate from all the nations, but it was not so; that he had promised that they should be separate from all the nations, but it was not so; that he had promised that when all their males should go up three times in the year to worship before him, no man should desire their land, whereas instead of this the heathen were constantly overrunning the land and taking everything they had when their men were all at home; that the Lord had promised that they should be blessed above all people, but instead of this being so, they were actually having a worse time than the heathen themselves!!HOMI December 1894, page 27.1

    This was all true—though not in the way that they meant it. It is true that he who would have both worlds, finds a harder and more unsatisfactory way than he who takes only one, whichever it may be. And therefore the Saviour said, “Either make the tree good and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt.” Matthew 12:33. He would rather have a man make no pretensions to godliness than to have him profess it and have it only a form without the power. So with Israel, what they said was true; but it was altogether their own fault, and not the Lord’s at all. He never proposed to give them all the blessings, and do all these great things for them, apart from himself. To do that would only have built them up in their own estimation, and have separated them further from him, instead of from their sins and from the nations around. Instead of this, the Lord desired to draw them closer and closer to himself so that he should be in them and they in him, that he might be all in all of them.HOMI December 1894, page 27.2

    Therefore all his promises were to be fulfilled to them, and all his spiritual blessings were to be realized by them, by the Lord himself being in them and with them. And this could be only by a living, abiding faith. And when they had not his presence with them, by which alone the promises could be fulfilled, they could say truly that the promises had not been fulfilled to them. And this is true always. But let the people find him, the living Christ, a living abiding presence in the heart by living faith, and they will find all the promises of God fulfilled always. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20. O that all would find him the living Saviour, with all the heart! The world then would see what the Lord has been longing all these ages that they should see.HOMI December 1894, page 27.3

    When in their unbelief they had reached the point at which the consequences of their own unbelief made it “clear” to their minds that the Lord had not fulfilled his promises, it was equally “clear” that they must do something to fulfill the promises themselves; for surely the promises must be fulfilled in some way, and if not by the Lord, then they concluded by themselves, of course.HOMI December 1894, page 27.4

    The Lord had said of Israel, “The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9); and that they should be separate from other people also. But as the continued raids of the heathen in overrunning the land had made it “clear,” as they concluded, that for all practical purposes the government of God had failed, they decided that they must set up a government of their own “like all the nations,” in order that they themselves might keep themselves separate from the nations.HOMI December 1894, page 27.5

    Therefore they said to Samuel, “Make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” And though the Lord told Samuel to “protest solemnly” against it, and show them the manner of the government and the mischiefs that it would create, “Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us, that we may also be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Then when the mischiefs came which the Lord had pointed out, instead of the people and their rulers humbling themselves and seeking the Lord with all the heart, they still reflected all back upon him. And when the Lord would send his servants with a message for the people, the message was slighted and even resented, and the messenger was accused of creating discord, causing division, and troubling Israel! 1 Kings 18:17; 21:20; Amos 7:10-13; Jeremiah 38:1-6 and many other places.HOMI December 1894, page 27.6

    Instead, however, of this in any way separating them from the nations, it only made them so much the more like the nations. And the longer it continued the worse it grew, until they actually became worse than the heathen—but Israel and Judah in turn—and there was no remedy but to empty the land of them and scatter them among the nations. In their own way they had gone so far from the Lord, and had become so entirely like all the people that are upon the face of the earth, that the only way in which the Lord could get them separated from all the nations was to scatter them among all the nations. For when they had been carried captive out of their own land, and were scattered in little colonies among the heathen, then they wept when they remembered Zion, and in their sorrow and oppression they sought the Lord and found him. And his presence which they thus found, and which they should always have had, separated them from all the people among whom they were scatter and from all the people that were upon the face of the earth.HOMI December 1894, page 28.1


    “Living Faith vs. a Dead Formalism. (Continued .)” The Home Missionary, 6, Extra, pp. 28-32.



    Reading for Friday, December 28

    ANOTHER great evil sprang from the lack of the presence of the Lord to go with his people. Not having life by having him who is the life, they sought to obtain it through the forms of worship and of service which he had appointed. The Lord appointed certain forms and ceremonies through which the life that they should find in him should be signified and manifested in their service and worship. But not having him in the heart, who alone gives life and meaning to all the forms which he has appointed, and not having life from him, they sought to obtain it in the forms themselves. This led them into the bondage of an intense, exact and exacting ceremonialism, and to the vain hope of obtaining salvation by this; instead of the liberty and joy of a salvation by this; instead of the liberty and joy of a salvation already obtained by living faith. In short, not having life by faith they sought it by works.HOMI December 1894, page 28.1

    For instance, the Lord gave the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness which was obtained by faith without being circumcised. But they not having the righteousness which is by faith, sought to obtain it by circumcision itself. The outward sign of the presence of the Lord and his righteousness within, they made to take the place of that which it only signified. Circumcision was thus put in the place of Christ. And therefore in the nature of things, circumcision was looked upon and counted as the greatest of all things. And it was strictly logical that the rabbis should teach, as they did, that circumcision alone was “as great as all the other commandments;” and indeed that it was greater than creation itself, because God had created heaven and earth in order that men might be circumcised. See Farrar’s “Life and Work of Saint Paul,” pp. 226, 428.HOMI December 1894, page 28.2

    Again: The Lord gave his law—the ten commandments—first to give the knowledge of sin and cause it to “become exceeding sinful” that they might appreciate Christ, the Saviour from sin (Romans 7:13; 5:20, 21); and secondly, to witness to the righteousness of God obtained without the law and by the faith of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:20-22. Therefore the tabernacle in which the law was preserved was called “the tabernacle of witness” (Acts 7:44); the ark in which the law rested was “the ark of the testimony;” and the tables on which the law was written were called “the tables of the testimony.” Testimony is the evidence which a witness gives; and therefore the ark of the testimony was the ark of witness, and the tables of the testimony were the tables of witness, as the tabernacle was the tabernacle of witness, and all because they held the law of God which was the witness to the righteousness of God which they were to obtain by faith in the mediation of him whom all the services of the tabernacle typified.HOMI December 1894, page 28.3

    But they not having righteousness by faith of Christ, sought to obtain it by works of the law. Not submitting themselves to the righteousness of God, they went about to establish their own righteousness. Romans 10:3. Not having the presence of Christ in the heart to work the righteousness of God in the life and so fulfill the righteousness of the law in them, and seeking to accomplish righteousness themselves by the law, they perverted the law from the purposes for which God gave it, to purposes of their own—purposes for which God never gave it and never intended it at all.HOMI December 1894, page 28.4

    The ten commandments as men see them in the letter are but “the form of knowledge and of the truth”—the form of righteousness. Romans 2:20. He who looks at the law itself, and seeks to do it as he sees it, is seeking but a form of righteousness at the best. It is true that the law, even in the letter, is the perfect form of knowledge and of truth; but still it is thus only the form of it. And though a man conform perfectly to it as he sees it, still his service would be but a perfect formalism and he but a perfect formalist—such as was Saul of Tarsus. Philippians 3:16.HOMI December 1894, page 29.1

    But in Christ as the perfect life of the perfect form. As it is written, “The law was given by the hand of Moses; but the reality and grace was by the hand of Jesus Messiah.” John 1:17. (Syriac). That is, while in the law as it is in the letter and as men see it, is the form of knowledge and truth, in Christ is the very reality. Finding him we find the very life of the law; for he is the living law itself. In him we find all the depth and meaning of the law as it is in truth—the very righteousness of God himself, which the law demands and which alone it will accept of us, but which it can never find in us till it finds Christ there. And finding him in us, it witnesses to the righteousness of God which we have in him.HOMI December 1894, page 29.2

    Once more: God made a sacrifice for sinful man; and in this sacrifice, he gave the best that he had, the firstling of his flock, the best that he could possibly give. It was therefore perfectly fitting that he should teach sinful men who should rest their hope upon the great Sacrifice that God had made for them, that as a token of their appreciation of the fact that God has given the best that they have—the firstling of their flocks, and the firstfruits of their land.HOMI December 1894, page 29.3

    This is the principle of the law of sacrifice of all times ancient and modern. And upon this principle, every offering is an expression of faith in God’s sacrifice and of appreciation of it. Therefore, “by faith Abel offered” his sacrifice, the firstling of his flock, “by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Abel’s was the righteousness which is of faith; and his sacrifice was but the response of faith, in which he trusted. Thus it is ever in all true sacrifice; and whether that which is offered be little or much, it is equally meritorious; because the merit is not in it at all, but in him who is the spring of it. And though it be little, and even the very best, yet it being the best that the worshiper has, and so the best that he can give, and this being given in appreciation of God’s best gift which the true worshiper has already received by faith and by the faith of which alone he offers it, it is accepted equally with the greatest offering that could possibly be made from a great abundance. Yea it is accepted far in preference to an offering of much greater amount, which is offered in its own merit and from a heart that appreciates not the wonderful sacrifice of the Son of God.HOMI December 1894, page 29.4

    But unbelieving Israel, not having the righteousness which is of faith, and so not appreciating the great sacrifice that the heavenly Father has made, sought righteousness by virtue of the offering itself, and because of the merit of his offering of it. In this way of “sacrifice” he who made the largest offering had the most righteousness, and consequently upon the merit of what he had done could afford to boast over the poor soul who could do no more than to offer a pair of little birds that might be bought for less than a nickel. This kind of service and of offering, the Lord rebuked in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, and in calling attention to the poor widow with her two mites, who offered more than all the offerings of all the rich put together.HOMI December 1894, page 29.5

    Thus was perverted every form of service, and everything which God had appointed to be the means of expression to a living faith, and which could not have any real meaning except by the living presence and power of Christ himself in the life. But not having him by living faith, his place was sought to be supplied with these things which were meaningless and lifeless without him. And that which his presence alone could accomplish—their separation from self and from the world—was sought to be wrought by themselves in a rigid conformity to these, in their hands, meaningless and lifeless forms.HOMI December 1894, page 29.6

    And even this was not enough. For, not finding the peace and satisfaction of an accomplished righteousness in any of this, nor in all of it together, they heaped upon these things which the Lord had appointed for another purpose but which they had perverted to purpose of their own invention,—they heaped upon these things, ten thousand traditions, exactions, and hair-splitting distinctions of their own invention; and all, all, in a vain hope of attaining to righteousness. For the rabbis taught what was practically a confession of despair, that, “If but one person could only for one day keep the whole law and not offend in one point—nay, if but one person could but keep that one point of the law which affected the due observance of the Sabbath—then the troubles of Israel would be ended, and the Messiah at last would come.”—Farrar Id., p. 37. See also pp. 36, 83. What could possibly more fittingly describe a dead formalism than does this? Nevertheless that same dead formalism in the great majority of Israel in the time when Jesus came into the world.HOMI December 1894, page 29.7

    And yet for all this conscious dearth in their own lives, there was still enough supposed merit to cause them to count themselves so much better than other people that all others were but as dogs in comparison. This, however, was but the easy consequence of their course from the beginning. For, having undertaken to separate themselves unto God from all the people that were on the face of the earth, while they were in fact just like all other people, the only way that they could do it was by counting themselves better than other people. And this altogether upon the merit of what they had done.HOMI December 1894, page 30.1

    It is not so with those who are accounted righteous by the Lord upon a living faith freely exercised. For when the Lord counts a man righteous, he is actually righteous before God. And in this he is really better than other people; and by this very fact is separated from all the people of the world. But this is not because of any excellence of his own, nor of the “merit” of anything that he has done. It is altogether because of the excellence of the Lord and of what he has done. And the man for whom this has been done, knows that in himself he is no better than anybody else; but rather in the light of the righteousness of God that is freely imparted to him, he in the humility of true faith willingly counts others better than himself. Philippians 2:3.HOMI December 1894, page 30.2

    This giving themselves great credit for what the themselves had done, and counting themselves better than all other people upon the merit of what they had done—this was at once to land them fully in the complete self-righteousness of Phariseeism. In fact the word Pharisee means separated. And though in themselves they might be yet short of the mark, still in view of what they had, and what they had done, they in their own estimation could count themselves as so much better than all other people that there could not possibly be any basis of comparison. It seemed to them a perfectly ruinous revolution to preach as the truth of God that “there is no respect of persons with God.”HOMI December 1894, page 30.3

    And what of the actual life of such people, all this time?—O, it was only a life of injustice and oppression, malice and envy, variance and emulation, backbiting and talebearing, hypocrisy and meanness—binding heavy burdens and grievous to be borne and laying them on men’s shoulders, while they themselves would not move them with one of their fingers; devouring widows’ houses, and for a pretense making long prayers; giving “alms” and sounding a trumpet before them to get glory of men; profaning the temple, and yet very tenacious as to the gold of the temple; boasting of their great honor of the law, and through breaking the law dishonoring God; their hearts filled with murder, and their tongues crying loudly for the blood of One of their brethren, yet they could not cross the threshold of a Roman tribunal “lest they should be defiled!” Intense sticklers for the Sabbath, yet spending the holy day in spying treachery and conspiracy to murder.HOMI December 1894, page 30.4

    What God thought and still thinks of all such ways as this, is shown plainly enough for our present purpose, in just two short passages of scripture. Here is his word to Israel—the ten tribes—while yet their day lingered:—HOMI December 1894, page 30.5

    “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:21-24.HOMI December 1894, page 30.6

    And to Judah near the same time he said the same thing, in these words:—HOMI December 1894, page 30.7

    “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.HOMI December 1894, page 30.8

    “Wash you, make you clean; 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.”HOMI December 1894, page 30.9

    The Lord himself had appointed these feast days, and solemn assemblies, these burnt offerings, meat offerings, and peace offerings; but now he says he hates them and will not accept them. Their fine songs, sung by their trained choirs, and accompanied with instruments of music, making a grand display,—all this that they got off for wonderfully fine music, he called “noise,” and wanted it taken away.HOMI December 1894, page 31.1

    He had never appointed any feast days, nor solemn assemblies, nor sacrifices, nor offerings, nor songs, for any such purpose as that for which these were being used. He had appointed all these as the means of worshipful expression of a living faith by which the Lord himself should abide in the heart and work righteousness in the life, so that in righteousness they could judge the fatherless and plead for the widow; and so that judgment could run as waters down, and righteousness like a mighty stream.HOMI December 1894, page 31.2

    Songs sung in the pomp and stylish intonation of a vain show, is but “noise;” while the simple words, “Our Father” flowing from a heart touched by the power of a true and living faith and “spoken in sincerity by human lips, is music” which enters into the inclining ear (Psalm 116:2) of the heavenly Father and brings divine blessing in power to the soul.HOMI December 1894, page 31.3

    This and this alone is what he had appointed these things for; and never, never to be used in the hollow pretense of a dead formalism to answer in righteousness for the iniquity of a carnal heart. Nothing but the washing away of the sins by the blood of the Lamb of God, and the purifying of the heart by living faith—nothing but this could ever make these things acceptable to him who appointed them.HOMI December 1894, page 31.4

    Even this side of the cross of Christ, which itself should be the everlasting destruction of it, this same evil thing has exalted itself and has been the bane of the profession of Christianity everywhere. Very soon, unconverted men crept into the church and exalted themselves in the place of Christ. Not finding the living presence of Christ in the heart by living faith, they have ever since sought to have the forms of Christianity supply the lack of his presence which alone can give meaning and life to these forms.HOMI December 1894, page 31.5

    In this system of perverseness, regeneration is through the form of baptism and even this by a mere sprinkling of a few drops of water; the real presence of Christ is in the form of the Lord’s supper; the hope of salvation is in being connected with a form of the church. And so on throughout the whole list of the forms of Christianity. Not content with thus perverting the divinely appointed forms of Christianity, they have heaped upon this, ten thousand inventions of their own, in penances, pilgrimages, traditions, and hair-splitting distinctions.HOMI December 1894, page 31.6

    And, as of old and always with mere formalists, the life is simply and continually the manifestation of the works of the flesh—strife and contention; hypocrisy and iniquity; persecution, spying, treachery, and every evil work. This is the papacy.HOMI December 1894, page 31.7

    This evil spirit of a dead formalism, however, has spread itself far beyond the bounds of the organized papacy. It is the bane of the profession of Christianity everywhere to-day; and even the profession of the Christianity of the third angel’s message has not entirely escaped it. It is to be the world-wide prevailing evil of the last days clear up to the very coming of the Lord in glory in the clouds of heaven.HOMI December 1894, page 31.8

    For, “this know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5.HOMI December 1894, page 31.9

    This all-prevailing form of godliness without the power, and which even denies the power, is the dead formalism against which we are to fight the good fight of living faith. The living faith which is brought to the world in the third angel’s message, is to save us from being swallowed up in this worldwide sea of a dead formalism. And having delivered us from this deadly evil, it is to work in us the loud cry of God’s last call and special message of warning to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, crying mightily with a strong voice, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof: from such turn away.HOMI December 1894, page 31.10

    Is this you individually to-day? Is yours a dead formalism, or a living faith? Have you the form of godliness without the power? or have you by living faith the living presence and power of the living Saviour in the heart giving divine meaning, life, and joy to all the forms of worship and of service which Christ has appointed; and working the works of God and manifesting the fruits of the Spirit in all the life?HOMI December 1894, page 31.11

    Which is it with you to-day? You can tell. O flee from a dead formalism, to living faith! Flee from self, the source of a dead formalism, to Christ, the Author of living faith. Receive with meekness the engrafted word, the faithful word, which is the channel of living faith, and which is able to save your souls.HOMI December 1894, page 31.12

    Though except as the means of finding Christ the living Saviour in the word, and the living faith of him, even this word itself can be turned to a dead formalism now as it was of old when he was on the earth. He said to them then (Revised Version), “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me. And ye will not come unto me that ye may have life.” John 5:39, 40.HOMI December 1894, page 31.13

    They thought to find eternal life in the Scriptures without Christ, that is, by doing them themselves. But “this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son,“—as we find him in the Scriptures, and not in the words of the Scriptures without him. For they are they that testify of him. This is their object. Therefore, “he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11, 12.HOMI December 1894, page 31.14

    Have you him? Have you him? He is the full and free gift of God to every soul. O receive him as he is, that he may abide with you and be in you forevermore.HOMI December 1894, page 31.15

    “True godliness elevates the thoughts and actions; then the external forms of religion accord with the Christian’s internal purity; then those ceremonies required in the service of God are not meaningless rites, like those of the hypocritical Pharisees.”—The Spirit of Prophecy 2:219.HOMI December 1894, page 31.16


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