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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898) - Contents
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    Ms 143, 1898

    The Parable of the Wedding Feast


    October 17, 1898

    Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 304.

    “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding, and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 1

    “But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their cities. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye can find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 2

    “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on the wedding garment.” [Matthew 22:1-11.] This garment was a gift from the king, and in using it the guests showed respect to him who had made every provision for the feast. “And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” [Verses 12-14.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 3

    The Lord God has provided a banquet for the whole human race. It is represented in the parable as a great supper where there is provided a festival for every soul. All connected with this supper may enjoy the heavenly feast, which is the gospel. This feast is open to all who will receive it; all are invited and urged to come. But some have refused the invitation, and presented their trifling excuses as reasons why they will not comply with the gracious invitation. They desire earthly goods, worldly advantages, and refuse the heavenly.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 4

    Those who refused the message prided themselves that they would buy and sell and get gain. They could not afford, they thought, to lose any worldly advantage for the sake of enjoying the heavenly feast. They knew that they must put off their common citizen’s dress and wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness, thus showing that they were His church, married to Christ, His bride.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 5

    There are others who accept the invitation, but they do so thinking to benefit themselves thereby. They think that they will partake of the provisions, but will not clothe themselves in the dress, the wedding garment.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 6

    All who are partakers of the wedding feast, the gospel feast, by this act say that they have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. They wear His distinguishing dress. They have accepted the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Only those can do honor to Christ who accept the invitation, Come, for all things are now ready; come to the marriage supper of the Lamb.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 7

    These put on the white linen, the clean, pure character, showing that they no longer live their old citizen life which they lived in their ignorance. Their speech is changed. Their conversation is in altogether another line. “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:5.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 8

    “Howbeit,” the apostle Paul says, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of the world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught; but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” [Verses 6-8.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 9

    “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 mighty; and the base things of the world, the things which are not, to bring to naught the 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.” [1 Corinthians 1:26-31.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 10

    All who have the light of the Word presented to them are highly favored. That Word is the bread of life to those who eat of it. “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” [Luke 10:21.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 11

    The priests and scribes and rulers were so self-sufficient that they would not heed the words of Christ. They were convicted, their understanding was convinced, but they would not receive the Sent of God. They had been privileged with every temporal and spiritual advantage, but Christ looked upon them as rejecters of all the mercy and compassion and tenderness and love that He had come to the world to bring them. They turned away from the light and evidence that Christ had given them, and scorned His mercy. He looked upon them with yearning desire, and said, “Even so, Father; for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” [Verse 21.] He was grieved that the people most favored upon the face of the earth should be the very ones to deny Him and refuse His offer of everlasting life.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 12

    There is to be a constant advancement on our part. The revelation of the Father to the human agent will be such a revelation that the mind can take hold of and comprehend. All who follow on steadfastly to know the truth as it is in Jesus will know that there is still more to be learned. Expansion, development, an increase of faith and holiness, will give us an experience in the religious life, and this is the law of the Christian life. Our experience will lose its freshness and power unless it is constantly growing. A child in its childhood is beautiful, but if as the years pass there is a lack of growth, if the faculties of the mind do not unfold, that child becomes a deformity. Experience will increase, unfold, intensify our powers. Such is God’s plan in the natural and in the spiritual world. Says the apostle, “Brethren, be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.” [1 Corinthians 14:20.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 13

    Those who make God their counsellor, those who look for grace and power to the Source of all light, all fullness, and all knowledge, will have it in the same sense as Daniel had it. Of Daniel and his companions the inspired record states, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill, in all learning, and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” [Daniel 1:17.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 14

    The history of these children is recorded for our benefit, and reveals that which God will do for us if we will do the work assigned us. He will increase our capabilities to acquire. All who will be faithful He will teach His ways. All who will cheerfully do His will He will mold and fashion and give to them increased power and knowledge and growth. John declares, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. ... And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:12-14, 16.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 15

    We cannot afford to indulge a false hope. That man who came into the wedding could talk the truth; he understood the Scriptures sufficiently to know that his only dependence was Jesus Christ but he would not put on Christ in character. He would not receive the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment, which all must receive if they would become the guests of Christ. We know of no other thing that that man neglected to put on save the garment provided for him. This man represents a class of people who profess to be the children of God but who refuse to represent Christ to the world. What is the signification of this robe? It represents the righteousness of the character of Christ. The robe is a gift, and those who refuse to wear it dishonor their Lord.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 16

    Christ declares, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; ... 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 to him.” [John 14:15, 16, 21.] To the church in Sardis He says, “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” [Revelation 3:4.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 17

    John, writing of the things which he saw in vision, says, “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” [Revelation 19:5-9.] Again he declares, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Revelation 14:12.] “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and many enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 18

    How is it with us individually? Christ came to our world and clothed His divinity with humanity, that His humanity might touch and uplift humanity, while with His divine arm He might grasp the throne of the Infinite. Thus He linked finite man with the infinite God. “He that believeth on me,” He says, “hath everlasting life.” [John 6:47.] To believe on Christ means to put on Christ, to be united to Christ as the branch is united to the vine, and as the limb is united to the body.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 19

    “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the Creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or not. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Revelation 3:14-16.] Here is represented a class of people who have not purified their soul by obedience to the truth. To these Christ says, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve that thou mayest see.” [Verses 17, 18.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 20

    This is our time to take hold of Christ by faith. The message of truth must go forth in the highways and hedges to gather up the halt, the poor, the maimed, and bring them to the gospel feast. This is the work all who believe in Jesus Christ will do. They are first to receive of Christ for themselves, and then give to others the blessings they have received. They are to give the gracious invitation, Come, for all things are now ready; come to the gospel feast. And those who come will receive the white garment, they will be clothed and adorned with the righteousness of Christ. God’s wardrobe is supplied with the appropriate dress. They will be feasted without money and without price. All who come in humility are thrice welcome. Christ declared to His disciples and the Pharisees, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] He declares that His work in coming to our world was to seek and to save that which was lost.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 21

    How many who have professedly received the truth are just the same in spirit as they were before the light came to them, who are very little changed in heart or in character! These have never been converted. Many names are enrolled on the church books that are not to be found registered in the book of life. They have not come out of themselves and into Christ. To all who believe, the cross of Christ is the power of God for the saving of the soul; but many come to the gospel banquet in a raiment woven in their own loom, a garment from their own wardrobe. The man who was so presumptuous as to come to the supper without a wedding garment represents many who know the truth but who are not doers of the Word. They do not put on the robe of the righteousness of Christ. These have lived a careless, Christless life, misrepresenting their Redeemer.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 22

    God is merciful, but He is also just. Christ has given His own life to pay the ransom for fallen man. And if man will comply with the conditions plainly revealed in the Word of God, if he will accept the terms of salvation, God’s covenant will stand fast forever. But there is a negligence on the part of many. They neglect to secure that salvation freely offered them. In their venturesome spirit they go to the very bounds of human presumption. The Lord bears long with the wickedness of men, but His forbearance will reach its limit, and then He will punish the transgressors of His law.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 23

    If human beings would consider that they are on test and trial, on a probation granted only through the suffering and death of the Son of God, they would put a restraint upon themselves. If men would consider that the Lord sees every act of their lives, that an unseen Watcher is taking cognizance of every evidence for good, every action of evil, that they cannot escape from the record borne of every development, right or wrong, they would put a restraint upon their evildoings. If all would consider this, how much iniquity would be banished from the world. If the mind were clear to take in the words, “Thou God seest me” [Genesis 16:13]; if each as he went to his business, as he returned to his home, would realize that all his actions are under the scrutinizing eye of Jehovah, and that it is at the peril of his soul that he violates the precepts of God’s law, he would be afraid to sin.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 24

    The Omnipresent God sees every criminal act done, and He will judge those who have dared to dishonor Him. Every wrong act will meet its penalty unless the sinner consents to wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Will God punish the transgressor of His law according to His justice, or will He soften His justice and refuse to punish? Will mercy triumph over justice? Will His love and unbounded compassion for the creatures He has formed come in and excuse the sinner, the man who has dishonored Him through his life, and who, by his example, has led others to be as regardless of God as himself? These are questions that need to be considered.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 25

    God’s principles of righteousness must be maintained. Love, compassion, and tenderness are proffered to all who will be obedient. But God says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This is the test, the proof, of our love. “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 I will manifest myself unto him.” [John 14:15, 21.] “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.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 26

    “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” [Verses 23, 24.] “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the word of God perfected: Hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” [1 John 2:4-7.]13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 27

    The sin of Adam and Eve lost for them Eden. In the transgression of the father of our race is revealed the justice of God. The Son of God stepped in and pledged His own life as a penalty for transgression, that man might have another trial. But the provision made in his behalf was not to abolish God’s law, that man might have an unconditional pardon. The Father did not set forth benevolence at the expense of justice, for such an act would have set aside the principles of righteousness. Such an act would exalt the sinner in his impenitence and sin, and would encourage transgression in the place of abating it.13LtMs, Ms 143, 1898, par. 28

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