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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898) - Contents
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    Ms 160, 1898

    Conformity to the Will of God


    December 8, 1898

    See Ms 160a, 1898. Portions of this manuscript are published in 5BC 1140. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    The ways of man are before the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings. The eyes of the Lord are in every place; He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven. The Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts. He knoweth the things that come into our mind, every one of them. There is not a creature that is not manifest in His sight; “but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” [Hebrews 4:13.] He hath established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by His discretion. He is “wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” [Isaiah 28:29.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 1

    What does God require from His creatures? Conformity to His will. We are to strive constantly for perfection of thought in the expression of our words. As the power of God is infinite, there is to be no opposition to His will and precepts. The will and ways of God are perfect. We must remember that it is our first work, as we accept Christ as our Saviour to understand that imperfection of character is sin, and that sin is the transgression of the law. There can be no single perfection. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and every one who receives Christ as his personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 2

    “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” [Psalm 89:30-33.] What are the two great principles of God’s law? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Luke 10:27.] Upon these two great principles hang all the law and the prophets. It is not the knowledge that we have that there is a living God, but that His moral government extends throughout the universe, reaching even to the fallen world, that should call us to fear and obedience.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 3

    None need think that as our Creator and Governor, the Lord is inattentive to the behavior of His subjects. He teaches us to look upon Him as the One who searches the reins and trieth the hearts of the children of men. He reads all our thoughts, and knows the imaginations of our hearts. He sees our inward motives, and knows the influence that our imagination and will exert upon our outward deportment. He has His standard of character in His law, and He has made known His unchangeable purpose of dealing with every human being according to his works.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 4

    “His eyes behold; his eyelids try the children of men.” [Psalm 11:4.] The Lord is a God of knowledge; by Him actions are weighed. “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” [Jeremiah 17:10.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 5

    Let those who are supposed to be men act like men, not like children, but like men who have grown out of the petty, querulous habits of children, who no longer think and speak as children, but, having become men, have put away childish things, and think as men and women in the sight of God. They read His Word; they regard that Word as their counsellor, and if they are doers of that Word, they are building up characters after the divine similitude. They are obeying God’s law, the transcript of His character.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 6

    Let us not think that God is not particular in regard to the behavior of every soul toward Himself and His law, that He does not go into particulars in regard to the words spoken in the family circle and the spirit manifested toward believers and unbelievers. If read carefully, the Word of God dispels this illusion. We ask, Are you doers of the Word in your home life, in your business life, man with man, neighbor with neighbor? God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. “He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, that every man shall receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil.” [See Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 7

    Thus God deals with men and angels. “Wherefore,” He says, “whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the winds blew, and the floods came, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, I will liken him unto a foolish man, that built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” [Matthew 7:24-27.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 8

    “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” [Jude 5, 6.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 9

    The Lord is longsuffering, even to them that do evil. He permits even apostates and rebels to live. His tender compassion supplies their necessities, and He gives of His benefits to them all. “The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. ... He openeth his hand, and satisfieth every living thing.” [Psalm 145:9, 16.] He is the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. We are to be strong in His goodness. He endures with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction. He calls upon them, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God; for he will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:7.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 10

    But the Lord makes a difference between those who serve Him and those who serve Him not. He is continually revealing peculiar and inextinguishable love in behalf of His faithful and obedient children, while of those who are self-sufficient and obstinate, who care not to reveal Christ in character, He says, “Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” [Jude 12.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 11

    God declares that He will render to every man according to his deeds: “to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also to the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God.” [Romans 2:6-11.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 12

    “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall grow up and go forth as calves of the stall.” [Malachi 3:16-18; 4:1, 2.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 13

    Consider, before you advance another step. Weigh well the import of the words God has spoken, which show His special favor toward all who love Him. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ear is open to their cry.” [Psalm 34:15.] “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his ways. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him in his hand ... for the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints. They are preserved forever.” [Psalm 37:23, 24, 28.] “The Lord is a light and a defense.” [See Psalm 84:11.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 14

    The Lord Jesus commands perfect love, because this is the joy of heaven, which we are striving to obtain. God observes the conduct of every one who claims to believe the truth. The disobedience of Adam in believing the falsehood of Satan, and preferring his statement to that of God, cost the life of the Son of God; but notwithstanding this great and immeasurable cost, the [love] and goodness of God shines forth brighter than even at the first creation. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” [Romans 5:20.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 15

    The promise of the Saviour was a star of hope to our first parents. An invincible deliverer was given them, on the Eden ground. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” [1 John 4:10.] The Lord delivered up His Son, the perfect image of Himself, to save us from death. Herein God commandeth His love toward us, placing it in the most attractive light, that it might be seen by the heavenly universe, by the worlds unfallen and by the fallen world, that the Just suffered for the unjust. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things.” [Romans 8:32.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 16

    There is no excuse for any of us to be spiritually weak, lukewarm, unbelieving, and full of wrath. There is no excuse for us to draw apart from one another, breaking the links of the golden chain that connect us with each other and with God. We have read over and over again the Scripture in (John 15): “Without me ye can do nothing.” “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them up, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [Verses 5, 6.] We need to see that we must be practical Christians. The question to be answered is, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Who is co-operating with God in character-building in their own individual experience?”13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 17

    What do we see? A selfish competition among brethren of the same faith, who claim to be commandment-keepers. Had we not better keep the commandments of God? How do our spirit, words, and actions toward each other appear to the heavenly universe?13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 18

    What position must we occupy as repentant sinners? Christ gave His precious life for us, that we might have life in Him. He came to take away our sins, that there should be nothing in our hearts antagonistic to God. Therefore the sanctification of the whole man is essential. If the carnal mind is allowed to work, it will overcome the man; therefore thorough, daily conversion is essential. “The pure in heart shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8.] A faithful sentinel must guard the actions of heart, mind, and soul. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith, the selfish propensities of human nature will absorb the powers of the whole man. He will work the works of Satan, and please him by allowing the root of bitterness to spring up, whereby many are defiled.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 19

    If admitted into the heart, the grace of Christ will purify every thought, regulate every desire, and sweeten the disposition. But if the natural passions are allowed to control, whoever it is, whether man, woman, or youth, he that being is a savor of death unto death. God would not have the character marred by unholy speech and unsanctified actions. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify it by the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blame.” [Ephesians 5:25-27.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 20

    This striving for the mastery, this desire to be first, is not the fruit borne by a good tree. Is Christ indeed our good Shepherd? Then with such a shepherd guarding us, what quiet, loving confidence should we reveal, what cheerful constancy of spirit should we possess. This world is not the Christian’s heaven, but with the love of God in the heart, we can see our difficulties, and meet [them] with faith and humble trust, and move onward.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 21

    “Fear not, little flock,” Christ said; “for it is my Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” [Luke 12:32.] “Follow me.” The true Shepherd leads the way. Then utterly refuse to murmur; utterly refuse to act like peevish children.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 22

    I call your attention to the message Christ left with His disciples. A “new commandment I give unto you,” He said, “that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.] Why should this commandment be new to the disciples? The words, “As I have loved you” were yet to be fulfilled by the offering He was about to make for the sins of the world. As Christ had loved them, the disciples were to love one another. They were to show forth the love abiding in their hearts for men, women, and children by doing all in their power for their salvation. But they were to reveal a specially tender love for all of the same faith.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 23

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ continued, “the works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall ye do, because I go to my Father.” [John 14:12.] After His resurrection and ascension, the disciples were privileged to bear a firm, bold testimony that could not be controverted, that He who had been with them in this world was the Son of the Infinite God.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 24

    Peter declared, “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.” “This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 3:13-15; 4:11, 12.] Thus the apostles gave assurance of their faith.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 25

    “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed were his own, and they had all things in common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” [Verses 31-33.] Thus the disciples kept the new commandment, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 26

    “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. ... He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him.” [John 14:13-15, 21.] “The pure in heart shall see God.” [Matthew 5:8.] Yes, they will endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might abide in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 27

    “This is my commandment, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 15:12; 13:34.] If our hearts are not purified from our hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong, if they are not cleansed from inherent sin, Christ cannot enter. The work of grace cannot be carried on in the heart that is not rooted and grounded in the love of Christ Jesus. Paul writes, “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” [Ephesians 3:17-19.] Entire sanctification is essential. Stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle, that you may attain to perfect conformity to the will of God. Talk this, pray this. Keep in view what must be done to build one another up in the most holy faith. Without holiness no man can see God. This unduly estimating self and demeriting others is a stream that flows from Satan into the heart to flow forth to others.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 28

    There are many who have a circumstantial religion, which is in accordance with what they meet in the family and in their business relations with each other. This affects their religion. Their words are not right. They are not kindly, courteous, [and] respectful to one another. When you have a full salvation, it will be when you have dug out by the roots the root of selfishness, that bitter root which divides hearts. God expects altogether a different spirit than has been reveals on this ground. God calls for you to make an entire surrender, not a few outward changes. He calls for every soul to seek the Lord for his own present and eternal good. It is pitiful to see what little faith and love is manifested for God and for one another. The apostle represents this as biting and devouring one another. What a representation! We should love one another as Christ has loved us.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 29

    Let us remember that the Lord knows us by name. “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God, with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now, send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the seaside: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” [Acts 10:1-6.]13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 30

    This is evidence that the Lord knows just where we live. We see also that He designs man to be placed in connection with his fellow men. The Lord could have instructed Cornelius, but this was not His plan. Man must be brought in connection with man. One must communicate with and instruct the other. God sent His angel to Cornelius, bearing the message that He had not been unmindful of him or his family. He recognized his gifts and his offerings, which had come up before Him in connection with his prayers.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 31

    The reading of this Scripture shows that the time had come for an entirely new phase of the Christian church. The door which many of the Jewish converts had closed against the Gentiles was now to be manifestly thrown open. The gentiles who had accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ were to be looked upon as on a perfect equality with the Jewish disciples, without the necessity of circumcision.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 32

    The Lord has His own way of carrying forward His work. Every true believer is to stand ready to be taught by God. Whatever prejudices he has had are to be broken down by the planning of the heavenly messengers to cooperate with men upon the earth, setting one man of decidedly prejudiced sentiments to do a work that will break down these prejudices.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 33

    In the instances of Peter being sent to Cornelius we see how God works to enlighten all who love and fear Him, even though they know not all the truth. A heavenly messenger is sent to bring about a certain work that must be done in order to bring many Gentiles to the truth. And if men hold to their own ideas in this our day, if they are unwilling to yield, the Lord cannot use them. He will pass them by, and take those who are willing to walk in the ways of the Lord.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 34

    Each one connected with the school is on trial. The Lord is proving him to see if he is willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. If he manifests the spirit of an unconverted man, and is not willing to be taught by God, the Lord has no use for him in this place. Those who desire to teach in any line must be workers together with God. Those who stir up strife, those who desire to be first, those who refuse to become humble, meek, lowly Christians, who will not unite in love and confidence with their fellow workers, are not the ones whose example will help the youth in this school.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 35

    In this lies the threatened difficulty—that there will be a striving for the supremacy. Here are youth whom parents and guardians have sent to the school, hoping and praying that by the sacrifice they have made their children will be placed under good influences, and will receive a mold of character that will fit them to see the love of God and to be benefitted by the instruction received. But if these youth have constantly before them the example of men who occupy important positions, but who have allowed wrong habits to grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength, what influence will this have upon them? These men, by their influence, their speech, their hasty tempers, their harshness, their masterly dictation, their authoritative spirit, their disunion one with another in their work, show that all the labor that has been put forth has not changed their hearts, for their habits are still objectionable.13LtMs, Ms 160, 1898, par. 36

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