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

    Conformity to the Will of God

    “Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

    December 8, 1898

    An edited copy of Ms 160, 1898. Previously unpublished.

    “The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.” [Proverbs 5:21.] 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 knows the things that come into our minds, 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. “He hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.” [Jeremiah 10:12.] He is “wonderful in counsel and excellent in working.” [Isaiah 28:29.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 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 is our first work, as we accept Christ as our Saviour, to understand that imperfection of character is sin, that sin is the transgression of the law of God. There can be no sinless imperfection, for we have a perfect example in the life of Christ. 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 those attributes.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 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.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 3

    What are the two great principles of God’s law? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, 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 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 160a, 1898, par. 4

    None need think that as our Creator and Governor, the Lord is inattentive to the conduct of His subjects. We are to Him as His little children. He teaches us to look upon Him as the One who searches the reins and tries the hearts of the children of men. He reads our thoughts and knows the imaginations of our hearts. He reads from cause to effect, and knows the influence that our imagination and will exert upon our outward deportment and upon other minds. 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 160a, 1898, par. 5

    The Lord is a God of knowledge; by Him actions are weighed. “His eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men.” [Psalm 11:4.] “I the Lord search the heart,” He says, “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 160a, 1898, par. 6

    Let those who suppose themselves to be men act, not like fractious children, but like men who have grown out of the petty, querulous habits of children, who no longer think and speak like children, but, having become men, have put away childish things, and think as men in the sight of God. Those who read God’s Word, taking it as their counsellor, and becoming doers of the Word, are building up characters after the divine similitude. They are obeying God’s law which is the transcript of His character.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 7

    Let us never think that God is not particular in regard to the conduct of His children toward Himself and His law, “God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” [Ecclesiastes 12:14.] “He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, that every man shall receive according to the things done in the body, whether it be good or evil.” [See Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10.] God is particular in regard to the words we speak in the family circle, and the spirit we manifest toward believers and unbelievers. We ask, Are you doers of the Word in your home life, in your business life, man with man, neighbor with neighbor? His promises to the believer are conditional. “Whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.” [1 John 3:22.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 8

    It is thus that God deals with men and with angels. “Wherefore 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, the floods came, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone 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 160a, 1898, par. 9

    “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 160a, 1898, par. 10

    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; and unto our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:7.] What greater encouragement that this could be given the sinner, to lead him to surrender his will, and profit by the Word of God.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 11

    But the Lord makes a difference between those who serve Him and those who serve Him not. He is continually revealing peculiar and unquenchable 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 their 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 160a, 1898, par. 12

    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 of 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 160a, 1898, par. 13

    “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written 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, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, 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 160a, 1898, par. 14

    Consider, before you advance another step. Weigh well the import of the words God has spoken, which show His special favor toward those that love Him. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto 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.” [Psalm 84:11.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 15

    The Lord Jesus commands a perfect love of us, because this is the joy of heaven, which we are striving to obtain. God observes the conduct of those two claim 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 goodness of God shines forth brighter now than at the creation. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that man might have no excuse for continuing in sin.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 16

    The promise of a Saviour was a star of hope to our first parents. On the Eden ground an invincible deliverer was promised them. “Herein is love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us.” [1 John 4:10.] The Lord delivered up His Son, the perfect image of Himself, that He might save us from death. In this God commended 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 the fallen world, that the Just suffered for the unjust. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things.” [Romans 8:32.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 17

    There is no excuse for any of us to be spiritually weak, lukewarm, unbelieving, and full of wrath. There is no excuse for our drawing apart from one another, breaking the links of the golden chain that should connect us with one another and with God. We have read over and over again the Scriptures 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 160a, 1898, par. 18

    What do we see? A selfish competition among brethren of the same faith, those 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? Should not the fact that we are saved by the measureless sacrifice of the Son of God be enough to cause us to draw together in the bonds of unity and love?13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 19

    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 might 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.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 20

    “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 the human nature will absorb the powers of the whole man, and he will work the works of Satan. Allowing the root of bitterness to spring up in the heart, many souls will be defiled.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 21

    If the grace of Christ is admitted into the heart, it will purify every thought, regulate every desire, and sweeten the disposition. But if the natural passions are allowed to control, who ever it is, whether man, woman or child, that being is a savor of death unto death. God would not have the character marred by unholy speech and unsanctified action. “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 160a, 1898, par. 22

    A spirit of strife for the mastery, a desire to be first is not the fruit that will be borne by a good tree. Is Christ indeed our good Shepherd? Then with such a shepherd guarding us, what quiet, loving confidence should we manifest, what a 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 learn to meet our difficulties in faith and humble trust, and move forward, as we seek the Lord in earnest faith, the grace of Christ will be imparted to us.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 23

    “Fear not, little flock,” Christ said, “it is your 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 and act like peevish children.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 24

    I call your attention to the message that Christ left with His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, 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 for another.” [John 13:34, 35.] Why should this commandment have been new to the disciples? The words “As I have loved you” were yet to be demonstrated in the offering Christ would make for the sins of the world. As Christ had loved the disciples, so they were charged 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. They were to see in them the purchase of the blood of the Son of God. But they were to reveal a specially tender love for all their brethren.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 25

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ continued, “the works that I do shall ye do also, because I go to my Father.” [John 14:12.] After Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the Father, the disciples were privileged to bear a bold firm testimony that could not be controverted, that He who had been with them in the world was the Son of the Infinite God.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 26

    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, where of 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 given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved.” [Acts 3:13-15; 4:11, 12.] Thus the apostles gave assurance of their faith.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 27

    “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 ought of the things which he possessed were his own, and they had all things 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 understood and kept the commandment, “As I have loved you, That ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 28

    “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.] They shall 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 160a, 1898, par. 29

    “This is my commandment, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye 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. A 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.]13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 30

    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, act this. Keep in mind what must be done in order to build up one another in the most holy faith. Without holiness no man can see God. This undue estimating of self and demeriting of others is a stream that flows from Satan into the heart to flow forth again to others. Those who allow themselves to be controlled by this spirit not only spoil their own lives, but by their perversion of truth, make it more difficult for others to do right.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 31

    There are many who have a circumstantial religion, a religion which is in accordance with what they meet in their family or their business relations with one another. The daily circumstances of life affects their religion, making them often speak words that are not right, causing them to be unkindly, uncourteous, and disrespectful to each other. Such will only find a full salvation when they have dug out from their hearts every portion of the root of selfishness, that bitter root which divides hearts.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 32

    God expects to see the manifestation of an altogether different spirit than that revealed by those who claim to keep the commandments of God. He calls for not simply a few outward changes, for this means failure, but for an entire surrender to Him. He bids every soul seek the Lord for his own present and eternal good. It is pitiful to see how little faith and love is manifested for God and for one another. The apostle represents this as spiritual biting and devouring of one another. What a representation this is! We are bidden to love one another as Christ has loved us.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 33

    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 into 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 160a, 1898, par. 34

    This is evidence that the Lord knows just where we live. We see also that He designs man to be place 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 and his family. He recognized his gifts and offerings that had come up before God in connection with his prayers.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 35

    The time had come for an entirely new phase of the work of the Christian church. The door which many of the Jewish converts had closed against the Gentiles was now to be thrown open. The Gentiles who had accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ were to be regarded as on a perfect equality with the Jewish disciples, without the necessity of circumcision.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 36

    The Lord has His own way of carrying forward His work. Every true believer is to stand ready to be taught by Him. Whatever prejudices he has had are to be broken down by the planning of the heavenly messengers.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 37

    In the instance of Peter’s mission to Cornelius we see how God works to enlighten all who love and fear Him, even though they do not know 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 160a, 1898, par. 38

    The Lord is proving each worker 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 lead unbelievers to see the truth as it is in Jesus. If the truth is in the heart, it will manifest itself in good works.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 39

    In this lies the threatened difficulty—that there will be a striving for the supremacy. Here are the 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 understand the love of God and to benefit by the instruction received.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 40

    But if these youth have constantly before them the example of men occupying important positions 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. Will not the men who have in the past allowed these elements to come into their lives experience a true conversion? Will they not now seek the Lord with heart and soul? God grant that this may be.13LtMs, Ms 160a, 1898, par. 41

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