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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 93, 1899

    Words of Instruction from the Apostle Paul


    July 13, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1089; 7BC 912, 924; TDG 203. +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.

    “Know ye not,” Paul asks, “that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.” [1 Corinthians 9:24-26.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 1

    Thus Paul presents the conditions which God imposes upon every soul who enlists in His service. The apostle fears for himself, lest he shall fail of bearing the examination test and be found wanting, and he places himself under severe training. So the Christian today needs to keep strict guard over his appetite. He needs to subject himself to severe training, that he may not run uncertainly or at random, without seeing his standard and striving to reach it. He must obey the laws of God. The physical, mental, and moral powers must be kept in the most perfect condition if he would obtain the approval of God. “I keep under my body,” the apostle says. [Verse 27.] This means literally to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 2

    Paul continues, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses, in the cloud and in the sea.” [1 Corinthians 10:1, 2.] By the power of that invisible Presence all Israel were enshrouded in the pillar of cloud, and all were baptized unto Moses, in the cloud and in the sea. The signs given by God to Moses placed the children of Israel under his guidance, as the acknowledged, visible leader of the chosen people of God.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 3

    Though Paul sat, a diligent student, at the feet of Gamaliel, he also learned a trade. He was an educated tentmaker. It was the custom among the Jews, the wealthy as well as the poorer classes, to train their sons and daughters to some useful employment, so that should adverse circumstances come, they would not be dependent on others, but would have educated ability to provide for their own necessities. They might be instructed in literary lines, but they must also be trained to some craft. This was deemed an indispensable part of their education.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 4

    The testimony of Paul and Aquila is that by their occupation they were tentmakers. While they preached the gospel Paul and his companion wrought at their trade as tentmakers, and in doing this they could give a more thorough knowledge of Christ to those who heard them. They labored that they might obtain means for support.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 5

    Paul taught the Scriptures, as well as working at his trade. The twentieth chapter of Acts gives the history of his earnest labors. “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and in many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but had showed you, and taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. ...14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 6

    “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” [Verses 17-21, 25-34.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 7

    Paul is not speaking mysteries. He is appealing to their knowledge of his manner of life. In Corinth he had lived and labored with Aquila and Priscilla, instructing them more perfectly in the truth. The great apostle was not ashamed or afraid of work, and he did not treat this subject as in any way lowering to his work in the ministry.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 8

    Again he says, to the brethren in Thessalonica, “Finally brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil, and we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye received of us.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 9

    “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labor and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” [2 Thessalonians 3:1-13.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 10

    The greatest care is necessary that every obstruction may be removed from the church, that no stumbling block shall be placed in the way of sinners by an inconsistent course in those who profess the faith. The name of the Lord is to be glorified in the virtuous, honest, godly character of those who believe; for if men walk humbly and prayerfully with God, manifesting His divine power, and co-operating with Him in the work of salvation, righteousness will be the fruit they will bear.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 11

    The apostle in his day considered idleness a sin, and those who indulge this evil today disgrace their profession. They will criticize the faithful worker, and bring reproach upon the gospel of Christ. Those who would believe, they turn from the way of truth and righteousness. We should be warned not to associate with those who by their course of action lay a stumbling block in the way of others. “If any man obey not our word by this epistle,” the apostle says, “note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” [Verses 14, 15.] If he refuses the admonition of the Lord’s servants, and follows his own will and judgment under the inspiration of his leader, Satan, he will bring ruin upon himself, and must bear his own sin.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 12

    The custom of supporting men and women in idleness by private gifts or church money encourages them in sinful habits, and this course should be conscientiously avoided. Every man, woman, and child should be educated to do practical, useful work. All should learn some trade. It may be tentmaking, or it may be business in other lines; but all should be educated to use the members of their body to some purpose, and God is ready and willing to increase the adaptability of all who will educate themselves to industrious habits.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 13

    If a man in good physical health has property, and has no need of entering into employment for his own support, he should labor to acquire means that he may advance the cause and work of God. He is to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] God will bless all who guard their influence <in regard to> others in this respect.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 14

    Health and physical strength are established by the use and improvement of every opportunity to be useful. Diligence in business is highly appropriate, and in no case need it quench fervency of spirit in our service for the Lord. The apostle Paul was not ashamed of honest labor. He did not consider it demeaning that teachers, educators of the youth, or ministers of the gospel should labor with their hands as circumstances demanded. Physical development is essential if we would preserve all parts of the living machinery in health.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 15

    This education in physical lines would save many men in high positions from premature death. Intemperance in eating and drinking has cut short millions of lives. Many influential men have sacrificed health and life itself by their indulgence at feasts and dinners and late suppers, by indulging in wine and liquor drinking. The history of Daniel and his fellows is written for our instruction. These youth practiced total abstinence from all intoxicating drinks. We should abstain from everything that is hurtful, and we should be temperate in our use of that class of food which, if taken in proper quantities and at proper times, will build up the human structure, keep the brain clear, the breath pure, the stomach strong to do its appointed work. Do not crowd the hours for eating too closely together. Give the stomach periods of entire rest, and the food that is placed in the mouth, do not bolt it down without masticating it, thus leaving to the digestive organs the work which the teeth should do. As a rule men in official positions eat food at all times and on all occasions, and this is the cause of so much disease and suffering. Gout, apoplexy, paralysis, and death are the result.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 16

    As a child and youth Jesus worked with His father Joseph and learned the trade of a carpenter, a builder. His trade was significant. He was indeed a character-builder, and as such all His labors were perfect. At the age of twelve, on His return from His first visit to Jerusalem, His parents lost Him, and returning to Jerusalem they sought Him sorrowing. They found Him in the temple, sitting among the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. He was imparting light to their darkened and confused minds, and all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 17

    When His parents saw Him, and heard His questions and answers to the dignitaries of the temple, they were amazed, and scarcely knew what to say. His mother said, “Son, why hast thou dealt thus with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” The wise doctors were surprised to hear His answer, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” [Luke 2:48, 49.] As He said these words, He raised His hand to heaven. Divinity flashed through humanity. His countenance was lighted up like the face of an angel. Neither parents or doctors understood His words. They were a mystery which they could not understand, but a solemn awe fell upon them. “And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them; but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” [Verses 51, 52.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 18

    To His chosen church in the wilderness Christ taught the lessons essential for them to know in order to win a crown of life. All are bound to obey the law of God. All may be educated to see the grievous result of sin. No man can feel the justice and mercy of God in the destruction of the sinner until he beholds Christ as the Sin-bearer, bearing the stroke of the justice of God. Christ, as our Substitute and Surety, stands at the head of the offending order, and says, Lay the sins of man to My account. All who will may find pardon for their transgressions.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 19

    The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent He was placed on probation, with liberty to pass under Satan’s jurisdiction, to work at cross-purposes with God. If this were not so, if there was no possibility of His falling, He could not be tempted in all points as the human family is tempted. If it were impossible for Him to yield to temptation, it was no temptation to Him. And the temptations of Christ, and His suffering under them, were proportionate to His exalted, sinless character. Says the apostle, “Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” [Hebrews 12:4.] Christ did resist unto blood in that hour when the fear of moral failure was as the fear of death. As the world’s Redeemer bowed in Gethsemane, His soul-agony was so great that drops of blood fell from the pores of His skin, and moistened the sods of the earth. He prayed with strong crying and tears, and He was heard in that He feared. God strengthened Him as He will strengthen all who humble themselves as Christ humbled Himself, all who will throw themselves, soul, body, and spirit, into the hands of a covenant-keeping God.14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 20

    Upon the cross Christ knew as no other can know the awful power of Satan’s temptation, and His heart was called out in pity and forgiveness for the dying thief who had been ensnared by the enemy. How marvelously that power has been exercised against the human family, against Him who has undertaken their cause!14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 21

    The disciple John writes, “My little children, These things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 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 love of God perfected.” [1 John 2:1-5.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 22

    The Captain of our salvation was perfected through suffering. His soul was made an offering for sin. It was necessary for the awful darkness to gather about His soul because of the withdrawal of the Father’s love and favor, for He was standing in the sinner’s place, and this darkness every sinner must experience. The righteous One must suffer the condemnation and wrath of God, not in vindictiveness; for the heart of God yearned with greatest sorrow when His Son, <the Guiltless,> was suffering the penalty of sin. This sundering of the divine powers will never again occur throughout the eternal ages. In His expiring agony nature sympathized with her suffering, dying Author. The sun was darkened. The rocks were rent. There was a great earthquake, and many graves were opened as Christ with a loud voice cried, “It is finished. Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.” “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.” [John 19:30; Luke 23:46, 47.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 23

    I know not how to trace these words. I would try to make sin appear as the terrible thing that it is, that students and teachers may not feel it a small thing to sin. It was sin that caused all this suffering to the Son of God. These things should be considered. Let not teachers refrain from exercising all their God-given power to restrain sin in the students. Let ministers and all who claim to be children of God work as never before to counterwork iniquity. We must respect and reverence Christ and all who are laboring with God to eradicate evil. Let teachers and ministers and all who handle sacred things depart from all iniquity. “Blessed are they that do his commandments,” John declares, “that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.]14LtMs, Ms 93, 1899, par. 24

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