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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900) - Contents
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    Ms 45, 1900

    What is the Chaff to the Wheat?

    Hamilton, New South Wales

    April 28, 1900 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 221; 4BC 1157; 5MR 88-89, 340-342. +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.

    I am instructed that as Seventh-day Adventists we need to drink deeper and still deeper of the waters of life. We work altogether too much in our own strength to make a success, and do not watch and pray and work. Prayer to our God in faith will bring us returns. We need to see the importance of being worked by the Holy Spirit. Its efficiency is waiting our demands upon it. Although the great Teacher held in His possession the entire map of truth, He disclosed only as much of the truth as His hearers could assimilate.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 1

    The question which the lawyer put to Christ, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” was one of vital consequence. [Luke 10:25.] The Pharisees who had prompted the lawyer to ask this question were expecting the Lord Jesus to answer it in such a way that they could find something against Him whereby they might accuse and condemn Him before the people. The self-possession of Christ, the wisdom and authority by which He spake, was something they could not interpret.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 2

    When this question was asked by the lawyer, Christ knew that the suggestion came from His bitterest enemies, who were setting a trap to catch Him in His words. The Lord Jesus responded to the question by placing the burden upon the lawyer to answer his own question before that crowd. Addressing the lawyer, He said, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto the lawyer, Thou hast answered right: this do and thou shalt live.” [Verses 26-28.] Eternal life is the price [reward] of obedience to the commandments of God.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 3

    There is a very broad and deep work to be accomplished in fallen humanity. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. This is the true interpretation of genuine conversion. The answer to this question, as given by the lawyer, comprehends the entire duty of man, who is seeking eternal life. The lawyer was unable to evade the question so directly and pointedly expressed as to the conditions of eternal life. He understood its bearings, and the necessity of answering the demands of the law in loving God supremely, and his neighbor as himself.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 4

    He knew he had not done either of these, and the conviction of his neglect to obey the first four commandments and the last six commandments plainly specified in the words of the holy oracles of God was impressed by the Holy Spirit upon his heart. He saw himself weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and found wanting. He did not serve God supremely because he had not loved Him supremely, with his whole heart, with all his soul, and all his strength, and with all his mind. Lacking decidedly in this requirement of Jehovah’s law, he failed decidedly to love his neighbor as himself.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 5

    Thus, before the multitude, he himself had given in concise words the gospel conditions of eternal life for every member of the human family, who are standing before God today in the year 1900. The conditions are unchangeable, eternal. The lawyer was self-condemned, but to ease his conscience of the sting of neglect, to turn away the shaft which had wounded his self sufficiency and his self-righteousness he, though a lawyer, asked as though ignorant of the principles of law, “Who is my neighbor?” [Verse 29.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 6

    Christ takes up events and converts them into a parable, making a living reality that had recently taken place the basis of His lesson. In a most impressive manner He opens before them who is their neighbor, and that they are to love their neighbor as themselves. He lays before them all the circumstances as they had recently occurred, the neglect of the priests and the Levite, who seeing the distressed object of humanity, did nothing for one so greatly in need of sympathy and help, but passed by on the other side, so as to get as far as possible from the disagreeable scene.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 7

    But a Samaritan, one of the class whom they as a people had looked upon to be despised and rejected, came that way, and taking in the situation, he did not pass by on the other side, but dismounted and going to the poor sufferer, he looked upon him, and in pity, gave him all the attentions he could to relieve him. Then, in a voice so clear, so impressive and authoritative that it struck to their hearts, Christ asked the question, “Which now of these three thinkest thou was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves?” The lawyer and others who stood listening answered, “He that showed mercy on him.” This was a good testimony, and the enemies of Christ were disappointed. Then said Jesus, “Go, and do thou likewise.” [Verses 36, 37.] This is gospel ministry practically acted.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 8

    These words are just as much for the benefit of church members and all who are not church member in 1900 as they were for those who listened to the words of Christ, and were self-convicted. There is a necessity for sowing the seeds of the gospel, and upon the practical doing of the truth depends the salvation of the human soul. “This do, and thou shalt live,”—shalt have eternal life. [Verse 28.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 9

    In regard to entering into the subject of the divine mystery of the essence of God, Christ ever maintained a wise reserve. He did this that He might close the door where human conjectures should not be encouraged. The most sacred, holy, and eternal mysteries which God has not revealed are but speculations when considered from a human standpoint, mere theories that confuse the mind. There are those who know the truth but do not practice it. These greatly long for some new, strange thing to present. In their great zeal to become original some will bring in fanciful ideas which are but chaff. Even now there is a descending from the sublime and living issues for this time to the ridiculous and fanciful, and sensational minds stand ready to catch up suppositions and guesses and human theories and false science as truth to be accepted and taught.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 10

    These put the test of salvation on speculation without one plain, “Thus saith the Lord.” They thus bring in a mass of rubbish, wood, hay, and stubble, as precious material to be laid upon the foundation stone. This will not stand the test of fire, but will be consumed, and if the ones who have made themselves believe these theories are so self-deceived and know not the truth yet are converted, their life is saved as by fire through repentance and humiliation before God. They have been dealing in common things in place of the sacred. Many catch up ideas which are of no consequence and place them before the flock of God as food, when they are only chaff which will never benefit or strengthen the flock of God, but will keep them in the lowlands, because they are feeding upon that which contains not the least virtue or nourishment. What is the chaff to the wheat?15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 11

    We have God’s truth, and why do those living in 1900 manufacture fables and teach them as truth? This some are doing, and if those who do such things and teach them as essential for salvation are saved, it will be through the purification and trial represented as being saved by fire. What is the chaff to the wheat? A stubble to be consumed, and their life brings them no reward.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 12

    Those who are doing this work reveal that they are not safe persons to instruct the people. They need to learn the very first principles of truth, that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. We have a work to do to bring to the foundation of the building gold, silver, and precious stones, and all the weak, foolish, insipid things, which are the productions of fancy, should find no encouragement among the people of God.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 13

    What all need now is that the genuine truth be the burden of their message. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 14

    “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, 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. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” [Revelation 14:9-14.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 15

    Here is the message we are now to give to the world. We hear no voice, but the work to be done is represented by the third angel. Our work is to voice the third angel’s message, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” [Verse 12.] “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory.” [Revelation 18:1.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 16

    Those poor souls who are building upon the sand of human ideas and speculations would better learn “what is truth?” [John 18:38.] They would better eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, which is a figure used by Christ to illustrate that obedience to the Word of God in keeping His commandments is the condition of eternal life, given in the Word by Him who is the Son of God, our Redeemer. He explains by saying that the flesh profiteth nothing; “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.] The Word of God brought into the soul through the understanding is Spirit and life, and the spiritual experience is demonstrated by the food given the mind and heart.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 17

    All will bear in their religious experience the impression of, and reveal in their words the sort of, material they are feeding upon. That which constitutes their ideal of Christian perfection, true Bible religion, is no fiction, no novel; it is a sacred, pure, holy, elevated experience. As is represented to me, none of this chaff will be introduced into the teaching of those who feed on the precious words of truth for this time. Practical truths must compose our spiritual diet.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 18

    All who love God supremely and keep His commandments will bear the sign of God as brought to view in Exodus 31:12-18. Here is the knowledge of what constitutes true sanctification. “Verily, my Sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Verse 13.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 19

    Second Peter 1 gives the genuine work of sanctification. Read and understand this chapter. There is need that the grace of God be seen and realized in our influence in the religious life and character. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and Jesus our Lord.” [Verse 2.] Then comes the true fruit of genuine conversion in living on the plan of addition. These precious, elevating principles are to be brought into our daily experience. The promises of God accepted in genuine faith have a fragrant influence upon the life and the character, making the human agent to reflect the image of the Divine.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 20

    The plan of progression in sanctification is brought to view in this chapter in plain, clear lines. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [Verse 4.] Then the progression and growth in grace and qualification of character are given, working on the plan of addition.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 21

    God works for the striving ones who exercise faith and practice godliness in the home life, in the church life, and in the small and larger interests that will unfold as we advance upward, climbing on the ladder that Peter has presented to every believer. If these practical workings of duties are faithfully attended to, God works on His part on the plan of multiplication, imparting grace to the one who imparts in his life the grace given him in representing genuine sanctification to the world in his own character. “If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things (the true representation of Christ’s character) is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” [Verses 8, 9.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 22

    Here great and positive truth is stated. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 10, 11.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 23

    [Here] is the life insurance policy for every soul that shall strive in the right way and upon the right principles. They shall never fall, but shall have their eternal life insurance papers in the sign given in (Exodus 31:12-18), in the observance of the Lord’s Sabbath. This means obedience to all His commandments, for the keeping of the Sabbath which God has sanctified and blessed at creation, “is a sign between me and you throughout your generations” “forever,” “that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Verses 13, 17.]15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 24

    Here is our test which God has made, and He will fulfil His word, if human agents will show their love to God in keeping all His commandments. If they reverence the Sabbath, which is engraved on the first table of stone, they will keep the first three commandments, and the last six which reveal the duty of man to his fellow man; for the Sabbath sign is the covenant between God and man. It is the golden clasp which unites man to God in supreme obedience and reverence, and which unites man to his fellow man.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 25

    Love to God and love to our neighbor are the two great principles upon which hang all the law and the prophets. Here is truth that comprehends the whole duty of man. Then let all these vagaries of human brains be treated just as such sentiments deserve, as chaff in contrast with the wheat, which is sound doctrine.15LtMs, Ms 45, 1900, par. 26

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