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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 47, 1901

    “Then opened he their understanding ...”


    June 12, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in RH 01/07/1902.

    “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” [Luke 24:45-53.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 1

    What has prevented this promise of the gospel from being fulfilled in all who believe in Christ? Why has not the truth of the living God filled the hearts of church members with power and gone forth to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples? Why has not the plan of divine benevolence, with its saving, restoring qualities, brought a much larger number to loyalty to God? The reason is the unfaithfulness of those who have a knowledge of the truth. These have not fulfilled the commission given them by Christ. They have not taken the truth to those who are in the darkness of error. By their selfishness they have placed the candlestick of truth under a bushel.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 2

    The condition of the world today is represented by the condition of the world in Noah’s day. Then, we read, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. ... And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. ... And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. ... Behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” [Genesis 6:11, 12, 5, 6, 13, 17, 18.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 3

    The forms of wickedness existing in Noah’s day are current in the world today. There are no new evils. God’s Word declares, “As the days of Noah were, so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 4

    Noah was given a message to give to the antediluvians, but they scorned his warning. So today the message that God has sent to be given to a world steeped in corruption will not be received. But this message must be given. All our interests are to be made secondary to the message God has given to be proclaimed.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 5

    Every provision has been made for the salvation of the fallen race. All power was given to Him who offered Himself as a sacrifice to redeem every son and daughter of Adam who would accept Him as a personal Saviour. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] Christ came to this world and stood before men with the hoarded love of eternity. The whole ocean of divine love was flowing forth from its great center. The Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—were working in behalf of man. Every power in the heavenly universe was put into activity to carry forward the plan of redemption.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 6

    The cross of Calvary was erected, and while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. The Just suffered for the unjust, that He might become the justifier of all who believe in Him. During His life on this earth, He pleased not Himself. All that He did was done to restore and save. He assumed human nature that He might be a partaker with us in all our temptations. He clothed His divinity with humanity that by enduring the agony of the cross He might make His soul an offering for sin.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 7

    Christ is the Light of the world. He has opened His heart in love and pity and sympathy for the whole world, and He invites the fallen sons and daughters of Adam to come to Him and receive free and full forgiveness.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 8

    The Lord has given to His people the privilege of carrying forward in the earth the work which He did while here. He calls upon us to co-operate with Him in restoring and saving our fellow men. Who will now unite with us in helping to spread the truth in the Southern field? Christ died to save a selfish world from the sure consequences of selfishness. His character stands before the heavenly universe free from every taint of selfishness. He has made a complete sacrifice to bring to men and women that benevolence which dwells in His own heart. He has sent His Holy Spirit to impress the heart and mind, that His grace shall become a living principle, leading men to love their fellow men as Christ has loved them.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 9

    Christ desires, by the fullness of His power, to so strengthen His church that the whole world will be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. Infinite benevolence is pouring out all its treasures for the saving of souls from sin, that man may be made one with God. God calls upon human agencies to co-operate with Him in the carrying out of His great purpose.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 10

    The work of restoring and uplifting has been begun in the South. Will you who read this appeal become laborers together with God by giving of your means to help in this work? Will you shake off the tameness and coldness that has come into your lives? Will you give what you can, smaller or larger sums, to provide buildings and other necessary facilities, that the work which has been well begun may be successfully carried forward? As you give to the Lord, your hearts will glow with the benevolence imparted by Him who is the owner of all that you have and are.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 11

    God wants those who have accepted the truth and have identified themselves as His chosen people, elect and precious, to unite with Christ in His work of drawing men, women, and children to the cross of Calvary. The cross teaches the lesson of self-sacrifice. As by faith men behold the royal Sufferer, the conviction comes to them that the sure result of sin is death. Behold the Man who said, “I lay down my life for the sin of the world.” He rose from the dead, and over the rent sepulcher of Joseph proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life. I was dead, but behold, I am alive for evermore.” [John 11:25; Revelation 1:18.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 12

    Then let the believing soul stand beside the cross of Calvary, and with a heart swelling with grateful love, cry, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] Behold Him. Say it with heart and soul and voice. Induce the sinner to look. When his gaze is arrested, amazed at such wonderful condescension, he steps nearer, his eyes are holden, and he learns of the Saviour the lesson all must learn, the lesson of meekness and lowliness.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 13

    Christ loves the human race and has expressed this love in every action of His life. And He calls upon men to love one another as He has loved them. His saving power and love is ever to be the theme of those who believe in God. The believing soul sees Jesus as He is, and beholding, he is changed into His image. The experience of those who are truly converted testifies that God is the author of eternal salvation, and that the grace of Christ is wisdom and power.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 14

    Just before His ascension, Christ gave to His disciples the commission, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 15

    To the disciples was given a most precious trust. They were to be the executors of the will in which Christ had bequeathed to the world the treasure of eternal life. They realized the responsibility of their work. They knew that they held in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world, and they went everywhere preaching the Word. The love of Christ constrained them, and they could not forbear breaking the bread of life to all who were in need. The last words of the Saviour were constantly sounding in their ears.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 16

    In the trust given to the first disciples, each believer has a share. Each one is to be an executor of the Saviour’s will. Each one has been given sacred truth to give to the hungry. The Lord is full of riches and grace, and every believer is to labor together with Him.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 17

    I appeal to all who claim to believe the truth to realize the importance of the message God has given you to bear to the world. In city after city self-sacrificing work must be done. Province after province must be enlightened. The truth is to go forth as a lamp that burneth. Those who profess to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent, must not fall into the cold, selfish practices of the world. Their zeal must not die. They must not allow spiritual declension, with all its baleful influences, to come in. The church is presented to me as in great danger of failing to realize the responsibility resting upon her.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 18

    The members are in danger of forgetting the peculiar benefits and blessings which have been bestowed upon them, in danger of turning away from Christ and allowing their thoughts to run in worldly channels for the sake of gain. The gospel will triumph; it will not sustain a final defeat. But for years it has been evident that selfishness under the form of godliness has been entering the church. The perverse ways of Satan have taken the place of love. Unholy difference of opinion, under the garb of zeal for God, has come in. By bigotry and narrowness, professing Christians have violated the principles which should ever be sacredly cherished. Criticism and denunciation have taken the place of sympathy and forbearance. An inquisition has been set up among those who should be free from all overbearing.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 19

    God calls for the extinction of all this Satanic devising. The love of Christ in the heart forbids all oppression. Remember His words to the disciples when they desired Him to permit them to call down fire from heaven upon those who did not give Him due honor. “He turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” [Luke 9:55.] Those who work for the Redeemer must cultivate love. But for years some even among those who claim to believe present truth have acted in an oppressive manner, cherishing in the heart that fearful, hateful thing which has led them to exclude their brethren from their fellowship and their counsels, because they supposed them wanting in some respects;as though the Lord had made them judges of character. The spirit has been entertained which presumes to limit the Holy One in the judicial working of His grace. In the place of coming close to those through whom the Lord has seen fit to work, men have stood apart, saying, “I am holier than thou. I cannot connect with you in religious service. Your ways and my ways do not agree.”16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 20

    The Lord Jesus Christ is our judge and our lawgiver. Let not those in God’s service reveal defects caused by hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Let them turn from everything which will mar their usefulness. A hasty temper, a lack of patience, an inclination to speak hastily, these are things against which the Lord’s ministers must guard. They must remember that He who has appointed them their work, says to them, “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” [Isaiah 52:11.] The irritable temper must be crucified. The Lord God of Israel forbids a foolish exhibition of self in any of His servants.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 21

    Be very careful how you attempt to number Israel. Not to you or to any other man has God given this work. You make a great mistake when you put your human measurement upon any of your ministering brethren. You cannot read the heart. It is more than possible that the one with whom you find fault is more righteous in the sight of God than are you. “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; ... in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” [Romans 2:11-13, 16.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 22

    “Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest that a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonorest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” [Verses 17-29.]16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 23

    This instruction is for those who are living amid the perils of these last days. Be careful how you measure your brother. Take heed to yourself, and put no occasion of stumbling in your brother’s way. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] The great Physician, whose work it is to restore the moral image of God in man, has prescribed for us all the food of the Word. Physical life is dependent upon the food eaten and the air breathed. If our food is good and the air we breathe pure, we shall be strong and well. So also if we give the mind the food God has provided, and if the atmosphere surrounding the soul is pure and holy, the life will be fragrant with good works.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 24

    Let us make diligent efforts to serve God. We need to reach a higher standard. The truth must not be kept in the outer court. Bring its principles into the inner sanctuary of the soul. Make Christ the guide of every action. Separate all selfishness from soul, body, and spirit. Hate it; for it is the destroyer of peace and godliness. “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” [Colossians 3:17.] The grace of our Saviour is the grand, healing influence which conforms the life to the life of God.16LtMs, Ms 47, 1901, par. 25

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