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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 2, 1903

    Following Christ


    January 16, 1903 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 1BC 1095; 5BC 1096; AH 386-387; CG 151, 193, 249, 271-272, 487-488; 2MCP 453-454; CTr 89; 13MR 364-365.

    Christ’s true followers will walk in His footsteps. He has left us an example that we should follow where He leads the way. For each one of us there is a live, disordered self to master, or it will master us. There are those who, because they are determined to serve self, will never be able to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Christians who live for self dishonor their Redeemer. They may apparently be very active in the service of the Lord, but they weave self into all that they do. Sowing the seeds of selfishness, they must at last reap a harvest of corruption. It cannot but be thus. Eternal life cannot possibly be the result of their lifework, unless they see their mistake and surrender all to God.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 1

    Service for self takes a variety of forms. Some of these forms seem harmless. Apparent goodness gives them the appearance of genuine goodness. But they bring no glory to the Lord. By their service His cause is hindered. Christ says, “He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 2

    Those who bring self into their work cannot be trusted. If they would lose sight of self in Christ, their efforts would be of value to His cause. They would then conform the life to His teachings. They would form their plans in harmony with His great plan of love. Selfishness would be banished from their efforts.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 3

    The Lord does not accept the service of those who live an inefficient, do-nothing life. They exert not a high, holy influence, but an influence that leads away from Christ. Self-denial, humility of mind, nobility of purpose, marked the Saviour’s life. He declares that as He lived, so we are to live. He has prepared for us opportunities and has marked out the path in which we may safely follow. His footprints lead along the pathway of self-sacrifice. To His disciples He says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 4

    From the beginning to the close of His earthly ministry, Christ went about doing good. In His life no sin appeared. No selfishness marred word or act. “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” He asked the Pharisees, knowing that they would find nothing of which to accuse Him. [John 8:46.] And at His trial, Pilate declared emphatically, “I find in Him no fault at all.” [John 18:38.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 5

    As we pass through life there come to us many opportunities for service. All around us there are open doors for ministry. By the right use of the talent of speech we may do much for the Master. Words are a power for good when they are weighted with the tenderness and sympathy of Christ. There are those who have been entrusted with the Lord’s money, and these are to invest this money in such a way that they can bring returns to the Lord as the result of the investment.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 6

    As we minister to those in need of help, we co-operate with the heavenly angels. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation?” [Hebrews 1:14.] When Christ was born in Bethlehem, an angel appeared to the shepherds keeping watch by night. Through the silent hours they had been talking together of the promised Saviour and praying for the coming of the King to David’s throne. “And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” [Luke 2:9-11.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 7

    And suddenly the whole plain was lighted with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” [Verse 14.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 8

    Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ’s life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake where He loved to teach and the valleys and hills on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Palestine in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 9

    All may find something to do. “The poor always have ye with you,” Jesus said [John 12:8], and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” [Matthew 7:12.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 10

    “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth the heart, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to ever man according to his works?” [Proverbs 24:11, 12.] In the great judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They will receive the same condemnation.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 11

    To every soul a trust is given. Of every one the Chief Shepherd will demand, “Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” And “what wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?” [Jeremiah 13:20, 21.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 12

    The Home Life

    We have only one life to live, only one probation in which to form characters that God can approve. Let parents take heed, first to themselves and then to their children. Let them learn from the Word of God what their duty is. The work committed to them is a most solemn and important one—a work that they cannot neglect without incurring heavy guilt. They should make all else secondary to the training of their children, remembering that as the twig is bent, the tree is inclined.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 13

    Too much importance cannot be placed on the early training of children. The lessons that the child learns during the first seven years of life have more to do with forming its character than all that it learns in future years.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 14

    To the mother is entrusted an important part in the training of her children. But all the responsibility does not rest on her. Father and mother should unite in this great work. The husband should show his wife that he appreciates her. If he wishes to keep her fresh and gladsome, so that she will be as sunshine in the home, let him help her to bear her burdens.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 15

    Parents, make home happy for your children. By this I do not mean that you are to indulge them. The more they are indulged, the harder they will be to manage, and the more difficult it will be for them to live true, noble lives when they go out into the world. If you allow them to do as they please, their purity and loveliness of character will quickly fade. Teach them to obey. Let them see that your authority must be respected. This may seem to bring them a little unhappiness now, but it will save them from much unhappiness in the future. Let the home government be just and tender, full of love and compassion, yet firm and true. Do not permit one disrespectful word or disobedient act.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 16

    Do not become impatient with your children when they err. When you correct them, do not speak abruptly and harshly. This confuses them, making them afraid to tell the truth. Remember that in them you are meeting your own traits of character—traits that you have given them. Therefore be very kind, very compassionate, very careful to do nothing that will arouse the worst passions of the human heart. Be so calm, so free from anger, that they will be convinced that you love them, even though you punish them.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 17

    Never forget the words, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones. For I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:10.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 18

    Let the mother teach her children to be her willing helpers, gladly assisting her to bear life’s burdens. Let cheerfulness reign in the home. The mother should put forth every effort to make home the most pleasant place in the world for her children. Let the long winter evenings be devoted to useful reading or to some other form of self-improvement.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 19

    To the children I would say, Strive in every way possible to lighten your mother’s cares. Make home pleasant for her by cultivating a cheerful, happy temper. Be helpful in the home. Thus you are preparing yourselves for greater usefulness. It is your privilege to lighten the burdens that rest heavily on father and mother.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 20

    Do not make your wants many, especially if the income for home expenses is limited. Bring your wants within your parent’s means. The Lord will recognize and commend your unselfish efforts. Give your lives to God, to be used by Him as He may see best. Begin in the home to work for Him. Do your part to make the home a place where angels shall love to dwell. Be faithful in that which is least. You will then be in no danger of neglecting greater responsibilities. God’s Word declares, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” [Luke 16:10.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 21

    From the child’s earliest years it is to be made acquainted with the things of God. In simple words let the mother tell it about Christ’s life on earth. And more than this, let her bring into her daily life the teachings of the Saviour. Let her show her child, by her own example, that this life is a preparation for the life to come, a period granted to human beings in which they may form characters that will win for them entrance into the city of God.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 22

    Unto You Therefore Which Believe He is Precious

    How marvellous is the love and condescension of our 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.] By receiving Christ, men give evidence that they are born again and that they are entitled to the privilege of sonship. Because of their faithful adherence to right, Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 23

    The soul that surrenders all to Christ loses sight of self and is filled with confidence in God. By the clear light shining on God’s Word, he reads the promises telling of his heavenly Father’s love and care. These promises appeal to him with soul-conquering evidence. Assured of God’s power and willingness to fulfil His Word, he returns to Him praise and thanksgiving. Peace and joy fill his heart.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 24

    Christ takes us into covenant relation with Himself. He loves us with an everlasting love, but He does not always give us what we desire. When we wander away from Him, He permits trials to come upon us, to cause us to return to Him with full purpose of heart. And when we return, He receives us with loving assurances of pardon. He does not allow us to be tempted above that we are able.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 25

    When He sees His disciples deficient in spiritual power, day by day losing ground, day by day wandering farther and father from the source of strength, He sends to them affliction and adversity. Disappointed hopes cause them to stop and think, and there come to them repentance and a desire to draw near to God. And as they return to Him, He draws near to them, saying, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” [Isaiah 27:5.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 26

    There is no power in repentance to change the life. But when the helpless soul casts itself on Christ, then comes transformation of character. The Saviour declares, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” [Ezekiel 36:26.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 27

    No one is ever made better by denunciation and recrimination. To tell a tempted soul of his guilt in no way inspires him with a determination to do better. Point the erring, discouraged one to Him who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him. Show him what he may become. Tell him that there is in him nothing that recommends him to God, but that Christ died for him, that he might be accepted in the Beloved. Inspire him with hope, showing him that in Christ’s strength he can do better. Hold up before him the possibilities that are his. Point him to the heights to which he may attain. Help him to take hold upon the mercy of the Lord, to trust in His forgiving power. Jesus is waiting to clasp him by the hand, waiting to give him power to live a noble, virtuous life.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 28

    God often brings men to a crisis to show them their own weakness and to point them to the source of strength. If they pray and watch unto prayer, fighting bravely, their weak points will become their strong points. Jacob’s experience contains many valuable lessons for us. God taught Jacob that in his own strength he could never gain the victory, that he must wrestle with God for strength from above.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 29

    All night Jacob wrestled with the Angel. Finally the strong wrestler was weakened by a touch on his thigh. He was now disabled and suffering the keenest pain, but he would not lose his hold. All penitent and broken, he clung to the Angel; “he wept, and made supplication,” pleading for a blessing. [Hosea 12:4.] He must have the assurance that his sin was pardoned. His determination grew stronger, his faith more earnest and persevering, until the very last. The Angel tried to release Himself; He urged, “Let Me go, for the day breaketh;” but Jacob answered, “I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me.” [Genesis 32:26.] Had this been a boastful, presumptuous confidence, Jacob would have been instantly destroyed; but his was the assurance of one who confesses his own unworthiness, yet trusts to the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 30

    Jacob “had power over the Angel, and prevailed.” [Hosea 12:4.] Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender this sinful, erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He has fastened his trembling grasp on the promises of God, and the heart of infinite love could not turn away the sinner’s plea.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 31

    As an evidence that Jacob had been forgiven, his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin to one that commemorated his victory. “Thy name,” said the Angel, “shall be no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God, and hast prevailed.” [Genesis 32:28.]18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 32

    Shall we obtain strength from God, and win victory after victory, or shall we try in our own strength, and at last fall back defeated, worn out by vain efforts. Let us, by unreserved surrender to God, obtain the power that every one must have who conquers in the battle against evil.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 33

    Let no one despair of gaining the victory. Victory is sure when self is surrendered to God. The Lord is on the ground. The church is to see of His salvation. God is not slack concerning His promise. He has given His angels charge over His children. Hereafter the witness will be heard, “My feet had well nigh slipped, but the Lord upheld me.” [See Psalm 73:2.] The Lord’s way was the best—to come in trial to the one He wished to help.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 34

    Never despair of a brother’s recovery and reformation. Make your requests known to God, and do not let go till the tempted one breaks the cords of unbelief. The conflict will end in victory.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 35


    Those who watch their fellow workers to find fault with them dishonor their Leader. Let them remember that God reads the heart and that He has not given to any one the work of judging and condemning others. Each one is to examine his own heart. All judgment has been committed to One who cannot err. Cease the work that you have allowed Satan to lead you to do—the work of finding fault and condemning. You cannot read hearts; therefore be very careful how you judge.18LtMs, Ms 2, 1903, par. 36

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