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Manuscript Releases, vol. 11 [Nos. 851-920] - Contents
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    MR No. 906—An Appeal for Acceptance of the Message of Christ's Righteousness

    Spirit of Unbelief Manifest by Some at Minneapolis and After—At the meeting in Minneapolis, at Potterville, and at Battle Creek, I presented general principles before you, [Ministers in the cause.] hoping that you might hear, be impressed, and be converted, that I might not be under the painful necessity of addressing you personally. But as you have had the privilege of hearing the message that God has given me and others to bear, and yet your doubts and unbelief have been strengthening instead of diminishing, I am alarmed for you. I know you and others in a similar position are not in the light. You are on the enemy's ground. Both of you are placing yourselves where the spirit of God can no more find access to your hearts than it could find access to the hearts of the Jewish people when they gave themselves up to unbelief. Through Christ, light is shining to man; heaven is connected with earth, and the angels of God are ascending and descending upon the mystic ladder. They bring messages of warning, reproof, instruction, encouragement, and love. The glory of God is above the ladder and shines down all its length. God will not devise some new way to reach the hearts of those who have shut themselves away from the light. It is at the peril of their souls that they refuse the light.11MR 281.1

    Parallels Between Christ's Rejection at Nazareth and the Rejection of Truth Today—Bro. B, you have encased yourself in an armor of unbelief and spiritual pride. You do not recognize Him whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting. The King of glory appeared in the form of a servant, clothed in the garb of humanity. When He began His public ministry in Nazareth, there was a sad and terrible exhibition of what human nature can and will be when Satan works on the heart. Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the Anointed One. No man had before ventured to assume as much; not the learned or noble of the earth, not even the prophets or kings. He arose in the synagogue, and read from the prophet Isaiah these gracious words: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, 19).11MR 281.2

    The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened upon Him, for divinity flashed through humanity, and with one voice they witnessed to the “gracious words” that proceeded from His lips. God had spoken to their hearts and given them a testimony which they acknowledged to be the truth. But soon doubt and unbelief arose. Who was this that claimed to be the Messiah? They did not expect Christ to come in this way. His family connections were humble, pious people, but not distinguished for riches, learning, rank, or power.11MR 282.1

    The Jews expected the Messiah to come with pomp and ceremony as a great king. They looked for Him to appear as a conqueror, to deliver Israel from the Roman yoke. They thought they would be able to cry, “This is the King that will reign on David's throne.” But this Man, who made the claim that He was the anointed One of God, was from the humble walks of life, the son of Joseph and Mary. They had seen Him going up and down the hills. They had seen Him toiling daily at the carpenter's bench, and could He be the Messiah?11MR 282.2

    The very humiliation that Christ bore was foretold in the Scriptures as a specification of His divine character and mission, and should have commended Him to every home and heart in the land. But to proud and unbelieving Jews His humiliation was an offense.11MR 283.1

    The men of Nazareth refused the Prince of Life. The power of God that had stirred their hearts as He read and expounded to them the Scriptures, was resisted, and their passions were stirred as He spoke truths that revealed to them their real condition....11MR 283.2

    The Lord has shown me that we are in just as much danger [of rejecting truth] in our day as were the people in the days of Christ. The Lord is speaking through His delegated messengers; but the same unbelief is exhibited. Men close their hearts against Jesus and hold themselves in the veriest bondage to Satan, supposing that they are preserving their dignity as free men; that they are maintaining their right to think and act for themselves, to believe or doubt; and like the despisers of the gospel in the apostolic times, they wonder and perish.11MR 283.3

    Those who on special occasions of controversy have taken a course similar to that of the men of Nazareth, should take heed lest they follow their example when a second opportunity is given to accept the gracious light of truth. After the first rejection, when excitement and confusion are over, you may again be called upon by the divine Messenger, and you should beware lest you harden your hearts in prejudice and pride, and in final rejection of the message that would work for your salvation.11MR 283.4

    You may encase yourselves in pride, and continue to reject Christ in the person of His messengers....11MR 284.1

    We are less excusable than were the Jews, for we have before us their example of rejection of Christ and His apostles, and we have been warned not to fall after the same example of unbelief....11MR 284.2

    Criticism of the Plans of Others—My brethren, the Lord is not pleased to have us settle down in unbelief, and question and quibble over matters of truth as you have done....11MR 284.3

    When you receive the words of Christ as if they were addressed to you personally, when each applies the truth to himself, as if he were the only sinner on the face of the earth for whom Christ died, you will learn to claim by faith the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour in your own case....11MR 284.4

    The Righteousness of Christ, Our Immediate Need—Many feel that their faults of character make it impossible for them to meet the standard that Christ has erected; but all such ones have to do is to humble themselves at every step under the mighty hand of God. Christ does not estimate the man by the amount of work he does, but by the spirit in which the work is performed. When He sees men lifting the burdens, trying to carry them in lowliness of mind, with distrust of self, and with reliance upon Him, He adds to their work His perfection and sufficiency, and it is accepted of the Father. We are accepted in the Beloved. The sinner's defects are covered by the perfection and fullness of the Lord our righteousness. Those who with sincere will, with contrite heart, are putting forth humble efforts to live up to the requirements of God, are looked upon by the Father with pitying, tender love. He regards such as obedient children, and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them.... O, may the Lord imbue me with His Holy Spirit constantly that I may present the attractions of Christ so as to engross the whole mind of those for whom I labor! O, that my brethren might appreciate the promises of God in all their breadth and fullness! Then they might be saved from themselves, from self-confidence, criticism, unbelief, and pharisaism. Then self-exaltation would not be increasing, but decreasing; spiritual pride undone.11MR 284.5

    There are many who claim to believe in Christ who have not yet fallen upon the Rock and been broken. Self lives, and is exalted. To such Christ does not appear what He is, or what He will be to all those who believe on Him....11MR 285.1

    Need for Independent Bible Study—A large number who claim to believe the present truth, know not what constitutes the faith that was once delivered to the saints—Christ in you the hope of glory. They think they are defending the old landmarks, but they are lukewarm and indifferent. They know not what it is to weave into their experience and to possess the real virtue of love and faith. They are not close Bible students, but are lazy and inattentive. When differences of opinion arise upon passages of Scripture, these who have not studied to a purpose, and are not decided as to what they believe, fall away from the truth. We ought to impress upon all the necessity of inquiring diligently into divine truth, that they may know that they do know what is truth.11MR 285.2

    Some claim much knowledge, and feel satisfied with their condition, when they have no more zeal for the work, no more ardent love for God and for souls for whom Christ died, than if they had never known God. They do not read the Bible [in order] to appropriate the marrow and fatness to their own souls. They do not feel that it is the voice of God speaking to them. But, if we would understand the way of salvation, if we would see the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, we must study the Scriptures, for the promises and prophecies of the Bible shed clear beams of glory upon the divine plan of redemption, [the] grand truths [of which] are not clearly comprehended....11MR 285.3

    Not for Us to Say How God's Message Should Come or Who Should Be Messenger—God has sent you a message that He wishes you to receive—a message of light and hope and comfort for the people of God. It is not for you to choose the channel through which the light shall come. The Lord desires to heal the wounds on His sheep and lambs through the heavenly balm of the truth that Christ is our righteousness....11MR 286.1

    It is a grievous sin in the sight of God for men to place themselves between the people and the message that He would have come to them as some of our brethren are now doing. There are some who, like the Jews, are doing their utmost to make the message of God of none effect. Let these doubting, questioning ones either receive the light of the truth for this time, or let them stand out of the way, that others may have an opportunity of receiving the truth, that the wrath of God may not come on them because they are bodies of darkness, when He desires them to be bodies of light.11MR 286.2

    Those That Seek for a Sign Will Be Deceived as Were the Jews—Those who live just prior to the second appearing of Christ may expect a large measure of His Holy Spirit. If God has ever spoken by me, some of our leading men are going over the same ground of refusing the message of mercy as the Jews did in the time of Christ. If they turn away from the light, they will fail to meet the high and holy claims of God for this important time. They will fail to fulfill the sacred responsibility that He has entrusted to them.11MR 286.3

    The character and prospects of the people of God are similar to those of the Jews, who could not enter in because of unbelief. Self-sufficiency, self-importance, and spiritual pride separated them from God, and He hid His face from them....11MR 287.1

    The Jews despised the good that was proffered them in the time of Christ, and after the long forbearance of God, the things that were for their peace were hidden from their eyes—that which, if received, would have been to them their greatest blessing became their stumbling block. Thus it is today among us....11MR 287.2

    The light of truth is shining upon us as clearly as it shone upon the Jewish people, but the hearts of men are as hard and unimpressible as in the days of Christ, because they know not what they oppose. Many who claim to be standing in the light are in darkness, and know it not. They have so enshrouded themselves in unbelief that they call darkness light, and light darkness. They are ignorant of that which they condemn and oppose. But their ignorance is not such as God will excuse, for He has given them light, and they reject it. They have before them the example of the past, but they will not be warned, and unbelief is enclosing them in impenetrable darkness. They refuse to accept the testimonies they ought to believe, and are ready to accept tidbits of gossip and testimonies of men, showing their credulousness and readiness to believe that which they want to believe.11MR 287.3

    There is an alarming condition of things in our churches. Says the Word of God, “Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among My people are found wicked men: they lay in wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men... the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:25, 26, 31). “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace; when there is no peace” (chapter 6:14). “And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by My name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh, And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren” (chapter 7:13-15). God will surely fulfill His word to those who will not hear, will not see, and refuse the light that He sends them.11MR 287.4

    Those Who Should Have Been Promoting the Message Found Resisting It—The very men who ought to be on the alert to see what the people of God need, that the way of the Lord may be prepared, are intercepting the light God would have come to His people, and rejecting the message of His healing grace. Brethren, I beseech you to come into harmony with the work of God for this time....11MR 288.1

    God wants to put His Spirit upon you, but He cannot do this while you are so full of self. When self dies, you will feel the quickening influence of the Spirit of God. God's people are enjoined to seek for unity, that they may be framed together into an holy temple for the Lord. “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building” (1 Corinthians 3:9)....11MR 288.2

    You will never have any greater evidence than you have had as to where the Spirit of God is working. The Lord never proposes to remove all occasion for men to doubt. He will give sufficient evidence to bring the candid mind to a right decision; but if you are determined to have your own way, if you are like Saul, unwilling to change your course because of pride and stubbornness of heart, because of ignorance of your own condition of spiritual destitution, you will not recognize the light. You will say with Saul, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord” (1 Samuel 15:13)....11MR 288.3

    Only Hope Is to Fall Upon the Rock and Be Broken—Selfish pride is holding you from good, and your only hope is to fall upon the Rock and be broken. As these words come to you, you will say, “Are there no others who need the same reproof?” There are many who need to see that the Laodicean message applies to them, who do not see it. I write out your case definitely, not merely that you may be benefited, but that many others may see [that] they are in the same condition, and that they, with you, may make decided changes in their attitude before God and before His people....11MR 289.1

    The faith that works by love and purifies the soul, produces the fruit of humility, patience, forbearance, long-suffering, peace, joy, and willing obedience. Says the Scripture, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).11MR 289.2

    The promises of God comprehend all the spiritual blessings needed by weak, sinful mortals, who cannot save or bless themselves....11MR 289.3

    Christ has said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). If your good works were the way, then Christ would not have said, “I am the way.” It is not our doings and deservings that will save us. If man could have gained heaven by his own efforts, Christ need not have died to make an atonement for our sins. Yet all who tread the narrow path that leads to heaven, will bear the fruits of godliness, and give evidence that they are the light of the world....11MR 289.4

    The Lord commands His people to go forward, from light to a greater light. Some have had great light, they have been blessed, they have believed that God, for Christ's sake, forgave their sins, but there they have stopped, and have made no further advancement. They have not attained unto a greater faith or broader experience, because they have not received the light of the truth which is constantly unfolding to those who follow the Light of the world. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all unrighteousness, but just as soon as a soul ceases to walk by faith, he becomes enshrouded in darkness.11MR 290.1

    The only safety for any one is to advance, to increase in the knowledge of the truth, to be sanctified by it. Those who are content with preaching old discourses, and praying stereotyped prayers, fail to improve the talents that God has given them, and these talents will be taken from them....11MR 290.2

    Brother B, you have heard the testimony which God has given me to bear, but while you have professed to believe, you have in spirit rejected the message. It is my duty to say to you that you have had all the evidence that the Lord will give you in regard to the special work He is doing at this time to arouse a lukewarm, slumbering church. Those who accept the message given, will heed the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans, and will buy the gold, which is faith and love; the white raiment, which is the righteousness of Christ; and the eyesalve, which is spiritual discernment. Says Christ, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:19, 20).11MR 290.3

    Results of Refusing to Heed the Warning—If the church refuses to hear the voice of the Heavenly Merchantman, refuses to open the door, then Christ will pass on, and it will be left destitute of His presence, destitute of true riches, but saying in self-righteousness, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17).11MR 291.1

    Many who refuse the message which the Lord sends them are seeking to find pegs on which to hang doubts, to find some excuse for rejecting the light of heaven. In the face of clear evidence, they say as did the Jews, “Show us a miracle, and we will believe. If these messengers have the truth, why do they not heal the sick?” These objections recall to mind what was said concerning Christ: [John 7:3-5 and Matthew 27:39-43 quoted.]11MR 291.2

    How can any of our brethren, who have before them the history of the Lord of life and glory, open their lips to utter words similar to the taunting words of the murderers of our Lord? ...11MR 291.3

    When men close their eyes to the light that God sends them, they will reject the most evident truth, and believe the most foolish errors....11MR 291.4

    The Lord has been appealing to His people in warnings, in reproofs, in counsels, but their ears have been deaf to the words of Jesus. Some have said, “If this message that Brother A. T. Jones has been giving to the church is the truth, why is it that Brother C and Brother D have not received it, and have not united with him in heralding it? These good intelligent men would surely know if this were the message of truth.”11MR 291.5

    Sentiments similar to these were expressed in the days of Christ, when He came to bear to earth the tidings of salvation. The people looked to their leaders, and asked, “If this were the truth, would not the priests and rulers know it”? ...11MR 291.6

    In the days of Christ there were many who incurred deep guilt because they denounced His teaching without carefully investigating its claims to their attention....11MR 292.1

    We Are to Follow No One but Christ—When Christ told Peter what should come upon him because of his faith, Peter turned to John, and asked, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” The Lord said, “What is that to thee? Follow thou Me” (John 21:21, 22). If Elder C or Elder D should reject the message of truth that the Lord has sent to the people of this time, would their unbelief make the message error?—No. We are to follow no one but Christ. If men who have occupied leading positions feel at liberty to despise the message and the messenger, their unbelief is no excuse for others. Our salvation is an individual work. Neither Brother C, Brother D, nor any other mortal man can pay a ransom for my soul or yours in the day of judgment. In that day there will be no excuse to offer for neglecting to receive the message the Lord sent you....11MR 292.2

    We should take no man for our pattern, for we are to see and know for ourselves what is truth. It is of vital importance to us that we allow no one to come between us and our God. We should not accept any man's opinions and ideas unless through careful searching for ourselves we find that they bear the credentials of heaven. It is of the greatest importance that we individually open our hearts to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Let God speak to us through His Word. Let God impress the soul.11MR 292.3

    It is your duty to grasp every ray of light.... Sanctified resolution, self-control, supreme love for Christ, will place you in right relation to God and to humanity. God has sent message upon message to His people, and it has nearly broken my heart to see those whom we thought were taught and led by God, fall under the bewitching power of the enemy, who led them to reject the truth for this time.11MR 292.4

    Do not men know from the Word of God that just such a message as has lately been going to the churches must be given in order that the very work which has been going on among us might be accomplished? Some who ought to have been first to catch the heavenly inspiration of truth, have been directly opposed to the message of God. They have been doing all that was in their power to show contempt for both the message and the messenger, and Jesus could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. However, truth will move on, passing by those who despise and reject it. Although apparently retarded, it cannot be extinguished.11MR 293.1

    The Message Will Triumph in Spite of Opposition—When the message of God meets with opposition, He gives it additional force that it may exert greater influence. Endowed with vital, heavenly energy, it will cut its way through the thickest barriers, dispel darkness, refute error, gain conquests, and triumph over every obstacle. I speak that [which] I do know. I testify of that which I have seen. Those who would triumph in the truth will have to act a part in the sight of the universe that will bring to them the reward of “Well done.” They will be known as laborers together with God.11MR 293.2

    Misunderstanding, misapplication of the truth will alienate the hearts of those who have been brethren. But this would not be if self and self-esteem, if customs and traditions, were not disturbed by the message of truth. Patience, moderation, self-control, and carefulness of speech should ever be cultivated and manifested. But while we show these commendable traits of character, for Christ's sake let us cry aloud and spare not. Says the Word of God, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sin” (Isaiah 58:1).11MR 293.3

    The watchmen on the walls of Zion are asleep. Many have no burden of the work; they have no positive warning to give. There are many who have heard the message for this time and have seen its results, and they cannot but acknowledge that the work is good, but from fear that some will take extreme positions, and that fanaticism may arise in our ranks, they have permitted their imagination to create many obstacles to hinder the advance of the work, and they have presented these difficulties to others, expatiating on the dangers of accepting the doctrine. They have sought to counteract the influence of the message of truth. Suppose they should succeed in these efforts, what would be the result?—the message to arouse a lukewarm church should cease, and the testimony exalting the righteousness of Christ would be silenced.11MR 294.1

    What Does the Opposition Have to Offer?—Suppose that prejudice should do its baleful work, suppose the work should be given into the hands of these opposers and faultfinders, and they should be permitted to give to the church the doctrine and the labor they desire to give; would they present anything better than the Lord has sent to His people at this time through His chosen agents? Would the message of the doubters arouse the churches from their lukewarmness? Would its influence tend to give energy and zeal to uplift the souls of the people of God? Have those who have opposed the light, openly or in secret, been giving the people the food that would nourish their souls? Have they been presenting the message which the time demands, that the camp may be purified from all moral defilement? Have they anything to offer to take the place of the truth that has been given with fervor and zeal to prepare the way for the Lord's coming?11MR 294.2

    The character, the motives and purposes of the workmen whom God has sent, have been, and will continue to be, misrepresented. Men will catch at words and statements that they suppose to be faulty, and will magnify and falsify these utterances. But what kind of work are these lookers-on doing? Has the Lord placed them on the judgment-seat to condemn His message and messengers? Why do not these opposers lay hold of the work if they have so much light? If they see defects in the presentation of the message, why do they not present it in a better way? If they possess such farseeing discernment, such caution, such intelligence, why do they not go to work and do something?11MR 295.1

    The world is a second Sodom; the end is right upon us, and is it reasonable to think that there is no message to make ready a people to stand in the day of God's preparation? Why is there so little eyesight? So little deep, earnest, heartfelt labor? Why is there so much pulling back? Why is there such a continual cry of “peace and safety,” and no going forward in obedience to the Lord's command? Is the third angel's message to go out in darkness, or to lighten the whole earth with its glory? Is the light of God's Spirit to be quenched, and the church to be left as destitute of the grace of Christ as the hills of Gilboa were of dew and rain? Certainly all must admit that it is time that a vivifying, heavenly influence should be brought to bear upon our churches. It is time that unbelief, pride, love of supremacy, evil-surmising, depreciation of the work of others, licentiousness, and hypocrisy should go out of our ranks....11MR 295.2

    Sincerity Does Not Guarantee Rightness—The idea is entertained by many that a man may practice anything that he conscientiously believes to be right. But the question is: Has the man a well-instructed, good conscience, or is it biased and warped by his own preconceived opinions? Conscience is not to take the place of “Thus saith the Lord.” Consciences do not all harmonize and are not all inspired alike. Some consciences are dead, seared as with a hot iron. Men may be conscientiously wrong, as well as conscientiously right. Paul did not believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and he hunted the Christians from city to city, verily believing that he was doing service to God.11MR 296.1

    Appeal to Accept the Message of Christ's Righteousness—In view of these things, we can see that there is great need of seeking counsel of God, of searching the Scriptures with a humble, prayerful spirit, that the Lord may enlighten our understanding, so that we can carefully weigh every point of truth that is presented. We should watch the tendency of it, and see whether its fruit testifies that it is of God....11MR 296.2

    The message of God has been presented to the people with clearness and force. It is the very message that God means that His church shall have at this time. Your refusal to listen to it, your rejection of it, while it will not stop the work, will result in great loss to your souls. Every ray of light that God has given to His people is necessary for them in the emergency that is to come. But if the rays of Heaven's light are not discerned, if they are not appreciated, accepted, and acted upon, you will lose the heavenly benefit yourselves, and keep the light from others whom God designed should receive it through you....11MR 296.3

    The duty of setting a good example must be considered. We must weigh faithfully the results of our actions. If we think a certain course will do us no harm, we should then look at it from the standpoint of others and ask how it will affect them. There are sins of omission, as well as sins of commission, and all of us are influencing the course of others. A neglect when the work is laid before you, is as wrong as to perform some sinful action, for in neglecting your duty you fail to supply your link in the chain of God's great work. Your influence does not sustain His cause....11MR 297.1

    In this time of danger, if Satan can work upon the unconsecrated elements of men's characters, so as to keep them quibbling and questioning until it is too late to rescue souls who are rapidly getting beyond the reach of help, he will do it. I have been shown that this is just what he is doing. He is holding men away from the work that they should do, holding them back from obedience to their Captain's orders, in subservience to their own supposed wise judgment and criticism of plans for the advancement of the work. There are many who preach discourses, lamenting the extensive and deplorable depravity now existing in the world, but they fail to do their part in shedding Heaven's light into the world's moral darkness....11MR 297.2

    There is need that the converting power of God should come upon our ministering brethren, for many of the people are far in advance of them in experience in the things of God. The highest interest of souls both for time and eternity, is involved in a proper understanding of the work for this time.11MR 297.3

    We deplore the fact that men idolize their own opinions; that they are willing to be governed by their own preconceived ideas, rather than by a plain, “Thus saith the Lord”....11MR 297.4

    When men open their hearts to unbelief, they open them to the great deceiver, the accuser of the brethren. With the glorious light of truth emanating from God, with abundant evidence that the work for this time is ordained of Heaven, beware that you do not harden your hearts and ask for further proof, saying, “Show us a miracle.” The rich man of the parable prayed that one might be sent from the dead to warn his brethren, that they might not come to the place of torment in which he found himself. He said, “If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.” But the answer came to him, as it comes to us today, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:30, 31).—Letter 4, 1889, pp. 7-13, 15-41.11MR 298.1

    White Estate

    Washington, D.C.,

    December 10, 1981.

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