Some of What the Lord Has Shown Me on the Wise Virgins

Part 1 of 3

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17. {YRP 159.1}

“Probationary time will not continue much longer. Now God is withdrawing His restraining hand from the earth. Long has He been speaking to men and women through the agency of His Holy Spirit; but they have not heeded the call. Now He is speaking to His people, and to the world, by His judgments. The time of these judgments is a time of mercy for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save. Large numbers will be admitted to the fold of safety who in these last days will hear the truth for the first time.” {YRP 159.2}

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On Sabbath, April 20, 2019, the Lord gave me a vision on the wise virgins versus the foolish virgins.

In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching. It helped to swell the illumination for the bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast. {COL 414.1}

What is the oil the wise virgins have in their vessels? The oil of the Holy Spirit. Light to show the way to the bridegroom’s home; The light of His glory, His character.

 

All ten virgins slumber during the tarrying time (since 1844), but some (THE WISE VIRGINS) are awakened by the shaking message and respond to it and form character by overcoming sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

“Probationary time will not continue much longer. Now God is withdrawing His restraining hand from the earth. Long has He been speaking to men and women through the agency of His Holy Spirit; but they have not heeded the call. Now He is speaking to His people, and to the world, by His judgments. The time of these judgments is a time of mercy for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save. Large numbers will be admitted to the fold of safety who in these last days will hear the truth for the first time.” {YRP 159.2}

The above statement is very serious relative to the 10 virgins who are awakened by the next and final Midnight Cry. God’s mercy at that time is for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save. “Large numbers will be admitted to the fold of safety who in these last days will hear the truth for the first time.” While the door of mercy will be shut to those who have had opportunity to hear the truth, but rejected the opportunity, and this includes both wise and foolish virgins who heard of the first Midnight Cry in 1844, but who did not avail themselves of the oil, the gift of the Holy  Spirit, and develop character by overcoming sin.

 

So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb. {COL 414.2}

The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight—the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The days of Noah and Lot pictured the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures pointing forward to this time declare that Satan will work with all power and “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine. {COL 414.3}

He causes “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. When “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God’s word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. {COL 415.1}

“Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory [Character] shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2. {COL 415.2}

It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth. {COL 415.3}

“Probationary time will not continue much longer. Now God is withdrawing His restraining hand from the earth. Long has He been speaking to men and women through the agency of His Holy Spirit; but they have not heeded the call. Now He is speaking to His people, and to the world, by His judgments. The time of these judgments is a time of mercy for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth. Tenderly will the Lord look upon them. His heart of mercy is touched; His hand is still stretched out to save. Large numbers will be admitted to the fold of safety who in these last days will hear the truth for the first time.” {YRP 159.2}

The time of these judgments is a time of mercy for those who have not yet had opportunity to learn what is truth.

This is the work outlined by the prophet Isaiah in the words, “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Isaiah 40:9, 10. {COL 415.4}

Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.{COL 415.5}

The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good worksin words of truth and deeds of holiness. {COL 416.1}

Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men, and of Him it is written that He was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” and “went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. In the synagogue at Nazareth He said, “The Spirit of the Lord 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. This was the work He commissioned His disciples to do. “Ye are the light of the world,” He said. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16. {COL 416.2}

This is the work which the prophet Isaiah describes when he says, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.” Isaiah 58:7, 8. {COL 417.1}

Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn. {COL 417.2}

All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery. {COL 417.3}

Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed. {COL 417.4}

God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit. {COL 418.1}

There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there. {COL 418.2}

Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, pouring forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. So it is with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. The whole earth, wrapped as it is in the darkness of sin, and sorrow, and pain, is to be lighted with the knowledge of God’s love. From no sect, rank, or class of people is the light shining from heaven’s throne to be excluded. {COL 418.3}

The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God’s strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome. {COL 418.4}

But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God. {COL 418.5}

In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven’s resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit. {COL 419.1}

It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts. {COL 419.2}

Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives. {COL 419.3}

The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others. {COL 419.4}

The Sun of Righteousness has “healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. So from every true disciple is to be diffused an influence for life, courage, helpfulness, and true healing. {COL 419.5}

The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour. {COL 419.6}

Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and the Lord’s glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence. {COL 420.1}

The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ. And in currents of praise and thanksgiving from the many souls thus won to God, glory will flow back to the great Giver. {COL 420.2}

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. To those who go out to meet the Bridegroom is this message given. Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. He is coming with all the holy angels with Him. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice. The patriarch Job, looking down to the time of Christ’s second advent, said, “Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger.” Job 19:27, margin. To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts. {COL 420.3}

With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9. {COL 421.1}

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.... And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 19:6-9; 17:14. {COL 421.2}

 

Oil for Our Lamps, July 25

The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Matthew 25:4. {AG 214.1}

The two classes of watchers [in the parable of the ten virgins] represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the Word of God.... The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.... {AG 214.2}

In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” many are unready.... They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His Word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart.... Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.... {AG 214.3}

The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul.... But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another.... No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.... {AG 214.4}

We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished.... In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching.... So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. {AG 214.5}

 

Those who would be ready to meet their Lord must keep their lamps filled with the oil of grace. It was a neglect to do this that distinguished the foolish virgins from the wise. They had lamps, but no oil; their characters could not stand the test. The wise virginshad not only an intelligent knowledge of the truth, but through the imparted grace of Jesus Christ, their faith and patience and love constantly increased. Their lamps were replenished by their vital connection with the Light of the world. While the foolish virgins awoke to find their lamps burning dimly, or going out in the darkness, the wise virgins, with their lamps burning brightly, entered the festal hall, and the gates were shut. Greatly rejoicing at the sound of the bridegroom’s voice, they joined the bridal procession. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 4}

The oil with which the wise virgins filled their lamps represents the Holy Spirit. “The angel that talked with me came again,” writes Zechariah, “and waked me, as a man is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof .... Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive-trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive-branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” {RH July 20, 1897, par. 5}

The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth, have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub. By the holy beings surrounding his throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants of the earth. The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied, that they shall not flicker and go out. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God’s Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 6}

God is dishonored when we do not receive the communications which he sends us. Thus we refuse the golden oil which he would pour into our souls to be communicated to those in darkness. When the call shall come, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” those who have not received the holy oil, who have not cherished the grace of Christ in their hearts, will find, like the foolish virgins, that they are not ready to meet their Lord. They have not, in themselves, the power to obtain the oil, and their lives are wrecked. But if God’s Holy Spirit is asked for, if we plead, as did Moses, “Show me thy glory,” the love of God will be shed abroad in our hearts. Through the golden pipes, the golden oil will be communicated to us. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” By receiving the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, God’s children shine as lights in the world. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 7}

Only by knowing God here can we prepare to meet him at his coming. “This is life eternal,” said Christ, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” But many of those who profess to believe in Christ do not know God. They have only a surface religion. They do not love God; they do not study his character; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. They do not know what restful love is, or what it means to walk by faith. Opportunities to hear and receive the messages of God’s love are unappreciated and unimproved. They fail to understand that it is their duty to receive, that they may enrich others. They have not that faith which is given to those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour; therefore they do not keep the last six commandments. They do not walk in love toward their brethren. They do not know what it means to yoke up with Christ and learn of him. They are not like him in character. They do not receive him as the one who takes away their sins, and imputes to them his righteousness. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 8}

The world by wisdom knows not God. Many have talked eloquently about him, but their supposed sound reasoning, their subtle arguments, bring men no nearer to him, because they themselves are not in vital connection with him. Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. Their wrong impressions and imperfect knowledge of God do not lead them to become partakers of his divine nature. Their lives are not conformed to his image. A correct knowledge of God is not a hearsay report, but an intelligent, experimental knowledge. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 9}

In his lessons and his mighty works, Christ is a perfect revelation of God. This Christ declares through the inspired evangelist. “No man hath seen God at any time,” he says; “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” These words show the importance of studying Christ’s character. Only by knowing Christ can we know God. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 10}

As our representative, Christ stands on the highest possible ground. When he came to the world as God’s messenger, he held the salvation of God in his hand. All mankind was delivered to him; for in him was the fulness of the God-head. He is the light of the world, and he came to illuminate the world. Had that light been hidden, the world must have perished; but it is God’s plan that man shall not perish, but have everlasting life. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 11}

So fully did Christ reveal the Father, that the messengers sent by the Pharisees to take him were charmed by his presence. Under the Holy Spirit’s convicting power they forgot their commission. As they beheld the soft light of the glory of God that enshrouded his person, as they heard the gracious words that fell from his lips, they loved him. And when, returning without him, they were asked by the Pharisees, “Why have ye not brought him?” they answered “Never man spake like this man.” As we behold Christ, we shall be changed into his image, and made fit to meet him at his coming. {RH July 20, 1897, par. 12}

Now is the time to prepare for the coming of our Lord. Readiness to meet him cannot be attained in a moment’s time. Preparatory to that solemn scene there must be vigilant waiting, combined with earnest work. The union of these two makes us complete in Christ. The active and devotional must be combined as were the human and divine in Christ. So God’s children glorify him. Amid the busy scenes of life their voices will be heard speaking words of encouragement, hope, and faith. The will and the affections will be consecrated to Christ. Thus they prepare to meet their Lord; and when he comes, they will say, with joy: “This is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: ... we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” {RH July 20, 1897, par. 13}

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” {RH July 20, 1897, par. 14}

July 27, 1897

The Sin of Rejecting Light

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb; and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.” The course pursued by the Pharisees called forth the denunciation of Christ. He said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand; and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.... Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” {RH July 27, 1897, par. 1}

By rejecting the light that was shining upon them, by refusing to examine the evidence to see whether the messages were from heaven, the Pharisees sinned against the Holy Ghost. Christ, the world’s Redeemer, was in the world. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.... He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The voice of his Spirit came to them, saying, “This is the Son of God; believe on him.” But turning their faces from the light, they refused to listen, choosing, instead, to cultivate their unbelief. Thus the light which, if received, would have been to them a savor of life unto life, rejected, became a savor of death unto death,—death to spirituality. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 2}

The Pharisees were self-deceived. They rejected the teaching of Christ because he exposed the evil of their hearts and reproved their sins. They would not come to the light, fearing that their deeds would be reproved. They chose darkness rather than light. “This is the condemnation,” said Christ, “that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” And at the destruction of Jerusalem the Pharisees reaped their harvest. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 3}

The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying him they were doing God a service. Thus it will be with all who resist the entreaties of the Spirit of God, and persist in doing what they know to be wrong. The Spirit once resisted, there will be less difficulty in resisting it a second time. If we maintain the independence of the natural heart, and refuse the correction of God, we shall, as did the Jews, stubbornly carry out our own purposes and ideas in the face of the plainest evidence, and shall be in danger of as great deception as came on them. In our blind infatuation we may go to as great lengths as they did, and yet flatter ourselves that we are doing work for God. Those who continue in this course will reap what they have sown. They were afforded a shelter, but they refused it. The plagues of God will fall, and he will prevent them not. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 4}

God never compels a man to offend and be lost. We read that he hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that Pharaoh refused to let Israel go. Did God strengthen and confirm the king in his obstinacy?—No, he simply allowed the seeds of unbelief to produce their fruit; and the seed sown when the first miracle was rejected, produced a harvest of infidelity. God left the king to the inclinations of his own heart. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 5}

The great I AM acquainted Pharaoh with his mighty works, showing him that he was the ruler of heaven and earth. But the king chose to defy the God of heaven. He would not consent to break his proud heart even before the King of kings, that he might receive the light; for he was determined to have his own way, and work out his own rebellion. His proud disregard of God’s command, “Let my people go,” confirmed him in his determination not to yield, though evidence was piled upon evidence; and every additional evidence of the power of God that the Egyptian monarch resisted, carried him on to a stronger and more persistent defiance of God. Thus the work went on, finite man warring against the expressed will of an infinite God. This case is a clear illustration of the sin against the Holy Ghost. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gradually the Lord withdrew his Spirit. Removing his restraining power, he gave the king into the hands of the worst of all tyrants,—self. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 6}

In this our day the sin of the Pharisees is being repeated. Many are turning from light, refusing to listen to the warning of God’s Spirit. But by closing the heart to divine impressions, we put away the forgiveness which our Redeemer is so graciously offering to us. By rejecting mercy and truth, we prepare for a course of resistance which, if followed, will continue till we have no power to do otherwise. A point is reached where the most pointed appeals were without effect. The desire to submit to God and to do his will is no longer felt. The spiritual senses become dulled. Darkness is the result, and how great is that darkness! {RH July 27, 1897, par. 7}

The Holy Spirit strives with every man. It is the voice of God speaking to the soul. But let that voice be resisted, and we, like the Pharisees, shall stifle conviction and resist evidence, however plain. God will give us up, and we shall be left to our own inclinations. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 8}

Jesus declares to us that there is a greater sin than that which caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. It is the sin of those who have had the light of truth, and are not moved to repentance. It is the sin of rejecting the light of the most solemn message of mercy to the world. It is the sin of those who see Jesus in the wilderness of temptation, bowed down as with mortal agony because the sins of the world, and yet are not moved to thorough repentance. Christ fasted nearly six weeks to overcome, in behalf of man, the indulgence of appetite, and vanity, and the desire for display and worldly honor. He has shown us how we may overcome as he overcame; but it is not pleasant to human nature to endure conflict and reproach, derision and shame, for his sake. It is not agreeable to deny self, and to be ever seeking to do good to others. It is not pleasant to overcome as Christ overcame; and many turn away from the Pattern which is plainly given them to copy, and refuse to imitate the example that the Saviour came from the heavenly courts to set for them. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 9}

It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for those who have had our privileges, and the great light which shines in our day, but who have neglected to follow the light and to give their hearts fully to God. {RH July 27, 1897, par. 10}

“I am come a light into the world,” said Christ, “that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” “Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you; for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” The light will indeed become darkness to those who do not walk in it; but it will shine with increasing brightness on the path of those who do walk in it. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” {RH July 27, 1897, par. 11}

 

Those who profess to be waiting for the coming of Christ, are represented in the parable by the five wise and the five foolish virgins. The wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps; they had their lamps trimmed and burning, and were ready to go out and meet the bridegroom. But the foolish virgins had no oil in their vessels; and when the solemn cry was sounded, they were found unprepared, and could not go forth to meet the bridegroom. Many profess to be wise; but have they the Holy Spirit? As a people, we profess to know the truth, but of what avail will this be if we do not carry out its principles in our life? How many say, “Oh, yes, the coming of Christ is at the door. The end is so near that there is no time to carry the message to those who sit in darkness. There is no need of spending money on foreign work; for the end will come before it will be accomplished.” Is this the way that you carry out the injunction of your coming Lord, to preach the gospel in all the world for a witness to all nations? It is your business to be ready for the coming of the Lord, and you cannot be ready while failing to carry out his commands. There are some who seem to feel no responsibility concerning paying their tithes into the treasury of the Lord. They withhold from Him who has given them everything else, the small portion He has named as His own. They say they cannot see that it is their duty to pay tithe; but there is no reason why they should not see it, except that self is before their eyes. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 7}

May God help you that you may repent, and pay your honest debts to God, saying, “Of thine own have we given thee.” God has given us everything, providing for us the rain, the sunshine, the dew, and all the bounties of nature, and can we be hard-hearted, ungrateful, and selfish? Would you not think that you would naturally be glad to give back to God his own? If anyone is robbing God, he may see by studying the Bible that he should repent and make restitution; for his case has been presented in the word of God. He should fear to continue in blindness of mind, lest for his selfishness he should lose eternal life, which Christ died to obtain for him. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 8}

The Lord says concerning those who withhold their tithes, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” And the answer is: “In tithes and offerings.... Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” {ST August 1, 1892, par. 9}

Jesus says, “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.” God asks for his portion; he knocks at the door of the heart. We are to divest ourselves of everything that separates our souls from him. When this is done, we shall see of the salvation of God. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 10}

The soul is of more value than the whole world. Jesus has said: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” There are souls to be saved. The gospel is to be preached in all the world for a witness, and may God help us to fulfill all our God-given responsibility. If we had a realizing sense of the worth of souls, would we be found expending money and time in the needless decoration of our persons or our homes? Would we be satisfied in serving self alone? We should open our Bibles to those around us. The work of warning the world does not all devolve upon the minister. Every Christian has a work to do, and let everyone resolve to be clear from the blood of souls. If you were consecrated to the Master, your prayers, like sharp sickles, would follow the laborers in the harvest field, and you would be workers together with God. Rise above the world and fix your eyes upon Him who is chiefest among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 11}

All heaven has been poured out in the one rich gift of Christ. When God gave his Son, he gave the choicest gift of heaven. The treasures of heaven are at your command. We are not to go in our own strength, but in the strength of the Lord, for he has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” There is no limit to the power that may be vouchsafed to the worker for God. Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Do you believe that promise? Our minds have been so engrossed with earthly things that we have lost sight of heavenly things, and may God help us to arouse before it is eternally too late. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 12}

In seeking to reform our lives, let us not look at the defects of our brethren; we are to copy the Pattern. When Peter was charged with a certain duty by the Master, he pointed to John, and asked, “Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” You are to keep your eye single to the glory of God. A saint on earth is to be just what a saint in heaven is. A man in the church will be the same sort of a Christian there as he is in his family. If he is a Christian in his home, he will be a Christian in heaven. How is it with you? Do you stand the test? The Lord will bring circumstances to bear upon you that will lead you to make manifest your true character. You will be tested upon one point, and then upon another, until it is made manifest whether or not you have the spirit of a true Christian. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 13}

If those who handle the word of God will come to God as little children, they will see of his salvation, and Jesus will walk among them to make them vessels unto honor. Those who follow in the light need have no anxiety lest that in the outpouring of the latter rain they will not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory. Let us be colaborers with Christ. Now is the time for us to let self die, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts, to deny the cravings of appetite and passion. The minds of many are channels for impure thoughts. They do not have a realizing sense of the offensive character of sin. I call upon you to clear the King’s highway. Weighty responsibilities are resting upon you; for you are to represent the character of your Lord to the world. Faith without works is dead. There must be corresponding works, or the faith is worthless, a mere pretension, an empty profession. You are to manifest your faith by a life of integrity, making it evident that Christ is abiding in the heart, and that you are able to show forth what is the hope of his calling. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 14}

Then ask yourself: “Am I a Christian? Am I looking unto the Author and Finisher of my faith? Is my hope of eternal life centered in him? Have I fallen upon the rock and been broken?” God help us that we may surrender all to him, seek him as never before, that he may be found of us, and that we may love him with all the heart. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 15}

You may well be alarmed for your soul if you allow cares to supplant the truth of God in your heart. If your associates are worldlings who flatter you, telling you how smart you are, and what great things you can do, and you love this unhallowed nonsense, you may well feel that you are in peril; for your moral taste is perverted, your perceptions are blunted. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 16}

Mrs. E. G. White

 

July 25, 1892

The Necessity of Receiving the Holy Spirit

[Sermon at Healdsburg, Cal., September 26, 1891.]

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This was the promise that Jesus made to his disciples just prior to his ascension, and he bade them tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. Jesus had said: “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.... I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 1}

The disciples were unable to comprehend the meaning of the words of Christ, and needed the heavenly enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. This is the condition of the followers of Christ in these days just before his coming in the clouds of heaven. The things of earth have the supreme place in the heart, while the things of heaven are held in subordination. The people of God need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, that the instruction of Christ may be brought to their remembrance. They need to have their understanding enlightened, that they may understand the Scriptures. {ST July 25, 1892, par. 2}

 

This (above) is the office of the prophetic gift till we all come into unity.

 

After the crucifixion of our Lord, two of his disciples were traveling towards Emmaus, and as they walked together, they noticed a man toiling along the road with them; but they had no thought that it was their risen Lord. Jesus drew near, and joined himself to them, and asked, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” And they answered: “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and has not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel; and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went; and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and break, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? ... Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 3}

 

End of Part 1 of 3

 

In the Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

 

R. William Beaulieu

 

What was it that made their hearts burn within them as they talked by the way?—It was the illumination of the Holy Spirit. When we take hold of the Scriptures as truth, the word will kindle within us the love of God, and our hearts will burn within us. Have we not experienced this when we have studied the word of God? Have we not found out that faith in the word of God brought gladness to the heart? We need to be touched with the enthusiasm that is kindled by love of God in the heart. Why is it that we do not manifest more of this enthusiasm in the service of God?—It is because those who profess to love God do not serve him with undivided heart. {ST July 25, 1892, par. 4}

Christ has said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” No man can serve two masters. No matter how long you have been a Christian, if you do not seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you do not know Christ or the power of God. If you do not make the service of God your first business, you commit robbery toward God. The question you should ask your soul is: “What right have I to rob God of intelligent service? What right have I to take God’s gifts of strength and intellect and devote them simply to advancement of self?” You may have a position of trust and responsibility, and be crowded with work and care, but should you permit yourself to be so burdened that you cannot take time to understand what is your relation to God? Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Then of what benefit are you to your fellow-men unless you have a connection with Christ? When you become absorbed in the temporal things of life, eternal things are dropped out of your reckoning, and because of your interest in the fleeting things of earth, you rob God of your ability to serve him in sending the gospel to all the world. “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 5}

The disciples asked: “Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” In order to go in the path of destruction, there is no necessity for searching for the way; the gate is wide, and the way is broad, and the feet naturally turn in the path that leads to death. Those who go in this way are intoxicated with the spirit of the world, and how sad it is to see those that profess to be children of God walking in the road that leads to perdition. {ST July 25, 1892, par. 6}

The line of demarkation between the church and the world has been well nigh obliterated; and unless there is reformation, unless the eyes of those who have been blinded by the enemy are opened, they will be lost. Jesus has given us a warning for this time. He says: “Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 7}

We need to watch that the enemy may not steal a march upon us and allure us away from allegiance to Christ by attracting us to the things of the world, that the things of eternal interest shall be looked upon as of minor importance, so that we shall make an atom of a world and a world of an atom. {ST July 25, 1892, par. 8}

The enemy leads those who do not yield entirely to God to exalt self, to seek for supremacy and power. When the eye is not single to the glory of God, eternity is dropped out of your reckoning. Oh, we need to pray for the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God. Unless the professed people of God yield themselves to the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, they will be overcome by the temptation of Satan; they will have a name to live and be dead, be a curse to the world; for while professing to be the children of God, they will lead men in the path to death. Their record in the books of heaven will be hard to meet. Souls are to be saved. The messengers of God are to fulfill the words of the prophet: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 9}

What we need is a conscience quickened by the Spirit of God; for with many, conscience has been stupefied by indulgence in sin and unbelief. We must know what religion is, and realize that we must have a living connection with the God of heaven; for “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 10}

Why do we devote so little time to prayer? Would you not be surprised if you should know God when you do not seek his face? The message to you is, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” You have often been taught of the love of God, and you know that it was a whole Saviour who died on Calvary’s cross; but the fact that so great a sacrifice was made in our behalf will condemn our poverty and lukewarmness before God. What excuse can you offer to God that you have had a murmuring spirit, that you have represented your Saviour to the world as a hard master, that you have been exacting and severe with others, domineering over those who were under your control? What excuse can you give to God for manifesting cruelty to dumb creatures that were provided for your use? The spirit of unkindness, of pomposity, of complaining, is not the manner of spirit that will find an entrance into the kingdom of heaven. {ST July 25, 1892, par. 11}

Religion is a personal matter. We are not to be saved as churches, but as individuals who have appropriated the merits of Christ. The question each one should ask is: “Is it well with my soul? Has the transforming grace of Christ renewed my heart? Have I a kind, tender, compassionate spirit? Am I like Him who, though he was rich, yet for my sake became poor, that I through His poverty might be made rich? What sacrifice have I made for Him who died for me?” {ST July 25, 1892, par. 12}

(To be Continued.)

August 1, 1892

The Necessity of Receiving the Holy Spirit

[Continuation of sermon at Healdsburg, Cal., September 26, 1891.]

“For he shall grow up before him,” says the prophet Isaiah, “as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” {ST August 1, 1892, par. 1}

Jesus did not come to the earth in the glory that belonged to him in the courts of heaven. He covered himself with the habiliments of humanity, that he might reveal unto many the mercy and compassion of the Father by coming into the closest relationship with the sons of men. Clothing his divinity with humanity, he took step after step in the path of humiliation, that he might save unto the uttermost all who would come unto God by him. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 2}

If he had come in the glory of an angel, men could not have endured his brightness; but he came taking upon him the form of a man, in all things made like unto his brethren, tempted in all points like as we are, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 3}

In view of what Jesus has borne for us, have we any cause for pride? Have you great talents? Who gave them? It was Christ; he gave them that you might employ them in his service. We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, that we may realize what is our obligation, and have power from on high to carry out our purposes to serve God and him only. But how little is said concerning the Holy Spirit, although it is a divine influence whereby we are to reach the souls of men. We should study upon this subject. We should talk of it in our families, in our meetings, and pray that we may be baptized with the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will not come upon the man whose mind is a highway for sensuality. We cannot afford to make a mock at sin. We cannot afford to say to the sinner, It shall be well with thee. We can only point the transgressor to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 4}

When the heart is emptied of self, it will be ready for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then you will be fitted to strengthen the sheep and lambs of the flock of Christ; for self will be hid with Christ in God. The Spirit of Christ will be manifested in your daily life. The apostle says, “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” You are to be found without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Your whole body, soul, and spirit are to be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord. What we need is the deep movings of the Spirit of God; for the standard of Christian life is expressed in these words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.... Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” {ST August 1, 1892, par. 5}

In order to fulfill this divine requirement, we need to look upon Him whom our sins have pierced, and become changed into His image. We need the endowment of the Holy Spirit. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 6}

Those who profess to be waiting for the coming of Christ, are represented in the parable by the five wise and the five foolish virgins. The wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps; they had their lamps trimmed and burning, and were ready to go out and meet the bridegroom. But the foolish virgins had no oil in their vessels; and when the solemn cry was sounded, they were found unprepared, and could not go forth to meet the bridegroom. Many profess to be wise; but have they the Holy Spirit? As a people, we profess to know the truth, but of what avail will this be if we do not carry out its principles in our life? How many say, “Oh, yes, the coming of Christ is at the door. The end is so near that there is no time to carry the message to those who sit in darkness. There is no need of spending money on foreign work; for the end will come before it will be accomplished.” Is this the way that you carry out the injunction of your coming Lord, to preach the gospel in all the world for a witness to all nations? It is your business to be ready for the coming of the Lord, and you cannot be ready while failing to carry out his commands. There are some who seem to feel no responsibility concerning paying their tithes into the treasury of the Lord. They withhold from Him who has given them everything else, the small portion He has named as His own. They say they cannot see that it is their duty to pay tithe; but there is no reason why they should not see it, except that self is before their eyes. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 7}

May God help you that you may repent, and pay your honest debts to God, saying, “Of thine own have we given thee.” God has given us everything, providing for us the rain, the sunshine, the dew, and all the bounties of nature, and can we be hard-hearted, ungrateful, and selfish? Would you not think that you would naturally be glad to give back to God his own? If anyone is robbing God, he may see by studying the Bible that he should repent and make restitution; for his case has been presented in the word of God. He should fear to continue in blindness of mind, lest for his selfishness he should lose eternal life, which Christ died to obtain for him. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 8}

The Lord says concerning those who withhold their tithes, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?” And the answer is: “In tithes and offerings.... Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed; for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” {ST August 1, 1892, par. 9}

Jesus says, “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.” God asks for his portion; he knocks at the door of the heart. We are to divest ourselves of everything that separates our souls from him. When this is done, we shall see of the salvation of God. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 10}

The soul is of more value than the whole world. Jesus has said: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” There are souls to be saved. The gospel is to be preached in all the world for a witness, and may God help us to fulfill all our God-given responsibility. If we had a realizing sense of the worth of souls, would we be found expending money and time in the needless decoration of our persons or our homes? Would we be satisfied in serving self alone? We should open our Bibles to those around us. The work of warning the world does not all devolve upon the minister. Every Christian has a work to do, and let everyone resolve to be clear from the blood of souls. If you were consecrated to the Master, your prayers, like sharp sickles, would follow the laborers in the harvest field, and you would be workers together with God. Rise above the world and fix your eyes upon Him who is chiefest among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 11}

All heaven has been poured out in the one rich gift of Christ. When God gave his Son, he gave the choicest gift of heaven. The treasures of heaven are at your command. We are not to go in our own strength, but in the strength of the Lord, for he has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” There is no limit to the power that may be vouchsafed to the worker for God. Jesus says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Do you believe that promise? Our minds have been so engrossed with earthly things that we have lost sight of heavenly things, and may God help us to arouse before it is eternally too late. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 12}

In seeking to reform our lives, let us not look at the defects of our brethren; we are to copy the Pattern. When Peter was charged with a certain duty by the Master, he pointed to John, and asked, “Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.” You are to keep your eye single to the glory of God. A saint on earth is to be just what a saint in heaven is. A man in the church will be the same sort of a Christian there as he is in his family. If he is a Christian in his home, he will be a Christian in heaven. How is it with you? Do you stand the test? The Lord will bring circumstances to bear upon you that will lead you to make manifest your true character. You will be tested upon one point, and then upon another, until it is made manifest whether or not you have the spirit of a true Christian. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 13}

If those who handle the word of God will come to God as little children, they will see of his salvation, and Jesus will walk among them to make them vessels unto honor. Those who follow in the light need have no anxiety lest that in the outpouring of the latter rain they will not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If we would receive the light of the glorious angel that shall lighten the earth with his glory, let us see to it that our hearts are cleansed, emptied of self, and turned toward heaven, that they may be ready for the latter rain. Let us be obtaining a fitting up to join in the proclamation of the angel who shall lighten the earth with his glory. Let us be colaborers with Christ. Now is the time for us to let self die, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts, to deny the cravings of appetite and passion. The minds of many are channels for impure thoughts. They do not have a realizing sense of the offensive character of sin. I call upon you to clear the King’s highway. Weighty responsibilities are resting upon you; for you are to represent the character of your Lord to the world. Faith without works is dead. There must be corresponding works, or the faith is worthless, a mere pretension, an empty profession. You are to manifest your faith by a life of integrity, making it evident that Christ is abiding in the heart, and that you are able to show forth what is the hope of his calling. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 14}

Then ask yourself: “Am I a Christian? Am I looking unto the Author and Finisher of my faith? Is my hope of eternal life centered in him? Have I fallen upon the rock and been broken?” God help us that we may surrender all to him, seek him as never before, that he may be found of us, and that we may love him with all the heart. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 15}

You may well be alarmed for your soul if you allow cares to supplant the truth of God in your heart. If your associates are worldlings who flatter you, telling you how smart you are, and what great things you can do, and you love this unhallowed nonsense, you may well feel that you are in peril; for your moral taste is perverted, your perceptions are blunted. {ST August 1, 1892, par. 16}

Mrs. E. G. White

August 8, 1892

The Necessity of Receiving the Holy Spirit

[Conclusion of sermon preached at Healdsburg, Cal., September 26, 1891.]

In repenting of our sins, we need not go into a cell, as did Luther, and scourge ourselves as a punishment for our iniquity, thinking by so doing to gain the favor of God. The question is asked by the prophet, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” The Scripture says, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and savest such as be of a contrite spirit.” “Thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it; thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” {ST August 8, 1892, par. 1}

You are to die to self, to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. You need not devise ways and methods of bringing about your own crucifixion; self-inflicted penances are of no avail, and will be found worthless when the test comes upon you. We are to surrender the heart to God, that he may renew and sanctify us, and fit us for his heavenly courts. We are not to wait for some special time, but today we are to give ourselves to him, refusing to be the servants of sin. Do you imagine that you can leave off sin by your own human power a little at a time? You cannot do this; Jesus was treated as a sinner when he assumed the likeness of sinful flesh, that the sinner might be treated as righteous. The Father loves us who believe in Christ as he loves his only-begotten Son. Thus by faith we can grasp the righteousness of Christ, and our Saviour saves us from all sin. The converted soul will hate the thing that Christ hates, and love the thing that Christ loves. Has he not by his death and suffering made provision for your cleansing from sin? You must take the blood of Jesus and apply it to your heart by faith; for that alone can make you whiter than snow. But you say, “The surrender of all my idols will break my heart.” This is what is needed. In giving up all for God, you fall upon the rock and are broken. Give up all for him without delay, for unless you are broken, you are worthless. {ST August 8, 1892, par. 2}

Why wait any longer? Why not take God at his word and say, “I give myself to thee; it is all that I can do.” If Satan comes to cast his shadow between you and God, accusing you of sin, tempting you to distrust God and to doubt his mercy, say, “I cannot allow my weakness to come between me and God; for he is my strength. My sins, which are many, are laid upon Jesus, my divine sacrifice.” Satan desires to keep you in the lowlands of sin, but will you not decide that you will go free? Will you not say:— {ST August 8, 1892, par. 3}

“Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to thy cross I cling”? {ST August 8, 1892, par. 4}

Jesus wants all there is of you. He has paid an infinite price for your soul; all that you have and are belongs to him. May God help you to look and live. Christ is coming in a little while. He has been our brother in suffering, and what joy it brings to hope that we shall soon see him as he is! We shall suffer here but a few days longer, and then enter into an eternity of happiness; for there is rest in the kingdom of God. For those who fight the good fight of faith, there is reserved the glory of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. Let the determination of every soul be, “I must run the race with patience; I must overcome.” If we do not overcome, we lose the crown; and if we lose the crown, we lose everything; there is eternal loss for us. But if we attain to the hope of our calling, we gain the crown, we gain all things; we become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. {ST August 8, 1892, par. 5}

What greater reward could we desire than that presented in the word of God? The invitation is extended to all, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” We are to live by the day for God, and not take upon us the burdens of tomorrow. We are to fight the good fight of faith today; and when tomorrow comes, strength for its duties will be given. The question today should be: “Am I the Lord’s? Have I the witness of the Spirit today? Does my name come into the lips of the divine Intercessor today? Am I a coworker with heavenly intelligences today? Am I laboring together with God today? Am I a watchman upon the walls of Zion today, sounding a note of alarm to the people, saying, The morning cometh, and also the night?” {ST August 8, 1892, par. 6}

When the watchman sounds the alarm, do the people have no part in the work of warning the world? Do they hear the watchman’s voice only to go on indifferently, and act as though they heard nothing? No; they are to catch the message of warning and hope, and sound it again, following the injunction of Scripture, “Let him that heareth say, Come.” The people are to be ready to hear the word, and then they are to call to others to catch the divine message from the throne of glory, and send it on to those who sit in darkness. If this were the attitude of the church, do you think that there would be division and discord, evil surmising, evil speaking, and criticising among the professed followers of Christ? May God help us that we may all become converted, and be alive to the importance of the times in which we live. The lower lights must be kept burning. {ST August 8, 1892, par. 7}

You say that you want heaven. How much do you want it? What is your faith worth? You will act out all the faith you have. What will be the verdict of the judgment if you go to your farm, to your family, to your earthly affairs, and care not for the message of heaven? There is a world to be warned, and while you sleep, Satan is sowing tares. All heaven is interested in the work that engages the attention of Christ and his angels in the heavenly court, and will you be indifferent who have been purchased at infinite cost? What we need is elevation of character, nobility of soul. Thank God it is not too late for wrongs to be righted. We may still find pardon; we may still find a hiding-place in the Rock of Ages, that has been cleft for us. We may still accept the light, and grow up into Christ, our living head. Jesus says to the trembling, repenting soul, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Will you let him reason with you? Will you commit to him the keeping of your soul as unto a faithful Creator? Come, then, and let us live in the light of his countenance, and pray, as did David: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.... Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.... O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.” {ST August 8, 1892, par. 8}

August 15, 1892

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” We need have no fear that we shall run into extremes on the right hand or on the left in seeking the Lord. We are to go forward, inquiring at every step, Is this the way in which the Lord would have me go? We are to consecrate ourselves to him, in order that we may render him acceptable service. Whatever may be our calling in life, we may do our duty with an eye single to the glory of God. We are called to do our daily tasks with exactness and fidelity, realizing that Jesus has his eyes upon us, and that we are doing our work for his sake. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies directly in our pathway. If the Lord would have us bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to him to have us go to Joppa or to Capernaum. The Lord has reasons for sending us to the place in which our feet are directed. There may be souls pleading with God for light in the very place to which the Lord calls you, and God would have you make plain unto them the way of salvation. {ST August 15, 1892, par. 1}

When we are called to work for those we love, however hard may be the work, however unpleasant, we can still do it with ease and grace. When the heart is full of love for Jesus and those for whom he died, all our service will become easy; for his sake the burden will be light. We are surrounded with responsibilities, and we feel that it is necessary to exert our influence wholly on the Lord’s side. When we realize what is involved in our service to Christ, we are driven to the throne of grace to ask the Lord for the very things we need. He whose eyes are anointed with spiritual discernment feels that it means something to be a worker together with God. He will realize that it is perilous to trust in self; for self-confidence is vain. It is only when we accept solemn responsibility, relying upon God and distrusting self, that we can become efficient workers in his cause. To be clothed with humility does not mean that we are to be dwarfs in intellect, deficient in our aspirations, and cowardly in our lives, shunning all burdens for fear we shall not carry them successfully. In the strength of Christ we are to take up our responsibilities, bearing them for his sake, and ever going to him for rest. {ST August 15, 1892, par. 2}

Jesus says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We are to come to the Lord with all our burdens, seeking wisdom from above to guide us at every step. {ST August 15, 1892, par. 3}

We need not walk stumblingly, or in uncertainty. If we ask guidance of the Lord, the promise is, “Ye shall receive.” The promise is yea and amen in Christ Jesus. “Seek and ye shall find.” This is what we need to do every hour of our life; for if we seek the right way in sincerity, we shall find it. We must feel the need of help from the Lord, and seek for it in humble prayer. There is need of dependence upon God; for Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” {ST August 15, 1892, par. 4}

However active you may be, if Jesus is not in all you do, your work will savor of self; dishonor his holy name, work injury to others, and be accounted as worse than nothing. A service that springs from self cannot be sanctioned with the presence of Christ, and will bring no reward to the toiler, but give his name a place upon the losing side. It is vain to ask the Lord to assist you to do a work that will have an injurious influence upon others, and bring disgrace upon his cause. {ST August 15, 1892, par. 5}

How many are seeking to gain heaven in their own way. They go to the Lord with hypocritical prayers, and do as did the Pharisee, present their merits before the God of heaven, and make themselves an offense before God. It is not to such knocking that the door will be opened. To the earnest, humble seeker, the promises of God are full of hope and assurance. The asking, the seeking, the knocking, are the things to which we are to give our first attention. The world, our temporal and personal affairs, are not to be placed first, and our spiritual interest to be considered second. The Lord says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Through the name of Jesus, the divine advocate, you are to come as a repentant sinner to a merciful, forgiving Father, believing that he will do just as he has promised to. Let those who desire the blessing of God knock, and wait at the throne of mercy with firm assurance, saying, “For thou, O Lord, hast said that everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” To leave no chance for unbelief or misunderstanding or misinterpretation of his word, the Lord repeats his promise; he makes assurance doubly sure. He longs to have those who would seek after God believe in him who is able to do all things. Jesus looked upon those that were assembled to listen to his words, and earnestly desired that that large mixed multitude might understand their privileges and appreciate the mercy, the beneficence, and loving-kindness of God. He sought to make the matter clear to their darkened understanding by the use of the most familiar and commonplace occurrence. He says, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Christ makes an appeal to them on the ground of their natural parental love. The father would not turn from his son who is hungry asking for bread; and should anyone dishonor God by imagining that he would not respond to the appeals of his children? Would they think him capable of trifling with his child, of tantalizing him by raising his expectations only to disappoint them? Would he promise to give him good and nourishing food, and then give him a stone? If ye, then, being human and evil, give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? The Lord assures those that ask him that he will give them the Holy Spirit. {ST August 15, 1892, par. 6}

(To be Continued.)

August 22, 1892

“Ask and Ye Shall Receive”

(Concluded.)

If Christians give the impression by a mournful attitude that they have been disappointed in the Lord, they misrepresent their Heavenly Father, and put arguments into the mouth of his enemies. How false is such an impression when the gifts of God are freely bestowed upon those who seek, who ask, who knock! The Lord specifies no conditions except that you hunger for his mercy, desire his counsel, and long for his love. “Ask.” The asking makes it manifest that you realize your necessity; and if you ask in faith, you will receive. The Lord has pledged his word, and it cannot fail. That you feel and know that you are a sinner is a most efficient argument to present to God in asking for his mercy and compassion. The conditions upon which you may come to God are not that you shall be holy, but that you shall ask God to cleanse you from all sin, and purify you from all iniquity. {ST August 22, 1892, par. 1}

The words of Jesus in connection with the promise of receiving upon presenting your petition to God have an application to every soul. He says, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Or, as Luke says, “How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” In the teachings of these verses there is not a place in which to put a peg to hang a doubt upon. In the relation chosen to represent the love of God, the beseeching soul is brought close to the heart of Jesus. The Holy Spirit imparts love, joy, peace, strength, and consolation; it is as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. The blessing is free to all: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” With overflowing heart you may say:— {ST August 22, 1892, par. 2}

“In my hand no price I bring,

Simply to thy cross I cling.”

Then come, and seek, and find. The reservoir of power is open, is full and free. Come with humble hearts, not thinking that you must do some good thing to merit the favor of God, or that you must make yourself better before you can come to Christ. You can never do anything to better your condition. In the name of Jesus, come with full assurance of faith, because you are a sinner; for Christ said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. You are to ask, to seek, to knock, and to believe that you are accepted through Christ Jesus, trusting him alone to do those things for you which you can never do for yourself. {ST August 22, 1892, par. 3}

No man can look within himself and find anything in his character that will recommend him to God, or make his acceptance sure. It is only through Jesus, whom the Father gave for the life of the world, that the sinner may find access to God. Jesus alone is our Redeemer, our Advocate, and Mediator; in him is our only hope for pardon, peace, and righteousness. You must trust him, saying: {ST August 22, 1892, par. 4}

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidst me come to thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Jesus is our atoning sacrifice; we can make no atonement for ourselves, but by faith we can accept the atonement that has been made. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” It is by virtue of this precious blood that the sin-stricken soul can be restored to soundness. While you are putting up your petition to God, the Holy Spirit applies the faithful promises of God to your heart. In moments of perplexity, when Satan suggests doubt and discouragement, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up as a standard against him the faithful sayings of Christ, and the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will flash into your mind and soul. When Satan would overwhelm you with despair, the Holy Spirit will point you to the intercession made for you by a living Saviour. Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense, which makes your petitions acceptable to the Father. When the light of Christ’s righteousness is fully understood and accepted, love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” {ST August 22, 1892, par. 5}

Importunate Prayer

In coming to God the prayer of importunity should be offered, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” You are invited to spread out all your perplexities before the Lord; but do not gratify the enemy by pouring them into the minds of others, lest they stumble over them to their ruin. Jesus knows how to cure all the maladies of the soul. When we beseech the Lord to pity us in our weakness and distress, to guide us by his Holy Spirit, that we may understand his word, he will no more turn away from the prayer of the humble suppliant than the parent will turn away from the hungry child who comes to him for bread. When you turn away from the broken cistern that can hold no water, and in the name of Jesus, your Advocate, come directly to God, asking for the things you need, difficulties will disappear, the righteousness of Christ will be revealed as your righteousness, the virtue of Christ as your virtue. You will then understand that justification can come alone through faith in Christ; for in Jesus is revealed the perfection of the character of God; in his life is the revelation of the genuine principle of true holiness. Through the atoning blood of Christ, the sinner is set free from bondage and condemnation; through the perfection of the sinless Substitute and Surety, he may run in the race of humble obedience to all of God’s commandments. Without Christ he is under the condemnation of the law, always a sinner, but through faith in Christ he is made just before God, and loving God, he keeps his commandments, and realizes through an experimental knowledge that the Father loves him, and takes up his abode with him. {ST August 22, 1892, par. 6}

August 29, 1892

“They That Have Done Good”

“Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” It is those that have done good who will come forth to the resurrection of life. The question of most importance to us is, How can we do good? The greatest good that we can do is to help one another to become earnest followers of Christ, and in the day of God we shall be able to render no excuse for not doing good to those around us. We are to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves, and the Lord Jesus Christ has provided means by which we may fulfill the conditions upon which we may obtain eternal life. We cannot do evil, and work wickedness, and yet stand justified before God at last. Now is our day of probation, and we are now to perfect characters that will stand the test of the judgment. When Christ comes, there is to be no change of character; this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption; and those who are alive and remain upon the earth will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, if their characters are blameless and pure. Transformation of character must take place during the precious hours of probation. {ST August 29, 1892, par. 1}

There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, “We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections.” They find fault with God’s requirements, and complain that he demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God. And the Lord knoweth our thoughts afar off. He speaks to his people, saying, “O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.” The complainers have an opportunity to bring their accusations against him; their Maker gives them an opportunity to speak. What charge have you to bring against Him that ruleth in the heavens? What have you to say against His dealings with you? What against His government? What against His law? If you have any excuse to offer for your neglect to comply with the conditions upon which your salvation is based, now make them known. If you have any excuse for sin, for impenitence, for covetousness, or for sensuality, you are permitted to give your reasons. Those who would justify themselves in wrongdoing, and lay the blame of their disobedience upon God, will be heard. They argue that they are born with strong passions and appetites, and are surrounded with objects that solicit to sin, and under such circumstances how is it just to condemn them? But God answers: “I did all that could be done for your forefather Adam; I gave him the noblest qualities and the highest powers; my requirements were light upon him. It was because he did not believe my word, did not choose to stand the simple test I imposed upon him, but believed the word of my enemy, that he fell from his holy estate. But in his fallen condition did I not send help? I sent my Son, who was equal with myself, that he might live an example upon earth, and die for man’s transgressions, that you might make no mistakes or failures in obtaining eternal life.” {ST August 29, 1892, par. 2}

Since such ample provisions have been made for our salvation, shall we be excusable if we put forth no effort to obtain eternal life? God has given his beloved Son to die that we might be saved. What an infinite condescension on the part of the God of heaven! By the death of Jesus Christ life and immortality are brought to light. What a hope we have! And with such a hope as this shall we cling to sin? Shall we not consent to be purified from every spot and stain? It is for us to search the Scriptures; for said Christ, “They are they which testify of me.” And while we have the precious testimony of the word of God before us, we can be both hearers and doers of the word. As we see the weakness of human nature, instead of trying to justify ourselves in wrongdoing, let us become more familiar with the word of God. It will strengthen our minds in the time of temptation. We do not think half enough upon the Bible. The ministers may explain the Scriptures, but this is not enough; we must practice their teaching in our lives. We must be fortifying our souls with the precious promises of Jesus. We are to avail ourselves of all the help God has provided for us, that we may not fall at last. If it is not in accordance with your inclination to study the word of God, I beg of you to plead with God for his divine Spirit; for those who love Jesus take comfort in communion with him. {ST August 29, 1892, par. 3}

Our Heavenly Father paid an infinite price that we might come to him; and if our past life has been full of sin, we can now repent and come to God. The promise is that all who repent and turn from their transgressions shall be forgiven. None need be discouraged because their past life has been marked with objectionable characters. Hear what the God of heaven says: “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; if the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him.” “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” I am so grateful today that we have a living Saviour. There are many who go about as mournfully as though Christ were still in Joseph’s tomb with a great stone rolled before the door. Our hearts should be full of hope and joy, and we should be able to say with grateful tongues, Christ is risen, and is at the right hand of God to make intercession for us. He has carried his blood into the sanctuary, and will cleanse us from every sin. {ST August 29, 1892, par. 4}

Since Jesus has made such an infinite sacrifice for us, how cruel it is that we should remain indifferent. Individually we have cost the life of the Son of God, and he desires us to walk out by living faith, believing in him with all the heart. He would have you bring the truth of God into the inner sanctuary, to soften and subdue the soul; for when Christ is dwelling in your heart by faith, you will love those for whom he died. Suppose that the trump of God should sound tonight, who is ready to respond with gladness? How many of you would cry, “Oh, stay the chariot wheels; I am not ready”? Of how many would it be written, as it was written of Belshazzar, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting”? To be wanting in that day is to be wanting forever; for when Christ shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, we must be all ready to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Your only safety is in coming to Christ, and ceasing from sin this very moment. The sweet voice of mercy is sounding in your ears today, but who can tell if it will sound tomorrow? How precious will be the appearing of Christ to those who have done good upon the earth. Jesus, our Redeemer, is coming back to the world, and all those who believe in him, who love him, and keep his commandments, will be able to say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us.” {ST August 29, 1892, par. 5}

September 5, 1892

Righteousness Through Christ

The holy law of God is both brief and comprehensive; for it is easily understood and remembered; and yet it is an expression of the will of God. Its comprehensiveness is summed up in the following words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.... Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “This do, and thou shalt live.” “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments; which if a man do, he shall live in them; I am the Lord.” “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” {ST September 5, 1892, par. 1}

If the transgressor is to be treated according to the letter of this covenant, then there is no hope for the fallen race; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. The fallen race of Adam can behold nothing else in the letter of this covenant than the ministration of death; and death will be the reward of everyone who is seeking vainly to fashion a righteousness of his own that will fulfill the claims of the law. By his word God has bound himself to execute the penalty of the law on all transgressors. Again and again men commit sin, and yet they do not seem to believe that they must suffer the penalty for breaking the law. They parade their good intentions before the Lord, and soothe their consciences by pleading his mercy; but the only ground of hope for the fallen sons and daughters of Adam is to turn from their sins and accept the righteousness of Christ, giving up all hope of salvation on the ground of self-righteousness. The Lord can save no man because of his good works. {ST September 5, 1892, par. 2}

In the gospel of Christ Jesus, proclaimed by the angels as glad tidings of great joy, the terms of salvation were fully revealed. The law stands in all its original force and purity; not one jot or tittle was to be set aside or altered; for the law is the transcript of the character of God. But the Lord made a covenant of grace whereby his mercy is extended to fallen man, and provision is made so ample and powerful that souls ruined by the fall may be uplifted to glory, honor, and immortality. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Encircling the throne of God is the rainbow of the covenant, a symbol of the pledged word of God that he will receive every sinner who gives up all hope of eternal life on the ground of his own righteousness, and accepts the righteousness of the world’s Redeemer, believing that Christ is his personal Saviour, able to save him from his sin, and to keep him from falling. Unless Christ is the ground of our hope, we shall not inherit eternal life. {ST September 5, 1892, par. 3}

The provision made for the salvation of men through the imputed righteousness of Christ, does not do away with the law, or lessen in the least its holy claims; for Christ came to exalt the law and make it honorable, to reveal its exceeding breadth and changeless character. The glory of the gospel of grace through the imputed righteousness of Christ, provides no other way of salvation than through obedience to the law of God in the person of Jesus Christ, the divine substitute. In the old dispensation believers were saved through the grace of Christ, as presented in the gospel, as we are saved today. The only means of salvation is provided under the Abrahamic covenant. {ST September 5, 1892, par. 4}

The condescension of God in extending his mercy to the sinner is described by Zacharias as a salvation come unto us “through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” This salvation comes to us not as a reward for our works, not bestowed because of the merits of sinful man, but it is a gift unto us, having its foundation for bestowal in the spotless righteousness of Christ. It is when the sinner realizes that he is without hope, lost, condemned to eternal death, incapable of doing anything to redeem himself, and believes in Jesus as his righteousness and salvation, that the word of God is fulfilled toward him. The Lord says, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” {ST September 5, 1892, par. 5}

The Psalmist says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” The apostle declares, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Then for what reason should the Lord set aside his law to provide an escape for the sinner, or to make it possible for him to transgress with impunity? There is no reason, and the law of the Lord “endureth forever.” In his sermon on the mount Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” {ST September 5, 1892, par. 6}

Under the covenant of grace God requires from man just what he required in Eden,—perfect obedience. The believing sinner, through his divine Substitute and Surety, renders obedience to the law of God. Christ kept the law perfectly, and through him the believer shall not perish, but have everlasting life. He says, “I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Mercy granted to man is the reward of the merit of Christ, “who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Through the plan of salvation, God can be just, and yet be the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. {ST September 5, 1892, par. 7}

The apostle says: “The kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Now mark what the apostle says of those who cherish this hope. He continues: “Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I will that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they which have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” (Revised Version.) Good works will follow as the blossoms and fruit of faith. Appropriation of the righteousness of Christ will be manifested in a well-ordered life and godly conversation. {ST September 5, 1892, par. 8}

September 12, 1892

The Promise Verified to Faith

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” How many who ask a blessing of the Lord would be surprised should they receive their request. Of what is this want of expectation that our prayers will be answered, a proof?—It proves that we have no definite belief that the blessing will be granted, that we have no genuine faith that God will hear, that we do not watch for the answer, so that when it is received, we may connect it with the prayers we have offered. The Lord said: “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Luke says: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” {ST September 12, 1892, par. 1}

If we would only believe, we should receive the Holy Spirit. The question is asked, “Is the Lord’s arm shortened that it cannot save? is his ear heavy that he cannot hear?”—No, he now works in the hearts of those who ask, who believe that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. We must not be discouraged if Satan seeks to leaven the mind with subtle unbelief while we are engaged in prayer, and our hearts are impressed with the high standard of holiness to which we would attain. The enemy will suggest that the Lord will not keep us from sinning, and make us obedient to all his requirements. He will direct our mind to our past imperfections, to our sins, failures, and mistakes, and tell us we need not expect to come off conquerors at last. We are not to listen to the suggestions of the enemy, or think that our unaided efforts can save us, but we are to believe that Jesus does the work for us. At times when we have exercised a little faith, we have experienced a little help, and we have hoped to be victorious overcomers. But have we had faith that through Christ we should be able to overcome every temptation as he overcame? We have not generally exercised this quality of faith. {ST September 12, 1892, par. 2}

Many think that they have not time to pray, or that it would be useless to pray if they had time; for they have an inheritance of unchristlike traits of character that are strong by heredity, and stronger by cultivation. The least crossing of their will arouses their combativeness and upsets their temper. I am describing not simply the experience of children and youth, but of men and women, fathers and mothers, who have had a limited experience in the Christian life. They have allowed secular interests to divert the mind and to engage the attention. They have indulged a strong passion to meet the world’s standard, and have been filled with a desire for human praise. While they are thus unemptied of self, they cannot expect to receive answers to their prayers; for evil tempers and corrupt inclinations will make prayer of none effect. The Psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” The tremendous load of evil upon these souls must be rolled off into the sepulcher, that they may believe, not from impulse, but from calm assurance, that God is true, knowing that whatever he has promised he will fulfill. {ST September 12, 1892, par. 3}

The Lord has promised to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, and as an illustration of our need and his willingness to give, he presents before us a hungry child asking his earthly parent for bread. The question is asked, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” He appeals to the strong, natural affection of the parent for his child, and then says: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Is it any wonder that we receive not, when we believe not? Should we receive in our faithless condition, we would not appreciate the grace given us of God, or render glory to him for the benefits. “Taste and see that the Lord is good;” this is asking and receiving. Those who have tasted of the goodness of God cannot keep the knowledge of this blessing to themselves; for Christ is in them a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Those who are most blessed of God have the most constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and they diffuse the light of heaven to others. Wherever there is distinguishing mercy, there is always distinguishing duty. Jesus said to his followers: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” {ST September 12, 1892, par. 4}

To none will it be granted to enjoy the presence of Christ in the paradise of God if they do not enjoy his presence and love in this probationary life, if they do not have a likeness of character to him on earth. Since nothing short of Christlikeness is expected of the followers of Jesus, God has left abundant promises whereby this expectation may be fulfilled. The apostle says: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; 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.” The storehouse of unlimited resource is opened to all who knock in faith. {ST September 12, 1892, par. 5}

Unbelief is the sin that so easily besets us; and this sin is obnoxious to God. However secret is its working in the heart, the guilty one stands revealed and convicted before heaven. The Redeemer of the world has pledged his word, saying, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” Is it any marvel then that the blessing of God is withheld when you dishonor his name by your unbelief? Who is it that has made to you these promises? It is He who “so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Who is it that says, “Ask, and it shall be given you”? Who is it that stands before the great multitude holding forth the divine promise?—It is He who came into the world to rescue us from the bondage of Satan, and make us free men and women in Christ Jesus. {ST September 12, 1892, par. 6}

Then come to God with full assurance of faith, knowing that he who hath promised is faithful, and will fulfill his word. Like Habakkuk, say, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me.” Having asked the Lord for good things, as a hungry child asks his parent for bread, believe from your heart that the Heavenly Father giveth not the Spirit by measure unto you; for to them that ask in faith the Holy Spirit will be given in its fullness, as free as the river that proceedeth from the throne of God, slaking the thirst of all who will come and drink. Come, then, feeling that all Heaven invites you. Come, then, in steadfast faith, knowing that all Heaven welcomes you. Fasten your soul on the blessed assurance, God has spoken this promise, God has invited me, not to mock me, not to disappoint me, for before I knocked, he was unlocking the door for me; while I was yet speaking, he answered, “Here I am.” Then put away this distrust of God; come to him now, and let all the angels of God have occasion for rejoicing, as they see those who are athirst partaking of the waters of life. {ST September 12, 1892, par. 7}

Chapter 29—“To Meet the Bridegroom”

This chapter is based on Matthew 25:1-13.

Christ with His disciples is seated upon the Mount of Olives. The sun has set behind the mountains, and the heavens are curtained with the shades of evening. In full view is a dwelling house lighted up brilliantly as if for some festive scene. The light streams from the openings, and an expectant company wait around, indicating that a marriage procession is soon to appear. In many parts of the East, wedding festivities are held in the evening. The bridegroom goes forth to meet his bride and bring her to his home. By torchlight the bridal party proceed from her father’s house to his own, where a feast is provided for the invited guests. In the scene upon which Christ looks, a company are awaiting the appearance of the bridal party, intending to join the procession. {COL 405.1}

Lingering near the bride’s house are ten young women robed in white. Each carries a lighted lamp and a small flagon for oil. All are anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes; the watchers become weary and fall asleep. At midnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. The ten maidens seize their lamps and begin to trim them, in haste to go forth. But five have neglected to fill their flasks with oil. They did not anticipate so long a delay, and they have not prepared for the emergency. In distress they appeal to their wiser companions saying, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out.” (Margin.) But the waiting five, with their freshly trimmed lamps, have emptied their flagons. They have no oil to spare, and they answer, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” {COL 405.2}

While they went to buy, the procession moved on, and left them behind. The five with lighted lamps joined the throng and entered the house with the bridal train, and the door was shut. When the foolish virgins reached the banqueting hall, they received an unexpected denial. The master of the feast declared, “I know you not.” They were left standing without, in the empty street, in the blackness of the night. {COL 406.1}

As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His second coming. {COL 406.2}

The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the word of God. The psalmist says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Thus the Spirit is represented in the prophecy of Zechariah. “The angel that talked with me came again,” he says, “and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof; and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? ... Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.... And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? ... Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” Zechariah 4:1-14. {COL 406.3}

From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God’s presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God’s people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6. {COL 408.1}

In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. {COL 408.2}

Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan. {COL 408.3}

The class represented by the foolish virgins are not hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy Spirit’s working. They have not fallen upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not abiding. The Spirit works upon man’s heart, according to his desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the class represented by the foolish virgins have been content with a superficial work. They do not know God. They have not studied His character; they have not held communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust, how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates into a form. “They come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” Ezekiel 33:31. The apostle Paul points out that this will be the special characteristic of those who live just before Christ’s second coming. He says, “In the last days perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their own selves; ... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5. {COL 411.1}

This is the class that in time of peril are found crying, Peace and safety. They lull their hearts into security, and dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy, they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up another’s deficiency. The grace of God has been freely offered to every soul. The message of the gospel has been heralded, “Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. But character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working. “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” Ezekiel 14:20. {COL 411.2}

It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied. {COL 412.1}

The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall. {COL 412.2}

At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ’s kingdom, saying, “We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.” “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” But the answer is, “I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me.” Luke 13:26; Matthew 7:22; Luke 13:27. In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11. {COL 412.3}

Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, “I know you not.” The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship. {COL 413.1}

We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted for His companionship in heaven. {COL 413.2}

In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame through the night of watching. It helped to swell the illumination for the bridegroom’s honor. Shining out in the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast. {COL 414.1}

So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom’s home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the Lamb. {COL 414.2}

The coming of the bridegroom was at midnight—the darkest hour. So the coming of Christ will take place in the darkest period of this earth’s history. The days of Noah and Lot pictured the condition of the world just before the coming of the Son of man. The Scriptures pointing forward to this time declare that Satan will work with all power and “with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. His working is plainly revealed by the rapidly increasing darkness, the multitudinous errors, heresies, and delusions of these last days. Not only is Satan leading the world captive, but his deceptions are leavening the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. The great apostasy will develop into darkness deep as midnight, impenetrable as sackcloth of hair. To God’s people it will be a night of trial, a night of weeping, a night of persecution for the truth’s sake. But out of that night of darkness God’s light will shine. {COL 414.3}

He causes “the light to shine out of darkness.” 2 Corinthians 4:6. When “the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep,” “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” Genesis 1:2, 3. So in the night of spiritual darkness, God’s word goes forth, “Let there be light.” To His people He says, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. {COL 415.1}

“Behold,” says the Scripture, “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2. {COL 415.2}

It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth. {COL 415.3}

This is the work outlined by the prophet Isaiah in the words, “O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” Isaiah 40:9, 10. {COL 415.4}

Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, “Behold your God.” The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. {COL 415.5}

The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness. {COL 416.1}

Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men, and of Him it is written that He was anointed “with the Holy Ghost and with power,” and “went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. In the synagogue at Nazareth He said, “The Spirit of the Lord 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. This was the work He commissioned His disciples to do. “Ye are the light of the world,” He said. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16. {COL 416.2}

This is the work which the prophet Isaiah describes when he says, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.” Isaiah 58:7, 8. {COL 417.1}

Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn. {COL 417.2}

All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery. {COL 417.3}

Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed. {COL 417.4}

God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit. {COL 418.1}

There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead and a Physician there. {COL 418.2}

Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, pouring forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. So it is with the light of the Sun of Righteousness. The whole earth, wrapped as it is in the darkness of sin, and sorrow, and pain, is to be lighted with the knowledge of God’s love. From no sect, rank, or class of people is the light shining from heaven’s throne to be excluded. {COL 418.3}

The message of hope and mercy is to be carried to the ends of the earth. Whosoever will, may reach forth and take hold of God’s strength and make peace with Him, and he shall make peace. No longer are the heathen to be wrapped in midnight darkness. The gloom is to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The power of hell has been overcome. {COL 418.4}

But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God. {COL 418.5}

In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven’s resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit. {COL 419.1}

It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts. {COL 419.2}

Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives. {COL 419.3}

The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others. {COL 419.4}

The Sun of Righteousness has “healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. So from every true disciple is to be diffused an influence for life, courage, helpfulness, and true healing. {COL 419.5}

The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour. {COL 419.6}

Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and the Lord’s glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence. {COL 420.1}

The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ. And in currents of praise and thanksgiving from the many souls thus won to God, glory will flow back to the great Giver. {COL 420.2}

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. To those who go out to meet the Bridegroom is this message given. Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. He is coming with all the holy angels with Him. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice. The patriarch Job, looking down to the time of Christ’s second advent, said, “Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger.” Job 19:27, margin. To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts. {COL 420.3}

With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9. {COL 421.1}

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.... And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 19:6-9; 17:14. {COL 421.2}

 

IN THE NAME OF THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB,

 

R. William Beaulieu