A Proper Response

to

New Light

 

Part I

"Ever Unfolding--God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His Word shall be ever unfolding." {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 3}

 

 

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So often among professing Seventh-day Adventists, we hear the sentiment that we already have all the light and do not need more. God made man as intelligent beings who are to be ever learning for eternity.

Satan knows that active minds need constant fodder to retain interest. Because of apostasy, the church has ceased to be blessed with a continuum of new light. Is this one prime reason why religion becomes boring to our youth? Is this why they exit the back door as soon as entering the front?

I am citing the most profound statements by themselves and then including the context for some of them.rwb

"We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed." {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 7}

 

"To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you. Many professed Christians are without Christ because they refuse to weave his principles of truth into their life. The word of God declares, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." We should pray earnestly and inquire with sincere hearts as to what the will of the Lord is, that we may be ready to receive the blessing we so much need." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 11}

 

"The word of God is to be our spiritual food. "I am the bread of life, Christ said; "he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." The world is perishing for want of pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a greater value and a deeper significance than appears on the surface. All the sayings of Christ have a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these sayings. They will discern the precious gems of truth, though they may be buried treasure." {RH, March 29, 1906 par. 2}

 

"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." Before this opening of their understanding, the disciples had not understood the spiritual meaning of what Christ had taught them. And it is necessary now that the minds of God's people should be opened to understand the Scriptures. To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God. The more we walk in the light of the truth, the more we shall become like Christ in spirit in character and in the manner of our work, and the brighter will the truth become to us. As we behold it in the increasing light of revelation, it will become more precious than we first estimated it from a casual hearing or examination. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is capable of constant expansion, of new development, and like its divine Author it will become more precious and beautiful; it will constantly reveal deeper significance, and lead the soul to aspire for more perfect conformity to its exalted standard. Such understanding of the truth will elevate the mind and transform the character to its divine perfection. {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 1}

 

"It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings. The full radiance is beyond our vision. As we contemplate the great things of God's Word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge. As we gaze, the vision widens; stretched out before us, we behold a boundless, shoreless sea. Such study has vivifying power. The mind and heart acquire new strength, new life." {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 4}

 

"Ever Unfolding--God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His Word shall be ever unfolding. While "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God," "those things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children." The idea that certain portions of the Bible can not be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and often repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth. The limitation is not in its purpose, but in our capacity. Of those very portions of Scripture so often passed by as impossible to be understood, God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," that we may be "thoroughly furnished unto all good works." {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 3}

 

"Many Gems Yet to Be Discovered.--New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to him who is in living connection with the Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God."--Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 34. (1892.) {CW 35.1}

 

"The word of God is to be our spiritual food. "I am the bread of life," Christ said; "he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." The world is perishing for want of pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface, and a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these words. When our eyes are anointed with the holy eye-salve, we shall be able to detect the precious gems of truth, even though they may be buried beneath the surface." {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 1}

 

"There is yet much precious truth to be revealed to the people in this time of peril and darkness, but it is Satan's determined purpose to prevent the light of truth from shining into the hearts of men. If we would have the light that has been provided for us, we should show our desire for it by diligently searching the Word of God. Precious truths that have long been in obscurity are to be revealed in a light that will make manifest their sacred worth; for God will glorify His Word, that it may appear in a light in which we have never before beheld it. But those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the Word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened. With humble hearts, subdued by the grace of God, you should come to the task of searching the Scriptures, prepared to accept every ray of divine light, and to walk in the way of holiness." {TSS 62.2}

 

"Those who truly believe in Christ will become laborers together with God. They will be governed by his spirit, their affections will be purified, their passions will be controlled, and precious fruits will appear in their lives for the glory of God; for those who truly believe in Christ will reflect light. New light will ever be revealed on the word of God to him who is in living connection with the Sun of Righteousness. Let no one come to the conclusion that there is no more truth to be revealed. The diligent, prayerful seeker for truth will find precious rays of light yet to shine forth from the word of God. Many gems are yet scattered that are to be gathered together to become the property of the remnant people of God. But light is not given simply to be a strength to the church, but to be shed upon those who are in darkness. The people of God are to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. Christ has said of his people, "Ye are the light of the world," and it is the mission of light to shine out and illuminate the darkness." {SSW, March 1, 1892 par. 4}

 

"There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ. The Lord designs that our opinions shall be put to the test, that we may see the necessity of closely examining the living oracles to see whether or not we are in the faith. Many who claim to believe the truth have settled down at their ease, saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But Jesus says to these self-complacent ones, Thou "knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Let us individually inquire, Do these words describe my case? If so, the True Witness counsels us, saying, "Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 1}

 

 

Chap. 14 - The Spirit of Investigation Essential.

 

"But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." {TSS 62.1}

 

There is yet much precious truth to be revealed to the people in this time of peril and darkness, but it is Satan's determined purpose to prevent the light of truth from shining into the hearts of men. If we would have the light that has been provided for us, we should show our desire for it by diligently searching the Word of God. Precious truths that have long been in obscurity are to be revealed in a light that will make manifest their sacred worth; for God will glorify His Word, that it may appear in a light in which we have never before beheld it. But those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the Word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened. With humble hearts, subdued by the grace of God, you should come to the task of searching the Scriptures, prepared to accept every ray of divine light, and to walk in the way of holiness. {TSS 62.2}

 

In searching the Scriptures you are not to endeavor to interpret their utterances so as to agree

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with your preconceived ideas, but come as a learner to understand the foundation principles of the faith of Christ. With eager interest, with fervent prayer, come to the Word of God, that you may know what is truth, manifesting the same spirit as did Nathanael when he earnestly besought the Lord that he might know the truth. Light will come to every earnest seeker for truth, as it came to Nathanael. Jesus saw him as he bowed in prayer under the fig tree, and while he was still petitioning for light, the messenger came to call him, and to lead him to the Source of all light. "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Prejudice and unbelief sprang up in the heart of Nathanael, but Philip did not try to combat it. He said, "Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile. Nathanael saith unto Him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and said unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel." {TSS 62.3}

 

How easily was Nathanael convinced! And with what pleasure Jesus looked upon his sincere, guileless faith! "Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open,

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and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man." God never honors unbelief and questioning and doubt. When He speaks, His word is to be recognized and carried out in the daily actions. And if the heart of man is in living connection with God, the voice that cometh from above will be recognized. {TSS 63.1}

 

 

Controversy to be Avoided.

 

While there is need of thorough investigation of the Word of God, that precious truth may be discovered and brought to light, we should be guarded, that the spirit of controversy does not control in our discussions of the Sabbath-school lesson. In bringing out points upon which there may be a difference of opinion, the grace of Christ should be manifested by those who are seeking for an understanding of the Word of God. There should be liberty given for a frank investigation of truth, that each may know for himself what is the truth. Among the pupils of the Sabbath-school there should be a spirit of investigation, that those who are old enough to discern evidence may be encouraged to search for fresh rays of light, and to appreciate all that God may send to His people. The light which God will send to His people will never appear unless there is a diligent searching of the Word of truth. {TSS 64.1}

 

The world is full of all manner of error of a misleading nature, and it is essential that both pupils and teachers know that they know what is truth. There is need that we reverence the Word of God and recognize His voice in the living oracles, that we may practise its precepts and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

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Those that do the will of God shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, for no deception will cloud their minds. God calls every one, both old and young, to make a diligent search in His Word, that they may discover the rich jewels of truth. Ministers and people, teachers and scholars, are all called to the work of studying the Bible. {TSS 64.2}

 

Precious light is to shine forth from the Word of God, and let no one presume to dictate what shall or what shall not be brought before the people in the messages of enlightenment that He shall send, and so quench the Spirit of God. Whatever may be his position of authority, no one has a right to shut away the light from the people. When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims. No one can afford to stand back in an attitude of indifference and self-confidence, and say: "I know what is truth. I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come. I will not listen to the message of this messenger; for I know that it can not be truth." It was from pursuing this very course that the popular churches were left in partial darkness, and that is why the messages of heaven have not reached them. {TSS 65.1}

 

 

Cultivate a Teachable Spirit.

 

God calls upon those who hold responsible positions in Sabbath-school work to put away all egotism, all self-confidence, and pride of opinion; if a message comes that you do not understand, take pains that you may hear the reasons the messenger may give, comparing scripture with scripture, that you may know whether or not it is sustained by

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the Word of God. If you believe that the position taken have not the Word of God for their foundation, if the position you hold on the subject can not be controverted, then produce your strong reasons; for your position will not be shaken by coming in contact with error. There is no virtue or manliness in keeping up a continual warfare in the dark, closing your eyes lest you may see, closing your ears lest you may hear, hardening your heart in ignorance and unbelief lest you may have to humble yourselves and acknowledge that you have received light on some points of truth. To hold yourselves aloof from an investigation of truth is not the way to carry out the Saviour's injunction to "search the Scriptures." Is it digging for hidden treasures to call the result's of some one's labor a mass of rubbish, and make no critical examination to see whether or not there are precious jewels of truth in the collection of thought which you condemn? Will those who have almost everything to learn keep themselves away from every meeting where there is an opportunity to investigate the messages that come to the people, simply because they imagine the views held by the teachers of the truth may be out of harmony with what they have conceived as truth? Thus it was that the Jews did in the days of Christ, and we are warned not to do as they did, and be led to choose darkness rather than light, because there was in them an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. No one of those who imagine that they know it all is too old or too intelligent to learn from the humblest of the messengers of the living God.--S. S. W., June, 1892. {TSS 65.2}

 

April 25, 1906 Our Great Treasure-House

 

By Mrs. E. G. White

 

VI. The Mysteries of the Bible.

 

The mysteries of the Bible, so far from being an argument against it, are amongst the strongest evidences of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by human minds, then the Bible would not, as now, bear the unmistakable evidences of divinity. The greatness of its themes should inspire faith in it as the Word of God. {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 1}

 

The Bible unfolds truth with a simplicity and an adaptation to the needs and longings of the human heart, that has astonished and charmed the most highly cultivated minds, while to the humble and uncultured, it also makes plain the way of life. "The wayfaring men, tho fools, shall not err therein." No child need mistake the path. Not one trembling seeker need fail of walking in pure and holy light. Yet the most simply-stated truths lay hold upon themes elevated, far-reaching, infinitely beyond the power of human comprehension,-- mysteries that are the hiding of His glory,--mysteries that overpower the mind in its research, while they inspire the sincere seeker for truth with reverence and faith. The more we search the Bible, the deeper is our conviction that it is the Word of the living God, and human reason bows before the majesty of divine wisdom. {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 2}

 

 

Ever Unfolding.

 

God intends that to the earnest seeker the truths of His Word shall be ever unfolding. While "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God," "those things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children." The idea that certain portions of the Bible can not be understood has led to neglect of some of its most important truths. The fact needs to be emphasized, and often repeated, that the mysteries of the Bible are not such because God has sought to conceal truth, but because our own weakness or ignorance makes us incapable of comprehending or appropriating truth. The limitation is not in its purpose, but in our capacity. Of those very portions of Scripture so often passed by as impossible to be understood, God desires us to understand as much as our minds are capable of receiving. "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," that we may be "thoroughly furnished unto all good works." {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 3}

 

It is impossible for any human mind to exhaust one truth or promise of the Bible. One catches the glory from one point of view, another from another point; yet we can discern only gleamings. The full radiance is beyond our vision. As we contemplate the great things of God's Word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge. As we gaze, the vision widens; stretched out before us, we behold a boundless, shoreless sea. Such study has vivifying power. The mind and heart acquire new strength, new life. {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 4}

 

 

Food for the Soul.

 

This experience is the highest evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible. We receive God's Word as food for the soul, through the same evidence by which we receive bread as food for the body. Bread supplies the need of our nature; we know by experience that it produces blood, bone, and brain. Apply the same test to the Bible; when its principles have actually become the elements of character, what has been the result? what changes have been made in the life?--"Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." In its power, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan, have been transformed into the image of God. The change is itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We can not understand it; we can only believe, that, as declared by the Scriptures, it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 5}

 

A knowledge of this mystery furnishes a key to every other. It opens to the soul the treasures of the universe, the possibilities of infinite development. {ST, April 25, 1906 par. 6}

 

And this development is gained through the constant unfolding to us of the character of God--the glory and mystery of the written Word. If it were possible for us to attain to a full understanding of God and His truth, there would be for us no further discovery of truth, no greater knowledge, no further development. God would cease to be supreme, and man would cease to advance. Thank God, it is not so. Since God is infinite, and in Him are all the treasures of wisdom, we may to all eternity be ever searching, ever learning, yet never exhaust the riches of His wisdom, His goodness, or His power.

-

{ST, April 25, 1906 par. 7}

 

 

 

 

December 20, 1892 Christ Our Hope.

 

By Mrs. E. G. White.

 

 

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. We are living in perilous times, and it does not become us to accept everything claimed to be truth without examining it thoroughly; neither can we afford to reject anything that bears the fruits of the Spirit of God; but we should be teachable, meek and lowly of heart. There are those who oppose everything that is not in accordance with their own ideas, and by so doing they endanger their eternal interest as verily as did the Jewish nation in their rejection of Christ. The Lord designs that our opinions shall be put to the test, that we may see the necessity of closely examining the living oracles to see whether or not we are in the faith. Many who claim to believe the truth have settled down at their ease, saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But Jesus says to these self-complacent ones, Thou "knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Let us individually inquire, Do these words describe my case? If so, the True Witness counsels us, saying, "Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 1}

 

From the description of the Laodiceans, it is evident that many were deceived in their estimate of their spiritual condition. They regarded themselves as rich, as possessing all the knowledge and grace that was needed; but yet they lacked the gold of faith and love, the white raiment of Christ's righteousness. They were destitute and poverty-stricken, walking in sparks of their own kindling, and preparing to lie down in sorrow. Jesus says to them, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works [when the glow of the love of God was upon you]; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." This warning would not be given if there were no danger of failure on the part of those who profess to be the children of God. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 2}

 

In unmistakable language our position is presented before us. Apart from Christ we have no merit, no righteousness. Our sinfulness, our weakness, our human imperfections make it impossible that we should appear before God, unless we are clothed in Christ's spotless righteousness. We are to be found in him, not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness which is through Christ. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 3}

 

But there is hope for every one; 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." If the love of God is not appreciated, and does not become an abiding principle in the hard heart to soften and subdue the soul, we are utterly lost. The Lord has no reserve power with which to influence man. He can give no greater manifestation of his love than that which he has given. Heaven's richest gift has been freely offered for your acceptance. If the exhibition of the love of Jesus does not melt and subdue your heart, by what means can you be reached? Has the love of Christ failed to bring forth an earnest response of love and gratitude? Then let it not remain in this condition of hardness another day. Open your heart, and receive Christ, the best gift of heaven. Let not cruel unbelief lead you to refuse the heaven-sent gift. Let not Christ say of you, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 4}

 

The heart of Christ is constantly drawn out in sympathy toward fallen man. While upon earth, his only mission was to save sinners. He had a deep abhorrence of sin, while exercising the tenderest compassion toward the sinner. He was grieved and wounded at heart because men failed to value and accept his love. The Majesty of heaven veiled his divinity in humanity, and passed from place to place through towns and cities, teaching the truth and working miracles, and though multitudes flocked to hear him, few were in sympathy with the lessons of truth he presented, which alone could save the soul. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 5}

 

How few have any conception of the anguish which rent the heart of the Son of God during his thirty years of life upon earth. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the man of sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray. He could have said in truth, "Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." His suffering was the deepest anguish of the soul; and what man could have sympathy with the soul anguish of the Son of the infinite God? Hating sin with a perfect hatred, he yet gathered to his soul the sins of the whole world, as he trod the path to Calvary, suffering the penalty of the transgressor. Guiltless, he bore the punishment of the guilty; innocent, yet offering himself to bear the penalty of the transgression of the law of God. The punishment of the sins of every soul was borne by the Son of the infinite God. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world's Redeemer. He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. In assuming the nature of man, he placed himself where he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, that by his stripes we might be healed. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 6}

 

 

In his humanity Christ was tried with as much greater temptation, with as much more persevering energy than man is tried by the evil one, as his nature was greater than man's. This is a deep mysterious truth, that Christ is bound to humanity by the most sensitive sympathies. The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon his divine soul. The sins of men called for retribution upon himself; for he had become man's substitute, and took upon him the sins of the world. He bore the sins of every sinner; for all transgressions were imputed unto him, though "he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." Though the guilt of sin was not his, his Spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 7}

 

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" It is at the peril of our souls that we neglect the prescribed conditions under which we are called to work out our own salvation. It is only through Christ, who was made sin for us, that we can work out our own salvation; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure. We are to co-operate heartily with God, by faith laying hold of the righteousness of Christ, which alone can save. The only way by which we may be saved is by becoming workers together with God. It is through the co-operation of man with God that the believer may come off victorious. We shall not be found guiltless if we are content to float along in the current of the world, submitting the question of our soul's salvation to those who teach the traditions of men and rely upon supposed evidences. Every soul is to put himself to the task of searching out the truth as it is in Jesus, to know it for himself by the study of the sure word of God. We are not to ask, What is the popular opinion? What saith brother A. or brother B. or any other man? What saith the fathers? But what saith the Lord our God in regard to the saving of the soul? And when we have found what saith the Scriptures, let us act upon the written word; for it is perilous to sit in judgment on the words of inspiration. That which has been written is for our instruction, admonition, and comfort. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 8}

 

Christ is the originator of divine truth. He knew the height and depth, length and breadth and fullness of the compassion of divine love, as no mortal man can know it. He knows the blessedness that sinners are refusing when they reject divine light, the horrors that will come upon the soul that refuses the truth of heaven. A heavenly feast has been spread for the hungry, but they refuse to eat. Christ alone knows what means the exceeding weight of glory which those who rebel against God, refuse to receive. The work of Christ upon earth was to seek and save that which was lost. Ever before him, he saw the result of his mission, although the baptism of blood must first be received, although the weight of sins of the world was to gather upon his innocent soul, although the shadow of an unspeakable woe was ever over him; yet for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross and despised the shame. He endured all this that sinful man might be saved, that he might be elevated and ennobled, and have a place with him upon his throne. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 9}

 

Men are contaminated with sin, and they cannot have an adequate conception of the heinous character of the evil which they cherish. Because of sin, the Majesty of heaven was stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Voluntarily our divine substitute bared his soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life. Said Christ: "I lay down my life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." No man of earth nor angel of heaven could have paid the penalty of sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the sacrifice made on Calvary's cross. Here it was that mercy and truth met together, righteousness and peace kissed each other. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 10}

 

Christ is called "the Lord our righteousness," and through faith, each one should be able to say, "The Lord my righteousness." When faith lays hold upon this gift of God, the praise of God will be upon our lips, and we shall be able to say, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Then we shall be able to tell the lost concerning the plan of salvation, that while the world was lying under the curse of the law, meriting death, the Lord presented terms of mercy to the fallen and hopeless sinner, and brought out the meaning and value of his grace. Grace is unmerited favor. The angels, who know nothing of sin, do not understand what it is to have grace exercised toward them; but our sinfulness calls for the exercise of grace from a merciful God. It was grace that sent us our Saviour to seek us as wanderers and bring us back to his fold. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 11}

 

No works that the sinner can do will be efficacious in saving his soul. Obedience was always due to the Creator; for he endowed man with attributes for his service. God requires good works from man always; but good works cannot avail to earn salvation. It is impossible for man to save himself. He may deceive himself in regard to this matter; but he cannot save himself. Christ's righteousness alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment prepared for you in which you may be a welcome guest at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let faith take hold of Christ without delay, and you will be a new creature in Jesus, a light to the world. {RH, December 20, 1892 par. 12}

 

February 14, 1899 The Truth as It Is in Jesus.--No. 1.

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Mrs. E. G. White.

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The word of God is to be our spiritual food. "I am the bread of life," Christ said; "he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." The world is perishing for want of pure, unadulterated truth. Christ is the truth. His words are truth, and they have a deeper significance than appears on the surface, and a value beyond their unpretending appearance. Minds that are quickened by the Holy Spirit will discern the value of these words. When our eyes are anointed with the holy eye-salve, we shall be able to detect the precious gems of truth, even though they may be buried beneath the surface. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 1}

 

Truth is delicate, refined, elevated. When it molds the character, the soul grows under its divine influence. Every day the truth is to be received into the heart. Thus we eat Christ's words, which he declares are spirit and life. The acceptance of truth will make every receiver a child of God, an heir of heaven. Truth that is cherished in the heart is not a cold, dead letter, but a living power. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 2}

 

Truth is sacred, divine. It is stronger and more powerful than anything else in the formation of a character after the likeness of Christ. In it there is fulness of joy. When it is cherished in the heart, the love of Christ is preferred to the love of any human being. This is Christianity. This is the love of God in the soul. Thus pure, unadulterated truth occupies the citadel of the being. The words are fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." There is a nobleness in the life of the one who lives and works under the vivifying influence of the truth. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 3}

 

It is needful for all who are working in the cause of God to ponder these things, that they may guard against self-sufficiency. The Lord is dishonored when those who profess to serve him reveal a character that is a denial of their faith. We are not to trust in self; for the Lord leaves those who are self-sufficient to their own human wisdom. All desire for self-exaltation places the human agent where the Holy Spirit can not work with him. In no case can the Holy Spirit co-operate with the methods and plans of self-sufficient men. It is not for any to seek to be great preachers, wonderful evangelists. All who believe the truth, who understand the dignity and elevated character of the message they bear, will hide in Christ, realizing that their security and efficiency come from God. They will not live selfish lives; for the truth is elevating, refining, and sanctifying in its influence. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 4}

 

I know, and am afraid as I realize, that with hundreds religion is a cold, formal thing. Many professed Christians will lose the eternal life that is within the reach of all. I can not forbear to tell you in the name of the Lord that you are not on safe ground unless the truth teaches you your danger, bringing you every day closer to Christ in character. Many poor souls are puffed up with pride and self-importance. If they do not change this position, they will be tempted still more strongly to display their supposed qualifications and powers. Every provision has been made for them, but they have no hungering nor thirsting after righteousness. There is no room in the heart for the Spirit of God. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 5}

 

Many are supposed to be converted who will not stand the stress of trial and temptation. Under difficulty the test of God's word shows them to be faithless, envious, jealous, full of evil-surmisings. Many, many, are stony-ground hearers. They have no depth of spiritual experience. They do not apply the truth to the heart and conscience. Self, with all its unsanctified elements, is alive, revealing attributes that strengthen evil instead of repressing it. There is a lack of pure-toned piety; and this lack makes them weaklings in the army of the Lord, when they might be giants if they were but willing to be truly converted. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 6}

 

Our lack of faith and the absence of the love and respect due to all the children of God, detract from our influence, and make our labors of none effect. When the power of the Holy Spirit is appreciated and felt in the heart, far less of self will be exhibited, and far more of the feeling of human brotherhood will be revealed. Our part is not to exhibit self, but to let the Holy Spirit work in us. Thus, self-deceived men and women may be rescued from delusion. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 7}

 

All, high or low, if they are unconverted, are on one common platform. Men may turn from one doctrine to another. This is being done, and will be done. Papists may change from Catholicism to Protestantism; yet they may know nothing of the meaning of the words, "A new heart also will I give you." Accepting new theories, and uniting with a church, do not bring new life to any one, even though the church with which he unites may be established on the true foundation. Connection with a church does not take the place of conversion. To subscribe the name to a church creed is not of the least value to any one if the heart is not truly changed. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 8}

 

This question is a serious one, and its meaning should be fully realized. Men may be church-members, and may apparently work earnestly, performing a round of duties from year to year, and yet be unconverted. They may write in defense of Christianity, and yet be unconverted. A man may preach pleasing, entertaining sermons, yet be far from Christ as regards religious experience. He may be exalted to the pinnacle of human greatness, yet never have experienced the inward work of grace that transforms the character. Such a one is deceived by his connection and familiarity with the sacred truths of the gospel, which have reached the intellect, but have not been brought into the inner sanctuary of the soul. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 9}

 

We must have more than an intellectual belief in the truth. Many of the Jews were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God, but they were too proud and ambitious to surrender. They decided to resist the truth, and they maintained their opposition. They did not receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus. When truth is held as truth only by the conscience, when the heart is not stimulated and made receptive, only the mind is affected. But when the truth is received as truth by the heart, it has passed through the conscience, and has captivated the soul with its pure principles. It is placed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, who reveals its beauty to the mind, that its transforming power may be seen in the character. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 10}

 

Unless a man is renewed in the spirit of his mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, he will become restless and dissatisfied, because he has not died to self. Only in Christ can we find true rest. "Come unto me," he cried, "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." And again he says: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." "For without me ye can do nothing." Without Christ we can do nothing correctly, any more than could Cain. Of what advantage is any system of religion to one who has not been transformed in character by the Holy Spirit's power?--It is saying without doing; it is a profession of faith without works. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 11}

 

O that all who shall read these lines would search their hearts as with a lighted candle, and define, if they can, what true conversion is. The Lord never created man to lord it over his fellow man. This propensity has been indulged to the wreck and ruin of humanity. The souls of those who have indulged themselves in this are cast in a mold that Satan himself has made to fashion their characters. Every soul carries his credentials with him. By his actions he shows whether he is under the power of the Holy Spirit, or whether he is striving to climb over his fellow men to rule or to ruin. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 12}

 

With the great truth we have been privileged to receive, we should, and under the Holy Spirit's power we could, become living channels of light. We could then approach the mercy-seat; and seeing the bow of promise, kneel with contrite hearts, and seek the kingdom of heaven with a spiritual violence that would bring its own reward. We would take it by force, as did Jacob. Then our message would be the power of God unto salvation. Our supplications would be full of earnestness, full of a sense of our great need; and we would not be denied. The truth would be expressed by life and character, and by lips touched with the living coal from off God's altar. When this experience is ours, we shall be lifted out of our poor, cheap selves, that we have cherished so tenderly. We shall empty our hearts of the corroding power of selfishness, and shall be filled with praise and gratitude to God. We shall magnify the Lord, the God of all grace, who has magnified Christ. And he will reveal his power through us, making us as sharp sickles in the harvest-field. {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 13}

 

God calls upon his people to reveal him. Shall the world manifest principles of integrity that the church does not maintain? Shall a selfish ambition to be first be shown by the followers of Christ? Shall not the principles cherished by them be unselfish, laid upon the true foundation, even Christ Jesus? What material shall we bring to this precious foundation, that there may no longer be antagonism but unity in the church? Shall we build with worthless material,--wood, hay, stubble? Shall we not rather bring the most precious material,--gold, silver, precious stones? Shall we not distinguish sharply between the chaff and the wheat? Shall we not realize that we must receive the Holy Spirit in our hearts, that it may mold and fashion the practical life? Shall we not strive to discern the meaning of the atonement of Christ? {RH, February 14, 1899 par. 14}

 

We are living in perilous times. In the fear of God I tell you that the true exposition of the Scriptures is necessary for the correct moral development of our characters. When mind and heart are controlled by the Holy Spirit, when self is dead, the truth is capable of constant expansion and development. When the truth as it is in Jesus molds our characters, it will be seen to be truth indeed. As it is contemplated by the believer, it will grow brighter, shining with its original beauty. It will increase in value, quickening and vivifying the mind, and subduing selfish, unchristlike coarseness of character. It will elevate our aspirations, enabling us to reach the perfect standard of holiness.

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{RH, February 14, 1899 par. 15}

 

October 21, 1890 Danger in Rejecting Light.

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By Mrs. E. G. White.

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"Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures." Before this opening of their understanding, the disciples had not understood the spiritual meaning of what Christ had taught them. And it is necessary now that the minds of God's people should be opened to understand the Scriptures. To say that a passage means just this and nothing more, that you must not attach any broader meaning to the words of Christ than we have in the past, is saying that which is not actuated by the Spirit of God. The more we walk in the light of the truth, the more we shall become like Christ in spirit in character and in the manner of our work, and the brighter will the truth become to us. As we behold it in the increasing light of revelation, it will become more precious than we first estimated it from a casual hearing or examination. The truth, as it is in Jesus, is capable of constant expansion, of new development, and like its divine Author it will become more precious and beautiful; it will constantly reveal deeper significance, and lead the soul to aspire for more perfect conformity to its exalted standard. Such understanding of the truth will elevate the mind and transform the character to its divine perfection. {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 1}

 

The entire system of the Jewish religion was the gospel of Christ presented in types and symbols. Then how inappropriate was it for those who were under the Jewish dispensation, to reject and crucify Him who was the originator and foundation of what they claimed to believe. Where did they make their mistake?--They made their mistake in not believing what the prophets had said concerning Christ, "That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 2}

 

It is not God that puts the blinder before the eyes of men or makes their hearts hard; it is the light which God sends to his people, to correct their errors, to lead them in safe paths, but which they refuse to accept,--it is this that blinds their minds and hardens their hearts. They choose to turn from the light, to stubbornly walk in sparks of their own kindling, and the Lord positively declares that they shall lie down in sorrow. When one ray of light which the Lord sends is not acknowledged, there is a partial benumbing of the spiritual perceptions, and the second revealing of light is less clearly discerned, and so the darkness will constantly increase until it is night to the soul. Christ said, "How great is that darkness!" {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 3}

 

It is an astonishment to the whole universe that men do not see and do not acknowledge the bright beams of light that are shining upon them; but if they close their hearts to the light, and pervert the truth until it is interpreted to be darkness, they will imagine that their own criticism and unbelief is light, and will not confess their opposition to the ways and works of God. By pursuing a course like this, men who might have stood fast to the end, will place their influence against the message and messenger that God sends. But in the day of judgment, when the question is asked, "Why did you intercept yourself, your judgment and influence, between the people and the message of God?" they will have nothing to answer. If they open their lips then, it will only be to say that they now see truth as God sees it. They will confess that they were full of pride of opinion, trusted in their own judgment, and strengthened the hands that sought to tear down that which God had commanded to be built up. They will say, "Although the evidence was strong that God was working, I would not acknowledge it; for it was not in harmony with what I had taught. I was not in the habit of confessing any error in the past in my experience; I was too stubborn to fall upon the Rock and be broken. I determined to resist, and not be converted to the truth. I would not reveal the fact that I thought my course was wrong in any degree, and my light went out in darkness." To such the words apply, "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 4}

 

As the prophet looked down the ages, and beheld the ingratitude of Israel, as he was shown in vision their unbelief, he also saw that which brought him joy of heart, and gave him a vivid sense of the goodness of God to Israel. He said, "I will mention the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the Angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old." But through their own course of rebellion the blessing of God toward Israel was turned away from them. That which they had sown in questioning and unbelief, they had to reap. The record says, "But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them." May the Lord forbid that the history of the children of Israel in departing from God, in refusing to walk in the light, in refusing to confess their sins of unbelief and rejection of his messages, should be the experience of the people claiming to believe the truth for this time. For if they do as did the children of Israel in the face of warnings and admonitions, the same result will follow in these last days as came upon the children of Israel. The apostle admonishes, "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest." Now comes the warning of the apostle, sounding down along the lines to our time: "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 5}

 

The exhortation of the apostle applies to us as well as to those to whom this epistle was directed. "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them." Christ taught the people the principles of Christianity, speaking from the pillar of cloud and of fire, by day and by night; but they did not obey his words, and the apostle presents before us the consequence of their disobedience, stating that they were overthrown in the wilderness because of their rebellion. He says, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Shall we who are living near the close of this world's history "take heed"? Shall we heed the apostle's warning, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it"? The Lord would have his people trust in him and abide in his love, but that does not mean that we shall have no fear or misgivings. Some seem to think that if a man has a wholesome fear of the judgments of God, it is a proof that he is destitute of faith; but this is not so. A proper fear of God, in believing his threatenings, works the peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in his word, simply to have them recorded, but he means what he says. One says, "Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law." Paul says, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 6}

 

The love of God is to be dwelt upon, and when it is presented in the demonstration of the Spirit, it has power to break down every barrier which separates Christ from the soul, provided the sinner will yield to its influence, and make an entire surrender to God; but the stern voice of rebuke and denunciation is uttered against those who will not be drawn to Christ, who will not be affected by the marvelous display of his love. The word of God declares, "He that believeth not shall be dammed." "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." In these words there is something terrible to evil workers, and by these they should be convicted of their self-sufficiency, and feel the terror of the Lord. But mercy's sweet voice entreats every one who will hear, saying, "Behold, I have set before thee an open door;" "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." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 7}

 

Those who have faith in the messages of God will reveal it in their spirit, words, and actions. We are not to sit down and present excuses for unbelief; we are to realize our error, and be zealous and repent. The record says, "I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 8}

 

When the Lord sends light to his people, he means that they shall be attentive to hear and ready to receive the message. In great forbearance, he waits for man to come to his terms. For 120 years he waited for the people of the old world to receive the warning of the flood. Those who rejected the message turned his long forbearance and patience into an occasion of scorn and unbelief. The message and messenger became the butt of their ridicule. Noah's earnestness and zeal in appealing to them to turn from their evil way, was criticised and jeered at. God is not in a hurry to carry out his plans; for he is from everlasting to everlasting. He gives light and opens his truth more fully to those whom he would have to receive it, that they in their turn may take up the words of warning and encouragement, and give them to others. If men of repute and intelligence refuse to do this, the Lord will choose other instruments, honoring those who are looked upon as inferior. If those in positions of trust will put their whole heart into the work, they may bear the message for this time, and press the work forward; but God will honor those who honor him. {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 9}

 

There are ministers who claim to be teaching the truth, whose ways are an offense to God. They preach, but do not practice the principles of the truth. Great care should be exercised in ordaining men for the ministry. There should be a close investigation of their experience. Do they know the truth, and practice its teachings? Have they a character of good repute? Do they indulge in lightness and trifling, jesting and joking? In prayer do they reveal the Spirit of God? Is their conversation holy, their conduct blameless? All these questions need to be answered before hands are laid upon any man to dedicate him to the work of the ministry. We should heed the words of inspiration, "Lay hands suddenly on no man." We need to lift the standard higher than we have done hitherto, when selecting and ordaining men for the sacred work of God. {RH, October 21, 1890 par. 10}

 

July 26, 1892 Search the Scriptures.

 

By Mrs. E. G. White.

 

 

Christ has said: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me." The duty of searching the Scriptures is enjoined upon every son and daughter of Adam. Jesus says, "And they are they which testify of me." The Father was revealed in the Son, and in studying Christ we shall learn of the Father. Then let us come to search the word of God with softened, subdued hearts, and read the testimony concerning our Lord and Master. Shall we not with intense interest seek to catch his spirit, copy his example, and breathe in the atmosphere of his presence, which is light and love? How eagerly should we study every lesson that fell from his divine lips! How we should cherish his instruction! How ardently we should seek to imitate his character and life, and press on to know more and more of the heavenly truths he taught. If we would but practice the truths he has given, we should perfect an experience that would be of the highest value to us, and to the world. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 1}

 

Jesus presented new views of truth to his disciples, and how much deeper was the meaning of his utterances than the meaning of any lesson ever taught by human lips! "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 2}

 

How shall we search the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth? Many who read and even teach the Bible, do not comprehend the precious truth they are teaching or studying. Men entertain errors, when the truth is clearly marked out, and if they would but bring their doctrines to the word of God, and not read the word of God in the light of their doctrines, to prove their ideas right, they would not walk in darkness and blindness, or cherish error. Many give the words of Scripture a meaning that suits their own opinions, and they mislead themselves and deceive others by their misinterpretations of God's word. As we take up the study of God's word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 3}

 

Those who sincerely desire truth will not be reluctant to lay open their positions for investigation and criticism, and will not be annoyed if their opinions and ideas are crossed. This was the spirit cherished among us forty years ago. We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. Solemnity characterized these councils of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. After earnest prayer, if any point was not understood, it was discussed, and each one expressed his opinion freely; then we would again bow in prayer, and earnest supplications went up to heaven that God would help us to see eye to eye, that we might be one, as Christ and the Father are one. Many tears were shed. If one brother rebuked another for his dullness of comprehension in not understanding a passage as he understood it, the one rebuked would afterward take his brother by the hand, and say, "Let us not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus is with us; let us keep a humble and teachable spirit;" and the brother addressed would say, "Forgive me, brother, I have done you an injustice." Then we would bow down in another season of prayer. We spent many hours in this way. We did not generally study together more than four hours at a time, yet sometimes the entire night was spent in solemn investigation of the Scriptures, that we might understand the truth for our time. On some occasions the Spirit of God would come upon me, and difficult portions were made clear through God's appointed way, and then there was perfect harmony. We were all of one mind and one Spirit. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 4}

 

We sought most earnestly that the Scriptures should not be wrested to suit any man's opinions. We tried to make our differences as slight as possible by not dwelling on points that were of minor importance, upon which there were varying opinions. But the burden of every soul was to bring about a condition among the brethren which would answer the prayer of Christ that his disciples might be one as he and the Father are one. Sometimes one or two of the brethren would stubbornly set themselves against the view presented, and would act out the natural feelings of the heart; but when this disposition appeared, we suspended our investigations and adjourned our meeting, that each one might have an opportunity to go to God in prayer, and without conversation with others, study the point of difference, asking light from heaven. With expressions of friendliness we parted, to meet again as soon as possible for further investigation. At times the power of God came upon us in a marked manner, and when clear light revealed the points of truth, we would weep and rejoice together. We loved Jesus; we loved one another. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 5}

 

In those days God wrought for us, and the truth was precious to our souls. It is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the test of trial. We are in the school of the Master here, that we may be trained for the school above. We must learn to bear disappointment in a Christ-like manner, and the lesson taught by this will be of great importance to us. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 6}

 

We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 7}

 

Could those who are self-sufficient see how the universe of God regards them; could they see themselves as God sees them; they would behold such weakness, such manifest want of wisdom, that they would cry to the Lord to be their righteousness; they would want to hide from his sight. The apostle says, "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." When our schemes and our plans have been broken; when men who have depended upon our judgment conclude the Lord would lead them to act and judge for themselves, we should not feel like censuring, and like exercising arbitrary authority to compel them to receive our ideas. Those who are placed in authority should constantly cultivate self-control. I am thankful that God is a wise ruler, and every one who is a true disciple of Christ will be humble, lift his cross, and meekly follow where the self-denying, self-sacrificing Jesus leads the way. Disappointment may prove to be the greatest of blessings to us. We must learn that others have rights as well as we have, and when any of our brethren receive new light upon the Scriptures, he should frankly explain his position, and every minister should search the Scriptures with the spirit of candor to see if the points presented on a new subject can be substantiated by the inspired word. "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient; in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Every soul must look to God with contrition and humility, that God may guide and lead and bless. We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken positions on the wrong side, and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advance, it would never reach the people. These brethren will be found in this position until they become partakers of the divine nature to a greater extent than ever they have been in the past. There is sadness in heaven over the spiritual blindness of many of our brethren. Our younger ministers who fill less important positions must make decided efforts to come to the light, to sink the shaft deeper and still deeper into the mine of truth. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 8}

 

The rebuke of the Lord will be upon those who would be guardians of the doctrine, who would bar the way that greater light shall not come to the people. A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of greater light, that they may unite with the messengers whom he shall send harmoniously to accomplish the work that he designs they should. The Lord has raised up messengers and endued them with his Spirit, and has said, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." Let no one run the risk of interposing himself between the people and the message of heaven. The message of God will come to the people; and if there were no voice among men to give it, the very stones would cry out. I call upon every minister to seek the Lord, to put away pride, to put away strife after supremacy, and humble the heart before God. It is the coldness of heart, the unbelief of those who ought to have faith, that keeps the churches in feebleness. {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 9}

 

I would rejoice with all my heart to see all who have been connected with the work, take their places to hold high the banner of Jesus, that when their work shall be done, they may say as did Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." {RH, July 26, 1892 par. 10}

 

April 1, 1890 Repentance the Gift of God.

 

By Mrs. E. G. White.

 

 

There are many who have erroneous ideas in regard to the nature of repentance. They think that they cannot come to Christ unless they first repent, and that repentance prepares them for the forgiveness of their sins. It is true that repentance does precede the forgiveness of sins; for it is only the broken and contrite heart that will feel the need of a Saviour. But must the sinner wait until he has repented before he can come to Jesus? Is repentance to be made an obstacle between the sinner and the Saviour? Jesus has said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Christ is constantly drawing men to himself, while Satan is as diligently seeking by every imaginable device, to draw men away from their Redeemer. Christ must be revealed to the sinner as the Saviour dying for the sins of the world; and as he beholds the Lamb of God on the cross of Calvary, the mysteries of redemption begin to unfold to his mind, and the goodness of God leads him to repentance. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 1}

 

Although the plan of salvation calls for the deepest study of the philosopher, it is not too deep for the comprehension of a child. In dying for sinners, Christ manifested a love that is in comprehensible; and in beholding this love, the heart is impressed the conscience is aroused, and the soul is led to inquire, "What is sin, that it should require such a sacrifice for the redemption of its victim?" John, the beloved disciple, declares that "whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law." The apostle Paul instructed men in regard to the plan of salvation. He declares, "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." John, speaking of the Saviour says, "Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 2}

 

The living oracles do not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Men must come to Christ because they see him as their Saviour, their only helper, that they may be enabled to repent; for if they could repent without coming to Christ, they could also be saved without Christ. It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ that leads to genuine repentance. Peter makes the matter clear in his statement to the Israelites, when he says, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins." Repentance is as much the gift of Christ as is forgiveness, and it cannot be found in the heart where Jesus has not been at work. We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience, than we can be pardoned without Christ. Christ draws the sinner by the exhibition of his love upon the cross, and this softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition and repentance in the soul. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 3}

 

Paul says, "I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." What was it that brought that commandment to the mind of Paul but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom Jesus said, "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." Paul continues, "And the commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which was good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 4}

 

Men sometimes become ashamed of their sinful ways, and give up some of their evil habits, before they are aroused to manifestly come to Christ; but it is the power of the gospel, the grace of Christ, that is drawing them to make reformation in their conduct. An influence of which they are unconscious works upon the soul, and the conscience is quickened, and the outward life is amended. And as Christ draws them to look upon his cross, to look upon him whom their sins have pierced, the commandment comes home to the conscience. The wickedness of their life, the deep-seated sin of the soul, is revealed to them. They begin to comprehend something of the righteousness of Christ, and exclaim, "Was all this love, all this suffering, all this humiliation demanded that we might not perish, but have everlasting life?" They then understand that it is the goodness of God that leadeth to repentance. A repentance such as this lies beyond the reach of our own powers to accomplish; it is obtained only from Christ, who ascended up on high, and has given gifts unto men. Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one who can arouse in the natural heart enmity against sin. He is the source of our power if we would be saved. No soul can repent without the grace of Christ. The sinner may pray that he may know how to repent. God reveals Christ to the sinner, and when he sees the purity of the Son of God, he is not ignorant of the character of sin. By faith in the work and power of Christ, enmity against sin and Satan is created in his heart. Those whom God pardons are first made penitent. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 5}

 

The pleasing fable that all there is to do is to believe, has destroyed thousands and tens of thousands, because many have called that faith which is not faith, but simply a dogma. Man is an intelligent, accountable being; he is not to be carried as a passive burden by the Lord, but is to work in harmony with Christ. Man is to take up his appointed work in striving for glory, honor, and immortality. God calls upon men for the use of every talent he has lent them, the exercise of every power he has given; for man can never be saved in disobedience and indolence. Christ wrestled in earnest prayer; he offered up his supplications to the Father with strong crying and tears in behalf of those for whose salvation he had left heaven, and had come to this earth. Then how proper, yea, how essential that men should pray and not faint! How important that they should be instant in prayer, petitioning for the help that can come only from Christ our Lord! If you will find voice and time to pray, God will find time and voice to answer. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 6}

 

Some of our brethren have expressed fears that we shall dwell too much upon the subject of justification by faith, but I hope and pray that none will be needlessly alarmed; for there is no danger in presenting this doctrine as it is set forth in the Scriptures. If there had not been a remissness in the past to properly instruct the people of God, there would not now be a necessity of calling especial attention to it. Some of our brethren are not receiving the message of God upon this subject. They appear to be anxious that none of our ministers shall depart from their former manner of teaching the good old doctrines. We inquire, Is it not time that fresh light should come to the people of God, to awaken them to greater earnestness and zeal? The exceeding great and precious promises given us in the Holy Scriptures have been lost sight of to a great extent, just as the enemy of all righteousness designed that they should be. He has cast his own dark shadow between us and our God, that we may not see the true character of God. The Lord has proclaimed himself to be "merciful and gracious, long- suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 7}

 

Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, "It is the third angel's message in verity." The prophet declares, "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Brightness, glory, and power are to be connected with the third angel's message, and conviction will follow wherever it is preached in demonstration of the Spirit. How will any of our brethren know when this light shall come to the people of God? As yet, we certainly have not seen the light that answers to this description. God has light for his people, and all who will accept it will see the sinfulness of remaining in a lukewarm condition; they will heed the counsel of the True Witness when he says, "Be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 8}

 

The Church is presented as standing in a self-satisfied, pleased, proud, independent position, ignorant of her destitution and wretchedness. By her attitude she says, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." How many who claim to be keeping the commandments of God are in this position today! The charge against the Church is, "Thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot." But while many may be satisfied with their lukewarm condition, the Lord is far from pleased, and declares that unless you are zealous and repent, he will spue you out of his mouth. But he warns you, he entreats you. He says, "Thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 9}

 

The gold that Jesus would have us buy of him is gold tried in the fire; it is the gold of faith and love, that has no defiling substance mingled with it. The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ, the wedding garment which Christ alone can give. The eye-salve is the true spiritual discernment that is so wanting among us, for spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 10}

 

To our brethren who are standing in this self-confident, self-satisfied position, who talk and act as if there was no need of more light, we want to say that the Laodicean message is applicable to you. Many professed Christians are without Christ because they refuse to weave his principles of truth into their life. The word of God declares, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." We should pray earnestly and inquire with sincere hearts as to what the will of the Lord is, that we may be ready to receive the blessing we so much need. {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 11}

 

We must have oil in our vessels with our lamps, and not be like the foolish virgins of the parable whose lamps went out as they slumbered and slept, and who had no oil to replenish them, and so failed to be ready to meet the bridegroom. We should seek for a living experience, and obtain the grace of Christ. We need his love and gentleness; we need our faith revived. Let no one disregard the counsel of God, but let us all buy of him gold, and white raiment, and plead for the anointing of his Holy Spirit. Jesus desires us to have a personal knowledge of the truth, and we should search the heart carefully, critically, cease to do evil, and learn to do well. Jesus says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent." No one should feel like rebelling, like standing in defiance of God, because he rebukes you on account of your lukewarm condition and spiritual pride. God condescends to entreat you that he may talk with you, and invites you to open the door of the heart, that he may come in and sup with you, and you with him. He declares, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." {RH, April 1, 1890 par. 12}

 

End Part I